This year, skip watching Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on TV and head to where it all began — Plymouth, Massachusetts. The site of America’s first Pilgrim settlement boasts the most historically accurate celebration with its annual America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Parade.
Festivities kick off the weekend before the holiday with opening ceremonies on Saturday morning, followed by the parade through town. Unlike Macy’s, this parade doesn’t feature giant balloons of your favorite cartoon characters. Instead, locals dress up as pilgrims, soldiers and Native Americans to honor those present at the country’s beginning.
The celebration doesn’t end at the parade. Throughout town you’ll find musical events, reenactments and more. The Historic Village brings together living historians dressed in period garments who reenact the lives of settlers in and around the gathering of 1621. Highlights include a display of soldiers training for battle, militiamen explaining their role in the affairs and occasionally a gunfight. There’s also an artisan marketplace where you can watch them recreate tools from that period.
There’s also the Wampanoag Pavilion to visit. Here you’ll find actual Wampanoag tribe members reenacting and answering questions about what really happened at the first Thanksgiving. The festival also boasts a food truck offering a menu of items that would’ve been served there, and a craft beer and wine garden for those seeking something more modern.
America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Parade is the only historically accurate celebration of the holiday in the country, and a must for anyone who loves learning about history.
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