The State Pier was the place to be on Aug. 24 as the familiar masts of the Mayflower II were joined by the tall ship HMS Bounty, a small contingent of 18th century British “Redcoats,” and more than a hundred guests who were there to support the Plymouth 400. The event managed to raise more than $10,000 for the organization, which will be used to help match a $250,000 grant that Plymouth’s legislative delegation secured in the recently passed state budget.
In keeping with the evening’s South Pacific theme, guests donned Hawaiian shirts or dresses. Some, in a nod to the vessel’s 1790 mission, wore period attire. They were greeted by soldiers from the King’s Tenth Regiment of Foot and Sixty Fourth Regiment of Foot who were in full battle dress with shouldered muskets. The Bounty’s open deck was home to another army of servers from East Bay Grille, who passed Pacific Rim flavored appetizers while attendees gathered around an open bar on the bow and period musicians from Fellswater filled the aft section with sea shanties and pipe music.
After the British soldiers had interviewed various guests, they moved, under the leadership of Captain Winston Stone, to “arrest” several potential “mutineers” who were accused of various crimes against the Realm. Brian Alosi, a member of the Plymouth 400 Committee who had also served as an organizer of the 375th, was detained along with Selectwoman Belinda Brewster, State Representative Tom Calter and Senate President Therese Murray. After the arrests, it was announced that King George had authorized the soldiers to take bail for the accused.
The benefit auction featured several unique items in addition to the “freedom tariff” aspect. Bidders were able to compete for tickets to the Bombay South Shore Mix-Off at Union Fish, a vintage press photo of the Bounty from the Boston Herald’s archives, a nautical brass spyglass, and two custom monogrammed three liter kegs of Pusser’s Rum.
“I want to thank the committee for organizing such a wonderful evening”, said Representative Calter. “I’m honored to have been a part of the event and am pleased that friends offered enough of a bounty to spare me from the Redcoats. Through everyone’s generosity, we were able to raise important funds for the Plymouth 400.”
The event was sponsored, in part, by Mayflower Brewing, A Plus Party Rental, L Knife and Son Distributors, Pioppi’s Package Store, and Pusser’s Rum. The Bounty was in town as part of the Plymouth Area Chamber of Commerce’s Waterfront Festival and the visit was made possible by the Plymouth Industrial Development Corporation.
The Plymouth 400th Anniversary commemorates the 1620 landing of the Pilgrims in Plymouth. Massachusetts, and highlights the cultural contributions and American traditions that began with the interaction of the Wampanoag and English peoples; a story that began a national legacy.
The 400th anniversary celebration is expected to be an economic boon to the state, as well as to the local area. Jamestown, Virginia’s recent celebration generated 1.2 billion dollars in sales and created twenty thousand jobs for the area. That amounted to 22 million dollars in taxes for the state of Virginia and another 6.4 million for local government. Plymouth’s popularity as a tourist destination coupled with the worldwide exponential growth in “heritage tourism” could see similar numbers.