How Boston is marking the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party

How Boston is marking the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party


Step back into 1773 during citywide reenactments of the historic event on Saturday.

Tea is dumped into the Boston Harbor during the annual Boston Tea Party reenactment on Dec. 16, 2012. Michael Blanchard for Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

Saturday marks the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party and the city is hosting several reenactments to commemorate the historic event.

  • A guide to Boston’s Freedom Trail

On Dec. 16, 1773 colonists protested taxation without representation by tossing British tea into Boston Harbor, helping spark the American Revolution.

Ahead, discover how the city is celebrating the day.

Boston Tea Party Reenactment on Saturday

A five-part series of reenactments will take place at historic spots across the city on Saturday.

The schedule is as follows:

1. Faneuil Hall & The Boston Tea Party: A Protest in Principle
4 to 5:30 p.m. at Faneuil Hall

Visitors can watch A 90-minute presentation about the dramatic events of the Boston Tea Party of 1773 and the subsequent centennial and bicentennial commemorations. 

The inside seats at Faneuil Hall for this event have sold out, but outdoor screens on the plaza will show the event. This is free and open to the public.

2. Patriots and Loyalists
6 to 7 p.m. at Downtown Crossing

Witness the town crier bringing news to the people in the street as men at the meeting of the Body of the People at Old South Meeting House passionately debate the controversial Tea Act. Citizens of colonial Boston will discuss the tea crisis and how it impacts their businesses and families. This is a free outdoor event.

3. A Reenactment of the Meeting of the Body of the People
6:15 to 7:15 p.m.; Doors at 5:30 p.m. at Old South Meeting House

Visitors can sit in the room where it happened at Old South Meeting House, where 5,000 men gathered to discuss the tax and Samuel Adams gave the signal that launched the Boston Tea Party. The event will be led by Revolutionary Spaces. Ticket holders can then watch a livestream as colonists march from the venue to Griffin’s Wharf where they’ll dump chests of tea into the Boston Harbor.

This ticketed event is sold out.

4. 250th Boston Tea Party Anniversary Rolling Rally
Between 7:30 and 8 p.m. at Old South Meeting House

The public is invited to march along with multiple fife and drum corps from Old South Meeting House to the Harborwalk where Griffin’s Wharf once stood. During the march, visitors will encounter a regiment of redcoats in Post Office Square.

5. Boston Harbor, a Tea Pot Tonight! The Destruction of the Tea
8 to 8:30 p.m. at Atlantic Wharf, adjacent to the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum

Guests can witness the dramatic recreation of the destruction of the tea as the Sons of Liberty go aboard the ship Eleanor and brig Beaver for the chests of East India Company tea. Visitors are encouraged to yell “Huzzah!” during the event. Bleacher seating and standing room will be available to the public for this free event.

Those who can’t attend in person can follow live coverage of the destruction of the tea at 8 p.m. (the pre-show starts at 7:15 p.m.)

More events on Saturday

The Massachusetts Freemasons will host a free speaker symposium at the Grand Lodge at 186 Tremont St. on Saturday to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party.

Visitors can take guided tours of the Grand Lodge on a first come, first served basis between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and the Grand Lodge will also have several rare artifacts on display.

The schedule is as follows:

8:30 to 9:10 a.m.: “Radicalizing John Hancock: The Tea Act and the Boston Tea Party” with Dr. Brooke Barbier

9:15 to 10 a.m.: “Freemasonry Before the Revolution” with RW Walter Hunt

10:15 to 11:20 a.m.: “Treason to the Crown” performed by Boston-Lafayette Lodge of Perfection

11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.: “Brother Revere: How Freemasonry Shaped Paul Revere’s Revolutionary Role” with Dr. Jayne Triber

12:15 -1 p.m.: Lunch break

1:30-2 p.m.: “A Fireside chat with famed author Dr. Fowler” with Dr. William Fowler

2 to 3 p.m.: “How Bostonians Learned to Talk about the Destruction of the Tea” with JL Bell

3 to 4 p.m.: “Tea: Consumption, Politics, and Revolution, 1773–1776” with Dr. James Fichter

4 to 5 p.m.: “Teapot in a Tempest: The Boston Tea Party of 1773” with Dr. Ben Carp

Visitors can register for the events here.

Sunday programming

On Dec. 17, visitors can celebrate with the National Parks of Boston at Faneuil Hall from 1 to 4 p.m.

Guests will gather at the Great Hall where the National Parks of Boston will reenact two historic meetings that took place there.

1 p.m.: Response to the Destruction of the Tea

In response to the dumping of the tea, Parliament closed the port of Boston until the tea was paid for by passing the Coercive Acts. In May of 1774, Bostonians gathered in Faneuil Hall’s Great Hall to vote on the closing and decide whether they should pay or protest Parliament.

3 p.m: Women’s Tea Party

Nearly 100 years after the Boston Tea Party, on Dec. 15, 1873, the New England Women’s Suffrage Association organized a large rally in the Great Hall called the “Women’s Tea Party,” and leading suffragists delivered speeches about voting rights for women to thousands.

Both 30- to 45-minute programs are free.

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