Painting by Francis Blackwell Mayer, 1896, depicting the burning of the Peggy Stewart in Annapolis harbor on October 19, 1774, known as the “Annapolis Tea Party.” The Chestertown Tea Party was held in May 1774.

This Week’s Kent History Quiz Question: What year was the Chestertown Tea Party Festival inaugurated?

  1. 1967
  2. 1972
  3. 1976
  4. None of above.

This Week’s Answer: 1967.

The Chestertown Tea Party Festival was inaugurated the weekend of May 26—28, 1967. The three-day schedule was full and the downtown area was well represented. The Festival started on Friday morning at 10:00 a.m. with exhibits, walking tours and food booths, including an all-day Fish Fry at the waterfront (this was long before the days of Wilmer Park).

The opening ceremony followed at 12:30 p.m. Port Welcome arrived in the harbor in the early afternoon. That Friday included performances by the “High School Band and Chorus,” a waterskiing exhibition, an antique show in the evening at Emanuel Church and a Teenage Street Dance from 7:30 to 9:30 at the “Court House Park Area.”

The Festival started all over again on Saturday, with breakfast at 8:00 a.m. at the waterfront area and exhibits, walking and bus tours, food booths and all-day “Eastern Sho’ Chicken Barbeque” and fish fry.

There was more waterskiing in the early afternoon, before the Grand Parade stepping off at 2:00 p.m., which was followed by the Cub Scouts’ Circus Side Show. Penguin sailboat races and more waterskiing bookended Saturday’s re-enactment and circus. The Port Welcome departed for Baltimore that afternoon. The evening included a Candlelight Walking Tour and a presentation of The Count of Monte Cristo by the Chester Players at William Smith Hall at Washington College.

Sunday’s activities started at 8:00 a.m., with breakfast at the waterfront, a day of exhibits and a return of the chicken barbeque and fish fry. The afternoon included a log canoe race, a water-pumping exhibition by the Chestertown Fire Company and the return of the Port Welcome to pick up its final load of passengers for Baltimore. But not before more waterskiing and the third presentation of the re-enactment.

An ambitious first event. It hasn’t slowed down since.

Kent County historian and author Joan Horsey contributes to the Kent County History Quiz.