As we do every year, on Friday and Saturday Kanti and I went to the 67thannual Pilgrim Festival in Claremont.  The festival takes place every year just before the Thanksgiving Holiday to commemorate the arrival of the first English settlers, known today as Pilgrims.  The settlers left Plymouth, England, aboard the ship Mayflower for the New World in 1620, and landed in present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts, where they founded a colony.

Beside Claremont’s famous colleges and universities, Pilgrim Place is one highlight that deserves attention.  It’s a community designed for senior citizens who have lived in foreign countries as missionaries or have spent their lives in providing service to mankind.  During the 35 years we have lived in Claremont, we have met five people in Pilgrim Place who had lived in Nepal, including Dr. Fleming and his wife who founded the Santa Bhavan Hospital in 1956.

The Pilgrim Festival starts on a Friday morning and continues all day Saturday.  The people who visit the festival consist of school children, local residents, and people from as far away as Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara and beyond.  They come in droves; some even come in chartered buses.

From a very humble beginning, the festival has grown large and it now runs like a well-oiled machine.  There is food, there are games and rides for kids of all ages, vegetables, plants, crafts and artifacts from many countries in which the residents have lived or visited.  All items for the sale are donated.  Sometimes you discover a rare gem.  While Kanti visits every room or booth in the large surrounding of the community, I like to spend my time in the book sections spread out into several rooms and in the outdoor.  The festival offers anything from sewing needles to old vintage furniture and electronics to old gardening tools.   Proceeds, which grossed more than one hundred thousand dollars last year, go to resident help and support programs in Pilgrim Place.

Most of the residents dress up in stereotypical Pilgrim costumes, bringing out the atmosphere and colors of 17th century America.   It indeed is a fun place to visit.