The Patriots Day events schedule includes a big Patriots Day Parade in Boston plus dozens of major re-enactments of the first day of the American Revolution as local Militia and Minute Men companies commemorate the events of April 19, 1775 in Boston, Lexington, Lincoln, Arlington, Bedford, and Concord.
You’ll be surprised by how realistic the reenactments feel as you relive the thrilling beginning of the Patriots’ fight for freedom from British rule.
Although Massachusetts officially observes Patriots Day on the 3rd Monday in April (April 19 in 2021), commemorative ceremonies and re-enactments take place throughout the month.
Thousands of members of local minute men companies, militias, and historical societies participate in the re-enactments in Boston, the Minute Man National Historical Park, Concord’s Old North Bridge, Lexington’s Battle Green, and other historic sites in the Boston area.
The Patriots Day schedule highlights over 60 key events. Many additional local events, parades, and ceremonies take place in and around Boston on Patriots’ Day weekend.
Patriots’ Day Schedule for Reenactments and Commemorations
Our Patriots’ Day schedule lists events in the order of when they take place during the reenactment – which is not necessarily the same as the original sequence back in 1775.
Lots of different organizations and communities stage the reenactments in a variety of locations including Boston, Cambridge, Arlington, Medford, Lexington, Concord, and Lincoln, plus a few others.
Events on Sunday, April 4 2021 (2 weeks before the official holiday weekend)
2pm, Dress Rehearsal of the Lexington Skirmish on April 19, 1775 – Location: Battle Green, Lexington Center – The Lexington Minute Men hold their dress rehearsal for the Patriots Day (Monday, April 20) reenactment of the April 19, 1775 skirmish. Good day to come if you want to see some action but avoid the bigger crowds. Plus, the actual event on Patriots Day takes place at 5am – so opt for the dress rehearsal if you prefer to relive the experience at a more civilized hour. Rain date: April 11 at 2pm.
Events on Saturday, April 10 2021 (1 week before the official holiday weekend)
10:30am, Bedford Parade and Pole Capping – Location: Wilson Park, 99 School Way, Bedford – Stow Minute Men, Acton Minutemen, Bedford Minuteman Company, and other Minute Men from throughout New England gather on the Town Common and march while playing fifes and drums down The Great Road to Wilson Mill Park, where a Minute Man will proclaim freedom by shinnying up a 25-foot pole and putting a red cap on top of it in defiance of King George. You may get to see Redcoats attempt to arrest the pole climber – but chances are good they won’t succeed! The march ends about 11:30am.
1pm, Meriam’s Corner Exercise – Location: Meriam’s Corner on Lexington Road, Concord – Minute Men from local and regional minute companies commemorate the fight at Meriam’s Corner that began the Redcoats’ 6-hour frantic running retreat back to Boston as they endured heavy fire from enraged Colonists along the way. Back in 1775, the British withdrew from the North Bridge in Concord where they had skirmished with over 400 Minutemen, but by the time they arrived here at about 12:30pm, more than 1,100 Minutemen from over a dozen towns had gathered in the vicinity, ambushing the British along the way. By the end of that first day, 49 Colonials and 73 British had been killed, with 173 wounded and missing. In this reenactment, you’ll hear musket and cannon fire, and fife and drum music.
3pm, Paul Revere Capture Ceremony – Location: Paul Revere Capture Site on Rt 2A, Minute Man National Historical Park (MMNHP), Lincoln – The Lincoln Minute Men will march down Battle Road and do a dramatic reading of Longfellow’s poem to recount the events of the night of April 19, 1775, when British troops captured Paul Revere in Lincoln after his midnight ride from Boston. Look for reenactors portraying Revere, Samuel Prescott, William Dawes, Mary Hartwell, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. You’ll also hear fife and drum music, and a musket fire salute.
Saturday, April 17 – Patriots Day Weekend
9am-4pm – Battle Green Guided Tours, Lexington Green (Mass Ave, across from Town Library) – Guides in Colonial clothing provide free informal tours and information; check out the war memorial on the Green where 7 of the 8 Militia who died in battle on April 19th, 1775 are buried.
9:30am, Parker’s Revenge – Lexington Minutemen Gather on Lexington Green – Location: Lexington Green. – In this reenactment of an event that took place AFTER the Battle of Lexington was fought on the morning of April 19, 1775, Captain Parker calls the Lexington Minutemen to arms at on Lexington Green and talks with Reverend Jonas Clarke, at whose house Samuel Adams and John Hancock had been hiding (more about that). The Minutemen then march to Fiske Hill in Minute Man National Park and continue on to the Parker’s Revenge site on Route 2A in the Minute Man National Park for a wreath laying and musket salute that begins around 1pm-2pm near Fiske Hill in Lexington (see below).
The Minute Man National Historical Park hosts some of the biggest events of the weekend, including the Hartwell Tavern tours, Smith House demonstrations, and Bloody Angle demonstration activities listed below. Plenty of well-marked parking is available in lots around the park and park rangers will be on hand to direct you, but wear sturdy walking shoes or boots.
9:30am – 5:30pm, Hartwell Tavern and Captain William Smith House (open until 12:15pm), “Life on the Battle Road – See where the Patriots spent their leisure time, and get a glimpse of what life was like in Massachusetts at the beginning of the American Revolution. Both the tavern and the house date back to before 1775. Program from 9:30am-12:15pm at Smith House (136 Great North Road, Lincoln) focuses on the experience of civilians on April 19, 1775. Once they leave the house (12:15pm), you’ll probably see them on Battle Road Trail walking toward Lexington and the Minuteman Visitor Center, where they arrive right before the Parker’s Revenge Battle Reenactment.
9:30am – 4pm, Tours of historic Lexington sites:
Buckman Tavern (1 Bedford Street; self-paced audio tours), Hancock Clarke House (36 Hancock St; guide-led tours every half-hour starting at 10am), and Munroe Tavern (1332 Mass Ave, self-guided and guided tours starting at 12 noon) Small admission fees apply; tickets available at each site. Hours may vary slightly at each site.
10am-12 noon, 2pm-5pm, Whittemore House (Behind Minute Man Visitor Center, Route 2A, Lexington) – Costumed park volunteers will show you what life was like in 1775. Kids can try on colonial children’s clothing, gather ingredients for a meal, and listen to stories about the Whittemore family and their experience on April 19, 1775.
10:00am – Explore Bloody Angle with Edmund Foster, Reading Massachusetts Volunteer – This fascinating reenactment portraying Edmund Foster, a 1775 volunteer from Reading Massachusetts, includes a tour of this key 1775 battle site.
12 noon – Parker’s Revenge Wreath Laying Ceremony – At the Parker’s revenge site on Battle Road (Route 2A) near the Minute Man National Park Visitor Center.
1 pm-3 pm, Patriot Fife and Drum at Paul Revere House, 19 North Square, North End, Boston – Enjoy a concert of the lively music that colonists marched to during the Revolutionary War. A small admission fee applies. See the Paul Revere House website for more events during school vacation week.
1:00 pm, Parker’s Revenge Battle Reenactment – Location: Battle Road Trail behind the Minute Man Visitor Center on Route 2A, Lexington; normally, the best place to park is at Minuteman Regional High School (758 Marrett Road, Lexington) but space is limited this year due to construction – Park staff will direct you to best parking and viewing areas. After Captain Parker calls the Lexington Minutemen to arms earlier in the day on Lexington Green (see above), they march to the battle site for a salute near Fiske Hill (Lexington) at 1:30 pm. At 2 pm, Captain Parker’s Lexington militia recreates their ambush on a British column conducted in revenge for their members who the British killed and wounded during the Battle on Lexington Green on the morning of April 19, 1775. This is one of the largest of the Patriots Day events, with hundreds of reenactors, horses, lots of muskets being fired, and plenty of battle action (photos on this page of reenactors on horseback are from this stirring event).