The Concord Independent Battery on the grounds of The Old Manse in Minute Man National Historic Park on Patriots Day. Photo by Maia Kennedy Photography

There’s one year to go to 250. Will Concord, and Concordians, be ready?

By Celeste Katz Marston

Concordians know the sound of church bells, muskets, and cannon fire in the early morning of April 19. The traditional Dawn Salute stirs those witness to it and those still abed. It’s a reminder that in 1775, this town rallied to fight for freedom.

This year, that sound isn’t just a warning shot or a wake-up call. 

It’s a starting gun.

Precisely one year from today, Concord will find itself at the epicenter of America’s celebration of the 250th anniversary of the start of the Revolutionary War. 

It will be no quiet affair. 

Crowd estimates vary, but anywhere from 150,000 to 250,000 visitors are expected to mass — or attempt to — on Concord. They’ll seek colonial pageantry, cell service, bathrooms, food, parking, and maybe a president. They’ll come to praise and party and likely protest, expecting to do it all freely and safely.

Visitors are one thing.

But with past and future in mind, what will 250 mean to Concord and Concordians themselves? 

A boy salutes as the Patriots Day parade moves through Concord Center. Photo by Maia Kennedy Photography

“Concord250 will honor those first 250 years, but [we] really hope that this will inspire Concordians, and our visitors, to imagine what the next 250 years may entail and what we still aspire and know we need to achieve,” says Gary Clayton, co-chair of the Concord250 Executive Committee.

“It’ll be a time of celebration, of reflection, and — I hope — fun for our residents and for our businesses as well.”

Says Co-Chair Robert Munro, it “was a collaborative effort 250 years ago, [and] we are keenly aware that this has to be [an] inclusive effort. So we’re [including] perspectives and expertise from traditionally non-centered voices… If our process is equitable, inclusive and collaborative, the product is going to pan out perfectly.”

At the same time, he says, 250 is “really an investment to showcase Concord, [including as] a place to potentially live. This is an opportunity where we have local, national, international eyes on us.”

Patriots Day commemorates the start of the Revolution. Photo by Maia Kennedy Photography

As they’ve done for centuries of Patriots Days, some Concord groups, from volunteers to businesspeople to educators, community organizations, history buffs, and, yes, newspapers, will dive into the effort. Others may want to clear out until the dust of another history-making day settles.

The chance to embrace that generational opportunity — for celebration, commemoration, commercialization — on Patriots Day 2025 is a limited-time offer. 

Concord and Concordians will spend the next year preparing, anticipating, or just bracing themselves for the challenge.