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Contact: MaryEllen Snyder, (724) 329-8131
Farmington, PA - The National Park Service invites you to celebrate America’s Independence by attending specialJuly 4th events in the five Western Pennsylvania National Parks. Park staff and volunteers have planned many fun and educational activities for July 4th and on the weekends leading up to and following the federal holiday. You can hike with a Park Ranger along a historic road trace though the mountains, watch the firing of muskets and artillery used during the French and Indian War, kids can learn about nature and history by becoming a Junior Ranger and everyone will enjoy listening to a free outdoor concert of traditional patriotic favorites performed by the VFW Band on the historic battlefield. National Parks' Superintendent Jeff Reinbold encourages visitors to “spend time with family and friends exploring the National Parks in Western PA that showcase American history from the 1750's to the present.”
On July 4, all five Western PA National Parks will be open and visitors can attend many different types of programs presented by Park Rangers and volunteers including; guided tours of the Gallatin House at Friendship Hill, attend a new citizen’s naturalization ceremony at Fort Necessity, Ranger and volunteer led programs at the Memorial Plaza at Flight 93, one-hour van tours of the Park at Johnstown Flood National Memorial and tour a restored tavern, the Lemon House at Allegheny Portage Railroad NHS.
On the weekend before the 4th, the Parks staff are planning special activities for visitors of all ages.Saturday, June 29, “Allegheny Portage Railroad Day” will be held at Allegheny Portage Railroad NHS. Visitors can learn about life and work from the days of the Allegheny Portage Railroad. The National Park Service presents this special day of demonstrations and programs to show skills and daily activities of the 1830's and 1840's. Events will last from10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.and will include stonecutting, rope making, log hewing, spinning & weaving, cooking, a recreated workers encampment, children’s games and activities. Children are invited to participate in Junior Ranger Day which will include a special archaeology activity.
Also on Saturday, June 29, at Friendship Hill NHS, families are encouraged to participate in “Crafty Saturdays” activities. These hands-on fun activities will be from1:00 to 4:00. Visitors can make corn husk dolls, learn how to do needlework and weave baskets. Craft materials are provided programs.
On Sunday, June 30, you can go hiking with a Park Ranger at Allegheny Portage Railroad NHS. This guided hike is a nice easy walk along the trace of the Allegheny Portage Railroad near the Lemon House in the Summit area of the park. The hike is free but reservations are required, call 814-886-6150 to reserve your spot on this very popular hike in the mountains.
The day before the 4th, onWednesday, July 3, visitors to Fort Necessity NB can participate in the commemoration of the anniversary of the 1754 battle at Fort Necessity NB. This battle “set the world on fire.” At the end of the French and Indian War, Great Britain gained control over North America, taxed the colonies for the cost of the war which resulted in the colonists fight for Independence and the founding of our Nation. As part of the July 3 events at Fort Necessity, a “New Citizens” ceremony will be conducted for twenty new American citizens who will take their oath at10:00 a.m. in the Park Visitor Center. A t7:00 p.m.the V.F.W. Band Post 8543 will perform a free concert of patriotic music on battlefield weather permitting.
The weekend following the 4th, onSaturday, July 6, Allegheny Portage Railroad will present an Evening on the Summit concert at 8 p.m. The concert includes a performance by The Michael O’Brian Band, come hear the World Famous Blitzin’ Gallitzin Irish Band.
This summer at Flight 93 National Memorial visitors will have the opportunity to explore the story of the brave actions of the 40 passengers and crew on Flight 93 which took place on September 11, 2001. Visitors will also learn about the efforts of first responders, the healing landscape of the memorial and how the memorial was built through exploring a "Discovery Table." Park Rangers and volunteers will assist children and their parents with hands-on activities and touchable objects. The Discovery Table activity will be presented on most Sundays from11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.depending on availability of staff and volunteers.
On July 4 and all summer long children may participate in Junior Ranger activities at four of the Western PA Parks. Johnstown Flood National Memorial will offer special Junior Ranger programs onJuly 6, 13, 20 and 27. Children ages 7 – 10 will have the chance to explore nature with a Park Ranger. Booklets, activities and ranger hats are some of the perks of becoming a Junior Ranger. Allegheny Portage Railroad NHS, Fort Necessity NB and Friendship Hill NHS also have Junior Ranger activities children can do every day including completing a free activity booklet and earning a Junior Ranger patch. For more information for these programs stop at the Visitor Center.
Spending a day in the National Parks of Western PA is an inexpensive way to spend the July 4th holiday. Children under16 may visit the Parks for free and anyone over 16 can buy an annual pass for $15.00 that allows up to four people to visit the Western PA parks that charge an entrance fee for one year. No entrance fees are charged at Friendship Hill NHS and Flight 93 National Memorial. Senior citizens 62 and over can purchase a lifetime Senior Pass for $10.00, which also admits the pass holder and three other guests to all National Parks. So if you bring Grandma, Grandpa or your Great Aunt or Uncle, the whole family can visit the Park for $10.00.
Visit the parks website Western PA National Parks, Facebook pages, email WEPAinformation@NPS.gov or call MaryEllen Snyder at 724-329-8131 for more information on the events planned in the five National Parks in Western PA.