Chestertown Tea Party Festival

Shared Stories, This Week in History
on March 25, 2011

Chestertown, MD – On May 27-29, 2011

Often Imitated, Never Equaled, Since 1774….

Once again the gem of the Eastern Shore opens its doors and welcomes celebrants to its annual Tea Party Festival.  In an era that has seen so many radical ‘tea party’ political movements, the historic pageant in the tiny hamlet stands apart as a genuine slice of Americana,  whose only aspiration is to remind its community of its storied past and celebrate being good neighbors.

In response to British Parliament’s closing of the port of Boston, the citizens of Chestertown, met in May of 1774 and set forth “Resolves” forbidding importing, selling, or consuming tea, according to local legend, residents then gathered at the town center, marched down High Street to the brigantine Geddes, and tossed her cargo of tea overboard. The Saturday reenactment of that patriotic act is the centerpiece of the celebration. Beginning in 1975 and continuing each Memorial Day Weekend since, the festival has blossomed from a small local event to a major regional draw.

A parade down main street, a classic distance run for early risers, an amazingly creative raft race, live demonstrations of colonial life, a dramatic historic reenactment, over 100 vendors of colonial craftsmanship and local musicians and food galore are all among the reasons that crowds are regularly estimated between 7,000-10,000 people attending the three day event.

Now in its 36th continuous year, recent new additions include, tours onboard the Schooner Sultana,  regional wine tastings, tossing of local celebrity ‘Tories’ into the river and historic colonial theater at the newly refurbished Prince Theatre. With each year, the festival has grown in popularity as a destination for Eastern Shore natives as well as history and Americana enthusiasts from the entire Eastern Seaboard.

All Festival events take place along the Chester River and in the historic district of 18th-century Chestertown, MD. There is no admission charge to the Festival.

For more information please refer to our website at

or call us at 215-431-6671