Hermione’s Visit to Yorktown: Events Guide

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The 18th-century French ship L'Hermione is on its way to Yorktown, its first port-of-call, where it will stay from June 5 to June 7. (Courtesy Friends of the Hermione)
The 18th-century French ship L’Hermione is on its way to Yorktown, its first port-of-call, where it will stay from June 5 to June 7. (Courtesy Friends of the Hermione)

The Yorktown Victory Center is welcoming the French ship Hermione this weekend and offering an expanded schedule of activities to further enhance the festive feeling that will surround the ship’s arrival.

The Hermione is a replica of an 18th century ship that transported the Marquis de Lafayette from France to Boston in 1780.

Lafayette came bearing news of increased French support for the American War for Independence, making his arrival a significant turning point for the Revolution.

Hermione was also among the ships in the vicinity of Yorktown during the Siege of 1781.

Event planners are expecting more than 5,000 visitors on each of the three days of the Hermione’s stay in Yorktown. Consider this your guide to the myriad special activities and experiences planned to accommodate this influx of guests.

A live feed of the ship’s arrival, as well as other events taking place this weekend, can be found here. Information about parking for the event can be found here.

Friday

8 a.m.: The Hermione will approach the waterfront and dock, at which time the ceremonial cannon volley will take place.

9 a.m.: The historical marker “Converging on Yorktown” will be unveiled behind the Freight Shed on the Riverwalk.

10 a.m.: York County Board of Supervisors Chairman Thomas G. Shepperd Jr. will make introductory remarks at Riverwalk Landing, followed by remarks from Gov. Terry McAuliffe and France’s Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Ségolène Royal.

12 p.m.: Ségolène Royal will lay a ceremonial wreath at the Victory Monument as part of a Commemoration Ceremony.

12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m.: Colonial Music Institute presents Music of Lafayette’s America, a spirited performance of Revolutionary War-era dance tunes. This event is free and open to the public.

1 p.m., 3 p.m.: Learn about what life aboard the Hermione was like for a sailor from a member of the crew. Adam Hodges-Leclair will portray an 18th-century crew member in full period costume in this presentation of The Life of an 18th Century Sailor. The show will take place at Riverwalk Landing and is free and open to the public.

2 p.m.: Public deck tours of both the Hermione and the Godspeed, a replica of the ship that carried some of the first permanent settlers to Jamestown, begin at 2 p.m. and will run until 7 p.m. Admission is free but tickets are required and can be obtained at the ticket booth.

4 p.m.: The Watermen’s Museum will be hosting a cookout reception for the crew of the Hermione, catered by Carrot Tree Kitchens. Members of the public are welcome to attend and meet members of the crew. Tickets are required, call 887-2641 for more information.

4 p.m.: World-renowned Chef Walter Staib, Culinary Ambassador to the Hermione’s voyage in the U.S., will present a lecture at York Hall. Admission is free and open to the public.

5 p.m.: Four Star Edition, the U.S. Fleet Forces rock band, is giving a free concert at Riverwalk Landing.

 

Saturday

 9 a.m.: Public deck tours of both the Hermione and the Godspeed, a replica of the ship that carried some of the first permanent settlers to Jamestown, begin and will run until 7 p.m. Admission is free but tickets are required and can be obtained at the ticket booth.

10 a.m.: A World War II memorial ceremony will be held at the French Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial to coincide with D-Day.

10 a.m.: Virginia’s Finest Fair, a market being held on Main Street in the historic area, will feature vendors from around the state selling gourmet items.

10 a.m.: Dr. Laura Auricchio will be giving a lecture entitled “The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered” at York Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.

10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m.: Learn about what life aboard the Hermione was like for a sailor from a member of the crew. Adam Hodges-Leclair will portray an 18th-century crew member in full period costume in this presentation of The Life of an 18th Century Sailor. The show will take place at Riverwalk Landing and is free and open to the public.

11 a.m., 4 p.m.: Field Music of Virginia will be putting on a free performance at Riverwalk Landing.

11 a.m., 1 p.m.3 p.m.: Yorktown Victory Center presents an original 30-minute play about the true story of James Armistead, a slave who worked for General Lafayette as a spy. “Slave Spy” will combine live performance and film, and admission is included with museum admission.

12 p.m.12 p.m., 2 p.m.: Barry and Lynn Trott will be presenting popular music of the 17th and 18th centuries using period musical instruments at Riverwalk Landing. This performance is free and open to the public.

3 p.m.: Dr. Robert Selig will be giving a lecture entitled “Ship of all Trades: The Hermione in Virginia Waters, 1781-82.” This event will be held at York Hall and is free and open to the public.

5 p.m.: The U.S. Coast Guard Ceremonial Band from the Yorktown Coast Guard Training Center will be giving a free concert featuring military marches and patriotic music at Riverwalk Landing.

8:30 p.m.: The film premiere of “Lafayette,” a one-act play that takes a fresh look at the Marquis de Lafayette, a hero of the Revolutionary War. Also showing will be “Liberty’s Call,” a new film from the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation that combines period images with present-day interviews to explore the American ideal of liberty. This screening is free and open to the public.

 

Sunday

9 a.m.: Public deck tours of both the Hermione and the Godspeed, a replica of the ship that carried some of the first permanent settlers to Jamestown, begin and will run until 4 p.m. Admission is free but tickets are required and can be obtained at the ticket booth.

10 a.m.: Virginia’s Finest Fair, a market being held on Main Street in the historic area, will feature vendors from around the state selling gourmet items.

10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m.: Learn about what life aboard the Hermione was like for a sailor from a member of the crew. Adam Hodges-Leclair will portray an 18th century crew member in full period costume in this presentation of The Life of an 18th Century Sailor. The show will take place at Riverwalk Landing and is free and open to the public.

11 a.m.: Alan Hoffman presents his book “Lafayette in America in 1824 and 1825: Journal of a Voyage to the United States”. This free presentation will be followed by a book signing and will take place at York Hall.

11 a.m.: Children’s author Selene Castrovilla presents “Revolutionary Friends: General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette”. The presentation, followed by a book signing, will take place at York Hall and is free and open to the public.

11 a.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m.: The Fifes and Drums of York Town will be giving a free performance at Riverwalk Landing.

12 p.m., 2 p.m.: Barry and Lynn Trott will be presenting popular music of the 17th and 18th centuries using period musical instruments at Riverwalk Landing. This performance is free and open to the public.

12:15, 1:15, 2:15, 3:15 p.m.: Volunteers will be demonstrating the firing of a Revolutionary War cannon and discussing the role of the cannon during the 1781 Siege of Yorktown. Artillery firings will take place at Yorktown Battlefield and admission is required.

1 p.m.: Alan Hoffman, President of the American Friends of Lafayette, will present a lecture entitled “Lafayette and the Farewell Tour: Odyssey of an American Idol” at Yorktown Victory Center. Admission to the lecture is included in museum admission.

 

All Weekend

The Yorktown Victory Center, a state-operated museum of the American Revolution, tells the story of colonial and revolutionary-era America though the use of films, interactive exhibits, and living history reenactments. The museum will be open each day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is required.

A traveling exhibit featuring a photographic panel display of the history and reconstruction of the Hermione, as well as the role of the Marquis de Lafayette in the American Revolution, will be on display at Riverwalk Landing and open to the general public from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.

Heritage Village is an immersive living history presentation featuring Revolutionary era re-enactors. Visitors can enjoy historic shipbuilding demonstrations, conversations with the sailors, costumed performances, concerts, food and craft exhibitions and much more from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.

The Region Poitou-Charentes, France exhibit will feature an informational display about the region of France where the Hermione was constructed. Visitors will be able to see and sample products from the region each day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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