Illuminate Thanksgiving - Novemember 17, 2018

Saturday, November 17, 2018 - 4:30pm


Starts: National Pilgrim Memorial Meetinghouse (First Parish Church), 19 Town Square, Plymouth

Ends: Plymouth Waterfront  

This event is FREE and open to the public!

Plymouth 400 invites you to join us as we, together with partners around the world, Illuminate Thanksgiving. This global event honors the words of an American forefather, Governor William Bradford; “…as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many, …”

Illuminate Thanksgiving will take place on the same day as the annual America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Parade on Saturday, November 17. The program begins at 4:30pm at the National Pilgrim Memorial Meetinghouse (formerly First Parish Church). This historic venue is located on Town Square at the top of Leyden Street. Founded in 1620 by the original Pilgrims, it is the oldest church congregation in the United States in continuous operation. The indoor portion of the event will run approximately 45 minutes and be immediately followed by a Procession of Lights down Leyden Street, the original street of Plymouth Colony. The event culminates on the Plymouth Waterfront where a program of gratitude and giving will be presented by many talented young people from around the region. The program features inspirational music by Northern Lights A Capella Chorus from Plymouth North High School and an original song performed by the Plymouth International Chorus. There will be a reading of Bradford’s quote by one of his descendants followed by a candle-lighting ceremony.  The winner of the Plymouth 400 essay contest will be announced and the winner will read their response to the question, “Who illuminates your life?”, providing a powerful moment of gratitude and giving. Finally, the recipient of the One Small Candle Award will be announced. This award honors an individual or organization that, through their actions, has touched the lives of many. It is a reminder that just one thoughtful act can change the lives of many. Plymouth 400 has worked hard year after year to have this portion of the event symbolize the true meaning of Thanksgiving with past recipients including Cellphones For Soldiers, For the Love of Erika, and This Star Won’t Go Out, the latter being the impetus for the film The Fault In Our Stars”.

As a special bonus, during the indoor program, families with smaller children may opt to visit the Plymouth 400 children's area, also starting at 4:30pm, inside the lobby of the Post Office Building at 6 Main Street Extension, footsteps from Town Square. The costumed characters Barnicle & Husk from the book by the same namewill be there to greet children, accompanied by author Mary Shields. Peter Dubay, author of the book Thanks-For-Giving Day will also be on hand with FREE candle giveaways courtesy of Yankee Candle Village.

On the evening of the program, as they’ve done in past years, participating businesses and restaurants in the Downtown Plymouth area will illuminate their storefronts with light-inspired displays as part of Illuminate Thanksgiving in partnership with the Plymouth Bay Cultural District. People are encouraged to share their own photos and capture moments of inspiration with the hashtag #IlluminateThanksgiving. In an effort to welcome as many worldwide participants as they can, Plymouth 400 has partnered with HERE Boston to provide a complete live stream of this year’s Illuminate Thanksgiving event. This unique community-based event will now be available worldwide and real-time via the HERE Boston app, FREE of charge! The app is available for both Apple and Android users.   

We invite you to take part in this moment of reflection and inspiration by joining us in Plymouth on November 17th, or, if you cannot attend you can participate by lighting a candle wherever you may be, finding an Illuminate event near you, or by hosting your own in your community! Illuminate Thanksgiving gatherings can be as large or as small as you like.  Just pick a time, name your place, and take a moment to GIVE THANKS and GIVE BACK this November.

This event is presented by Goldman Sachs Gives with additional support from Newfield House, Inc., LEDVANCE and Best Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram. Media support provided by Plymouth 400 Lead Media Sponsor NBC Boston as well as Plymouth 400 Business Partners Gatehouse Media, 95.9 WATD FM and PACTV.