• The Garrison Flag flies over Fort McHenry.

    Fort McHenry

    National Monument and Historic Shrine Maryland

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  • Reg. Hours Hours: September 3, 2013 - May 24, 2014

    Park: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Star Fort: 9 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. Visitor Center: 9 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.

Defenders Day - The Star-Spangled Banner Weekend

The Fort McHenry Guard advances with artillery during the Defenders Day tactical demonstration.

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Date: August 11, 2009

Friday, Saturday & Sunday, September 11, 12 & 13

Join us for Fort McHenry’s flagship event! This three-day encampment and extravaganza is celebrated with over 100 War of 1812 reenactors, parades, military bands, fireworks, a symbolic ship-to-shore bombardment and much more!

The Star-Spangled Banner Weekend honors Defenders’ Day, Baltimore’s oldest holiday commemorating the bombardment of Fort McHenry and the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner!” Events begin with a Friday evening ceremonial procession of War of 1812 “soldiers” from the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House to the Inner Harbor, followed by a ceremony at the amphitheater. After the ceremony the reenactors will board sailing boats and return with the 30’x42’ replica flag to Fort McHenry. Saturday and Sunday, activities include children’s programs, historic boats, military encampments/demonstrations and a “privateer’s auction” of “captured goods.” Saturday evening’s program, beginning at 6 p.m., features a concert, a musket firing tactical demonstration with volunteer reenactors from all over the country (narrated), a symbolic ship-to-shore bombardment and evening fireworks show.

Click for your copy of the Star-Spangled Banner Weekend Brochure

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
Defenders Day Weekend Schedule


Friday, September 11, 2009

“Flags to the Fort! Ceremony” – Join the 1814 defenders of Baltimore as they march with the “Star-Spangled Banner” from the National War of 1812 Museum & Star Spangled Banner Flag House to the Inner Harbor. The march begins at 5:50 p.m.

The highlight of the Friday program is a grand ceremony in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor at the amphitheater at 6:00 p.m. The ceremony involves a fife and drum concert, short talk on the importance of Defenders’ Day and flag presentation. The ceremony concludes as the reenactors cast off and depart the Inner Harbor on historic sailing boats. Join them as they land at Tide Point and continue the parade up Hull Street to Fort Avenue and back to Fort McHenry.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

9:00 a.m.  Roll calls, inspections in camps.

10:00 a.m.  Dress parade in fort, 30’X42’ flag is raised.

10:30 -11:30 a.m.  Defend the Battery! Ongoing cannon-firing demonstrations at the
Water Battery.

12:00 noon   “Lest We Forget” Join the Society of the War of 1812 as they lay a wreath in remembrance of the heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice to defend the city in 1814.

12:20 p.m. “The Burning of Washington and Birth of the Anthem” – Join noted author and journalist Anthony Pitch as he relates the exciting events that led to the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” (Armistead Plaza)

12:45 p.m. “What stirring Music!” - Fife & Drum concert in the fort.

2:00 p.m.  “The Sounds of Battle!” See how land battles were fought in the War of 1812. Come and watch reenactors fire cannons and muskets and simulate battle tactics
from the early 1800s. Tactical – (program area)
                       
3:00 p.m.  “The Burning of Washington and Birth of the Anthem” – Join noted author and journalist Anthony Pitch as he relates the exciting events that led to the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

3:30 – 4:00 p.m.  Defend the Battery! Ongoing cannon and musket firing demonstrations at the Water Battery

4:00 p.m.  “What stirring Music!” - Fife & Drum concert in the fort – half-hour program
also involves flag change and closure of the fort by 4:45 p.m.

4:00 p.m.  Troops eat dinner

Join us at 6:00 p.m. for the highlight of the weekend! The grand evening program!

Celebrate Baltimore’s oldest holiday in grand style as we commemorate the 195th anniversary of the successful defense of the city from British attack and the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” our national anthem. This memorable program is free! Visitors are invited to bring coolers and lawn chairs to watch the spectacular celebration. The “big show” includes:

* Speeches by famous personalities – including Governor Martin O’Malley

* Musket and Cannon firing tactical demonstration by War of 1812 reenactors

* Concert by the Chesapeake Concert Band

* Symbolic Ship-to-Shore Bombardment – watch the cannons of the fort fire down the river as pyrotechnic “bombs” explode over the fort

* Huge 30-minute Firework Show by Zambelli!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

10:30 a.m.   Flag raising and dress parade in the star fort.

10:40 a.m. – noon  Defend the Battery!  - ongoing cannon and musket-firing demonstrations at the Water Battery

11:30 a.m.   “The Burning of Washington and Birth of the Anthem” – Join noted author and journalist Anthony Pitch as he relates the exciting events that led to the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
 
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.  Defend the Battery! - ongoing cannon and musket-firing demonstrations at the Water Battery

 2:30 p.m.   Military review in the fort and lowering of the 30’X42’ flag.

3:00 p.m.   Event ends.

Did You Know?

An aerial view of Fort McHenry.

Fort McHenry was built prior to the War of 1812. The fort is named for James McHenry, Secretary of War, 1796-1800.