It was the first physical act of rebellion toward the British in June 1772. It was an early morning flame-filled attack that lit up the sky before dawn even got a chance. No, it wasn’t the Boston Tea Party but another historic event – the burning of the British revenue ship, the HMS Gaspee, near Pawtuxet Village.
Considered “America’s First Blow for Freedom,” it was the first overt act leading to the Revolutionary War and led to the formation of the Committees of Correspondence throughout the colonies and eventually to the annual Gaspee Days celebration. A month of family fun and history-inspired events dubbed Gaspee Days bring Pawtuxet to life each summer. For more than 40 years, Gaspee Days has transported residents and visitors to colonial days with a children’s costume contest and skit, an authentic encampment site, fife and drum music, a parade and finally the big shebang – the reenactment of the burning of the ship.
Throughout the years the Gaspee Days Committee has welcomed different events and activities as part of the annual celebration, but the days are always loaded with entertainment. Whether you’re milling around the arts and crafts booths or eating a picnic lunch in the middle of colonial war maneuvers, you’re sure to find something to tickle your fancy.