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Chestertown Tea Party Festival

I'm excited to announce that I'll be bringing the Cape-mobile to the Chestertown Tea Party Festival on May 26th.

Every Memorial Day weekend, for the past 42 years, Chestertown has celebrated its colonial past with a festival that provides fun for thousands of visitors. The Festival commemorates events that took place in 1774, when the citizens of Chestertown learned that the British had closed the port of Boston in retaliation for Bostonians dumping tea into the harbor. According to local lore, on May 23rd, 1774, the citizens’ of Chestertown gathered at the town center, marched down High Street to the brigantine Geddes, and tossed her cargo of tea into the Chester River.

The 2018 Festival is going to be extra special. Thanks to the efforts of Kelly Distributors, the famous Budweiser Clydesdales will be present. They will make their first appearance at the Friday evening Street Party at the foot of High Street. The Street Party starts at 6pm and admission is free. Food provided by Kent County’s food trucks will be available for purchase. Attendees can also enjoy a variety of craft beers, music and games for the younger crowd.

On Saturday May 26, for the athletes among us, the day starts with a classic distance run (5k or 10 miles). The next big event, the Colonial Parade begins at 10 a.m. In addition to many local bands, this year the parade includes the US Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, one of only four premier musical organizations of the US Army. The Clydesdales, pulling the well-known Budweiser carriage will close the parade. The stately horses will make their way to Wilmer Park for an up-close meet and great and photo opportunities. After the parade, visitors are encouraged to wander through the “Colonial Village” located around Kent County’s historic Court House.

Various colonial military units, 1st Delaware Regiment, MD Loyalist and the 1st Regiment of Light Dragoons (cavalry) will have set up camp. In addition, guests can visit with Ben Franklin, practice their sword skills with the Swordmasters, learn how to make chocolate from colonial grocers Dobyns and Martin, see a black smith at work or step into the 19th century with the Friends of the War of 1812.

The Tea Party re-enactment, the highlight of the day, is at 2 p.m. Re-enactors will debate the British actions. After they have announced the “Chestertown Resolves” they will march down High Street to the Chester River, while coming “under fire” of the Redcoats. Eventually the Colonists will row to Chestertown’s 18th century replica tall ship, Sultana (standing in for the original Geddes) and throw its cargo of tea overboard.

Throughout the day, visitors can also enjoy walking tours of the historic district, demonstrations of colonial crafts, more than 150 craft vendors, children’s activities, local foods, a wine village beside the town dock and a wide array of musical entertainers. The festival concludes Sunday afternoon in Wilmer Park with local wine and craft beer tastings, more entertainment, crafts and food. The popular Raft Race is the main event at 2:00pm; teams compete to keep their home-made raft afloat for as long as possible in hopes of winning the coveted Tea Cup. For more information, visit: chestertownteaparty.org.  If you are thinking of staying over for the weekend go to www.kentcounty.com.

May 21, 2018 — Holly Hagen

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