For decades, every summer people have traveled from near and far to Newburyport, Massachusetts to enjoy the historic Yankee Homecoming festival. The weeklong experience originated in 1958 in 29 cities across New England to bring together residents and visitors through activities that highlight the community. Though most towns have ceased to celebrate Yankee Homecoming over the years, Newburyport has continued to honor the celebration through thick and thin.
This year, the Yankee Homecoming festivities are taking place from July 30 until August 8. The YHC Committee has worked hard to create ten days of community activities that resemble a normal Yankee Homecoming schedule, while keeping in mind the current climate of the pandemic.
This year the schedule of events includes a variety of activities from workout classes in the mornings to a waterfront concert series in the evening. Some annual events have been cancelled this season such as the Kids Talent Show and the Nursing Home Concert series due to COVID-19 restrictions, but these staples have been replaced with events such as Door Decorating and Drive-In movies which were new last year during lockdowns.
Each event has been carefully programmed, taking extra measures to make sure the events are safe for all, even if that meant replacing some old events with new ones. According to the Yankee Homecoming website, all vendors and committees have extra sanitary measures on hand at all events, and visitors are encouraged to wear masks.
There are also a few completely new events scheduled for this year like Road Rally, which will take place Saturday, August 7 at 8 a.m. The event is described as a “large board game where your car is the playing piece.” Teams will have to follow a route through directions and answer questions along the way, with the 1st place team winning a $100 gift card to a Newburyport establishment of their choice. Teams can register on the website, and the winners are awarded their prize at the Saturday night waterfront concert.
The Yankee Homecoming festival cumulates at the end of the week with the classic firework show on August 7 at 9:15 p.m. Event goers are encouraged to come early and enjoy an evening of concerts and fireworks. The last official event of the festival is the Yankee Homecoming Parade, on Sunday, August 8 at noon. The parade includes firetrucks, bands, floats, and performances down High Street in Newburyport, along with volunteers stationed down the route to collect donations for the Jimmy Fund.
The weeklong calendar of events will supply you and your family with a lifetime of memories, and a restored sense of normalcy in the community. Though the event is already under way, there’s still more than enough time to get your family and friends together in Newburyport to experience the historical celebration. Check out the Yankee Homecoming website to learn more about the upcoming events, and how to get involved.