President’s Day dinner features George Washington
Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014

President’s Day dinner features George Washington

Want to know whether George Washington really wore wooden dentures?

Kevin Grantz, an actor who has portrayed the first American president on television and in live presentations for more than 20 years, will be the featured speaker at the second annual Mecklenburg chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution President’s Day community dinner.

The dinner will be 6 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Executive Park Hilton, 624 Westpark Drive in Charlotte.

“We want to help keep the people who fought in the Revolutionary War in the foreground of the community here in Charlotte,” said Jay Joyce, president of the Mecklenburg chapter of SAR.

Grantz, who will stay in character throughout the evening, will host the dinner. He will give a presentation on Washington’s life from a first-person viewpoint, answer audience questions and be available for pictures and autographs.

The dinner is open to all ages. Joyce said that in 2013, when an actor portrayed Thomas Jefferson at the dinner, children asked some of the best questions.

The actor was able to answer all their questions, and Joyce expects Grantz to do the same.

Washington served two terms as president from 1789-1797, presiding over the drafting of the U.S. Constitution and overseeing the creation of the national government.

“George Washington became an international icon for liberation and nationalism following the Revolutionary War,” Tom Phlegar, Mecklenburg SAR chapter program chairman, said in a statement.

Grantz has played Washington in productions that include the television documentary “Liberty or Death” in 2007.

Joyce said that one of SAR’s purposes is to honor people and places of the Revolutionary War. They annually recognize battles and patriots who fought in the war.

“We do it because we want people to remember it,” Joyce said.

The group meets four times a year and attends about 30 events annually in the Carolinas.

The Mecklenburg SAR chapter was founded 92 years ago, and in recent years its membership has grown – and members’ average age has dropped to 46 from well over 60.

“More and more people in their 20s to 50s are becoming interested in access to their ancestors and their families,” Joyce said. The chapter has 100 members.

Membership in SAR is open to any man who can document lineage to a participant in the Revolutionary War. Joyce is the fifth-generation great-grandson of Nathanael Greene, who commanded the Southern campaign of the Revolution that drove the British back to Yorktown, S.C.

The Mecklenburg SAR chapter has a genealogist on hand who can help prospective members.

The George Washington community dinner is open to everyone.

Tickets are $26 and can be purchased through Feb.18 at

Marty Minchin is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email her at

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more