Singer and lutenist John DuRant

Singer and lutenist John DuRant will perform at 18th-Century Pub and Games Night, a benefit at Montpelier Mansion Oct. 22. (Submitted photo / October 11, 2011)

A visit to a Williamsburg pub, where live music, tavern games and draft beer combined for an enjoyable evening, planted an idea for a fundraising event at South Laurel's Montpelier Mansion.

"We were at a pub night in Williamsburg and thought, 'we could do this,' " said Holly Burnham, historian and museum educator at Montpelier, who was in Williamsburg with Montpelier assistant manager Ann Wagner following a conference of the American Association of State and Local History in Richmond.

So Montpelier's Pub and Games Night was born, a fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 22 that will help fund educational programs and the continuing care of Montpelier's collections. And in true tavern form, Montpelier's pub night includes lively entertainment with a strolling troubadour and pub games, and beer tastings from brews made at Franklin's Brewery, in Hyattsville.

"Our education programs include free hands-on History Day in the summer, and traveling off-site to schools, and it all takes money," Wagner said.


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Mike Roy is the house brewer at Franklin's, which includes a family friendly restaurant and a general store at one location on Route 1.

"We do lots of beer tastings and festivals," Roy said. "But a pub night with games? Not before this one."

Roy said he will be bringing three house standards and an Octoberfest lager to Montpelier. Ticket-holders will get to taste all the brews, then choose two to enjoy from a full stein.

Lutenist and singer John DuRant, who bills himself as the Old World Troubadour, will perform the type of songs heard in colonial taverns, which usually run from bawdy to ballads and engage the audience in sing-alongs.

Burnham said the mansion has acquired a collection of reproduction 18th-century games, the type of dice and card games typically played in pubs in George Washington's days.

With names like Shut the Box, Ace in the Hole, and Fox and Geese (which is played like cribbage, with a board and pegs), the games might be new to pub night revelers but Burnham said Montpelier staff know them well and will be on hand to help.

Those attending the Oct. 22 fundraiser will take home a Montpelier beer stein and, if they're successful, a silent auction item such as vintage hand-painted china, a weekend getaway or tickets to Montpelier's Christmas tea.

18th-Century Pub and Games Night is Saturday, Oct. 22, from 7-10 p.m., at Montpelier Mansion, 9650 Muirkirk Road. Must be 21 to attend. Tickets are $45 for residents of Prince George's and Montgomery counties; $50 for nonresidents. Reservations deadline is Oct. 19. For tickets, call 301-377-7817.