York County Bar Association lawyers sported shiny white wigs and other Revolution-era garb Sunday to celebrate the Articles of Confederation, adopted in York 232 years ago to the day.

The lawyers re-enacted the 40-day debate leading up to the nation's first constitution in a one-hour performance before a packed crowd in the Colonial Court House on West Market Street.

The crowd snapped pictures with digital cameras while the lawyers debated the articles' provisions, such as money and taxes, and chuckled when the narrator joked about Benjamin Franklin inventing lightning.

The York County Heritage Trust celebrates the anniversary of the articles' adoption a different way every year, choosing to re-enact it this year to better engage the audience, said Scott Royer, the trust's education director.

People sometimes lose sight of the articles' place in York's history, said Jeff Lobach, a local lawyer who played Continental Congress President Henry Laurens.

"It's good to be reminded of that every now and then," Lobach said.

The lawyers really got into their parts, using booming voices and elaborate hand gestures to emphasize their positions in the debate. Lobach, as president, pounded his gavel.

"It might be my only chance to be president," Lobach said.

Growing up in New England prepared Don Hoyt, York city solicitor, to play John Adams, a Continental Congress member from Massachusetts.

But not every lawyer requested to play a certain figure.

Derrick Henning of Spring Grove videotapes the Celebration of the Articles of Confederation from on top of the stocks at the Colonial Court House in York
Derrick Henning of Spring Grove videotapes the Celebration of the Articles of Confederation from on top of the stocks at the Colonial Court House in York on Sunday. (DAILY RECORD / SUNDAY NEWS -- PAUL KUEHNEL )

"It was pretty much a crapshoot," said Karen Comery, a senior prosecutor in the York County District Attorney's Office. "I didn't have any strong emotional ties."

khoran@ydr.com; 771-2029

About the Articles

The Continental Congress convened in York in the fall of 1777, engaging in serious and intense discussions before adopting the Articles of Confederation, the nation's first constitution, on Nov. 15, 1777.

On the blogs

· Articles of Confederation don't get no respect.