Chestertown Tea Party: British Routed – Colonists Win Again!


Tea Party Festival weekend is over – and Chestertown’s signature event was a smash hit. The weather was cool, and the main events — the Colonial Parade, the Re-enactment, and Sunday’s Raft Race – went off without a hitch. Several observers said the crowd was the largest they’d seen in several years. The parade started right on time at 10:00 am. There were lots of tents, tables, and booths set up by craftspeople as well as local organizations.  The food vendors appeared to be doing good business, with long but steadily moving lines. Asbury Methodist Church’s food tent was one of the more popular vendors with ribs barbecued on the spot in a fantastic smoker that looked like an old-fashioned steam locomotive.  The Kent Marching Band food tent may have had the best prices with hot dogs for $3.00 and hamburgers for $4.00.  The predicted rain managed to hold off until just minutes after the British were routed and the last chest of tea was tossed into the Chester River!

Colonial troops fire off a volley during the Tea Party re-enactment

The parade winners were: Riding and Walking Unit: First, Maryland Rough Riders; Second, Chestertown Ukulele Club. Marching Band: First, Largo; Second, Kent County High School; Third, Queen Anne’s County High School. Marching Unit: First, First Delaware Regiment; Second, Maryland Loyalist Battalion; Third, Chesapeake Independent Blues. Float: First, Kent School; Second, Girl Scouts. Mayor’s Cup: His Majesty’s Marines. Also, after the parade, the Edna Ross award was presented to Dick Goodall of Dixon Valve and Coupling for his many contributions to the community, including participation in Character Counts and the founding of Kent Forward.

Liz Gross, parade judge, Dick Goodall – 2017 winner of Edna Ross Award, Sabine Harvey, chair of Tea Party

Grand Marshall Tom Yeager and his wife Jeanne in their Colonial finest.

Girl Scout Troop 330’s float won 2nd place.

The Sunday Raft Race drew an enthusiastic crowd and a typically quirky set of entries. The Congressional Award, for the best bribe, went to the Kent School Ospreys. The Junior Cup went to Critter Gitter. The Flop Award, for most impressive failure, went to Trotline Bling, which sank before reaching the first turn. Raiders of Wilmer Park, whose raft was topped by a giant fedora, took the Van Gogh Award for artistic creativity. The Da Vinci Award, for the most unorthodox form of locomotion, was given to Bottle Water World. The Fabulous Flotsam Award, for raft more likely to cause a spectacle than win the race, went hands-down to Cooler Crew, whose raft was literally a bunch of coolers tied together. And the Tea Cup, for the best synthesis of creativity, engineering, and speed, went to The Ever-Rafting Gobstopper, which crossed the finish line well before its competitors. Judging the race were David Quinn, Leslie Raimond, Lanny Parks, Ford Schumann, Isabel Hardesty and Chris Cerino. The skies opened up on Sunday, just as the raft contestants were finishing – luckily, they were already good and wet, and the spectators took shelter in the college’s Hynson Pavilion.

Kent School -Best Float –  Each student had colonial attire.  At the judges’ stand, they all got off the float and recited the Declaration of Independence – from memory!.

Centreville Middle School Band

The Chestertown Ukulele Club put on a lively performance from their parade float. They won Second Prize in Riding and Walking Units.

Kent County High School won 2nd place in the Marching Band category.

Kent County Football float – The Spartans

Owls on display at the Scales and Tales exhibit by Maryland State Parks stare down the Spy photographer. Signs said “Don’t touch — animals may bite.”

Children play on the stage outside the Kent County Courthouse, Saturday in Tea Party’s Colonial Village.

Town Crier Steve Mumford & Bonnie Clark. Bonnie noted that women in colonial days wore tricorn hats, too, and often decorated them with flowers or other trimmings.

Many organizations were on hand with information. The Maryland State Police were in front of the Imperial Hotel in a booth flanked by two cruisers.

                                                                  The Dover English Country Dancers


Colonial militia marches to the river to protect colonists as they dump British tea.

A loyalist cautions against rash action during the re-enactment.

British officer tries to argue with those obstinate colonists. Surely they can see that the army is there to protect them! And taxes support the army!

The Brits fired three rounds then fled back to their ship.

Chestertown rebels row to the British ship Geddes to toss the tea.

Tossing the Tea!

Crowds await the start of the Tea Party raft race Sunday, in Wilmer Park.

                                       The rafts line up for the race.

The Ever-Rafting Gobstopper was built around an innovative paddle wheel powered by six Oompa Loompas. They paddled their way to victory, being first to the finish line by a healthy margin.

Raiders of Wilmer Park, whose raft was topped by a giant fedora, took the Van Gogh Award for artistic creativity. They were in a photo finish with the Procrastinator for second across the finish line.

The Procrastinator was made out of two inflatable swimming pools and one air mattress.

The Chestertown Tea Party is held annually on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend in Chestertown, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The Raft Race starts from on Sunday from the town’s riverside Wilmer Park.  For more information visit official Chestertown Tea Party website.  Hope to see you next year!


























































































Letters to Editor

  1. John Hudson says:

    Giving credit where credit is due! For the three late founding members who came up with the wonderful idea to have The Chestertown Tea
    Party 40 years ago. Ralph “Sonny” Uslilton; Jack Shroeder; and Mary Jean Hudson. It is nice to see The Chestertown Tea Party’s volunteers, venders, and all the special events doing so well after 40 Years. Without the hard work, well planning and dedication of all the volunteers, this Chestertown Tea Party event might never have happened! I know I speak for Sonny, Jack and Mary Jean. They could never have imagine the success The Chestertown Tea Party would have on Chestertown so many years ago! This is an amazing event for Chestertown. And it would be fantastic to see The Chestertown Tea Party continue for another 40 years! Thank You 👌

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