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The Weekend Before Thanksgiving

American Pride

Bright reds, whites and blues of flying flags, crisp autumn breezes, fragrant aromas of spiced cider and familiar songs of patriotism create a great setting for indulging your love of country - The Weekend Before Thanksgiving celebration is the perfect fit for reflecting on history and American pride. You and your family are invited to the 16th annual festival which is being held November 18-20, 2011 in Plymouth, MA, about 40 miles south of Boston.

Nearly 400 years ago, English settlers and Native Americans sat down to share a harvest fest, thankful for the bounty of their fields and the sea, and ever since then Americans have continued the storied tradition. In 1863 Thanksgiving was made an official holiday, and there is truly no better place to celebrate than in “America’s Hometown”, Plymouth. Join with over 175,000 people to remember our history, honor military heroes and to pass along the legacy to future generations.

Mayflower II replica Plymouth MA USFestivities begin with a Patriotic Concert at Memorial Hall at 7 pm on Friday, November 18, featuring the Navy Band Sea Chanters, a premier all-male ensemble which performs as the official chorus of the U.S. Navy. This patriotic performance is not to be missed (and it is free!).

Saturday’s activities kick off with the annual Thanksgiving Parade on Main Street, beginning at 11 am and lasting a couple of hours. Second only to the venerable Macy’s Day Parade, parade-goers are treated to an historically accurate timeline of American History, beginning with the 17th century through today. Colorful floats, vintage cars, military marching units and lively bands combine to preserve our nation’s history and honor defenders of liberty. This energetic parade is truly America on display!

Numerous other festival events are taking place at Waterfront Park at the same time, including the popular New England Food Festival.  From 11 am to 4 pm, you will be treated to some of the tastiest local foods imaginable, including steaming soups, hearty chowders and sweet treats. This year there will be a competition to create the largest open faced sandwich, which will need to be more than the current record of 1,652 pounds! You will be entertained by live music and can vote along with celebrity judges for your favorite restaurant entries.

You can spend hours browsing the Crafter’s Pavilion’s displays, offering handcrafted treasures as well as candle and soap-making demonstrations.  Pottery, homemade Christmas cards, handmade jewelry – plan to do a little early Christmas shopping here. A kids’ tent provides all kinds of hands-on activities to keep your little ones occupied, and there is a Living History Scavenger Hunt at Brewster Gardens at 2 pm – that should be great fun!  Visit Wampanoag Educational Pavilion to delve into America’s history and to share with like-minded festival attendees. Live re-enactors will be on hand to answer questions and help you return to Colonial Days. Head back to Memorial Hall at 6:30 pm for the festival’s focal event, the Senior Drum and Bugle Reunion Concert – it will really get your heart thumping! Known as one of the premier drum corp events in the world, you will be treated to stirring performances by a spectacular lineup presenting big band toe-tappers which will have you on your feet cheering with pride! 

Sunday continues with the much-anticipated Edible South Shore Harvest market, where you can meet farmers and peruse locally-grown, organic foods including fresh vegetables, herbs and cheeses, home baked breads and pies, farm fresh eggs and other ingredients for your Thanksgiving feast. Lots of country-made products will be available – jams, sauces, honey, herbs and Bolga Baskets among others. A new activity this year will feature local florists demonstrating how to create the perfect table centerpieces for your holiday celebrations.  You can savor traditional and bluegrass music while browsing the marketplace, noshing on freshly prepared soups, pumpkin ravioli and apple cider. Yum! Kids Tent activities continue, and the Crafter’s and Educational Pavilions are available as well.

While visiting Plymouth you should take advantage of its many historic attractions, including Plimoth Plantation. This living history museum invites you to explore Plymouth as it appeared in 1627; take a tour by a guide dressed in period clothing – you will feel transported back in time as you listen to stories about the difficult early settlement days. You can also visit a replica farming homestead to see endangered species of animals the settlers raised, including Milking Devon cattle and San Clemente Island goats. Other local activities include attending the annual Holiday Boutique at the Plymouth Center for the Arts or watching an evening show at Driftwood Folk Café. Local historic sites to visit include the Jenney Grist Mill, and a touring the Forefather’s Monument lets you grab a picture of the largest solid granite monument in the country. A visit to 17th century Richard Sparrow House, oldest in the town, is captivating as well. Other "must-see's" include the famous Plymouth Rock which is on display in the historic waterfront, as well as the Mayflower II replica ship.

As you can see, there is a lot to do at this festival and more to do in town! Be sure to check the festival website to order your tickets for Saturday’s concert event in advance, as this competition sells out quickly. Don’t be shy – put your patriotism on display! Let everyone know that, as Lee Greenwood sings it best, “there ain’t no doubt I love this land, God bless the USA"!!!

With any major event or attraction, creating great travel plans can make or break your experience. For The Weekend Before Thanksgiving celebration, making your travel plans as far in advance as possible is helpful. If you plan to spend a week or so exploring the area, an option is to book a Boston, MA hotel and air package deal. If you are bringing the whole family, never fear as we offer all the Plymouth MA discount hotels at the lowest prices. If you are budget-minded, check out our Plymouth MA Last-Minute Weekend Deals for unbelievably low prices.

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