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Join 'colonists' for food and fun at the 3-day 'First Feast' in Lehi

LEHI — About half a dozen comedy actors playing the roles of America's early settlers will bring life and entertainment to Thanksgiving Point's first "First Feast," a celebration of the country's first Thanksgiving.

Comedy Sports, a Utah comedy improvisation troupe, will play the parts of costumed villagers, tradesmen and early Separatist leaders when Thanksgiving Point transforms its show barn into a 17th-century village for three days. Only 250 tickets are available for each show.

If you go, expect to interact with the "colonists," Thanksgiving Point spokesman Todd Maurer said.

"This is much more than just a meal," he said. "(Guests) will come away having been entertained, well fed and more educated about the first Thanksgiving. It should be a lot of fun. There'll be some laughs."

First Feast creators called on Plimouth Plantation, a living 17th-century museum in Plymouth, Mass., for most of what is known about that event in 1621.

"We wanted to be as authentic as possible," Maurer said.

The museum receives thousands of requests every year about the first Thanksgiving so it has published "The Thanksgiving Primer." The publication draws from various sources, including first-hand accounts of Gov. William Bradford of Massachusetts and Master Edward Winslow, both colony leaders. Those brief accounts are the only known published references to the event. Other information comes from studying early traditions.

According to the research, no one knows when the first three-day harvest festival took place, but it was between Sept. 21 and Nov. 9, dates that are known because on Sept. 21 a small boat arrived from Massachusetts Bay and on Nov. 9 the ship Fortune arrived with settlers.

Among the people who attended that first celebration were 43 Mayflower passengers and nine seamen and servants. Roughly half of the Mayflower settlers who left England in 1620 died during the first winter in the Plymouth colony. Also attending were Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoag tribe, and 90 of his tribesmen.

Games, crafts and animals are also expected to add authenticity to the meal.

First Feast begins at 6 p.m. on Nov. 17 and Nov. 18 and at noon on Nov. 19. Doors open a half hour before the start time.

If you go . . .

What: "First Feast"

Where: The Show Barn at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi; take the Alpine/Highland exit

When: Nov. 17-19

How much: $30 adults, $18 children 3-12

Phone: 768-2300