Reliving Paul Revere’s Patriots’ Day

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LEXINGTON – Although many in the Greater Boston area may refer to April 18, 2016 as “Marathon Monday,”  the reason that Massachusetts’ public schools are closed for the day and that many have a day off from work is so they might remember the race for freedom that began in Lexington and Concord more than 240 years ago.

Although the first battles of the American Revolution took place on April 19, 1775, they are now officially commemorated in Massachusetts with dozens of parades, activities and enthusiastic reenactments on the third Monday in April. Here are a few of our favorite events:

Watch the Battle on Lexington Green and Concord’s North Bridge — On Patriots’ Day, as it is officially known, the proud towns of Lexington and Concord pull out all the stops. Watch a reenactment of the first battle on Lexington Green or the second skirmish at Concord’s North Bridge.  But you had better drink some coffee before heading out:  Lexington militia face off with British redcoats at 5:30 a.m on April 18.  Concord militia reenact the subsequent “shot heard ’round the world,” in which area Minutemen repelled the Redcoats and scored the first American victory over the British, at 8:45 a.m.

After the Concord battle, Minutemen from Concord, Wayland, Acton, Westford, Sudbury, Lincoln and other towns join local politicians, school groups, and business people in the beloved Concord Parade sat 8:45 a.m. at Concord Center, arriving at the North Bridge around 9:30 a.m. The Lexington parade begins at 2 p.m. at Massachusetts Avenue and Maple Street.

What about the Revolutionary Women? Who held the Revere family together after Paul set off on his Midnight Ride? Joan Gatturna takes on the role of Paul Revere’s wife, Rachel, to tell the dramatic tale of a woman’s struggle to hold home and family together in a time of war, blockades, and shortages on April 23 at 1, 1:45 and 2:30 p.m. at the Paul Revere House at 19 North Square in Boston’s North End. Free with museum admission (adults $3.50, seniors and college students $3, children $1).

Visit with Paul Revere — On April 19 from 1-3 p.m., David Connor dons the persona of Revere at the North End house to answer questions from visitors. Free with museum admission. The house remains open an hour later starting April 15, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m., and will hold free drop-in activities for “colonial kids” on April 22 from 1-3 p.m.

On April 20 and April 21 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., the “Midnight Ride” storytelling program will roleplay Revere’s horseback ride and retrace the patriot’s route from his home to the banks of the Charles River. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 617-523-2338. The cost is $4.50 for each adult and child age 5 and up.

“One if by land, two if by sea” — Watch Paul Revere’s midnight ride reenacted. Hint: his arrivals are staged twice. The first takes place at the Hancock-Clarke House in Lexington on April 17, at 11:30 p.m. The second has him arriving at the town green on horseback, greeted by Lexington Minutemen, at 1 p.m. on April 18.

Reenact the Battle of Lexington — The Lexington Minutemen and His Majesty’s 10th Regiment of Foot (the Redcoats) will train participants to reenact this epic battle on April 20 at 10 a.m. on the Buckman Tavern Lawn, sponsored by the Lexington Historical Society and Lexington Visitor Center. To register, contact Chris Kauffman at [email protected] or 781-862-0295.      

Check out the NewBostonPost April calendar for more activities.

Contact Kara Bettis at [email protected] or on Twitter @karabettis.