Plymouth has a lot going for it. They have miles of coastline. They are dripping with history. They have an active downtown area. They have hotels and tourist-type places.
Plymouth also owns Thanksgiving. Her rule there is undisputed. There is no number one contender to that title. Plymouth owns it outright.
They take advantage of it. Pilgrims and Wampanoags are used to advertise businesses, decorate homes, and to generally set the mood of the community.
Just this past weekend, I went to a wonderful Thanksgiving parade that brought in locals by the thousands. All of those people spent money in the local economy, and Plymouth was the happening spot for a day.
There’s nothing wrong with that.
I’d just like Plymouth to happen a little harder.
Nothing burns the frontal lobes of a writer with nada in the pipeline more than an underutilized resource.
You might think that my feelings on this are greedy and perhaps even crazy. They are definitely not in tune with the spirit of the season.
Thanksgiving should be when you are thankful for what you have, not about thinking “How can I make money?” and so forth. There admittedly are some errors in my argument when viewed from that viewpoint.
However, a rising tide lifts all boats that don’t have a big hole punched in the bottom, even those of the righteous. You can always be thankful, but you can always also be More Thankful.
Here are a few ideas I have that might get this town on a payin’ basis. We have a lot of nuclear reactor money to make up.
Is there anything that compelling beaming out of ESPN on, say, a holiday Thursday? Why not make the Plymouth North/Plymouth South Thanksgiving football game be a national event?
A big part of Thanksgiving lore in America involves going to the holiday high school football game, either the one where you went to high school at or the one in the town your kids go to school in. I’m about five years from having to make a very painful Duxbury-to-Bourne switch when my kid finally gets School Spirit.
ESPN should show a game. Sure, if they get one from Texas, they have 300 pounders all along the offensive line and cornerbacks running a 4.4, and that would get you a higher level game. However, a lot of the charm is lost if it looks too much like a pro game, especially if they play it at one of those Texas schools with the 70,000 seat stadiums and the History textbooks that end with Jimmy Carter in the White House.
I would instead radically re-design the football stadium for one of the schools, or perhaps even build a stadium on a neutral site. I’d put it near the sea, preferably near wherever the Pilgrims actually set foot ashore.
There are a lot of woodlands around the nuclear reactor (if you ever want to see a satellite view of suburban sprawl coming to a skidding halt on either side of something, do a Google Map of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant), maybe they could build it in there.
Thanksgiving Stadium (my idea, I’ll name it) would have less than 50,000 seats, but would possess several interesting visual facets:
– A giant replica Mayflower III on the seaside wall of the stadium, craftily positioned so that it would look like it was floating with the right camera angles. When either team scored, it could wobble back and forth as if in surf, while Rock The Boat (Don’t Tip The Boat Over) plays on the loudspeakers.
– A complete recreation of a Pilgrim and a Wampanoag village in either end zone.
– A much better version of Plymouth Rock. I would use the largest boulder that can be moved by modern machinery, and make it be the non-seaside wall of the stadium. I’d use a Disney-style fake rock if moving a small mountain became problematic.
– This Plymouth Rock would be hollowed out enough that the “1620” can be lit with fire or plasma rays. If we could somehow project the 1620 onto the moon, I’d be a-ight with that.
– A completely functional and life-sized lighthouse, which admittedly may be redundant with the 1620 neon sign.
– A seven hundred foot Turkey Of Vengeance robot who bursts forth from the sea to seek dinner-related vengeance on the crowd. We’d stop him before he killed
too many any people, of course.
Once we have the stadium in place, we’d need to get the schools up to speed.
We don’t need to have the kids playing pro-level football, but it can’t look like a Pop Warner game. Top coaches should be brought in, players from other schools should be lured in and the phys-ed classes K-12 should be hyper-intensified. I would not be put off by Soviet Union/Red Army comparisons.
We’d have to re-mascot the schools, as well. North could be the Pilgrims, South would be the… OK, this gets touchy.
“Wampanoags” is sort of a mouthful. “Indians” seems almost like a slur. “Sachems” lacks brand name recognition, and I think Middleboro or someone may already be the Sachems. “Warriors” is a bit bloody-minded. “Squantos” has a ring to it, although there was only one Squanto and we’d be heading into Lone Rangers territory. “Natives” sounds like what the Tea Party would name a team if they had one.
I suppose we could go Team Standish vs Team Alden, for the Massasoit Trophy. To be fair, Team Metacom vs Team Wamsutta for the Mayflower Trophy also works.
We’d also have to get the cheerleaders to step up their game. I’m thinking this here…. or this below.
In turn for pretty much handing them their holiday viewing (and 30 for 30 special, or whatever they call those) for every Thanksgiving, ESPN will see that Plymouth gets a little financial compensation.
Compensation would be in order. I’m not sure that “free publicity” means much to a town that is in the early chapters of every American History textbook, Likewise, nationally televised stadium advertising would be limited, as very few people in Chicago are going to be ordering delivery from the humble Pizza Factory in America’s Hometown.
No, Plymouth will be requiring little green pieces of paper with Founding Father Faces.
America would adopt the game as their own. It might not sell well out East where many are going to their own HS games, but it would be prime morning viewing for anyone a time zone or three over.
Speaking of compulsory national Thanksgiving viewing, we could make some improvements to the Thanksgiving parade and get it up on the tube.
Macy’s has a Thanksgiving parade. Philadelphia and Detroit also have prominent Thanksgiving parades. New York was an Algonquian trading post with 5000 Lenape natives when the first Thanksgiving was held in 1621. Why should they have the Thanksgiving parade?
The Thanksgiving parade held in Plymouth should be televised nationally. The Macy’s parade gets 88 million eyes a year. It is a national tradition that the much smaller Plymouth has little chance of vanquishing.
Plymouth could work some odd angle for their parade, to distinguish it from the giant Macy’s parade that we have no chance of defeating straight up.
The Macy’s parade starts at 9 AM, and ends about when the North/South football game would be starting. We’d be fools to run opposite of that.
Why not try the night before, or even Thanksgiving night?
7 PM, either night. I like the Thursday night idea better, as we’d be trying to wedge in between the 4 PM NFL game and the 8:30 PM game. We’d have all of the vacationers in town already, as opposed to a Wednesday night event.
We’d have to weed out the weaklings among the parade attractions. We’d have to hunt up corporate sponsorship, which could be used to super-power the floats.
We’d have to consider altering the parade route. I like Benny’s as much as the next person doesn’t, but it’s not the place for a Jump Off. I’m thinking of using 3A, maybe make the parade run from Plimoth Plantation to Plymouth Rock. That may also prove problematic. but we can sweat the details later.
The important part is the ending, which is also why Thursday night is crucial to the parade.
Plymouth is already the home of Thanksgiving. Why not also take the running-unopposed title for Black Friday?
That’s right… go from humbly thanking the Gods for what you have to the Gimme Gimme Gimme of the Christmas shopping season. It’s the most important day of the consumer year, and no city owns it.
Plymouth could take possession of Black Friday simply by having the eyes of the nation on them already via the football game and the parade. End that parade at Plymouth Rock, and light a mammoth Christmas tree there.
A simple, symbolic act, lighting that tree. It will match neither the Rockefeller Center tree nor even the Boston tree in grandeur.
However, what it lacks in prestige, it makes up for in timing. Tied to the Thanksgiving parade, at a slack hour between football games…. Boom… Light that sucker up.
Black Friday is ours.
Granted, I’m aiming high, with stadiums and new holidays and all. Plymouth should aim high. If we don’t, someone might come along and take Thanksgiving from us. New York already has the nationally televised parade that by all rights should belong to Plymouth.
We can take it back, if we Think Big.
Whether that makes enough money to pay for the effort remains to be seen. I’m more of an idea guy than a bean counter. The bean counters would have the hard job.
However, if Plymouth has a chance to profit heavily off of a holiday that they already own, and if they have a chance to claim a second holiday, would they not be wise to look into the best case scenario?