Pre-Pilgrim Thanksgiving


November 02, 1995|By Dorothy Fleetwood

Two years before the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth, Mass., a band of Englishmen sailed up the James River and landed somewhere near what is now Berkeley Plantation at Charles City County, Va. On Dec. 4, 1619, the men took part in a celebration of Thanksgiving. This first Thanksgiving Day is commemorated each year at the Berkeley site on the first weekend in November.

Gates will open at 9 a.m. Sunday for this year's Virginia Thanksgiving Festival. It will be a full day of activities for all ages with Native American dancing, cultural demonstrations, crafts, a 17th century magician, puppet shows, period music and military band concerts. A re-enactment of the landing and first Thanksgiving will take place at 2 p.m. beginning with a 17th century prayer service. There will also be lots of food vendors, and tours of Berkeley are included in the price of admission of $10 for adults; $8 for seniors; $3 for students; free for under 5. A family rate (two adults and any number of children) is available for $20.

An authentic Thanksgiving feast will be held that day by advance reservation at the Coach House Tavern on the Berkeley estate. The cost is $25 for adults; $15 for children. Berkeley Plantation is on state Route 5 in Charles City County between Richmond and Williamsburg, Va. Call (804) 272-3226.

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