Defenders Day - The Star-Spangled Banner Weekend!!

Date & Time
Multiple Days: 09/08/2017, 09/09/2017, 09/10/2017 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Fee Information
Regular Fees
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DDay 2017


Public invited to celebrate Maryland’s own special holiday “Defenders’ Day” and remember the centennial of the US entering World War I

Commemorates Defenders’ Day, Baltimore’s oldest holiday, which honors the successful defense of the city from British attack and the writing of the National
Anthem in 1814!

  • Highlights include:  Large fireworks display, symbolic ship-to-shore “bombardment,” and living history programs! Plus a patriotic evening concert by the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” and daytime performances by the US Army 3rd Infantry Regiment “The Old Guard”.
  • Fort McHenry was used as a major hospital for returning soldiers during World War I – This year marks the 100th anniversary of the United States entering the “Great War”. There will be a special WWI living history encampment alongside the War of 1812 encampment.
  • Friday evening at 7:00 p.m.: The Fort McHenry Guard and other living historians along with a contingent of National Park Service Rangers in their distinctive “green & gray” 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.
  • Fort McHenry comes alive! Events include a large Word War I and 1814-style 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 giant 30 x 42-foot Star-Spangled Banner flag. 
  • All weekend long, 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 experience a bit of a soldier’s life during the War of 1812 by learning authentic drill commands and use wooden muskets. Children will also have the opportunity to participate in common active games of the early 19th century!
  •      Saturday, Sept. 9  - Active-duty Soldiers from The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” and the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) will uniquely blend traditional military customs and courtesies with live-action pageantry that showcases military discipline, historical reenactments, and traditional and modern music.  This one-hour patriotic journey captures 242 years of the Army’s history spanning across generations of men and women who have answered the call to uphold America’s freedom and democracy on the Fort McHenry ground.
    10:00 War of 1812 Morning Formation and Flag Change
    11:00 War of 1812 Musket and Cannon Demonstration
    11:45 World War I on the Home Front
    12:15 The Story of the “Star-Spangled Banner” 
    1:00 U.S. Army Old Guard “American Soldier” Performance
    2:15 The Story of the “Star-Spangled Banner”
    2:45  World War I on the Home Front 
    3:30 Fort McHenry Guard Living History Formation
    4:00 Evening Flag Change
  •     Saturday, Sept. 9 at 6:30 p.m. honors the bravery of the men and women of Baltimore during both the War of 1812 and World War I.  The evening begins with greetings by public dignitaries and music of the Fort McHenry Guard Fife & Drum Corps.  The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” will perform Tchaikovsky’s “Overture 1812” alongside patriotic favorites by John Philip Sousa featuring The U.S. Army Concert Band, Chorus and Herald Trumpets. The performance will conclude with a bang – literally! The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Presidential Salute Battery will fire 75mm blank shells with one-and-a half pounds of gunpowder. As dusk settles, a symbolic ship-to-shore bombardment will take place as pyrotechnic “bombs” are fired over the fort.  The evening program concludes with the singing of the National Anthem and a 20-minute fireworks display.  The evening program is free! Sign Language Interpreters will be provided. Patrons are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets for a memorable evening!
  •     Sunday, Sept. 10  9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Events include a large Word War I and 1814-style 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 giant 30 x 42-foot Star-Spangled Banner flag.
Park Event Hours: Friday:  9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Sunday 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. 
Park Admission:  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.  The Saturday evening program is free.
**For everyone’s safety and security, all packages are subject to inspection **
About Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine: During the Battle of Baltimore, September 13 – 14, 1814, the valiant defense of the star-shaped Fort McHenry against the might of the British navy inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner.”  The 15 broad stripes and 15 bright stars still fly over the Fort twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The Fort was used continuously in a variety of ways through WWII.  Most famous as the birthplace of our National Anthem, many special activities are planned at the Fort throughout 2017 to commemorate the United State’s entry into World War I. 2400 E. Fort Ave., Baltimore, Maryland  21230   Facebook: Twitter: @FortMcHenryNPS

In and Around the Fort | Map

9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Fee Information:
Regular Fees

Contact Name:
Abbi Wicklein-Bayne

Contact Email:
e-mail us

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Mailing Address:

2400 East Fort Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21230


(410) 962-4290 x250

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