Chestertown Tea Party
Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network

Saturday May 29 - Sunday May 30

Celebrating colonial resistance to British rule, Chestertown, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, will hold its twenty-ninth annual Tea Party Festival Saturday, May 29, 2004.

The re-enactment of the dumping of British tea on May 23, 1774, in the Chester River is the centerpiece of the Tea Party Festival. The re-enactment is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on May 29. All Festival events take place along the Chester River and in the historic district of 18th-century Chestertown. There is no admission charge to the Festival.

Events begin with a 10-mile distance run. The 10 a.m. Colonial Parade through the center of town, features the Kiltie Band of York, the 1st Battalion of MD Loyalists, the NewArk Fife & Drum Corps, horse-drawn carriages, and the First & Sixth Maryland Regiments and Cecil County Militia as well as local floats and marching bands.

Over 100 craft experts -- from blacksmiths and candlemakers to weavers and woodworkers -- will present their skills and wares. 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.

The historic Chestertown Tea Party of 1774 occurred as a response to the closing of the Port of Boston by the British. The citizens of Chestertown met and set forth “Resolves” forbidding importing, selling, or consuming tea in Chestertown. In the spirit of the Resolves local residents 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 first Festival commemorating this event was held nearly two hundred years later in May of 1968. The Sultana, built in Chestertown and launched in March 2001, will serve as the Geddes during the re-enactment and will be open for touring during the afternoon from 3:30-6pm.

On Sunday, May 30, family activities sponsored by the Tea Party Festival are scheduled in Wilmer Park, including puppet & mime shows, food & refreshment, games, bluegrass music, Andean pan pipe music, and a Sneaker Creeper race for children. A highlight of the afternoon is the annual raft race on the Chester River. The Skipjack Martha Lewis and the Schooner Sultana will offer public sails on the Chester River at 10am, 1pm, & 4pm.

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.

Daily Schedule:

05/29 - 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
05/30 - 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Sponsoring Gateway: Schooner Sultana

Registration Status: Open

Space Limited: No
Location: Chestertown Historic District
Chestertown, Maryland
Event Contact: Bernadette Van Pelt (410) 778-0416
For more information:

Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network - Comments or Questions: Call: 1-800-YOUR-BAY