In response to British Parliament’s closing of the port of Boston, the citizens of Chestertown, Maryland met in May of 1774 and set forth “Resolves” forbidding importing, selling, or consuming tea in Chestertown. According to local legend, residents then gathered at the town center, marched down High Street to the brigantine Geddes, which was anchored in the Chester River, and tossed her cargo of tea overboard. The annual reenactment of that event is the centerpiece of the Chestertown Tea Party Festival. The re-enactment is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. All Festival events take place along the Chester River and in the historic district of 18th-century Chestertown, Maryland. There is no admission charge to the Festival. Admission is free but purchases of Toss the Tory ballots are appreciated. Proceeds help fund children’s educational programming and one ballot buyer will win a valuable prize.
Start training now for this year’s Classic Distance 10 Mile Run and 5k Run/Walk. Or join the festival-goers that line High Street each year to cheer the passing of colonial militia, marching bands, costume-garbed children and more in the Colonial Parade. A Walking Tour of the historic district is offered to visitors and local residents. The tour is conducted by trained docents who are residents of Kent County. Not only can you purchase many handcrafted Colonial goods at the Festival, but you can also see a live demonstration of how those items are made. On Sunday, Challenge yourself and your engineering skills by competing in this year’s Annual Raft Race. You’ll be amazed at the sites and sounds of the Chestertown Tea Party Festival!
Tea Toss Reenactment, Colonial Parade, Cocktail Party, Raft Race, Street Performances, Colonial Crafts, Strolling Musicians, Local Fare, 5k & 10 mile run and more including…
Wine Tasting The Chestertown Tea Party will host a wine tasting. The event will be held at Wilmer Park from noon to 4 p.m. The event will feature ten local Maryland wineries. The cost is $10, which includes ten wine samples along with a commemorative wine glass.
Dr. Bill Trakat – your children have been amazed by him on the Sultana, he joins us this year with his special knowledge of Colonial medical and surgical practices. He has a trunk full of startling medical implements and gruesome tales of medicine.
Drill Demonstrations by 1st Battalion of Maryland Loyalists, 1st Maryland Regiment and 6th Maryland Regiment.
Swordmasters will delight and astound with their swordmanship lessons and demonstrations.
Miss Jackie will bring back her wonderful storytelling and children’s folk music.
Learn about Nanticoke Indian dances and stories with Odette Wright.
Tucker’s Tales Puppet Theatre will surprise you with their Punch and Judy Puppet Theatre and I’ll Take No Tea! Puppet show. They will join with David Emerson for a Colonial Music presentation as Spiced Punch.
Play chess with master chess player Benjamin Franklin or compete in other popular games of the Colonial era.
Slim Harrison will bring back his Good Time Mountain Music and perform on both Saturday and Sunday!
Colonel Leonards Irregulars will once again serenade visitors with their own brand of Irish, Celtic & Folk Music.
The Dover English Country Dancers will perform 18th century dancing in period costumes.
The Chesapeake Caledonian Pipe Band traditional and contemporary bagpipe and drum ensemble performances.
The high energy country music of Fiddlestyx and Step Jam (formerly Footnotes) will have you joining in on their clogging and flatfooting!
Stephen Christoff is a master musician who will perform on Octave Mandolin, Bowed Musical Saw, and hand flute.
Join Pepper Steppers in a square dancing demonstration that everyone will enjoy!
Fifes and Drums of the Delaware Militia will play traditional fife and drum music, mainly from the Revolutionary War and Civil War eras.
The Kiltie Band of York’s impressive pipe band will fill the air with Scottish favorites.
Be enchanted by David Emerson as he weaves together stories of the Sea and tells of the important role of tea in Colonial times.
Listen carefully as Stacy Roth sings the stories of Revolutionary Tea and tells tales of the 18th century woman.
Join the Bay Country Gentlemen on Sunday for a hoedown and square dancing!
Fine soaps, detailed woodcarvings, stained glass, artwork and handmade wood furniture are just some of the wares this year’s 120 craft artisans have to offer! Enjoy browsing as you make your way through the festival. We’ve collected for you a wide range of quality items that are sure to impress! From blacksmiths and candle makers to weavers and woodworkers — we’ve got something for everyone!
Food booths will offer a wide variety of Eastern Shore delicacies such as Maryland crab cakes, barbeque, fish, clams, hamburgers, hot dogs, funnel cakes, beer and gentler beverages.
Visitors may enjoy art exhibits at the Chestertown Arts League Gallery, Art Works, and at the Kent County Arts Council Gallery, tour the Washington College Archeology Lab at the historic Custom House, tour the Schooner Sultana, or go on a guided walking tour of historic Chestertown.
On Sunday, family activities sponsored by the Tea Party Festival are scheduled in Wilmer Park, including puppet shows, food & refreshment, games, bluegrass music. The annual Sneaker Creeper race for children (for information or to register please call Kiki Jones (410) 778-4179) will be held on Friday at 6:00pm at the Washington College’s Roy Kirby Stadium. A highlight of Sunday afternoon is the annual raft race on the Chester River. The Schooner Sultana will offer public sails on the Chester River from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. – reservations required! Please call 410.778.5954 for the Sultana main office.
Chestertown is located on Maryland route 213 and is within an easy 90 minute drive from Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. Shuttle buses to the downtown area are provided from free parking areas. For further information on the Festival call (410) 778-0416 on weekdays between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
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Town ordinance prohibits dogs at the festival.