America’s 400th Anniversary Sets Sail in May With the Launch of the Godspeed

The 2006 Godspeed Sail Commemorates the Journey that Changed the World

WILLIAMSBURG, Va., April 5 /PRNewswire/ — The story of the nation’s birthplace will come to life this summer for hundreds of thousands of Americans as the 17th-century replica ship Godspeed embarks in May on an 80- day goodwill sail to six major cities on the East Coast. The newly commissioned re-creation of one of the three ships that helped establish Jamestown, Va. as America’s first permanent English settlement in 1607, Godspeed will bring a slice of American history to Alexandria, Va.; Baltimore, Md.; Philadelphia, Pa.; New York, N.Y.; Boston, Mass. and Newport, R.I. The ship, accompanied by a unique “Landing Party Festival,” will offer a glimpse into early 17th-century America and the legacies on which our nation was founded. Admission to this historic event is free. For more information, please visit

The Godspeed’s “Landing Party Festival” will feature live music, family entertainment and historical and cultural displays to showcase the legacies of Jamestown – representative government, free enterprise, exploration and cultural diversity. Highlights will include “Anniversary Voices,” a live contemporary musical and dance production themed around America’s 400th Anniversary. An original children’s show with a cast of whimsical characters will tell the story of 1607 events from the point-of-view of a young Indian girl and some of the indigenous animals present when the ships first arrived. A gallery-in-the-round entitled “American People, American Progress” will take visitors on a journey through 400 years of contributions made by the English/European, American Indian and African-American cultures that first converged at Jamestown in the early 1600s.

“The Godspeed Sail presents Americans with the unique opportunity to re- connect with the foundations of our nation and our shared heritage,” said Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, honorary chair of America’s 400th Anniversary. “As the launch event for America’s 400th Anniversary, the Godspeed Sail offers insight into the legacies of representative government, free enterprise and cultural diversity that first took root on our shores at Jamestown . and continue to shape our lives today.”

Visitors will be transported back in time by touring the Godspeed while it is in port. Historic interpreters decked out in period costumes will give them a taste of shipboard life. They can take their own “virtual” voyage via an on-shore simulator that is complete with visuals, narration, music and motion. Within the “Jamestown Experience” area visitors will get a further sense of life at sea and early Jamestown through interactive displays, hands- on activities and scale models of the ships.

Leaving the past for the present, families can visit a unique crafts area where they can help create “America’s Heritage Flag,” using their handprints to design panels for a huge American flag that will serve as a primary backdrop during “Anniversary Weekend” at the Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestown in May 2007.

The 2006 Godspeed Sail is one of 10 signature events and hundreds of other community projects commemorating America’s 400th Anniversary. The Godspeed will begin its 80-day voyage on May 22, when it departs from its home berth at Jamestown Settlement. During its six-port tour, working in close partnership with local communities, Godspeed and its “Landing Party Festival” will dock at the Alexandria Old Town Waterfront from May 27 – June 3; Baltimore Inner Harbor from June 9 – June 12; The Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia from June 16 – June 19; South Street Seaport Museum in New York City from June 27 – July 6; the John Joseph Moakley U.S Courthouse and Fan Pier in Boston from July 14 – July 19 and the Newport Yachting Center in Newport, R.I. from July 25 – July 30. Admission to all Godspeed Sail events is free.

Jamestown 2007, a sub-agency of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, is coordinating efforts to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, Va., the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. Jamestown is also the site of the nation’s first representative government, free enterprise and multi-cultural society. State, national, and international commemorative events to salute these legacies begin in May 2006 and continue into 2008. Major corporate sponsors of America’s 400th Anniversary include Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE:NSC) , Colonial Williamsburg and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) . More information about the commemoration is available at

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