With a key event just weeks away, Jamestown 2007 outlines details and asks for volunteers.
Show time is less than three weeks away for the Godspeed Sail, an 80-day promotional tour that will cost nearly $5 million and is designed to pump up interest in the Jamestown 2007 commemoration and draw tourists to Virginia during the anniversary event.
The tour of six major East Coast ports is centered around a new Godspeed replica ship and its "Landing Party," a festival that will cover an area close to the size of a football field. At each port, the Landing Party will include a hip-hop performer giving an African slave's perspective, a 12-seat simulator that rocks and sways to recreate the Jamestown settlers' sea voyage and an original children's musical called "Ba-baaah and the Windigo."
Organizers are in the middle of their final preparations, which included issuing a call Tuesday for local volunteers to help staff the tour. The Godspeed Sail is the first main event of the Jamestown 2007 commemoration, a series of events over 18 months to mark the 400th anniversary of North America's first permanent English settlement.
The sail will cost an estimated $4.8 million, according to the state-run Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. That doesn't include the construction cost of the new Godspeed replica, built in Maine for $2.6 million.
"It's designed to enter markets where we think we can bring people down," said Kevin Crossett, a spokesman for Jamestown 2007, a sub-agency of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. Overall, organizers estimate 2.4 million visitors will take part in the 18 months of events, with about 90,000 people expected during "America's Anniversary Weekend" on May 11-13, 2007.
The hip-hop artist, who will perform an original song called "I Have a Name," is part of a 16-person group of young dancers and singers called "Anniversary Voices." The group will perform on the festival's main stage along with actors in the original children's musical. The musical is intended to tell the Jamestown story from the perspective of an American Indian girl, native animals, an English sheep named "Ba-baaah" and a legendary monster called the "Windigo."
Other features of the Landing Party will include an exhibit area with about 20 different presenters called "Anniversary Village," where visitors can get information about Colonial Williamsburg, the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia wine, England's Kent County and other topics or destinations. Another exhibit area, called "American People, American Progress," will highlight the intersection of three cultures at Jamestown: African, American Indian and European.
The festival -- covering up to 40,000 square feet -- also will feature a section called "The Jamestown Experience," where visitors can see models of the Jamestown settlement and the three ships that brought the original settlers. In addition, the new Godspeed replica's top deck will be open for tours led by costumed interpreters.
"There's a lot of things going on," said Linda Stanier, manager of special events and promotions for Jamestown 2007. She said 17 tractor-trailers, a bus for about 30 cast members and other vehicles will be used to transport the Landing Party from port to port.
Local contractors at each port will be involved in setting up and taking down the festival facilities, Stanier said. Jamestown 2007, which has an overall budget of about $40 million, is working with New York-based Prosody Creative Services to put on the Godspeed Sail and three other main events.
Crossett, the Jamestown 2007 spokesman, said Tuesday's call for volunteers is not a sign that the sail is under-manned. He said organizers always have planned to involve volunteers. They asked for people who live around the six ports to volunteer in early April, and now have extended the invitation to Williamsburg-area residents, he said.
Volunteer duties likely will include escorting visitors around exhibit areas, staffing information booths or helping stage managers check-in local performers at each port. The six host ports are Alexandria on May 27-June 3, Baltimore on June 9-12, Philadelphia on June 16-19, New York City on June 27-July 6, Boston on July 14-19 and Newport, R.I., on July 25-30.
Organizers want to have 30-35 volunteers for each of the Godspeed Sail's 40 "event days," Crossett said. People often volunteer just before an event takes place, so organizers first have focused on Alexandria, where they already have about 50 volunteers signed up, he said. *
WANT TO VOLUNTEER FOR THE GODSPEED SAIL?
See the "Volunteers" section of www.jamestown2007.org or call (757) 220-7008
Want more information about Jamestown 2007?
Organizers are holding an information fair at The Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center from 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday.
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