Chestertown's Tea Party brings Colonial days to life

May 23, 1993|By Dorothy Fleetwood | Dorothy Fleetwood,Contributing Writer

The Memorial Day holiday finds numerous events competing for space on the weekend calendar. A big one this year is the Tea Party Festival in Chestertown. This tradition holiday event not only marks its 20th anniversary but also commemorates the 350th anniversary of Kent County with an extended three-day celebration from Friday to Sunday. The public is invited to attend the opening cocktail party in Wilmer Park at 6 p.m. Friday. Admission is $10. The party will be followed at 7 p.m. by a free concert by the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Regimental Band.

Saturday's festivities begin at 10 a.m. with a Colonial parade of horse-drawn carriages, the First Maryland and First Virginia Regiments, bagpipe bands and the Regimental Band of the Merchant Marine Academy down High Street to the Chester River. Blacksmiths, woodworkers, candle makers and weavers will be among the 90 crafts people who will set up shop along High Street. There will be cloggers, Indian dancers, 18th-century dancers and Scottish and Highland dancers, 18th-century entertainment by the Colonial Traveling Theater, a military drill and a variety of musical entertainment. Highlight of the day will be the re-enactment of the Chestertown Tea Party on May 23, 1774. Following the example of the Boston Tea Party to protest the tax on tea, citizens of Chestertown staged their own tea party. They boarded the British ship Geddes and dumped its cargo of tea into the Chester River. The re-enactment is scheduled at 2 p.m.

There will also be Eastern Shore food specialties, walking tours of Chestertown, an art show and an activity area for children, where they can enjoy a Punch-and-Judy show, pony-carriage rides, face painting and Slim Harrison's music, stories and medicine show. After dark a sound-and-light show will be presented at the foot of High Street.

Next Sunday is another full day with activities in Wilmer Park from noon to 4 p.m. The agenda includes an Eastern Shore fish fry, games for all ages, a jousting tournament, raft race, square dancing, music and children's activities. Admission is free. Call (410) 778-0416.

Hunt Country Stable Tour

Once a year, some of the nation's top breeding farms and racing stables open their gates to the public. The 34th annual Hunt Country Stable Tour will be held Saturday and next Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Upperville and Middleburg, Va.

Among the attractions on this 14-stop tour are the world-famous broodmare stables of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon; an exhibition of Tennessee walking horses at the farm of Jack Kent Cooke, owner of the Washington Redskins pro football team; a sidesaddle exhibition and mounted musical drill team at Paper Chase Farm; a coaching exhibition at Takaro, noted for its Spanish Andalusian horses; and a show-jumping demonstration (Saturday only) at Newstead.

Also visit Oakley, a Civil War battle site, where there will be informal presentations by noted authors and historians both days at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.; Piedmont Vineyards & Winery, the state's oldest winery; and Foxlease Farm to see a champion Holstein herd.

Tickets (valid both days) cost $15, half-price for children under 12. Tickets can be purchased at Trinity Episcopal Church on U.S. Route 50 in Upperville, where a catered country luncheon will be served for $8. Proceeds from the tour benefit the church. Call (703) 592-3711.

Festival of Fountains

The 1993 Festival of Fountains, a summer festival of water, flowers and music at Longwood Gardens on U.S. 1 in Kennett Square, Pa., opens Saturday and continues through Sept. 30. This year's festival opens two weeks earlier than usual and remains open for an additional four weeks.

Opening day would be a good day to take the children since a number of activities are planned. A ranger from Gunpowder Falls State Park will bring a reptile exhibit, "Scales and Tales," and Rob Peck of "Foolsproof Follies" will stroll through the gardens performing mime, juggling and balancing acts. In the evening the first of four summer ice cream concerts will be held. The concert begins at 7 p.m. with patriotic and folk songs by the Kennett Symphony Children's Chorus. At 7:30 "Foolsproof Follies" offers an hour of acrobatics, physical comedy and new vaudeville-style juggling choreographed to music. The evening concludes with a half-hour illuminated fountain show.

Admission is $10 for adults; $6 for ages 16 to 20; $2 for ages 6 to free under age 6. Summer hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily; Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays until 10:30 p.m. Call (215) 388-6741.

Jambalaya Jam

In Philadelphia you'll find the sights, sounds and smells of New Orleans as USAir Jambalaya Jam returns to the Great Plaza at Penn's Landing from Saturday through next Monday.

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