Plymouth 400 & Mayflower Sails 2020: Everything You Need to Know

NBC10 Boston, Telemundo Boston and NECN will bring you unprecedented coverage of America’s 400th anniversary of the historic Mayflower voyage and the founding of Plymouth Colony.

In an exclusive partnership with Plymouth 400, Mayflower Sails 2020 and BBC, our stations are committed to broadcasting the festivities leading up to and during each of our partners special events including coverage of "The Story Sails On: Mayflower’s Official Launch," Opening Ceremonies in 2020, 1620-2020 America’s Founding Story – a documentary showcasing the impact of the voyage on Native Americans, Illuminate Thanksgiving: One Small Candle and specials with BBC.


The Story Sails On: Mayflower’s Official Launch

Date: Sept. 7, 2019

Time: 2-3:30 p.m.

Location: Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic, Connecticut

What’s happening: Plimoth Plantation, Mystic Seaport Museum, dignitaries, and the ship’s restoration team present the official launch and re-commissioning of Mayflower in an exciting public event. The program will feature keynote speaker and bestselling author Nathaniel Philbrick. The ship will be re-christened in a ceremony featuring a special guest before the ship is lowered into the Mystic River for the first time since her restoration began in November 2016.

Illuminate Thanksgiving 2019

Date: Nov. 23, 2019

Time: 5-7 p.m.

Location: Plymouth, Massachusetts

What's happening: This annual event focuses on young people and their ability to be that "one small candle" making a difference in the lives of many. Taking place on the same day as the annual America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Parade, the program will begin in Town Square outside the National Pilgrim Memorial Meetinghouse and will be immediately followed by a Procession of Lights down Leyden Street. The event culminates on the Plymouth waterfront for main stage events, including performances by Northern Lights A Capella Chorus and Plymouth International Chorus. There will be a reading of Governor William Bradford’s "One Small Candle" quote by one of his descendants, followed by a candle-lighting ceremony. Please join us for this free event which honors the true spirit of Thanksgiving.

Plymouth 400 Commemoration Opening Ceremony

Date: April 24, 2020

Time: 10 a.m.-12 p.m. ceremony, 12-2 p.m. ticketed luncheon

Location: Plymouth Memorial Hall and Tent, Plymouth, Massachusetts

What's happening: The Opening Ceremony of the Plymouth 400 Commemoration will be a two-hour event of historical content, musical headliners, interpretive readings, choreographed movement, original productions, and visual narratives to create a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle. The Plymouth 400 Legacy Time Capsule will be introduced and the first items will be placed inside by special guests. Honoring the past and celebrating the future, each of the commemoration themes – exploration, innovation, self-governance, religious expression, immigration, and thanksgiving – will be presented in creative ways. Invited participants include state and federal officials, representatives of the UK, The Netherlands, colony partners, and many more.

Mayflower Sails 2020

Dates: May 14-19, 2020

Times: TBA

Location: Charlestown Navy Yard (next to the USS Constitution), Boston, Massachusetts

What's happening: Mayflower Sails 2020 is commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing. After three years of restoration, this once-in-a-life-time event will be the Mayflower’s debut sail, with a free maritime festival to follow.

Plymouth 400 Official Maritime Salute - Tall Ships

Dates: June 27-28, 2020

Times: TBA

Location: Plymouth, Massachusetts

What’s happening: The Official Maritime Salute pays tribute to the Pilgrims’ journey on board the Mayflower from Plymouth, England, to the site of Plymouth Colony in the new world. A regatta of wooden ships, yachts, work boats, official vessels, and pleasure craft will culminate in a traditional New England lobster dinner on the waterfront. Military fanfare and maritime programming will be part of the day’s festivities.

Wampanoag Ancestors Walk

Date: Aug. 1, 2020

Time: TBA

Location: Plymouth, Massachusetts

What’s happening: The Wampanoag Ancestors Walk will be led by the Wampanoag tribes of Massachusetts. Placards will be carried with the names of the original 69 villages of the Wampanoag Nation. Participants will pay homage to Massasoit and King Phillip and will stop at designated sites to bless the spots where Wampanoag ancestors walked. The walk will conclude with a drum ceremony and homage to Native souls, followed by a reception.

Official State House Salute to the 400th Anniversary

Date: Sept. 14, 2020

Time: TBA

Location: Massachusetts State House, Boston, Massachusetts

What’s happening: This State House Ceremony will honor the Pilgrim forefathers and Native people who are immortalized in the historic founding of Plymouth Colony. The General Society of Mayflower Descendants, Pilgrim families, and Wampanoag families will be in attendance. Additional, invited participants include the Governor and State Legislators, Federal Legislators, Representatives of The UK, The Netherlands, The Ancient and Honorables, and more.

Embarkation Festival

Dates: Sept. 19-20, 2020

Times: TBA

Location: Plymouth, Massachusetts

What’s happening: The Embarkation Festival will be a grand cultural and arts festival that will honor the traditions, cuisine, and music of not only the settlers and Wampanoag people but of the diverse population of immigrants who have become the fabric of American life. World music, culinary events, artisan crafts, and cultural exhibits will define the many cultures represented. People will be engaged in America’s story of exploration, immigration, innovation, self-governance, religious expression, and thanksgiving. National and international in scope, the program will include performing groups, chefs, artists, storytellers, and student projects from around the world.

Indigenous History Conference and Powwow

Dates: Oct. 29-Nov. 1, 2020

Times: TBA

Location: Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, Massachusetts

What’s happening: This conference will address the legacy of colonization experienced by Wampanoag and other Native people in the (now) New England area. Speakers and presenters will include both Native and non-Native scholars and cultural experts, with the emphasis on the primacy of Native voice and the validity of these perspectives and insights on Indigenous people, history, and culture. The Conference will officially close on Sunday with a traditional Powwow to which all are welcome to attend.

Illuminate Thanksgiving 2020

Date: Nov. 20-25, 2020

Times: TBA

Location: Plymouth, Massachusetts

What’s happening: This series of events leading up to the main event on Nov. 25 promotes gratitude and giving. These youth-oriented events are designed to create an inspirational atmosphere anywhere that people gather, to stimulate gratitude and giving in communities, groups, and families.

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