The Mayflower II, a replica of the famous ship that sailed from England to Massachusetts in 1620, is the centerpiece of a new Maritime Festival slated to take place in Boston Harbor on May 14-19, 2020.   Following a three-year, $11.3 million restoration, the Mayflower II will make its debut by sailing into Boston Harbor alongside the USS Constitution.

The announcement was made this week by Governor Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, the National Park Service and organizers of Mayflower Sails 2020, who gathered at the Charlestown Navy Yard.

Governor Baker spoke about the historical significance of the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage. “This stuff really matters, and sometimes it takes a big moment like this, to bring everybody together, to give it the kind of attention its due,” he said.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh called the event, “an opportunity to keep our special history alive. It’s a teaching moment for our kids, about what life was life 400 years ago.  It reminds us of the promise of America, and our passion to protect that promise. “

Magan Munson, CEO of Mayflower Sails 2020, called the event “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a step back in time to learn about the pilgrims and the native people that isn’t always found in the history books.”

Following the grand entrance by the two ships into Boston Harbor, the six day maritime festival, free and open to the public at the Navy Yard, features access to the ship, a food court and beer garden and other activities throughout the week, including educational programs for students.

The event coincides with a year-long commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival in Massachusetts in 1620.  Other major events are being held in Plymouth, Provincetown and other places in Massachusetts being organized by Plymouth 400, Plimoth Plantation and Provincetown 400.

The Mayflower II is a re-creation of the original Mayflower. Built in England in the 1950s, it was given to the United States as a gift to honor the cooperation between the two countries during World War II.