While we may not (do not) like the Yankees baseball team, the word ‘Yankee’ was historically used to describe an inhabitant of New England or one of the northern states. Residents of Newburyport already know this; they celebrate Yankee Homecoming every year around this time! According to the Yankee Homecoming site, in 1957 the renowned poet Jack Frost put forth the idea of a “national family reunion”; he proposed inviting Yankees who had moved West in the 1800s to return to their original homes for a celebration of New England’s rich history. Newburyport was one of the 29 cities that celebrated the festival in 1958, and 62 years later it is the only town that has kept the tradition alive. Keep reading to learn about some of the upcoming festivities and how you can get involved!
Saturday, July 27th
What better way to kick off the celebrations than with some time on the water? Paddle the Port will be taking place bright and early on Saturday morning. The race will be 4.6 miles of kayaking along the Merrimack River and will feature prizes for winners. Hungry after the race? Pop by the Yankee Homecoming Marketplace on Saturday or Sunday from 10 am – 5 pm and enjoy classics such as burgers and hot dogs – or be adventurous and try the seafood, Mexican, Italian, Indian, or Chinese dishes served at the Marketplace! After some culinary excellence, wind down the day with a cold craft beer at the Brewfest Fundraiser (21+). From 5-9 pm, come groove to the live music and sample the delicious drinks of over 20 brewers!
Sunday July 28th
Seize your Sunday and visit the Inn Street Artisans Revival to admire the diverse representation of local artists and their artwork. There will also be local musicians and street performers to provide other entertainment for the nine days that the Revival will be running. Olde Fashioned Sunday will also be running from 9 am – 4:30 pm and will include games, car and horse shows, live music, and much more.
It’s time to dust off your golf clubs and get into the swing of things; the Yankee Homecoming Geno Open will be starting with a raffle and a silent auction at 8 am. The tournament – at which both men and women are welcomed – will be followed by a harbor cruise and gourmet dinner. Earlier in the day there will also be a kids’ talent show for 1st to 12th graders who want to share their talent or skill with an audience. Pre-registration for interested performers is required by Friday, July 26th.
Craft lovers unite! The Market Square Day Craft Show will be held from 10 am – 7 pm on Tuesday, and will present a range of quality, handmade items from local artisans and crafters. For evening plans, from Sunday to Sunday there will be multiple waterfront conferences for your enjoyment – pick a night and make your Way to the River!
Start your Hump Day with an energizing workout on the Waterfront Stage! Classes will be held Sunday through Saturday of Yankee Homecoming and feature an array of workouts at varying times; you can choose between a 6:30 am, 8 am, or 9:15 am class. Sign up and get sweating! From 10:30 am – 3:30 pm, there will also be a series of nursing home concerts that you are free to enjoy alongside the residents.
Living by the river, residents understand the importance of the Coast Guard and the men and women who work to keep everyone safe on the water. The Coast Guard Station at Merrimack River will be open to the public from 10 am – 2 pm and will be giving tours as well as providing lifesaving techniques for water emergencies.
There’s a yard sale, and then there’s a sidewalk sale. Booth spaces will be open to all Newburyport businesses – come and share in the tradition. If you’re in the mood for some entertainment, there will be performances on Market Square and the Waterfront Stage between 10 am – 5 pm all week!
Saturday August 3rd
There will be a hot air balloon and a petting zoo – need I go on? Family Day at Maudslay State Park will kick off at 10 am with food, fun, music – and more – for the whole family. And for the evening… fireworks! At 9:15 pm (or earlier, to grab a good spot), roll up and roll out your blanket to watch the spectacular display.
Sunday August 4th
There’s no better way to end the Yankee Homecoming than with – you guessed it – a parade. Floats are still wanted, and there is no fee if your float represents the Yankee Homecoming theme and/or your organization is a non-profit. If you’re in the audience, prepare yourself for some fun performances and bands alongside the floats!
There are more events for every day that are worth looking further into; take a look. New England is an amazing area with plenty to offer, and Newburyport will be the hub of the celebrations to commemorate the strength of our history and the daring of our ancestors. Happy homecoming!