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History of America's Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration

An Educational Endeavor in Portraying the Unique Story of the Pilgrims and their Legacy in American History by Dr. Paul Jehle; Education Director and Historic Consultant

The week prior to the celebration and on the Friday of that weekend, historic tours of Plymouth and her monuments are offered to the public free of charge by Education Director Dr. Paul Jehle. The purpose of these tours is to teach tourists and visitors the Pilgrim story, explaining the purpose, meaning and significance of Plymouth’s monuments.

On Friday night each year, a free Veterans Memorial Concert is given to honor all who have served in our Armed Forces. Not only is there entertainment from the best groups in the nation. On Saturday morning, the opening ceremony of our parade symbolically portrays the faith of the Pilgrims with the lighting of a candle and a brief explanation of the 400th anniversary of our Pilgrim forbears leading up to 2020. In addition, an explanation of the historic nature of our parade is told both on the waterfront as well as in studio on a live broadcast on local cable television. In this way, throughout the entire parade as it passes by the waterfront staging area, people are being instructed on the chronological history of America as it “floats” by them.

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.
  • 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 1600’s, to soldiers in the American Revolution and later wars, stories that bring history alive await all on the waterfront;
  • A Native American Pavilion – learn what really happened at that first dinner between the Colonist and Wampanoag people in the fall of 1621. Was there turkey at the dinner? How many people we’re actually there? Did it happen every year? Why was it so important? These are the types of questions that will be answered. We will be having Wampanoag and Colonial interpreters at the pavilion giving you information about that first feast known by many as “ Thanksgiving”.
  • The Children’s Learning Pavilion features historic arts and crafts, educational exhibits and entertainment. Families can learn about local horticulture, agriculture and local history.
  • On Saturday night a Drum and Bugle Corps reunion features the best of the 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. There is a fee for entry into this evening of instruction and entertainment.
  • The Harvest Market will have many local items for sale. Enjoy the day listening to Bluegrass music focusing on America’s roots.