Thanksgiving at Plymouth, Massachusetts
By Burt Carey
There’s no better way to take in all that the Thanksgiving holiday offers than to spend the weekend before turkey day where the Pilgrims landed.
Plymouth, Massachusetts dutifully refers to itself as America’s Hometown, and it celebrates Thanksgiving each year with a bevy of events to regale visitors with the Pilgrim story and other significant events in American history.
The weekend of festivities has become a beloved holiday occasion as well as an important link to our nation’s history and heritage. For 19 years, hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life have traveled to the historic Plymouth Harbor and Waterfront to experience a bounty of authentic Americana. The celebration of Thanksgiving becomes history-brought-to-life as Pilgrims, Native Americans, soldiers, patriots, and pioneers proudly climb out of the history books and onto the streets of Plymouth.
Beginning Nov. 20, historic tours of Plymouth and her monuments are offered to the public free of charge by Education Director Dr. Paul Jehle. That evening a free Veterans Memorial Concert will be presented to honor all who have served in our Armed Forces. Friday Night will also feature an illumination event in collaboration with the Plymouth 400.
On the morning of Nov. 21, the opening ceremony of the America’s Hometown parade symbolically portrays the faith of the Pilgrims with the
lighting of a candle and a brief explanation of the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims leading up to 2020. In addition, an explanation of the historic nature of the parade is told both on the waterfront as well as in studio on a live broadcast on local cable television. As it crosses by the waterfront staging area, the parade immerses visitors with a chronological history of America as each float passes.
Following the parade on Saturday, and during the day on Sunday, a feast of historic education awaits all who visit the waterfront:
- The New England Food Festival – come sample cuisines from around the region while listening to period music and cast your vote for New England’s best. The New England Food Festival features the very best soups, chowders, desserts, party foods, entrees and décor in the region. Food festival tickets can be purchased on site: adults $12; children under 12, $7; and children under 5 get in for free.
- Colonial crafters demonstrate trades – from blacksmithing to weaving and other crafts that illustrate earlier time periods of American history.
- Living historians tell historic stories – from Pilgrims who interpret the various monuments and are waiting to discuss life in the 1600s, to soldiers in the American Revolution and later wars, stories that bring history alive await all on the waterfront.
- Saturday Concert – On Saturday night a Drum and Bugle Corps reunion features the best of patriotic music from the post-World War II era. An explanation of some aspect of the history of Drum and Bugle Corps takes place during the evening, as well as an explanation of each unit and their unique accomplishments. Memorial Hall is filled with those who gather to hear their favorite Corps that demonstrates loyalty and commitment to American values.
The Waterfront in Plymouth is one of the most historic locations in America. Millions of tourists come to see the Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower
II, which grace the shores of the Plymouth waterfront.
Everything gets under way Friday, Nov. 20 with the first concert, a patriotic affair that honors those who have served in any branch of the United States military. Premier units of national significance and notoriety are invited and the concert is free. It is patriotic, moving, and involves entertainment, drama, music, color and honor guards, as well as special recognition for all veterans.
The concert takes place at Memorial Hall in Plymouth, from 7-10 p.m.
Tickets ($27) are required for Saturday’s concert. To purchase tickets for this concert, click here or call the office at 508-746-1818.
A host of hotels and other accommodations are available locally. Go online to http://www.usathanksgiving.com/index.php for all of your arrangements.