The re-enactment of the original Boston Tea Party comes alive every December with a large moving theatrical performance that the general public is welcome to join. Anyone may leap into the action; speak their piece, and march on the ships.
The re-enactment of this brilliantly staged protest moment in American protest happens December 16, 2018, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Boston’s Old South Meeting House (map) and the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum (map).
The December 16 event begins with a fiery tea tax debate at Old South Meeting House, the actual building where the colonists gathered 245 years ago. Then, the public can join a procession to the waterfront and watch the Sons of Liberty – masterminds of the original event — heave tea into the harbor.[ Why tea? Tea was a universally popular beverage in the colonies in the 1770s. The target of the protest was British-imposed taxes on tea, which deeply angered Colonists.]
You must buy a ticket ($25-$30) to attend the Meeting of the Body of the People at Old South Meeting House. Watch and hear Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere and other Colonial leaders join in a heated debate with crown-loving loyalists. Visitors are encouraged to join the debate.
At 7:30 p.m. a public procession – free to the general public – marches from the Old South Meeting House to the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. Led by booming fife and drums and accompanied by Colonial re-enactors, everyone marches to the place where Griffin’s Wharf once stood, taking the same route the Sons of Liberty took to Boston Harbor to destroy the tea in 1773.
Watch as the Sons of Liberty storm aboard the Brig Beaver and destroy chest after chest of tea, just as colonists did 245 years before. Viewers are encouraged to cheer “Huzzah!” as tea chests are broken open and tea sent from the general public is spilled into Boston harbor.
This event takes place rain, sleet, snow or shine. Both Old South Meeting House and Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum will be free and open to the public on December 16, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
** This year, the general public is invited to send loose tea to be thrown into Boston Harbor during the re-enactment. Mail dried loose leaf tea (no tea bags) to: Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, 306 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210. Include name, address, e-mail & phone number. An official certificate of participation will be sent to each partaker sending tea. Deadline to send tea is December 1, 2018. (Fun for kids!)[photos by Michael Blanchard Photography with permission by Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum]