What’s old is new, again. Or at least that’s the case for the historic Jamestown settlement. This May marks its 400th anniversary. In anticipation of this fact, the Jamestown Foundation has prepared many events to celebrate.
p. Organizers have planned what they are calling “America’s anniversary weekend.” The event, to be held from May 11 to May 13, promises a number of significant guests. The president and first lady have been invited along with Queen Elizabeth II of England. Actor James Earl Jones and former Supreme Court Judge and College Chancellor Sandra Day O’Connor will also participate in the weekend’s festivities.
p. The weekend will feature “a festival atmosphere” with special exhibits on Jamestown’s past and role in America’s future. Events range from an exhibit on colonial crafting techniques to a performance by legendary funk and R&B artist Chaka Khan.
To maintain a manageable level of tourism for the anniversary weekend, the Jamestown Foundation has chosen to limit ticket sales to 30,000 visitors per day.
p. “Anniversary weekend planners have limited ticket sales to 90,000 … to ensure that all guests have a pleasant experience,” Kevin Crossert of the Jamestown Foundation said.
p. According to Crossert, events have been going on since last May. Numbers from local hotels reflect an increased interest in the colonial triangle during this quad centennial year. Visitation reports from Jamestown and other areas of the Virginia historic triangle confirmed increases of 12 percent in yearly visitations. Hotel bookings for the weekend are up 200 percent over the same weekend last year.
p. In 1607 Jamestown was settled by British colonists, and is considered the first English settlement in North America. Until 1696, Jamestown was the capital of the Virginia colony.
“Jamestown established the culture that would flourish and leave to our nation the legacies of free enterprise, representative government and cultural diversity,” Crossert said in an e-mail to The Flat Hat.
p. In 1907, 1.5 million Americans traveled to Jamestown to celebrate its 300th birthday. President Theodore Roosevelt, Booker T. Washington and Mark Twain were among those present.
Other events planned around the anniversary include a reenactment from April 24 to May 5 of the landing of the Jamestown settlers. In addition, Williamsburg will host a global summit on democracy this fall from Sept. 16 to 19.