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2018 Bedford Liberty Pole Capping Parade and Ceremony

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The annual Bedford Liberty Pole Capping Parade and Ceremony on Saturday, April 7, 2018 at 10:30 am at Wilson Park in Bedford, Massachusetts. Watch as minutemen from throughout New England convene on the Town Common and march with fife and drum down The Great Road to Wilson Park to watch the official Pole Capping tradition. A minuteman will proclaim freedom by shinnying up a 25-foot pole and placing a red cap atop it, and British soldier will arrive to disrupt the festivities. The Bedford Liberty Pole Capping Parade and Ceremony is one of the opening event for all of the minuteman companies of the region; it is a chance for Revolutionary War reenactors to get in uniform and shake off the cobwebs for the winter.

Bedford Liberty Pole Capping Parade and Ceremony

Annually,two Saturdays before Patriots’ Day, the Bedford Minuteman Company and Minuteman Companies from the area converge on Willson Park in Bedford to commemorate the spirit and courage of the patriots who sparked the American Revolution.

Bedford Pole Capping Revived in 1965
The modern tradition of pole capping in Bedford began in 1965 following the formation of the modern-day Bedford Minuteman Company the previous year. The history of pole capping dates back to Roman times but was most prevalent during colonial times. The most notable pole capping took place in Boston in 1765 and was a tree, not a pole, located at juncture of Washington and Essex Streets. The “Liberty Tree” was a symbol of the Sons of Liberty, a revolutionary organization. When a red flag was raised at the top of the tree, it was a sign to for the group to organize. Liberty Poles sprang up in communities around the colonies, including Bedford. Today, the annual Bedford Liberty Pole Capping Parade and Ceremony takes place as a celebration of Bedford’s resolve and patriotic spirit during the American Revolution.

The Bedford Liberty Pole Capping Parade and Ceremony features a march, displays of musketry, and music of the period performed by the men and women of the many Minuteman Companies in attendance. But the main event – which draws not only spectators, but also the soldiers of His Majesty’s 10th Regiment of Foot, intent on stopping the defiant rabble-rousing – is the raising of a tall wooden pole, which is climbed by a Bedford Minuteman and affixed with a red knitted cap.

The “Pole Capping” reenacts the practice in Colonial America of dissatisfaction with varied rulings and conduct of the English government. This defiance to the British Crown showed the spirit of liberty exemplified by Bedfordians and other colonials in the early phases of the War for Independence.

The Town of Bedford displayed equally the spirit and courage of their compatriots with, among other acts of courage, the erection of their own Liberty Poles. It is in commemoration of those men, and their American feeling for Liberty at the Bedford Liberty Pole Capping Parade and Ceremony, that the Bedford Minuteman Company conducts its annual Liberty Pole Capping and Raising ceremonies.

Participants in the Bedford Liberty Pole Capping Parade and Ceremony
The Stow Minutemen: The annual Liberty Pole Capping Parade and ceremonies is the traditional kickoff for fife and drum corps. You’ll want to BE THERE no later than 10:00 am, Parade steps off promptly at 10:30am. We meet in the high school parking lot over near the tennis courts and soccer fields directly in front of the school. Form up there around 9:30 am – 9:45 am and then we’ll march over as a group to the Bedford Commons to await the start of the parade.

Mark your calendar today so you don’t miss the next Bedford Liberty Pole Capping Parade and Ceremony at Wilson Park in Bedford, MA.

Tags: Bedford Liberty Pole Capping Parade and Ceremony, Bedford Liberty Pole Capping, Bedford Liberty Pole Capping Parade, Bedford Liberty Pole Capping Ceremony, Patriot’s Day Events

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