Spend enough springtime seasons west of Boston and you will discover a few inevitabilities about April in this region. One is that people in 18th-century costumes will be in fields and on stages, holding muskets and scrolls, proclaiming the importance of liberty. And another is that some earnest out-of-stater will ask why there is a day designated to celebrate the Patriots even in years when they didn’t have a winning season - and nearly three months after the last game, to boot.
NFL jokes wear thin after a while, but observances of the true meaning of Patriots Day - celebrating the triumph by the Minutemen over the British and the eventual success of the American Revolution - never seem to grow old. This year, as always, there is no shortage of places to let your inner Paul Revere shine through.
11 a.m.-4 p.m.: Battle Road reenactments and family activities, Minute Man National Historical Park sites
Begin your Patriots Day commemoration right where the soldiers themselves began it: along Battle Road in Lincoln and Lexington. At the Hartwell Tavern and the Captain William Smith House, you can watch musket and cannon firing demonstrations, learn from reenactments of Colonial life, and take part in a range of family activities. Throughout the day, nearly 300 Colonial and British reenactors demonstrate tactics used during the retreat to Boston on April 19, 1775, all along the Battle Road Trail. The Lexington militia company will reenact an ambush on the British forces, similar to what took place on April 19, 1775, as Captain Parker’s Lexington militia company took revenge on the British for their losses earlier that morning. Colonial crafts, games, and family rituals will be demonstrated throughout the park as well. For complete details, go to www.nps.gov/mima.
LEXINGTON 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.: Gallery talk: “Sowing the Seeds of Liberty: Lexington and the American Revolution,’’ National Heritage Museum, 33 Marrett Road.
Join museum staff in a discussion and exploration of life in this small community as it was unfolding in 1775, a time during which ordinary people took extraordinary actions and shaped history. For more information, call 781-861-6559.
7:30 p.m.: Candlelight concert, Lexington Depot Building, 13 Depot Square, Lexington
The Lexington Historical Society’s Colonial Singers present a medley of Revolutionary-era English and Colonial songs. Tickets $5 at the door. For more information, call 781-862-1703 or go to www.lexingtonhistory.org.
ACTON 5 p.m.: James Robbins historical ride, Concord Road.
Learn the story of how 13-year-old James Robbins, son of Captain Joseph Robbins, sounded the alarm throughout the town of Acton as the Redcoats approached. A rider on horseback commemorating the event will begin at the Robbins home site at the soccer fields on Concord Road, and make his way to three more historical landmarks, ending at 6 p.m. at the Liberty Tree Farm, 24 Liberty St., South Acton.
ARLINGTON 2 p.m.: Patriots Day Parade, Arlington Center.
The town’s annual Patriots Day Parade begins at Brattle Street and marches to Adams Street along Mass Ave., with military band music and costumed militia leading the way.
LEXINGTON 6 and 8 p.m.: “In Their Own Words,’’ First Parish Church, 7 Harrington Road.
Conceived and produced by local author and filmmaker Rick Beyer, “In Their Own Words’’ is a theatrical production by the Lexington Historical Society offering an insider’s look at the events leading up to the American Revolution through first-person accounts. This sixth annual Patriots Day Eve performance features Lexington residents and friends depicting real-life characters as they trace the story from Paul Revere’s ride to the first shots in Lexington, through the Redcoats’ bloody retreat on the day the Revolution began. Fife and drum music and tunes from that era punctuate the action at this family-friendly event. Tickets are $7 adults/$3 children for Lexington Historical Society members, $10/$5 for nonmembers. Purchase tickets by phone at 781-862-1703 or at the Buckman Tavern Gift Shop, daily 9:30 a.m.-4:40 p.m.
11:30 p.m.: Paul Revere’s arrival, Hancock/Clarke House, 35 Hancock St.
Paul Revere’s famous “Midnight Ride’’ started in Charlestown on April 18, 1775, with the purpose of alerting John Hancock and Samuel Adams about the departure of the British from Boston. He arrived at the house of the Rev. Jonas Clarke, where Hancock and Adams were staying, at about midnight. The Lexington Historical Society, along with the Lexington Minute Men and the National Lancers, recreates Revere’s late-night arrival at the Hancock-Clarke House, complete with the drama of the reactions of the occupants of the house.
LINCOLN 1:45 to 3:30 p.m.: Fife and drum concert, Pierce Park, 17 Weston Road, Lincoln.
The Lincoln Minute Men perform a concert of 18th-century fife and drum music, hosting such groups from across the country at an outdoor concert. Picnics and lawn chairs encouraged.
7 p.m.: Alarm and Muster of the Lincoln Minute Men, Lincoln Center.
The Lincoln Company of Minute Men will reenact the events of April 19, beginning with the arrival of Captain William Smith by horse to ring the bell of the White Church and spread the alarm that the British are coming. The Lincoln Minute Men will muster to receive their orders for the march to Concord.
ACTON 6 a.m.: Isaac Davis March to Concord, Isaac Davis Homestead, 37 Hayward Road.
The Acton Minutemen depart on their annual march to the North Bridge in Concord, arriving at 9 a.m., where they will fire a salute from the bridge to honor Isaac Davis and Acton’s other fallen heroes.
12 noon-4 p.m.: Patriots Day celebration, Acton Center.
From Town Hall, board one of the three Patriots Day trolleys to the Jonathan Hosmer House, the Jones Tavern, the Faulkner Homestead, and Acton Memorial Library. Enjoy a day filled with music, games, crafts, and more. $5 per adult, $3 per child.
CONCORD 8 a.m.: Commemoration of the Battle at North Bridge, Monument Street.
British and Colonial reenactors, park rangers, and volunteers commemorate the fateful morning of April 19, 1775, the first time that colonists were ordered to fire upon British soldiers - the famed “shot heard ‘round the world.’’ British reenactors then conduct a moving “Mourn Arms’’ ceremony in honor of the British dead buried at North Bridge. Following this, they will be joined by local companies for a special commemoration featuring musket salutes.
9 a.m.: Patriots Day Parade, Concord Center.
The Concord Parade steps off from Main Street, arriving at North Bridge around 9:30 a.m.
LEXINGTON 5:30 a.m.: The Battle on Lexington Green, Lexington Center.
This event recreates the historic skirmish in Lexington on the first day of the American Revolution. Following the ringing of the bell in the Old Belfry, members of the Lexington Training Band (now known as the Minutemen) gather on Lexington’s Battle Green to await the column of British soldiers as they march into the town center. A shot rings out, the skirmish follows, and the British column marches on toward Concord.
9 a.m.-12 noon: Pancake Breakfast, Church of Our Redeemer, 6 Meriam St., Lexington. Join friends and neighbors for a hot breakfast before you embark on your Patriots Day activities. Proceeds go to the Lexington Interfaith Food Pantry.
Pancake breakfasts also are available at St. Brigid Parish, 2001 Massachusetts Ave., just after the reenactment and the First Baptist Church, 1580 Massachusetts Ave., both in Lexington, from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Hourly from 8 to 11 a.m.: Screenings of “First Shot! The Day the Revolution Began,’’ Lexington Depot Building, 13 Depot Square.
Movie screening of orientation film about the events leading up to the Battle of Lexington. Question-and-answer session with reenactors following the film. $3 adults/$1 children. Tickets sold at the door.
10 a.m.: 98th annual Patriots Day 5-mile Road Race.
First run in 1914, the Patriots Day 5-mile Road Race has a long and rich tradition for runners from Lexington and from all over the country. To register, go to www.lexingtonlions.org.
10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: Patriots Day crafts and activities, National Heritage Museum, 33 Marrett Road.
Get into the spirit of the day by making tricorner hats, Colonial caps, whirligigs, spoon dolls, and shop and tavern signs. $7/family; $5/members.
2 p.m.: Lexington Parade, Lexington Green, Lexington Center.
Starting at Massachusetts Avenue and Maple Street in East Lexington, the parade proceeds west along Massachusetts Avenue through Lexington Center, left onto Worthen Road, ending at the Town Pool Parking Lot. Music, military reenactors, and more.
LINCOLN 6:40 a.m.: Lincoln Minute Men Dawn Tribute and the March to Concord, Lincoln Center.
The Lincoln Minute Men will begin with a salute to the Patriots buried in the Old Meetinghouse Cemetery. Roll call is read, fifers play a lament, and the muskets fire a volley. The march then proceeds along Sandy Pond Road toward Concord with Colonial music and musket fire. All ages welcome to walk along.
STOW 4:45 a.m.: Annual Trail March and Parade, Stow Lower Common.
The Stow Minutemen march to the sounds of fifes and drums as they make their way to the North Bridge in Concord, arriving around 9 a.m. to join up with the Concord parade.
CONCORD 5:45 a.m.: Dawn Salute at the North Bridge, Minute Man National Historical Park, Monument Street.
After muster at Buttrick Hillside, the Concord Minute Men and the Concord Independent Battery observe the opening battle of the American Revolution in a 21-gun musket and cannon salute, followed by a wreath-laying and historical speeches.
WAYLAND/SUDBURY 3:45 a.m./5:45 a.m.: March to the North Bridge, departing from Wayland Center at 3:45 a.m. and Sudbury Center at 5:45 a.m.
The Sudbury and Wayland Companies of Militia and Minutemen will make their annual march to Concord’s North Bridge in honor of their fellow townsmen who made a similar march on April 19, 1775. Arriving in Concord in late morning, they will fire three musket volleys from North Bridge as a soldierly salute.
FRIDAY & SATURDAY, 4/20 & 4/21
ACTON “The Redcoats Are Coming’’
Theatre with a Twist Inc., in collaboration with the Acton Historical Society, presents an original play written by Jane Ross, a descendant of Abner Hosmer of Acton. The story tells the tale of Hosmer and Luther Blanchard as they march off to defend themselves and their land. Performances Friday (April 20) 7 p.m. and Saturday (April 21) at 2 p.m. at St. Matthew’s Church, 435 Central St., Acton.
Tickets are $10 students/seniors, $12 adults, and are available at the door or at the Hosmer House on April 16 from 1 to 4 p.m. during the Patriots Day festivities.
For more information, go to www.theatrewithatwist.org.
Nancy Shohet West can be reached at email@example.com.