by Terry Vandewater

“…as one small candle may light a thousand,

so the light here kindled hath shone unto many”

– Governor William Bradford

Fifth Annual Illuminate Thanksgiving and Plymouth 400 pre-commemorative event lights up Plymouth.

“Who illuminates your life?”

Not all holiday celebrations need to be barn burners. As we enter this Thanksgiving season, a reflective and inspirational event can add the perfect balance in kicking off your holiday festivities. Illuminate Thanksgiving, brought to you by our friends at Plymouth 400, was created to honor the words of one of our forefathers, Governor William Bradford:

“…as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many…”

This special annual event commemorates the spirit in which Plymouth and indeed our country was founded. The celebration focuses on young people and their ability to be that “one small candle” making a difference in the lives of many.

Illuminate Thanksgiving started five years ago and has been building awareness ever since. “We wanted a pre-commemorative, signature event, slated early that would build awareness and bring focus to Plymouth 400,” says Brian Logan, communications manager for the organization behind the now-yearly Plymouth 400 quadricentennial national commemoration.

Illuminate Thanksgiving will be held on Saturday, November 17 at 4:30 pm following the annual parade. It begins inside the National Pilgrim Memorial Meetinghouse at 19 Town Square– formerly the First Parish Church, the oldest church congregation in continuous operations, and continues outside with a short walk to the waterfront. The 45-minute indoor program features inspirational music by the Northern Lights A Cappella Chorus from Plymouth North High School and an original song performed by the Plymouth International Chorus. There also will be a reading of Bradford’s quote by one of his descendants.

Suffi ce it to say, you can’t get any closer to Thanksgiving than this. Bradford’s quote comes alive as the candlelit walk–the Procession of Lights–winds its way down Leyden Street, the original street of the Plymouth Colony. The walk concludes at the Plymouth Waterfront where the winner of the Plymouth 400 essay contest will be revealed, and the recipient will read their response to the question, “Who illuminates your life?” In addition, the One Small Candle Award, honoring an individual or organization that, through their actions, has touched the lives of many, will be announced.

The event is free and open to the public. You can make a day of it in Plymouth starting with the annual parade, the centerpiece of America’s Hometown Celebration, and then cap it off with Illuminate Thanksgiving followed by dinner at one of the many local restaurants.

Inspiring and reflective, Illuminate Thanksgiving “encourages attendees to give thanks and give back,” conveys Brian. Building the bridge between honoring the words of one of our forefathers, and recognizing the present actions of “one small candle,” can evoke feelings of gratitude, hope for a brighter future, and the realization that one person really can make a difference.