3-day Tea Party Festival includes block party, parade, reenactment, raft race

CHESTERTOWN — The Tea Party Festival welcomes one and all this weekend in celebrating the 250th anniversary of the “Chester Town Resolves” and tossing British tea overboard.

The festival kicks off Friday, May 24 with a block party in Wilmer Park on the Chester River, followed by fireworks after dusk. There will be live music with the Dell Foxx Company band and a variety of food trucks from 5 to 9 p.m.

Saturday’s festivities begin at 10 a.m. with the popular Colonial parade, featuring fife and drum groups and marching bands, including the debut of the Delmarva United Marching Band led by drum major emeritus Mark Mumford.

There will be more than 75 artisan vendors and plenty of food options, from crab cakes to ribs and pulled pork, fried shrimp, burgers, fresh strawberry shortcake and funnel cakes.

The Heritage Village on the courthouse lawn will feature Colonial rope making, ice cream making, grocers, sutlers, woodworking and flax dressing. Highlights will include a demonstration of Colonial dancing with the Dover Country Dancers and a portrayal of Hercules Posey, George Washington’s celebrated enslaved chef.

Children’s activities also will be on the courthouse lawn, and will include puppet shows, Colonial games, craft activity, storytelling, a participatory jug band and face painting.

A military encampment will be set up along the shore of the Chester River, filled with tents and reenactors. Periodically, a brigade or battalion will march up from the water to the courthouse and perform maneuvers prior to the reenactment at 2 p.m.

History buffs will want to take note of two walking tours of Chestertown, one focusing on African American history and another focusing on Colonial history.

Performers will include strolling Colonial musicians; rousing sea chanties; the Garnet Tiger Chorus & Bucket Band; the Ebony Hillbillies, the country’s premier African American string band; and Karen Somerville with Cross and High performing African American spirituals and blues.

The Garfield Center for the Arts will host a number of acts including a magician; a portrayal of Hercules Posey; and a Sumner Hall performance of David Wilson: Black Revolutionary War Patriot in the First Maryland Regiment.

The festivities will resume Sunday, May 26 at noon in Wilmer Park, where there will be craft vendors, the Tea Party Beer Fest Tent featuring the Dan Hass Band, and plenty of children’s activities including instrument making, a jug band and a puppet show.

The raft race will begin at 2:30 p.m.

For more information and a full schedule of events and times, visit https://www.chestertownteaparty.org/.

The 2024 sponsors include Watershed Alley, Duke Law, Hogans Insurance and Real Estate, Leaf Filter, ELB Incorporated, Gillespie & Son, Rosin Creek Collaborative, The Peoples Bank, Cross Street Realtors, Washington College, Campbell & Furneisen Law, David A Bramble Inc. and Kent School.


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