2006 GODSPEED SAIL
Along the Eastern Seaboard
America's 400th Anniversary began with a bang as the 80-day sail of replica Godspeed brought a bit of American history to six major ports along the eastern seaboard. The 17th-century ship and its Landing Party Festival received a warm reception in each port city with more than 456,000 people attending the free event. Each Landing Party Festival featured live musical performances, family entertainment, and interactive historical and cultural displays.
The Godspeed, an 88-foot replica of one of the ships that brought settlers to Virginia in 1607, serves as a floating museum. After the six city tour along the Eastern Seaboard, the Godspeed journeyed up the James visiting recreating parts of the original voyage to Jamestown. The Godspeed, along with replicas of the Susan Constant and Discovery is docked at Jamestown Settlement.
Launch from Jamestown Settlement
Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine gave the official order to launch Godspeed on the first leg of its voyage up the eastern seaboard on May 22, 2006. He presented the ship’s Captain, Eric Speth, with an America’s 400th Anniversary commemorative flag, which was flown during the Godspeed’s six-port tour.
Visitation to Godspeed's Landing Party Festival over the Memorial Day weekend surpassed planners' expectations when more than 95,000 people flocked to Old Town Alexandria's waterfront. The Landing Party Festival's "Jamestown Experience", an interactive exhibit highlighting 17th-century life, attracted nearly 400 visitors an hour, while children's theater, musical performances and dozens of local entertainers, musicians, dancers and artists, entertained thousands of visitors at the festival's main stage.
Interactive NASA exhibits in front of the Maryland Science Center and Godspeed Landing Party Festival connected exploration of the past with exploration of the future. NASA engaged visitors in Baltimore with an interactive exhibit and educational resources, drawing parallels between exploration in 1607 and NASA's plans to go back to the moon and then to Mars.
The United States Mint unveiled the four designs chosen for the Jamestown 400th Anniversary commemorative coin program on Friday, June 16, as part of the opening day ceremony welcoming the Godspeed and her Landing Party Festival to Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia.
Perhaps, one of the most memorable events of the sail took place as the 17th-century replica Godspeed sailed past one of America's most treasured monuments. The ship was welcomed by a fireboat as it passed the Statue of Liberty and entered New York Harbor on Monday, June 26, 2006.
Entertainment at each Landing Party Festival included "Anniversary Voices," a live contemporary musical and dance production themed around America's 400th Anniversary. An original children's show, "Ba-baaah and the Windigo" featured a cast of whimsical characters in a Jamestown story from the point-of-view of a young Indian girl and some of the indigenous animals present when the ships first arrived.
Visitors were transported back in time by touring the Godspeed while it was in port. Historic interpreters decked out in period costumes gave them a taste of shipboard life. Within the "Jamestown Experience" area visitors got a better sense of life at sea and early Jamestown, through interactive displays, hands-on activities and scale models of the ships.