History of Yankee Homecoming Newburyport

By Caitlin Dowling, Newburyport.com Correspondent
Caitlin is a freelance editor/writer and former news producer for CNN. As a local mom of three, her family can be found enjoying all Newburyport has to offer, from strolling downtown to biking the rail trail to swimming at the beach.
History of Yankee Homecoming Newburyport

Yankee Homecoming History

The history of  Yankee Homecoming is far more than just a series of events, it is an annual celebration founded on the ideals that continue to bond our community today. The original Yankee Homecoming history was inspired by three concepts: the need to reunite Newburyport natives with family and friends who had moved away, a desire to stimulate the local economy and to give the locals something to get excited about. In 1958 Newburyport held their first Yankee Homecoming, welcoming and encouraging Newburyport natives and visitors to return to Newburyport for the week long celebration.  Although there were 29 New England towns that originally hosted Yankee Homecoming celebrations, Newburyport is said to be the only city that still continues the tradition today.

The idea for Yankee Homecoming was originated by local New England artist Jack Frost who was determined to restore appreciation for the

Yankee Homecoming Parade

beauty and heritage of New England.  Frost described his vision as “a national pilgrimage back east where it all began”. At the time, many city centers were experiencing economic hardships, with factories and mills closing and storefronts remaining empty and the federal government was stepping in with urban renewal plans.  Frost saw Yankee Homecoming as an opportunity to showcase all the potential these New England cities had. Through the years, Yankee Homecoming has continued to be a festival that showcases everything Newburyport has to offer and a way to help support the local economy.

He worked with Joe Mathers and George Cashman to gain approval from Newburyport city officials. George became the very first chairman of Newburyport’s Yankee Homecoming. One of his first orders of business was selecting the date for the annual celebration of which Cashman made sure coincided with the August 4th birthday of the US Coast Guard.  This was very important because Newburyport is the birthplace of the US Coast Guard. In fact, a memorial was dedicated to the Coast Guard on August 4, 1958 during the first homecoming that has become a focal point of the festivities. Cashman continued to support the city he loved, residing in Newburyport until his passing in December of 2006. The 2007 Yankee Homecoming celebration honored its founder and his fifty years of dedication throughout the ten days.

Rich with tradition, Yankee Homecoming continues to be a thriving celebration that makes Newburyport unique, promotes our local economy and provides our families, friends and community an opportunity to come together. Each year residents and visitors alike flock to the city to enjoy the numerous events and support local businesses.  Newburyport is committed to celebrating Yankee Homecoming traditions and proud of how our annual celebration continues to strengthen each year.

The Yankee Homecoming Committee consists of many dedicated volunteers. This annual celebration is all possible due to extensive planning and volunteer efforts that start long before Yankee Homecoming festivities take place each year. Newburyport.com developed a partnership with Yankee Homecoming back in 2014 and is proud to volunteer our services each year running from event to event capturing videos and pictures and utilizing our social media platform and website to significantly expand awareness of the Yankee Homecoming tradition. View 2021 event video coverage and prior year videos on our Local Event Videos page, visit our Live Web Cams page to check live downtown happenings, find feature articles under Events Coverage and of course check the Events Calendar for the complete list of events. If you want to learn more about the history of Newburyport, Yankee Homecoming offers a range of self guided tours during the festival week, ranging from neighborhood tours of historical houses to walks through the Old South Church or Oak Hill Cemetery.  For direct access to the Events Calendar, type “Newburyport” in the App Store or Play Store and download the Newburyport App.

In addition to providing free media services, the Newburyport.com/Yankee Homecoming Partnership also helps to raise money for the Yankee Homecoming Fireworks. If you enjoy dining and shopping in our local community, you can support the Yankee Homecoming Fireworks Fund by purchasing or renewing your Newburyport VIP  Discount Card.  The VIP Program allows you to enjoy discounts at many local restaurants and shops in the Greater Newburyport community. $10 of each purchase or renewal is donated to the Yankee Homecoming Fireworks Fund.