Dover 400: A Weekend of Comedy, Boats, and Baseball
The Dover 400 celebration has its busiest weekend so far of its year-long celebration, with several events during the weekend.
The weather will not be a perfect sunny day nor a complete washout, with cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 80s and a chance of showers and thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.
Laughs to Start
A comedy show called the Dover 400 Humdinger kicks off the weekend at The Woodman Museum, hosted by Erin Feeley starting at 6 p.m. Billed as a "once in 400 years comedy show", comedians Amy Tee, Kathe Farris, and Frank Santorelli will take the stage.
Saturday features three events including the Dover 400 Rock Day Bands at the Rotary Pavilion, with six performers on stage between noon and 8 p.m. An antique car show with a beer/wine/beverage garden and food trucks will take place from noon until 5 p.m. The Gunalow leads a boat parade starting at 4 p.m. in Hilton Park, and going up the Cocheco River.
On Sunday, it's a day of old-time vintage baseball to celebrate the 400th anniversaries of both Portsmouth and Dover. The game is part of a busy weekend for the Dover 400 celebration, which includes The Dover 400 Humdinger comedy show and the Dover by Water boat parade.
A Day of Baseball
The main event of the day is two teams from the Essex Base Ball Association playing a doubleheader at Leary Field in Portsmouth. They'll be using rules from the 1860s, wearing period uniforms, and using period equipment. The Lowell Nine will represent Dover, while the Portsmouth Rockinghams – named after a team that actually played in Portsmouth in the 1860s – will represent Portsmouth.
“We are thrilled to see our communities come together for this unique and exciting event. The vintage baseball game between Dover and Portsmouth offers a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our shared history and love for America’s pastime," Dover 400 Executive Director Jeannette Poulin said. "We are looking forward to this thrilling clash of historic rivals as they battle it out on the diamond. Let’s play ball!”
A bat made of rosewood, copied from an 1860s-era bat, and used in the game will be given to the City of Portsmouth.
There will also be games between Portsmouth American Legion Frank Booma Post 6, Dover American Legion Post 8, and Exeter American Legion Post 32, all made up of teen players.
“By including the American Legion Baseball teams whose players range from 13 to 19 years old, we are bringing in the younger generations so they and spectators can see the origin of the game and by the end of the day see the evolution of the sport. It’s a perfect vintage-to-contemporary baseball day," former Portsmouth High School Principal Mary Lyons said.