The organizations behind Plymouth 400, the commemoration of the Mayflower voyage and the founding of Plymouth Colony, announced the year-long schedule of Signature Events for the 2020 Commemoration.
The Chair of the Plymouth, Massachusetts 400th Commission, Conventures’ founder Dusty Rhodes, led a press conference at the Massachusetts State House that featured remarks from Governor Charlie Baker, legislators, Plymouth 400, Inc. and more.
Non-profit Plymouth 400, Inc., established in 2011, has been working alongside the 35-member State Commission since January 2016 as the architects of what is shaping up to be an epic commemoration of the voyage of the Mayflower and the founding of Plymouth Colony in 1620, a story that significantly shaped the building of America. “In name, Plymouth 400 calls to mind a singular place, but the history of Plymouth Colony is integral to the founding of Massachusetts and the Nation,” said Dusty Rhodes, Plymouth, Massachusetts 400th Commission Chair. “The cultural contributions and American traditions that began with the interaction of the Wampanoag and English peoples have significantly shaped the building of America and continue to provide lessons for our future. Further, the inclusion of the Native American perspective is one of the truly unique aspects of this commemoration as, historically, this perspective has been mishandled and misrepresented.”
“The same cornerstones that defined this moment in history are also defined by the themes of this commemoration: exploration, innovation, self-governance, religious expression, immigration and thanksgiving,” stated Michele Pecoraro, Executive Director of Plymouth 400, Inc. “These values continue to inform global diplomacy and illuminate the diverse contributions of the immigrants that fortify the fabric of American culture. Each of Plymouth 400’s commemorative events and programs were specifically designed to highlight these themes.”
ONGOING PROGRAMSThe Legacy Trail of Authentic Places is being developed to trace key events of 1620 via a major history and culture-based network of sites throughout Eastern Massachusetts and Boston. This trail is a collaboration between Plymouth 400 and the following seven institutions and historic sites: (1) the Provincetown Monument & Museum; (2) Corn Hill in Truro; (3) First Encounter Beach in Eastham; (4) The Aquinnah Cultural Center on Martha’s Vineyard; (5) Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth; (6) the John and Priscilla Alden Family Sites of Duxbury; and (7) the New England Historic Genealogical Society, headquartered on Newbury Street in Boston. “Our” Story: 400 Years of Wampanoag History is an educational exhibition created by Wampanoag tribal members from Aquinnah and Mashpee. The research and design team developed multiple “chapters” to highlight critical elements of Wampanoag history and a new chapter is added each year leading up to 2020. This exhibition will travel regionally to various educational and cultural institutions shining a light on the “people of the dawn.” SIGNATURE EVENTS
- April 24, 2020: The Quadricentennial year kicks off with the PLYMOUTH 400 COMMEMORATION OPENING CEREMONY Held at Plymouth’s Memorial Hall and grounds, the Opening Ceremony will be a cross-cultural spectacle of historical content, visual and performing arts, special guest speakers and more. Honoring the past while paving the way for the future, each of the commemoration’s themes will be presented in creative ways.
- June 27-28: OFFICIAL MARITIME SALUTE TO THE 400th in Plymouth Harbor This event pays tribute to the Pilgrim’s journey onboard the Mayflower with a parade of sail in and around Plymouth Harbor. A regatta of wooden ships, official vessels, work boats, native mishoons and pleasure craft will culminate in a traditional New England lobster dinner at the waterfront. Mayflower II will be a centerpiece of this event.
- August 15: The WAMPANOAG ANCESTORS WALK The Walk will be led by people from the Wampanoag tribes of Massachusetts through downtown Plymouth. Placards will be carried with the names of the original 69 villages of the Wampanoag Nation. Participants will pay homage to Massasoit and King Phillip and stop at designated sites to bless the spots where their ancestors once walked. The event will conclude with a drum ceremony andreception.
- September 14: The OFFICIAL STATE HOUSE SALUTE TO THE 400TH COMMEMORATION Held at the Massachusetts State House, this ceremony will honor the Pilgrim forefathers and Native people who are immortalized in the historic founding of Plymouth Colony.
- September 19 & 20: The EMBARKATION FESTIVAL This grand cultural and arts festival will honor the traditions, cuisine, and music of not only the original settlers and Wampanoag people but the diverse immigrants who followed and contributed to the fabric of American life. National and international in scope, invited dignitaries will include heads of state, celebrities, and students from around theworld.
- October 30-November 1: The INDIGENOUS HISTORY CONFERENCE & POWWOW Hosted by Bridgewater State University, the conference will celebrate the longevity and continuity of America’s indigenous people. This cultural event will feature the historical and contemporary contributions of the Wampanoag and other Native nations. Speakers will include both native and non-native scholars and experts and culminate in a traditional Powwow.
- Thanksgiving Week 2020: A multi-day series of programming beginning with America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration concerts on November 20, and Parade on November 21, the “One Small Candle” Ceremony November 22, Thanksgiving Festival Events throughout the week culminating in the spectacle of Plymouth 400’s Illuminate Thanksgiving on November 25, the Eve of Thanksgiving.
In addition to the Plymouth 400 Signature Events there will also be a whole host of sanctioned events. These are existing or new events produced by partner organizations that will also be included in the master 2020 calendar. The following summarizes two such events:
- MAYFLOWER: THE VOYAGE THAT MADE A NATION® Mayflower II will serve as the iconic centerpiece of the 400th Commemoration thanks to the work of Plimoth Plantation. Planning is underway to sail the ship to Boston in the spring of 2020 and to Provincetown that fall*. Visitors will be able to board the ship, hear stories about the Mayflower and her famous passengers, and imagine what it was like on board for the 66-day voyage.
- PROVINCETOWN AND GENERAL SOCIETY OF MAYFLOWER DESCENDANTS COMMEMORATIVE EVENTS The Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum and the Town of Provincetown will host the General Society of Mayflower Descendants for their 2020 Congress beginning on September 11, 2020. Plans are also in place to welcome Mayflower II to Provincetown Harbor ahead of the event*. During the visit, Mayflower II, will be part of daily historical reenactments of the Signing of the Mayflower Compact in Provincetown Harbor in 1620. On September 13, a Memorial Service and Wreath Laying will be held, followed by ticketed luncheon. The commemoration will culminate with a Sunrise Toast and Bon Voyage to Mayflower II on September 14 as she journeys to her home port in Plymouth.
* Mayflower II schedule subject to change due to maritime and other conditions.