Chestertown Tea Party Festival set this weekend
CHESTERTOWN — The annual Chestertown Tea Party Festival celebrates colonial resistance leading up to the American Revolution over Memorial Day Weekend in downtown Chestertown.
There is a full lineup of events celebrating the brave colonials who stood up to British oppression, complete with a re-enactment of the tossing to Tory tea into the Chester River.
“It’s a lot of people enjoying themselves and having fun,” Sabine Harvey, president of the executive committee for the festival, said. “I’m excited for the whole thing. And the forecast looks good.”
It all begins with a street party at 6 p.m. Friday, May 26, and ends with the annual Memorial Day Parade at 10 a.m. Monday, May 29.
The kick-off event, the street party, is free, with food and drink available for purchase, live music and children’s activities.
And don’t forget the Sneaker Creeper footrace beginning at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Roy Kirby Stadium, Washington College. The race is for children ages 2 to 11.
Opening the second day of the festival Saturday, May 27, is the annual Tea Party Classic run at 8 a.m. in Wilmer Park.
Then at 9 a.m., streets in downtown Chestertown will be closed to all traffic as the British Flag is raised and the Colonial Village opens to visitors.
The annual Colonial Parade is set for 10 a.m. and will run down High Street. Longtime parade announcer and Tea Party Festival volunteer Thomas Yeager will be leading the parade as the 2017 Tea Party Parade Grand Marshal.
Yeager is an active member of the community professionally, serving as the county attorney for Kent County, attorney for the Kent County Department of Social Services and town attorney for five municipalities, including the Towns of Betterton and Galena.
“The U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps will be performing in the parade this year,” Harvey said. “We had them two years ago. They are such professionals and when they are all dressed in uniform it is spectacular to see.”
Following the parade, the Edna Ross Award will be presented at 11 a.m. to Dixon Valve & Coupling Co. CEO Dick Goodall on the main stage located at the end of Memorial Row.
Goodall is a graduate from the Virginia Military Institute and served in the U.S. Army. In 1970, he joined DVCC, Inc., a global manufacturing and distribution company, primarily for hose couplings and accessories.
Goodall was instrumental in the start up of the Character Counts Kent County program, an educational program that teaches students the value of good character. He formed Kent Forward, with Washington College and University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Chestertown to focus on improving the Kent County school system.
He has served on the Maryland State Board of Education, American Cancer Society Board, Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company Board and Kent County Chamber of Commerce. He has also spent time coaching youth basketball, high school swimming and teaching Sunday school.
Spend the day visiting artisans, sampling food, listening to live music, catching a Revolutionary Theatre performance and taking in the colonial feel of downtown Chestertown on a walking tour before traveling back in time for the annual Tea Party Reenactment.
The re-enactment begins at 2 p.m. on High Street with angry colonists debating the hated tea tax and reading the famed Chestertown Resolves, before launching a raid on the brigantine Geddes, portrayed by schooner Sultana.
Afterward, continue taking in all the festival has to offer, with more theater and live music performances, continued tours and lots of great food.
Beginning at noon on Sunday, May 28, there will be craft beer and wine tastings in Wilmer Park, hosted by the Kent County Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals.
“The Young Professionals know a bit more about trendy and fancy beers and ciders than we do, so we were very excited about this year’s partnership with them,” Harvey said.
At 2 p.m., homemade rafts will try their best to travel down the Chester River. Visitors may watch the annual Tea Party Raft Race from the Lelia Lynson Pavilion or from Wilmer Park’s waterfront area.
Schooner Sultana will be offering public sails Sunday and walking tours of Chestertown will continue.
The long weekend wraps with the annual Memorial Day parade beginning at 10 a.m. Monday, May 29, down High Street.
The Chestertown Tea Party Festival is a fun-filled weekend for all ages, with plenty to see and do.