Major Events Announced for 2020 Pilgrims Commemoration

PLYMOUTH – Organizers have released some of their major plans to celebrate the upcoming 400thanniversary of the Pilgrims arrival in the new world.

The 35-member state commission and Plymouth 400, a non-profit group focused on the commemoration, announced a series of signature events planned for the spring, summer, and fall of 2020.

Cape Cod and Provincetown will play an integral role in the celebrations. The Pilgrims landed in Provincetown Harbor, where they signed the Mayflower Compact, before sailing on to Plymouth.

“I believe that the Mayflower Compact is in the same category as other great documents like the U.S. Constitution. That was really the basis of our form of government here in the United States and that was written right here in Provincetown Harbor,” said Provincetown State Rep. Sarah Peake.

Plans call for sailing the Mayflower II to Provincetown Harbor to commemorate the signing of the Mayflower Compact. The vessel, which is normally docked in Plymouth Harbor, is currently undergoing a multi-year restoration effort and is scheduled to return in 2019.

Plans also call for sailing the Mayflower II to Boston at some point in 2020.

During the vessel’s visit to Provincetown, the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum will partner with the town to host the General Society of Mayflower Descendants for their 2020 congress.

“It’s a big thing in terms of the story of American and how immigration into America started right here in our own backyard. We have a very rich, deep history to share with the world,” said Wendy Northcross, the CEO of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce.

The list of signature events can be found below:

April 24, 2020: Plymouth 400 Commemoration Opening Ceremony

This event will be held at Plymouth’s Memorial Hall and the surrounding area. The Opening Ceremony will be a cross-cultural spectacle of historical content, visual and performing arts, special guest speakers and more.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. VIP invitations will include national leaders, heads of state, and other international dignitaries.

June 27-28: Maritime Salute to the 400thin 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 and reception.

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. The governor and other national and international dignitaries will be invited to speak.

September 19 & 20: The Embarkation Festival

This grand two-day cultural and arts festival will be held in Plymouth. The 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 the world.

October 30-November 1: The Indigenous History Conference and 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.

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