Patriots Day crowd 2024Hundreds line the north side of Mass. Ave. during the reenactment. / Crystal Lin photos

UPDATED April 17: Mass. Ave. was the place to be Sunday afternoon as the community held its annual observance of the Patriots Day state holiday.

"Sunday’s Battle of Menotomy Reenactment went very well. There were no major incidents to report," said Capt. Richard Flynn. He is the spokesman for the Arlington Police Department, which had personnel on the scene of the event that stretched for many blocks throughout Arlington Center. "Our estimates have the crowd in attendance to be in the thousands."

He continued, "The Arlington Police Department expresses its gratitude for all the contributions that helped in the success of this year's Battle of Menotomy Reenactment. This appreciation extends to the spectators, reenactment actors, town employees and extended agencies involved in the event. Additionally, we commend our police officers for their unwavering dedication to safeguarding the community."

Costumed performers safely reenact battle scenesWith Old Glory in the background, actors portray American colonists/militia members of April 19, 1775.

On April 19, 1775, the dawn of the Revolutionary War, the most lethal battle of the entire day took place in Arlington, then known as Menotomy. This year’s reenactment of the Battle of Menotomy is believed to have been largest ever to date.

The actors recreated a bloodless version of this major historical event along Mass. Ave. at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 14, starting at Grove Street and ending at Medford Street. View the entire route here >> 

Road closures and parking restrictions took place on Mass. Ave. between Mount Vernon and Franklin streets, excluding access by adjacent streets, from noon until 5 p.m. that day;  normal traffic patterns resumed by 3:15 p.m.

Most spectators gathered on the north side of Mass. Ave. as the town had requested, but some were across the street. Mock musket firings could be seen at the site and, in some cases, could be heard in other parts of town as well.

Arlington’s own Menotomy Minutemen performed in the reenactments that afternoon. Also taking part were performers belonging to simiar units from Danvers, Stow, Lexington, Medway, Lincoln, Acton, Charlestown, New Hampshire and New York.

For those who preferred something tamer, Leader Bank Kids’ Corner, 864 Mass. Ave. scheduled family friendly and fun activities that same day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. including free snacks, face-painting and a bounce house.

International visitors -- including Brits! -- weigh in

The Battle of Menotomy was pivotal to the start of the American Revolution, with colonists rebelling against the British crown. To recreate the historical event, performers dressed in costumes that matched the time-period and marched along Massachusetts Avenue; the entire event route was about 1 mile long. Most attendees gathered on the north side of the road as requested. The Arlington police stayed on site to regulate the event and road closures.  

Spectators gathered from different areas to witness the event, including visitors from overseas.

“I came over from the UK. We are making a documentary for PBS NOVA about the American Revolution. There will be a lot of science that explains how the weapons work, ” said Leo Ward, an England based film-maker.

“We’ve come to Arlington for a couple of days just to film these technical demonstrations, and we are going to go inside the Jason Russell House as well, ” he continued.

Flynn spoke briefly to YourArlington about the challenges of managing such a large event. He said that the biggest challenge of the event was “the length of the route and road detours”.  “Especially with Route 60, which is a large turnpike . . . but we’ve done these events before, and everything has gone well,” he said. 

Weekend forms preview of next year's intentions

The Arlington 250 Committee organized this and many other related activities sponsored by Leader Bank. This committee, which is accepting additional volunteers, is also officially called the Semiquincentennial Committee. Plans are already in the works for an even larger schedule of events for April 2025, which will be the 250th anniversary of what happened at Lexington, Concord and Arlington/Menotomy -- and which was the genesis of the American Revolution.

According to the town, the Semiquincentennial Committee currently is actively seeking additional resident volunteers to serve on this committee to evaluate, make recommendations and coordinate activities to be held a year from now to commemorate the Battle of Menotomy and other related historical events. "All interested parties are encouraged to submit a letter of interest to the Office of the Select Board at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it."

 April 9, 2024: Dramatic, peaceful "Battle of Menotomy' reenacted
More photos, portraying mock battle scenes, courtesy of the Town of Arlington, are viewable at the bottom of this page here >>

This account was published Tuesday, April 16, 2024, and updated Wednesday, April 17, with additional information and quotes from YourArlington freelancer Crystal Lin, who attended the Battle of Menotomy reenactment and took photographs.