Charles Towne Landing celebrates 342nd anniversary with cannon fire, fun

Wade Spees/Staff Florida-based Searles Buccaneers portraying 17th century English pikemen were among the costumed re-enactors and visitors at Charles Towne Landing on Saturday who helped celebrate Charleston's 342nd birthday.

Cannon fire rumbled West Ashley on Saturday, as park-goers with strollers and cellphones mingled with colonial-era re-enactors to celebrate Charleston's 342nd anniversary at Charles Towne Landing.

Charleston's history dates to 1670, and “as far as we can tell, April is the month when the first settlers arrived,” said park manager Rob Powell.

The so-called Founders' Day festival held annually at the state park draws 1,300 to 1,500 people and this year included a nod to present appetites: a food truck rodeo.

Just a short walk away, though, re-enactors who had camped overnight dined instead on an egg-and-bacon breakfast that they cooked over an open fire.

Jacksonville, Fla., resident Jeff Johnson portrayed a lieutenant in his longer, gold waistcoat and could explain the relevance of everything he wore, from the ties on his shoes to the cravat around his neck.

“I wish I had period hand-knitted stockings, but they can be expensive,” he said.

John Hyatt, a Charles Towne Landing employee, explained that the Lords Proprietors who first claimed ownership of South Carolina's land invested considerable sums of money in marshfront property in a strange place they'd never seen. Hyatt also explained that each boom of the park's three replica cannons represented the struggle to fight off Spanish ships.

“There are no actual projectiles today, because our guns are aimed at The Citadel,” Hyatt said. “And they have much better weapons than we do.”

Reach Allyson Bird at 937-5594.