For Immediate Release
November 20, 2015

Contact: Michael Quinlin
[email protected]

Historical, Cultural and Culinary Events Commemorate America’s National Holiday

(Boston) – Massachusetts, where America’s first Thanksgiving originated back in 1621, is celebrating the national holiday this year with dozens of parades, commemorations, culinary events and family activities to welcome visitors on one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.

“Massachusetts is proud to have started this valued tradition of setting aside one day each year to express our gratitude and to share a meal with friends and family,” said Nam Pham, Assistant Secretary of Business Development and Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism. “In the true spirit of Thanksgiving, Massachusetts is happy to invite residents and visitors alike to celebrate the holiday in an authentic and welcoming setting.”

According to AAA Northeast, over one million Massachusetts residents will travel over Thanksgiving weekend. The state’s transportations agencies, MassDOT, MBTA and Massport, offer a number of travel tips for getting around safely by car, train and plane.

Appropriately, Thanksgiving festivities kick off in Plymouth, where the original Pilgrims settled, with the 20th America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration www.usathanksgiving,org (November 20-22, 2015).  The annual Thanksgiving Parade gets underway at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 21, and other festivities include Pilgrim-costumed guided tour of the waterfront, drum & bugle corps competitions, a New England Food Fair and a Wampanoag educational pavilion.

According to Paul Cripps, Executive Director of Destination Plymouth County, “America’s Hometown Celebration is a fantastic way to enjoy Thanksgiving in the place where it all began. This celebration is rated one of the Top 100 Events in North America by the American Bus Association.”

Other Plymouth attractions include Mayflower II, a replica of the boat that sailed from England in 1620, and Plimoth Plantation (, which features a replica 17th century Pilgrim village and a Wampanoag Homesite, which is staffed by Native Americans who offer interpretive knowledge. On Thanksgiving Day (November 26) Plymouth carries out its annual Pilgrim Progress tradition, where reenactors dressed in Pilgrim garb walk from Plymouth Rock to the crest of Burial Hill, where the first Meetinghouse was located.

On Cape Cod, the 105th annual Lighting of the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown takes place on Wednesday, November 25. It was here that the Pilgrims first landed in the New World in November 1620, before moving up the coast and setting in Plymouth. This year’s ceremony features children’s choruses and complimentary cider and cookies.

On Thanksgiving Day, November 26, the Cape Cod Central Railroad is offering a five-course gourmet meal, beautiful scenery, climate-controlled dining cars and a leisurely trip from Hyannis to the Cape Cod Canal. And from November 27 through December 26, families can take the train to Christmas Town, featuring a magical, storybook ride with an appearance by Santa Claus.

Nantucket holds the annual Festival of Wreaths at the Whaling Museum on November 25, 27-29, while the 18th annual Thanksgiving Festival occurs in West Tisbury on Martha’s Vineyard on November 27-28.

In Central Massachusetts, the Old Sturbridge Village holds an 1830’s-style Thanksgiving celebration on November 21-22 & 26. Costumed historians demonstrate hearthside cooking and the menu includes a classic New England menu of turnips, stuffing, pieces and pudding. There is also a Thanksgiving sermon and after-dinner entertainment, 19th century style.

In the North Quabbin region, the 13th annual Thanksgiving Harvest Festival happens at Red Apple Farm in Phillipston on November 21-22. It features products from local farms, breweries, wineries and artisans.

In Deerfield, a Season of Thanks takes place November 21-28, featuring tours of historic Deerfield, a baking contest, demonstrations on open hearth cooking, pottery making and letterpress printing, and other learning activities.

In Springfield, the annual Parade of the Big Balloons runs on November 27, filled with giant helium balloons led by the 75 foot Dr. Seuss character, Cat in the Hat.

In Fairhaven, the annual 5K Turkey Trot to benefit local food pantries takes place on November 26.

In Lowell, the 12th annual Wild Turkey 5 Mile Run on November 26 is the largest road race North of Boston, and then on November 28, the Lowell City of Lights Parade and Holiday Arts Stroll takes place in downtown Lowell.

In Boston, local hotels and restaurants offer a cornucopia of traditional Thanksgiving meals, while museums are open all weekend. A number of big shows are taking place over the weekend, including the kickoff of the Nutcracker at the Opera House and Elf: the Musical at the Wang Center. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library is offering a free concert on November 27 with Wampanoag Nation Singers and Dancers.

Find more information on Thanksgiving activities in Massachusetts at