Hampton, Virginia Hosts Huge 400th Anniversary Weekend Celebration July 9-11, 2010

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Highlights include the Blackbeard Pirate Festival, live music, fireworks, and free cake designed by Charm City Cakes of Food Network’s “Ace of Cakes.”

Downtown Hampton Waterfront

Hampton: From the Sea to the Stars

This July 9-11, Hampton, Virginia will celebrate its 400th anniversary in grandiose style, complete with a festival, fireworks, live music, cake, and more. The event, which spans the entire weekend, will take place during one of Hampton’s most popular festivals, the 11th annual Blackbeard Pirate Festival. Unless noted, all events are free and open to the public.

Thursday, July 8, 2010
The 400th anniversary celebration festivities “unofficially” kick off Thursday night July 8 with the 11th annual Grand Pirates Ball (business casual, creative black tie or period attire). The action begins at 7:00 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hampton Marina Hotel, located at 700 Settlers Landing Road in downtown Hampton. The ball, a recreation of Blackbeard’s Party at Okracoke, will feature sea chanties, food, libations, and more. Though the festival is free, there is an admission charge for the Grand Pirates Ball. Advance tickets can be purchased in the coming months at http://www.blackbeardpiratefestival.com.

That evening, for those who want to put off the Blackbeard fun until the official start of the festival on Friday, The American Theatre will host a very special viewing of the film “Hampton: From the Sea to the Stars”, a historical documentary featuring local historian John Quarstein. The 8 p.m. premier of the film, an overview the qualities and resources that make Hampton a special place, is sponsored by the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Leadership Institute. The film will air on WHRO and other PBS affiliates on Monday, July 12.

Friday, July 9, 2010
On Friday morning, the Hampton History Museum will hold a second viewing of “From the Sea to the Stars” with local historian John Quarstein. Those who missed Thursday night’s viewing at The American Theatre will not want to miss this opportunity. Time to be announced soon.

At 12:00 noon, Hampton Mayor Molly Joseph Ward will officially introduce Hampton’s 400th Anniversary Weekend at the Hampton Maritime Center, located at 710 Settlers Landing Road on the Hampton waterfront. The introduction will include the dedication of Hampton’s historical marker series, created specifically for the 400th anniversary, and produced in partnership with Civil War Trails. There are 65 markers total, each highlighting historical sites in Phoebus, Buckroe, Aberdeen Gardens, Fox Hill, Downtown Hampton, and other sites in the city.

During the welcome, the Colonial Seaport Foundation will introduce a recreation of an 18th century Customs House. The interactive, traveling display will stay on exhibit at the Hampton Public Piers throughout the weekend, helping to educate visitors regarding the role of the customs officer.

Following the noon ceremony, join roughly 50,000 other seafaring attendees, as Blackbeard (personified by first person interpreter Ben Cherry) and his crew once again invade downtown Hampton during the 11th annual Blackbeard Pirate Festival! The free festival officially opens in Mill Point Park.

The rest of the day will include activities such as extemporized street skirmishes between pirates and militia (costumed interpreters), a replica of Blackbeard’s pirate camp (complete with living history interpreters teaching the skills of the sailor circa 1700), and the trial and escape of William Howard, one of Blackbeard’s fellow pirates with ties to Hampton. Interact with Blackbeard and more than 100 other authentically costumed pirate re-enactors as they run rampant on the cobblestone streets of America’s oldest continuously English speaking settlement.

Later in the evening, Queens Way will be rocking with live music and libations. At 9:30 p.m., a ten-minute fireworks display will take place over the Hampton River. The show can be seen throughout all of downtown Hampton, including Queens Way, however the best site for viewing the fireworks is Mill Point Park (100 Eaton Street Hampton, VA 23669). Don’t forget to check out the tall ships that will be on display along the downtown Hampton waterfront the entire weekend, towering over more than 50 pirate-decorated private sail and powerboats.

Saturday, July 10, 2010
On Saturday, July 10, the Blackbeard Pirate Festival continues with an exhilarating re-enactment of the classic sea battle between Lt. Maynard and Blackbeard, featuring two full - scale replica vessels in the Hampton Harbor. At the conclusion of the sea battle a presentation ceremony will take place in which Blackbeard’s severed head will be bestowed upon Virginia Governor Alexander Spotswood (1710-1722).

Other Saturday amusements include jugglers, musicians, a pirate procession, street entertainers, and a very special pirate-themed Summer Street Fest (a free seasonal street party with live music that takes place every Saturday night on Queens Way in downtown Hampton April - September) from 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Also that evening, St. John’s Episcopal Church (the oldest continuous speaking English-speaking parish in the U.S.) will host a Celebration Dinner 6:00 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hampton Marina Hotel. Special guest is The Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church, USA, The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts- Schori. The cost to attend the dinner is $30.00 per person. For further information, contact St. John’s Church at 757/722-2567 or office@stjohnshampton.org.

Saturday’s festivities conclude, much like Friday’s, with a fireworks display over the Hampton River. It begins at 9:30 p.m. and will span about 15-minutes. Finish off the night at the Saturday Summer Street Fest on Queen Way until 11:00 p.m.

Sunday, July 11, 2010
The Blackbeard Pirate Festival continues on Sunday. If you have little ones, you will be sure to want to check out the Little Swashbuckler’s Stage, located in the children’s area. The stage will host several performances on Sunday, including a puppet show and a variety of musical acts. There will also be a number of inflatable rides, hands-on crafts, contests, and a treasure dig.

In addition, festival attendees will have the opportunity to stroll through Blackbeard’s Pirate Camp where they can learn how to use a cutlass, load a cannon, or even sing a sea chantey at Pirate’s Cove. Inside Pirate’s Cove is The Bunch of Grapes Tavern, an actual recreation of Hampton’s original Bunch of Grapes Tavern from the 1700s.

At 10:00 a.m., St. John’s Episcopal Church will host a 400th Anniversary Service with Presiding Bishop, The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts-Schori and The Rt. Rev. Herman Hollerith, IV, Diocese of Southern Virginia. Many of Hampton’s city leaders will also be in attendance.

Following the service, the Virginia Air & Space Center will host a reception with a special anniversary cake prepared by Charm City Cakes, the bakery featured on Food Network’s reality television program entitled “Ace of Cakes.” Charm City Cakes has decorated and designed cakes for Superbowl XLI, Baltimore Zoo, and the premiere of “Kung-Fu Panda”, among countless others. The reception begins at 12:00 noon and is free and open to the public. The Blackbeard Pirate Festival concludes at 4:00 p.m.

Those looking for dock space during the Blackbeard Festival are encouraged to contact marinas located throughout the downtown area, including the Hampton Public Piers (757/727-1276), Customs House Marina (757/868-9375), Bluewater Marina (757/723-6774), Sunset Boating Center (757/722-3325), and Joy’s Marina (757/723-1022). Call for details and availability.

For more information on these and other Hampton events and programs, individuals are encouraged to contact the Hampton Visitor Center at 757-727-1102 or visit http://www.hampton400.com or http://www.blackbeardpiratefestival.com.

Hampton’s 400th Anniversary Weekend Schedule:
Thursday, July 8, 2010
TBD “From the Sea to the Stars” WHRO program viewing with local historian John Quarstein
The American Theatre- 125 E. Mellen Street Hampton, VA 23663
** 757/722-ARTS**

7:00 p.m. Grand Pirates Ball (creative black tie or period attire strictly enforced!)
Crowne Plaza Hampton Marina Hotel- 700 Settlers Landing Road Hampton, VA 23669
Admission Charge
**check out http://www.blackbeardpiratefestival.com for further details.

Friday, July 9, 2010
TBD “From the Sea to the Stars” WHRO program viewing with local historian John Quarstein
Hampton History Museum- 120 Old Hampton Lane Hampton, VA 23669
** 757/727-1610**

12:00 noon Blackbeard Pirate Festival officially opens with remarks by Hampton Mayor Molly Joseph Ward and the Hampton Historical Marker dedication
Mill Point Park- 100 Eaton Street Hampton, VA 23669
Free

12:00 noon- 11:00 p.m. Blackbeard Pirate Festival
Downtown Hampton 23669
Free

9:30 p.m. Fireworks
Mill Point Park- 100 Eaton Street Hampton, VA 23669
Free

Saturday, July 10, 2010
11:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. Blackbeard Pirate Festival
Downtown Hampton 23669
Free

6:00 p.m. St. John’s Episcopal Church Celebration Dinner
Crowne Plaza Hampton Marina Hotel- 700 Settlers Landing Road Hampton, VA 23669
$30.00

6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Saturday Summer Street Fest w/live music
Queens Way Downtown Hampton 23669
Free

9:30 p.m. Fireworks
Mill Point Park- 100 Eaton Street Hampton, VA 23669
Free
Sunday July 11, 2010
10:00 a.m. 400th Anniversary Service at St. John’s Episcopal Church
St. John’s church- 100 West Queens Way Hampton, VA 23669
Free

12:00 noon St. John’s Church 400th Anniversary Reception with complimentary cake from Charm City Cakes of the Food Network’s “Ace of Cakes”
Virginia Air & Space Center- 600 Settlers Landing Road Hampton, VA 23669
Free

12:00 noon - 4:00 p.m. Blackbeard Pirate Festival
Downtown Hampton 23669
Free

Hampton, Virginia, the oldest continuous English speaking settlement in North America, celebrates four centuries of history in 2010. We invite you to “Explore Old Worlds, New Worlds, Our World.” The Explore Hampton 2010 committee consists of Hampton citizens and representatives of businesses, churches, neighborhoods, Hampton University and the City of Hampton. For information on upcoming Explore Hampton initiatives, visit http://www. hampton400.

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