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story.lead_photo.caption Daughters of the American Revolution and guests enjoy food and tea Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, at the George Washington Tea Party at the P.J. Ahern Home in Texarkana, Ark.

More than 40 Texarkana-area members of Daughters of the American Revolution gathered Saturday to celebrate George Washington's birthday and to see the revolutionary leader himself--or at least a facsimile of him.

The first U.S. president's birthday is about 11 days away, but that didn't stop this patriotic group from gathering at the Texarkana Museum System's vintage P.J. Ahern home to celebrate the federal holiday a little early and to welcome the nation's first leader with some tea and cake as he entered the historic domicile in the 400 block of Laurel Street.

"Ladies, I want to express to you my heartfelt thanks and deep appreciation for keeping our country's heritage alive and well," said Washington, portrayed by Texas' 6th District Court of Appeals Chief Justice Josh Morriss III.

After allowing him to finish his statement, the women gathered around Washington with their 21st century smartphone cameras to photograph the former commander in chief in his formal black 18th century suit lined with gold buttons. (Washington wore such a suit to President John Adams' inauguration.)

"I also want to thank you for keeping the memory of our revolution alive," he said. "Please keep up this good work."

The last time Washington ( portrayed by Morriss for at least the last 10 years) dropped by Texarkana, it was for one of his earlier birthdays, said Junelle Mungno, president of the Arkansas State Society of the DAR.

"Since George Washington was born Feb. 22, 1732, in Virginia, we are celebrating his 287th birthday this year," she said.

Following his brief visit, Washington thanked the DAR members once again for their support before heading out to another stop.

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