Defenders' Day

Defenders' Day 2022

 
Musicians and soldiers in War of 1812 uniform march in front of brick fort with 15-star American flag flying above.
Musicians and soldiers in War of 1812 uniform march in front of brick fort with 15-star American flag flying above. Credit: NPS Volunteer Tim Ervin

Known as Baltimore's oldest holiday, Defenders' Day commemorates the anniversary of the successful defense of Baltimore in 1814 and the writing of the nation's national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner."

From September 9-11, 2022 park staff and partners will offer programs and demonstrations to explore the history of Baltimore’s diverse community of defenders by learning about the daily lives and experiences of soldiers, sailors, and civilians who came together to defend their city.

Saturday and Sunday will be packed with special ranger talks that highlight the fort’s history during the War of 1812, flag change programs, living history demonstrations, and a special fireworks display on Saturday evening. The United States Army Field Band, U.S. Army Drill Team, and the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps will perform on Saturday before a spectacular fireworks display in the evening.

 
Visitors participating in evening flag change in Star Fort.
Visitors participating in evening flag change in Star Fort. Credit: NPS Volunteer Tim Ervin

Schedule of Events

Friday September 9, 2022


Park Hours of Operation
Park Grounds and Parking Lots: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Visitor and Education Center: 9:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Star Fort: 9:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Join us for our regularly scheduled programs all day Friday.

7:00 p.m. Parade through Locust Point
Everyone is invited to kick off the weekend-long event by cheering on National Park Service staff and volunteers during the annual Defenders’ Day parade! The parade proceeds from Hull Street in Locust Point to Fort McHenry.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Park Hours of Operation
Main Gate and Parking Lots: 9:00 a.m. – close of event
Visitor and Education Center: 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Star Fort: 9:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Park Grounds: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Program Schedule

10:00 a.m. Dress Parade and Morning Flag Change
11:00 a.m. USCIS Naturalization Ceremony for new citizens
12:00 p.m. Fort McHenry Guard Fife and drum performance
1:15 p.m. “Character and Courage: Baltimore’s Defenders” walking tour
2:00 p.m. War of 1812 weapons demonstrations
3:15 p.m. “Character and Courage: Baltimore’s Defenders” walking tour
4:00 p.m. Evening Dress Parade and Flag Change


Evening Program

6:00 p.m. Future Soldier Swearing-In Ceremony, hosted by Maj. Gen. Allan M. Pepin, commanding general, Joint Task Force-National Capital Region and U.S. Army Military District of Washington, featuring local recruits from the Baltimore Recruiting Battalion
6:10 p.m. The U.S. Army Old Guard Fife & Drum Corps performance
6:15 p.m. The U.S. Army Drill Team performance
7:00 p.m. Welcome and opening remarks by park Superintendent Dave Moore
7:15 p.m. "Stars and Stripes" concert by The United States Army Field Band with a mock bombardment featuring the Presidential Salute Battery of the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard)
8:20 p.m. Flag raising and playing of the U.S. national anthem
8:25 p.m. Fireworks with The United States Army Field Band underscore

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Park Hours of Operation
Park Grounds and Parking Lots: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Visitor and Education Center: 9:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Star Fort: 9:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Program Schedule
10:00 a.m. Patriot Day Commemoration and Morning Flag Change
11:15 a.m. Flag Talk
12:00 p.m. Fort McHenry Guard Fife and drum performance
1:15 p.m. "Battle of Baltimore" program
2:00 p.m. Historic weapons demonstration
4:00 p.m. Evening flag change

 
An American Flag waves with fireworks in background.
Fireworks over Fort McHenry. Credit: NPS Volunteer Tim Ervin

Parking and Transportation

Free parking will be available at the park, but will be limited. All public parking is available on a first come, first served basis. Parking areas are closed to all vehicles whose passengers leave the grounds for more than one hour.

Visitors are encouraged to use alternate or public transportation. Some options include:

  • Bus – a public bus stop is located outside of the park main gate. Both Maryland Public Transit and Charm City buses pick up and drop off at the station.
  • Ride share – Visitors arriving by taxi or ride share may be dropped off in the main parking lot. Only buses are permitted to drop off in the designated bus lane. Vehicles are prohibited from dropping off and parking in the designated fire lanes, which are marked with red curb paint.
  • Water Taxi – the park is accessible by the Baltimore Water Taxi. Please note that tickets for the Water Taxi cannot be purchased at the park. Visitors must begin their Water Taxi trip at another station if they wish to board from Fort McHenry.
  • Bicycles - Bicycles are permitted within the park. Riders must adhere to the posted speed limits. Bicycles are not permitted in the historic zone. Bicycle racks are located in the main parking lot on a first come, first served basis.
  • Motorized Scooters - Scooters, including those part of a public ride share program, are strictly prohibited within the park. Fort McHenry is a restricted area for scooter and bicycle ride share drop off and pick up. Ride share vehicles cannot be left behind or unattended within the park boundary. A rack is available outside of the main gate to dock scooters.

For the safety of visitors and park resources, the use of skateboards, inline skates, and roller skates is not permitted within the park. Additional information on permissible activities within the park can be found in the Superintendent’s Compendium.

Food and Dining

The park does not offer full service or indoor dining facilities. Visitors are welcome to bring food into the park and enjoy the designated picnic areas in the Orpheus Grove near the main entrance gate. The use of fire, stoves, or grills is prohibited.

Vending machines offering beverages and snacks are available outside the Visitor and Education Center. Trash bins are located throughout the park.

Recreation

Visitors are welcome to bring blankets and lawn chairs into the park. The use of hammocks is not permitted.

The scenic Sea Wall Trail surrounding the park will be closed to recreation on Saturday, September 10th. The trail will re-open for walking during regular park hours on Sunday, September 11th.

Organized games and team sports cannot be played in the park. This includes but is not limited to baseball, football, soccer, volleyball, and frisbee.

Launching, landing, or operating unmanned aircrafts such as drones is strictly prohibited.

Pets are welcome in the park but must be on a leash not exceeding six (6) feet. Visitors must clean up after their pets. Pets are not permitted in the historic zone (Star Fort) or the Visitor Contact Station. Service animals are welcome in all areas of the park.

Please refer to the Superintendent’s Compendium. for more information regarding recreation policies and restrictions.

Admission Fees and Passes

The entrance fee to the historic zone (Star Fort) is $15.00 for adults 16 years of age and older; children 15 and younger are free. This fee provides the visitor with a 7-day entrance permit to Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. You must keep your entrance receipt to re-enter the park in the 7-day time period. America the Beautiful or Fort McHenry annual Passes are alternatives to the above fees. For more information on fees and passes, please click here.

Safety

The Visitor Center, Star Fort, and grounds may be closed to entry by the general public carrying backpacks, daypacks, large handbags, packages, coolers, or other large containers. These items are subject to search and inspection for weapons or items hazardous to visitors or staff.

Leaving property, including bags and strollers, unattended in the park is prohibited.

The possession and use of fireworks, firecrackers, and sparklers is prohibited.

Last updated: August 24, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

2400 East Fort Avenue
Baltimore , MD 21230

Phone:

410 962-4290 x250

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