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Sutton Harbour’s American Independence Celebrations

7th July 2015

Last weekend hundreds of people gathered on Quay Square in Sutton Harbour to celebrate American Independence Day at a special event organised by One Small Candle with Sutton Harbour Holdings Plc. The event was a huge success and so we spoke to organiser David Saunders, Plymouth’s Pilgrim and owner of One Small Candle to find out how it has inspired his plans for next year.

Pilgrim_making_speech

How do you feel the event went?

I was very happy with the event and it was great to see everyone dancing under the restaurant canopies and along the streets and quayside.It was a delight to see so many local traders get in the spirit of the day. I personally enjoyed seeing all the happy families and long lost friends that came along.

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What did it mean to the people that came along?

The local American expat group were thrilled that yet another American celebration was marked in the Plymouth calendar. We had Americans from so many differing States that were here on a visit and the event surprised them all. They all said it was great that Plymouth did this sort of thing. The US Coast Guard were thrilled that they were welcomed to their new City of residence with such gusto.

Were there any surprise guests for you?

A 12 year old girl from Danville, California really surprised me when I asked where she was from and I knew the exact street and sub division, she knew the pub that my wife Liz and I almost bought – and her family are a member of the Danville Chamber of Commerce as I was.Her Mom even shopped in my favourite store… Nordstrom. She was really sweet and said Plymouth was nice and that she really liked the Sutton Harbour area.

Postman Pat and Foxy from the Plymouth Raiders were also a pleasant surprise – great fun too!

It was also a lovely surprise to see our dear friend Commander Charles Chrichton OBE … He has really helped me organise some lovely American events.

Stilt_man_at_Sutton_Harbour

Was it a hit with the Americans living in the city?

Oh yes ! My wife is one of them and although now a British Citizen she and the other expats had a great time and all happy that Plymouth embraces them so well.They particularly liked Melissa Adams singing The Star Spangled Banner solo. There were a lot of hands on hearts for this.

What did people like the best?

The happy family atmosphere and the fact that people from all countries were made so welcome… everyone mixing together in a safe environment. We had groups of Japanese students dancing to Swing music and the Norwegian Navy singing along to our band, Jessica & the Rabbits, who were really popular and got everyone tapping their toes!

Jessica_and_the_rabbits

How was it for you and the Pilgrim family?

Exhausting!Wearing thick wool costumes on a hot day is tough going!We had a lot of fun … especially little Olivia and Isabella the Pilgrim sisters who survived on ice cream kindly supplied by Cobbles Ice Cream.

Young_pilgrims_with_ice_cream

Liz wears a real handmade theatrical corset and was struggling along with me – we drank over a gallon of water each with Liz sneaking in a couple of refreshing G & T’s in!

We are all so flattered that so many people from differing backgrounds wanted to speak to us and have photographs taken.On a poignant note there was a guy that was seriously paralysed sat in a mobility chair that sneaked a kiss off Liz and was howling laughing that he had pulled his welcome prank off! Everyone that saw it clapped and cheered… We loved it all!

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Will you do it again next year?

Yes please. I really enjoyed working with Charlotte and Bracken (from Sutton Harbour Holdings Plc) and Cathryn Baldanza (of Mayflower 400 in 2020) in getting this event together.I really learned a lot organising this one. Everyone was so helpful and went out of their way to be kind when I was, at times, struggling.