WCVE PBS Presents The First Official Thanksgiving | Community Idea Stations


WCVE PBS Presents The First Official Thanksgiving

WCVE’s newest, locally-produced and directed film explores Virginia’s claim as the site of the first celebration of thanks by English explorers

Richmond, VA–WCVE PBS (Richmond) is sharing a monumental Virginia story. “The documentary is about the little known story of America’s first English Thanksgiving,” says Graham Woodlief, President of the Virginia Thanksgiving Festival. “Setting the record straight on where the first Thanksgiving occurred is an important milestone in the history of our state and deserves the recognition.”

The First Official Thanksgiving tells the story of how a group of settlers celebrated Thanksgiving when they landed at Berkeley Plantation in Virginia December 4, 1619, over a year before the Pilgrims settled at Plymouth. The documentary premieres on WCVE PBS/WHTJ PBS October 27 at 9:00 p.m. It will also air on Thanksgiving Day at 8:00 p.m.

“When Graham came to us about this project, it was very much in keeping with our mission to tell local stories and share local history,” says WCVE President & CEO Curtis Monk. “We are very pleased that we were able to make it a reality.”

Captain John Woodlief who led the expedition of 35 men to Berkeley is Graham Woodlief’s ancestor.

“The staff at WCVE believed in us and made a documentary that Virginians can be proud of,” says Woodlief.

Award-winning WCVE PBS Producer and Director Paul Roberts uses the film to tell a local story with local people.

“This documentary is an effort of hard working, enthusiastic and creative people in Virginia,” says Roberts, “local actors, production crew members and interpreters with a zeal for originating really good films and TV.”

Richmonder John Witt plays Lyon Tyler in the film. “When I learned WCVE was making a documentary on the subject and I was going to play Tyler – I literally did a happy dance,” says Witt. “The fact that we were able to shoot at the historic locations made it impossible not to get caught up in the story.

WCVE PBS is the presenting station for the documentary which will be made available to a national audience through American Public Television.

WCVE PBS is part of the Community Idea Stations. The Community Idea Stations is the largest locally owned and operated public media company in the region, each week reaching more than 300,000 people throughout central Virginia through radio with 88.9 WCVE and television with WCVE PBS/WHTJ PBS, WCVW PBS, lifestyle channel WCVE Create and international program channel MHz Worldview. Additional content and information for lifelong learners of all ages is available at  ideastations.org.

CONTACT: Gabrielle Jones (804) 560-8251 gjones@ideastations.org.