"Find Your Park" on this patriotic Star-Spangled Banner Weekend at Fort McHenry on September 9-11, 2016. The three-day event will feature parades, fireworks, a military encampment of one hundred War of 1812 living historians, a symbolic ship-to-shore bombardment, noted authors, and a patriotic evening concert. Defenders' Day, a Maryland state holiday since 1908 honors the successful defense of the city from British military and naval forces and the writing of the National Anthem in 1814.
Friday morning, September 9: Thirteen hundred Baltimore city school children will "find their park" by participating in "Young Defenders," a curriculum based program highlighting Baltimore's role in the War of 1812 and Fort McHenry. They will hear Francis Scott Key recite "The Star-Spangled Banner," and learn about the role of African-Americans in 1814; help unfold a 42' x30' full-size replica of the original Star-Spangled Banner flag. The program is a partnership between the City of Baltimore, the National Park Service, Friends of Fort McHenry, and the Living Classrooms Foundation.
Friday evening at 7:00 p.m.: The Fort McHenry Guard and other living historians will muster at the foot of Hull Street in Locust Point and parade a replica of the "Star-Spangled Banner" flag from Hull street to Fort Avenue to Fort McHenry. Local residents and visitors will be invited to "find their park" by cheering the procession and waving flags as they pass by. The park's main entrance gates close at 5 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday – September 10 & 11: Fort McHenry comes alive! Events include a large military encampment featuring drills, cooking demonstrations, and musket firing. Family-oriented activities include a dress parade, children's programs, cannon firing, and raising of the large 30 x 42-foot Star-Spangled Banner flag. Special guests include children's authors and local historians.
The Saturday Evening Program at 6:30 p.m. honors the nation's spirit of defense of the many natural and historic sites across the nation. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets for a memorable evening! The weekend highlight begins with greetings by public dignitaries, fife and drum music of the Fort McHenry Guard and a patriotic concert by the United States Army Field Band. As dusk settles, a symbolic ship-to-shore bombardment will take place as pyrotechnic "bombs" are fired over the fort and cannon of the Presidential Salute Battery thunder a reply. The evening program concludes with the singing of the National Anthem and a 30-minute fireworks display. The evening program is free! Sign Language Interpreters will be provided for the Saturday, Sept. 10 evening program.
Sunday at 11:00 a.m. highlights include a special reading of the names of Marylanders lost in both the Battle for Baltimore during the War of 1812 and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 with a wreath-laying ceremony. Sunday activities conclude at 2:00 p.m. with an afternoon dress parade by the Fort McHenry Guard.
Children entering the Star Fort's 1814 barracks have the opportunity to try on replica historic clothing and also be able to "enlist" as a soldier of the War of 1812 and even serve on a cannon crew!
Park Event Hours: Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Sunday 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Admission to enter the Star Fort is $10.00 per adult (age 16 and up). The Visitor Center film, exhibits and grounds are free. Children age 15 and under are free.