Sunday, November 5, 2023
11:00 AM until 4:00 PM
Festival Admission Buses – $30.00 Cars – $20.00 Bikes – $5.00
On the first Sunday in November, step back in history as the Virginia Thanksgiving Festival commemorates America’s First Thanksgiving with a historic celebration reminiscent of Colonial Virginia. This annual tradition dates back to December 4, 1619 when Captain John Woodlief and his crew of 35 men landed on the shores of the James River at what was to become Berkeley Plantation. Upon landing, in accordance with orders from London, the Englishmen proclaimed: “We ordain that the day of our ship’s arrival, at the place assigned for plantation, in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God”. Thus began the American tradition of Thanksgiving!
Festival activities for the entire family begin at 11:00 a.m. and include colonial period re-enactors, encampment, parade, and musicians. Jonathon Austin will entertain the kids with his juggling and magic show. Experience the humorous and death-defying antics from the Seven Seas with Lamar Banister of Past-Ports to History. The Chickahominy Tribal Dancers perform as well as the Itinerant Band and Colonial Singers of Williamsburg. Families participate in games, dancing, and demonstrations, while vendors showcase handmade arts, crafts, and jewelry. For an additional fee, mansion tours are also available throughout the day.
The re-enactment of the landing, moderated by Bill Bevins, begins at 3:00 p.m. Following the re-enactment, the Chickahominy Tribal Dancers invite everyone to join them in the traditional Friendship Dance which concludes the day. The public is invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the event. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
We welcome back Brock’s BBQ who will continue the tradition of offering Thanksgiving Dinner in a Glass along with smoked turkey legs, Brunswick stew, BBQ and Virginia ham biscuits. Concessions are available with kettle corn, hot dogs, funnel cakes and more.