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40+ events to celebrate 400th year of Thanksgiving in Virginia

Virginia’s 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution ’s Customs, Cultures, and Cuisine Festival will be celebrated across the Commonwealth throughout November, and will feature more than 40 events and programs. Presented by TowneBank, the premier events, festivals and special programming will draw on 400 years of Virginia’s unique history and culture. This month-long, statewide festival will serve as a momentous capstone to the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution.

The festival is timed to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the first official Thanksgiving in English North America, which occurred in Virginia in 1619.

Many people are unaware that Virginia is the true home of America’s first English Thanksgiving, though scholars and U.S. Presidents have recognized the Commonwealth’s role in hosting this significant tradition. In 1619, a group of English settlers arrived safely in Charles City, Virginia and held a ceremony of Thanksgiving for safe passage across the Atlantic, which was to be observed “annually and perpetually” thereafter.

“We invite Americans from across the nation to come home to Virginia this November to enjoy and participate in the many events and special programs the Commonwealth has planned to commemorate 400 years of Virginia’s unique history and culture,” said Kathy Spangler, Executive Director of the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution. “In honor of the 400th anniversary of the first official English Thanksgiving, American Evolution is taking back the spirit of Thanksgiving by partnering with area food banks to ensure that no Virginian goes hungry during the holiday season this year.” 

Find your local food bank or make an online donation here.

The upcoming Customs, Cultures, and Cuisine featured events and programs will include:

• Wonderful Williamsburg Weekend, November 8-10, Williamsburg, VA
• Reedville Fishermen’s Museum Oyster Roast: 400 Years of Tradition, November 9, Reedville, VA
• Three Rivers Cultural Festival, November 9-10, Shacklefords, VA
• Virginia Sampler: The History of Music in Virginia, Richmond, VA November 10, 2019

• A Journey Home: 400 Years of Customs, Cultures, and Cuisine, November 10, 16 and 23, Clifton Forge, VA
• Dan River Region Soul Food Festival, November 16, Danville, VA

• Evening with an Expert: Leah Penniman, author of “Farming While Black”, November 21, Fredericksburg, VA
• 1619: When Destinies Collide, November 22, Fort Monroe, VA
• New River Trail Days: A Festival of Tradition, Faces and Tavern Fare, November 22-24, Various locations in Radford and Pulaski counties, VA
• Friendship, Trade, and Feast, November 23, Chester, VA
• Celebrating the Guitar Along the Crooked Road, November 23-24, Marion, VA

• Night of Fire and Ice, November 30, Winchester, VA
• Menokin Illuminated, November 30, Warsaw, VA

• Petersburg’s Effect on the American Evolution of Democracy, various dates and locations in Petersburg, VA

The Customs, Cultures, and Cuisine Festival is a signature event of Virginia’s 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution. As a part of the 1619 commemorative year, American Evolution has partnered with Virginia institutions and national partners to convene more than 20 events, programs, educational initiatives performances and exhibitions that showcase significant historical events that occurred 400 years ago in Virginia. These 1619 events set our nation on a course towards the ideals of democracy, diversity and opportunity. For more information about American Evolution’s upcoming events and programs, visit:

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