NEWBURYPORT — Volunteers and committee members are putting the finishing touches on the city’s 57th annual Yankee Homecoming festival, which kicks off later this month.
Event planners expect more than 200,000 to gather for the weeklong celebration that spreads out across the city.
The festival will officially begin on July 27 at 10 a.m. with the traditional Old Fashioned Sunday, a day of games, art, music and prizes. Old Fashioned Sunday takes place at the Bartlet Mall by the Frog Pond and will include exhibitions by local artists and musicians, according to Yankee Homecoming chairman Michael Volpone.
This year is an especially significant celebration, as it marks the 250th anniversary of Newburyport’s incorporation.
Don Jarvis, of Newburyport’s Fusion Blue Productions, is marking the occasion by doubling the number of musical acts booked for the festival, from 50 to 75 to a full 125 bands and solo performers.
“I wanted to provide more opportunities to people, especially when it’s the 250th, it’s a big deal,” Jarvis said. “I’ve gotten bands on this bill that have been trying to play in years past but haven’t been able to because it’s filled up so quickly.”
Bands will be booked for 45 to 105 minutes rather than the normal three-hour time slots. As in years past, musicians will play on Inn Street, Market Square and on the waterfront.
“The louder bands, we’re trying to put them on the waterfront,” Jarvis said. “The duos, the trios, the softer bands, we’re putting them in Market Square, and the acoustic acts we’re putting on Inn Street. I feel we have a spot for everybody this Yankee Homecoming.”
This year’s Yankee Homecoming Parade, kicking off at 12:15 p.m. on Aug. 3, will see about 100 floats, walking groups and bands in succession. In additional to traditional attractions like firetrucks and antique cars, this year’s parade will include a float by Atlantic Pro Wrestling and about 10 bands, according to parade chairperson Robin Johnson.