It IS one of the singular peculiarities of our City. When I first moved here, and saw a ghost town in the central part of the City on the Fourth of July; I first thought perhaps it was because we have a profundity of anti-patriotic citizens who simply ‘hate’ America and anything it represents. I was happily found to be wrong in my assumption. And yet a total lack of celebration is just ‘odd’. Apple pie symbols of flags and fireworks and patriotic banners – all absent. It is doubly mysterious because it means going against the practical need for tourist dollars and resulting in a loss of revenue for our restaurants and shops.
It’s not like we don’t have festivals, we are a city that has outdone other more well-known tourist communities. If someone drops a hat, we’ve got a festival for that too! You name a holiday, we’ve got something going on! And if there is no convenient one, we’ll just arbitrarily set a time for yet another festival. And what community can out do Yankee Homecoming!?!
And then there is our history. Is there something in our past that has caused us to ignore this most notable time in our Nation?
No, not that I can see.
Heck, we were the cutting edge of our new nation – it was here that the Tea Party was first done! (Ask anyone in the Newbury’s – we love a bonfire!) And the Federalist party of Hamilton and Washington practically had their marching orders from the Essex Junta that was based here. Theophilus Parsons and the leading men of this city forged many components of the world’s first constitution and gave birth to the idea of a Bill of Rights. The checks and balances found in the Massachusetts and U.S. Constitution were championed by our savvy citizens. We gave birth to the U.S. Coast Guard and forged our modern navy with the donation and financing of the U.S.S. Merrimack. Some of our merchants lost fortunes fighting the British and our citizens gave their lives in the Continental Army and well over 1,200 lost it on privateer ships. Our town gave human blood and hearts to the cause. When other cities and towns were reluctant, we rallied to arms.
So, as I see our empty Market Square, I ask you, “Why no festival?”