WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.
The arrival of the French ship Hermione, a replica of an 18th-century vessel that played a crucial role in the American Revolution, kicks off an entire weekend full of concerts, plays, re-enactments and activities.
The events are focused on celebrating the historic ship and its famous passenger, the Marquis de Lafayette.
With an event of this magnitude – more than 5,000 people per day are projected to visit Yorktown for the ship – its hard to keep all the essential information straight.
WYDaily is here to help guests navigate parking, event planning and other essential information. If you’re interested in tuning in via live feed, you can watch the ship’s arrival and other events taking place this weekend right here.
What Do I Need To Know?
- Hermione is a French name pronounced like “er-me-own”, which is sure to trip up fans of the popular Harry Potter character.
- The Hermione 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.
- The replica of the ship began construction in 1997, and Yorktown will be its first stop in North America before it embarks on a tour up and down the East Coast of the U.S. Each stop will feature a variety of pier-side activities and celebrations.
What Is There To Do?
- Arguably the primary attraction at this weekend’s festivities will be tours of the ship itself, which will be offered from 2 to 7 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
- The Godspeed, a replica of a ship that brought over many of the first permanent settlers to Jamestown, will also be open for tours during the same hours as tours of the Hermione. Admission is free but tickets are required and can be picked up at the ticket booth on Riverwalk Landing.
- There are a huge number of events being put on in conjunction with the ship’s arrival, so if you’re out to tour the boats why not make a whole day of it? Highlights include concerts by the U.S. Fleet Forces rock band “Four Star Edition” and the U.S. Coast Guard Ceremonial Band, period re-enactments including an enhanced schedule of artillery firing demonstrations, the film premiere of an original play about a slave-turned-spy in the service of the Marquis de Lafayette. A full schedule of events can be found here.
What Will The Crowds Be Like?
- Event planners are predicting at least 5,000 people to come out each of the three days the Hermione will be in town. To accommodate the influx of visitors to the area, local businesses and restaurants are expanding their hours. Check out more coverage of what this event means for business owners here.
- Traffic routes will also be altered to accommodate events around the Riverwalk. Roads affected include Water Street and Zweybrucken Road. The beach picnic area will also be closed to vehicles.
- Parking for the event has been one of the major focuses for event planners in putting together the festivities for this weekend. On various days Endview Plantation, the County Administration Building, York Hall and the Riverwalk Landing parking terrace will be open to the public for general event parking. Find more information on parking here.
What Are The Logistics Behind This Event?
- Guests may be curious about what exactly goes on behind the scenes of a huge undertaking such as this weekend’s event. Much has to be considered, from gathering volunteers, addressing safety concerns, and coordinating with those in France who are involved with the ship’s journey. Though these may not be need-to-know details for someone who simply wants to enjoy the offerings of the weekend, gathering the background information on this event may provide for a more enriching experience.
WYDaily has been providing full coverage of the Hermione leading up to its arrival, and will continue throughout this weekend. Check out all of our coverage on the Hermione below, and be sure to check in throughout the weekend for photo galleries and other news from the event as it happens.