HamilFest Celebrates All things Alexander Hamilton

Participants in the HamilFest talent show line the stage and take direction from event organizer Greg Plantamura on the far right. Photo courtesy of Greg Plantamura.

I love going to schools and teaching children about Alexander Hamilton,” said Mary Anne Hamilton, wife of the late Laurens Hamilton, the great-great grandson of Alexander Hamilton, at the recent HamilFest on Saint Petersburg College’s (SPC) Gibbs campus.

Mary Anne Hamilton was one of the highlights of the inaugural HamilFest on Saturday, February 10. The event included a costume and talent show, sing-alongs from the musical, games, many vendors, a tea party and historical trivia.

“I came to see Mary Ann speak,” said Margaret Crawford of Tampa. “She gave incredible insight into Hamilton’s life and family.”

The festival comes in the wake of the huge success of the Broadway hit “Hamilton: An American Musical.” The award-winning show uses rap and hip-hop music to tell the story of Alexander Hamilton, and has brought about a new fandom for the founding father, the first Secretary of the Treasury and creator of the Federalist Party. Hamilton was killed in his late forties in a duel with former Vice President Aaron Burr.

Mary Anne Hamilton, widow of the late great-great grandson of Alexander Hamilton, talks with a crowd of fans after speaking at the HamilFest in St Petersburg Saturday, February 10.

“Hamilton came to America as a poor, self-educated orphan, and rose to being one of the most influential founding fathers,” said event organizer Greg Plantamura of Seminole.

Mary Ann Hamilton got to see the musical in New York.

“I wasn’t sure if I would like it because of the rap music, but it was very well done,” said Hamilton, who now lives in Seminole. “The way the story was presented was the best thing I’ve ever seen.”

“Hamilton fans are very enthusiastic,” said Plantamura. “The story inspires fans to rise above their circumstances, participate in political and social issues, and passionately experience life.”

Plantamura is planning a second HamilFest for next year when the musical comes to the Straz Center in February 2019.

Mary Ann Hamilton was introduced by Rand Scholet, who is the president of the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society in Clearwater. The society educates people about Hamilton and has over 4,000 followers on Facebook.

“We also have people that made the trip here from Melbourne, Jacksonville, Deland, Lakeland, Orlando, and even Colombia” for the event, said Scholet. “We are very fortunate to have Mary Anne here to speak to us today.”

Samuel Vanmiddlesworth, Staci Etheridge, Kirsty Cordova of St Petersburg, who are “big fans of the play,” show off their historical clothing at the inaugural HamilFest at the SPC Gibbs Campus on February 10. 


One comment

  1. Thank you for the descriptive Hamil★Fest article, Mr. Langford…and a nice selection of photos.

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