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It’s Really Going to be Grand

On Saturday, May 17, visitors to Main Street in Sandwich will be temporarily ‘transported’ back to the 1600s, as re-enactors will play the roles of the community’s notable founders including Thomas Dexter and early Sandwich citizens such as Reverend John Smith. Members of the Wampanoag Summer Camp from Plimouth Plantation will demonstrate how Native Americans in the area once made pottery, dolls, and boats as well as the process of husking corn.

The 1700s will be brought to life in Sandwich village on Saturday, June 21, when members of the Yarmouth Minutemen set up camp, portraying the Sandwich Militia unit of Captain Simeon Fish, a leader of one of the town’s two militia camps. Festivities will include period music including a pipe and drum concert as well as horse-drawn carriage rides.

The theme of Saturday, July 19 will be one of the most important centuries in Sandwich history—the 1800s. It was during this exciting and turbulent century—1825 to be exact—that Deming Jarves founded the Boston & Sandwich Glass Factory, a business that created an economic boon in the community for more than 60 years. The Sandwich Glass Museum on Main Street will hold glassblowing demonstrations and staff will share the story of Jarves’ famous company. Fiddlers will add musical entertainment throughout the day.

Later in the 1800s, the nation was embroiled in the painful five-year struggle of the Civil War, and young men from around the country, the Cape, and Sandwich, marched off to fight. “Sandwich had the largest contingency of soldiers going off to the war from the Cape,” Russell says. To commemorate the town’s involvement, the 22nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, a present day group of military re-enactors that gets its name from the original infantry that served in the Civil War, will recreate a commissioning ceremony held in May 1861 for a group of guards from Sandwich who were leaving to fight in the war. The same speech that was read on the steps of Sandwich Town Hall that day in 1861 will be read during this event. The names of 54 Sandwich residents who died during the war will also be read aloud.

On Saturday, August 23, the Sandwich community will commemorate the 20th century. Re-enactors playing the role of suffragettes will be stationed at the park across from town hall. In honor of renowned painter Dodge Macknight, painting lessons will be available for children on the lawn in front of the Sandwich Public Library. Macknight was one of the leading American watercolorists of the early 20th century. He moved to town in 1909 and lived here until his death in 1950.

Beginning at 11 a.m., a cavalcade of cars from each decade of the 1900s will proceed from the Henry T. Wing School on Water Street, through the village section of town to the corner of Jarves and Factory streets, where the vehicles will remain on display through 3 p.m. The day will end with a USO-style block party on Jarves Street and music from the 1940s will be played.

Sandwich’s proximity to both the ocean and the Cape Cod Canal has played a major role in the community’s history, and the 375th committee has scheduled an event celebrating the sea. SeaFest is scheduled for Saturday, July 26 and festivities will include a “seafood smashdown” competition that will pit two local chefs preparing a seafood dinner that will wow the judges’ taste buds. In addition, visitors will have the opportunity to board several boats docked at the marina, including a lobster boat, a fireboat, and a replica shallop, a wooden vessel the Pilgrims brought with them from England in 1620. There may even be a pirate ship sighting.

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