Henricus commemorates 400th anniversary during Publick Days on Sept. 17-18

Henricus Historical Park will commemorate its 400th anniversary during Publick Days, a signature annual event which celebrates the establishment of the second successful English settlement in the “New World.” In September 1611, Sir Thomas Dale, along with soldiers, tradesmen and farmers, ventured from Jamestown to create the Citie of Henricus.  Leaders of Henricus developed the first English hospital, chartered the first college in North America, established tobacco as the first cash crop in Virginia, and created a place where Pocahontas lived and met John Rolfe. Publick Days will take place September 17 and 18, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and parking is $5 per vehicle.

Visitors to Henricus will be transported back in time through encounters with more than 100 period-dressed historical interpreters portraying 17th-century life in re-created English and Virginia Indian settlements. Activities planned for Publick Days include: living history re-enactments; English and Virginia Indian weapons demonstrations; craftsmen and blacksmiths;17th-century medicinal demonstrations; Virginia Indian and colonial songs and dance; hands-on educational activities and crafts for families; storytelling; food and craft vendors, and more. On the bluff overlooking the James River, re-enactments will explore the military history of Dutch Gap from 1781 to 1917.

At 9 a.m. on Saturday a ceremony will take place, “Unity on the James—A Ceremony of Remembrance, Reconciliation and Recognition by Virginia Indians.”

Both days of the event 17th-century ship replica, Godspeed from Jamestown Settlement, will be docked at Henricus. Godspeed is a re-creation of one of three ships which transported America’s first permanent English colonists to Virginia in 1607. The ship’s crew will demonstrate colonial maritime skills and examine the historic significance of Godspeed. On September 19 and 20, the English and Virginia Indian sites and Godspeed will have grade-level appropriate activities available for school group tours by reservation: (804) 318-8797.

On September 16, Henricus Historical Park will host a casual reception for patrons to recognize the arrival of Godspeed from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The event will feature a re-enactment of Sir Thomas Dale’s dramatic landing in 1611 by the all-volunteer Henricus Militia commanded by Dennis Strawderman prior to Godspeed’s arrival. A barbeque buffet will be served accompanied by popular bluegrass and English ballads featuring Kelly Kennedy & Friends (kellykennedy.info) from Williamsburg, Va. 

The cost is $50 per person and includes a membership to the Historic Citie Patron’s Club. Reservations are required by September 10, and may be made by calling 318-8707, or email henricus1611@aol.com.

“Four hundred years ago the Citie of Henricus was founded and went on to become an essential cultural landmark in the heritage of the United States of America,” said Charles Lewis Grant, acting executive director. “As a living history museum, our mission is to educate the public about the significant historic milestones which took place at Henricus.”

Throughout the year, general park admission is free for patrons, $8 for adults and $6 for children aged 3-12. Henricus Historical Park is located on 32 acres along the scenic and historic James River and is surrounded by the 810-acre Dutch Gap Conservation Area. Only 20 minutes from Richmond, the park is located at 251 Henricus Park Road, Chester.  For a complete itinerary for the Publick Days weekend, please visit www.henricus.org.

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