Well, it’s almost here. 2020 will mark the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower on Cape Cod. Most of us connect this event with Plymouth, Massachusetts, but the ship first made landfall near what is now Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod. I’ve visited both Provincetown and the recreation of Plymouth Plantation many times, am looking forward to the upcoming commemorations and festivities planned by many different parties, including the New England Genealogical Society, the town of Plymouth, the Wampanoag tribal nation, and the countries of England and the Netherlands.
Here’s what’s on the schedule so far over the next year, according to the Boston Globe:
April 17, 2019: Opening Ceremony at the American Ancestors headquarters, Boston, 10 a.m.
American Ancestors and the New England Historic Genealogical Society will host an opening ceremony for the commemoration at its headquarters, 99-101 Newbury St. headquarters. Festivities include the “launch” of a Mayflower replica and the unveiling of the “Wampanoag Legacy Art Installation,” according to a statement.
Also opening that day is the “Origins & Legacy of the Mayflower,” a multi-media exhibit which “considers the back stories of the Mayflower passengers — where they came from in England and what is known about their ancestry,” organizers said.
An open house with programs and other activities will follow from 11 a.m. through 8 p.m.
June 2019/2020: “Heritage Tours” led by the New England Historic Genealogical Society
Two tours, one in June and another the following year, will take participants to the Netherlands and England, respectively, to trace the history of the Mayflower and the Pilgrims, from the town in Holland where some once lived to how passengers boarded the ship. More information is available on the society’s website.
April 24, 2020: Plymouth 400 Commemoration Opening Ceremony, Memorial Hall, Plymouth
Guest speakers, artists, and others will take part in a ceremony and spectacle “honoring the past and celebrating the future,” according to Plymouth 400. “VIP invitations” include national and foreign leaders.
June and September 2020: “A New England Sojourn”
New England Historic Genealogical Society experts will lead two tours (three days each) to “historic sites in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts associated with the Pilgrims, including Plymouth, Provincetown, Boston, Duxbury, and elsewhere,” according to the society’s website. A tour itinerary is forthcoming.
June 27 and 28, 2020: Maritime Salute, Plymouth Harbor/waterfront
A regatta of wooden ships and other vessels will honor the original Mayflower journey, organizers say. Participants can also expect a seaside lobster dinner.
Aug. 1, 2020: “Wampanoag Ancestors Walk,” Plymouth
People from the Wampanoag tribes of Massachusetts will lead participants on a walk while carrying placards of the names of the original 69 villages of the Wampanoag Nation, according to organizers. “Participants will pay homage to Massasoit and King Phillip and stop at designated sites to bless the spots where their ancestors once walked,” Plymouth 400 said. “The walk will conclude with a drum ceremony and reception.”
Sept. 7 through 14, 2020: Mayflower II visits Provincetown
The Mayflower II, a replica of the historic vessel, will arrive in Provincetown for a week of activities on Sept. 7, according to Provincetown 400. “During the visit, Mayflower II, will be part of the daily historical reenactments of the Signing of the Mayflower Compact in Provincetown Harbor in 1620,” organizers say. “These historical reenactments will enable the public to witness the history that happened in Provincetown waters in 1620.” A “Sunrise Toast and Bon Voyage” event is slated for Sept. 14, the day the ship leaves Provincetown for Plymouth.
Sept. 12, 2020: Mayflower II Gala, Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum, Provincetown
A gala commemorating the signing of the Mayflower Compact, complete with food, drinks, and historical reenactments is planned, according to Provincetown 400. Additional information is yet to be announced.
Sept. 14, 2020: State House salute, Massachusetts State House, Boston
A ceremony honoring the Pilgrims and native people of Massachusetts will be held on Beacon Hill and will feature the rare display of Gov. William Bradford’s journal.
Sept. 19 and 20, 2020: “Embarkation Festival,” Plymouth
The culture 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,” Plymouth 400 said. International leaders, students, and celebrities will be invited to join.
Oct. 30 through Nov. 1, 2020: “Indigenous History Conference and Powwow,” Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater
Speakers and experts will discuss and highlight “the longevity and continuity of America’s indigenous people,” including their past and current contributions, organizers said. The conference will conclude with a traditional Powwow.
Nov. 20 through 25: Thanksgiving events, Plymouth
A weeklong series of celebrations leading up to Thanksgiving will include concerts, a parade, and, among other festivities, a “Once Small Candle” ceremony, which will give the “One Small Candle Award” to someone “who has made a difference in many lives at a young age,” Plymouth 400 said.
Ongoing: “‘Our’ Story: 400 Years of Wampanoag History,”
The regional traveling exhibit aims to educate others about key pieces of Wampanoag history. According to Plymouth 400, “This exhibition, created by a Wampanoag research and design team, travels regionally. The exhibit expands each year leading up to 2020 with new ‘chapters’ in the history and culture of the ‘people of the dawn.’” For more information, check out the Plymouth 400 website.
See the calendar of events in England.
See what’s planned in the Netherlands.
See festivities planned by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.
I’m very excited – a childhood visit to Plymouth Plantation ignited my lifelong interest and involvement in history, US and otherwise, and I hope to attend some of these events. I admit to some trepidation over the tremendous crowds that are expected, and hope the organizers have some good crowd and traffic control strategies in the works. None of these sites are very large…….. but I’ll be there.