Special Event


Defenders' Day

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine


Fee required for entrance to the historic star fort. Fee and pass information is available at: https://www.nps.gov/fomc/planyourvisit/fees.htm

Dates & Times


Saturday, September 16, 2023


9:00 AM


12 hours

Type of Event

Living History


Fort McHenry Celebrates Baltimore’s Defenders Past and Present

Join us September 15th—17th to commemorate Defenders’ Day which honors the successful defense of the city from British attack in 1814. Celebrated since 1815, Defenders’ Day is Baltimore’s oldest holiday. The National Park Service and its partners invite visitors 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 in 1814, and those who continue to support their local and national communities today.


• Free Saturday evening program of musical performances by U.S. Army Field Band

• Fun Family Activities—Experience living history at military and civilian encampments showing life during 1814 featuring fife and drum, military drills, musket and cannon firings. Family-oriented activities include a morning formation, children’s programs, and raising of the Star-Spangled Banner flag over the fort.

Saturday, September 16

10:00 a.m.—Hoist the Colors!

Join rangers and living historians of the Fort McHenry Guard for the morning flag change and help raise the Star-Spangled Banner o’er the ramparts of the historic star fort!

12:00 p.m.—Roar of the Drums, Voices of Baltimore

  • Experience the sounds of the fort of 1814 as the Fort McHenry Guard Fife & Drum Corps will perform field music and calls from the War of 1812.
  • Enjoy the modern drumming styles of The Marching Elite marching band.
  • Enjoy vocal performances by The Singing Sensations choir of Baltimore

1:15 p.m.—3:45 p.m.—Explore Stories of Defenders Past and Present

Celebrate Baltimore’s heroes past and present with living history, War of 1812 weapons demonstrations, a timeline of soldier’s life by the 1-175th Infantry Regiment, Maryland Army National Guard, and musical performances by “The Adjutant General’s Own” 229th Army Band of the Maryland National Guard.

  • Cannon and musket demonstrations on East Lawn at 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m.
  • Musical Performances on Orpheus Stage at 1:15 p.m., 2:15 p.m., and 3:15 p.m

4:00 p.m.—Evening Formation and Raising the Storm Flag

Join park rangers and the Fort McHenry Guard to raise the storm flag as the Defenders did during the Battle of Baltimore in 1814.

6:00 p.m.—Defenders’ Day: Heroes Past and Present

Kick back in your chair or on your picnic blanket and enjoy an evening of music celebrating the service of defenders from 1814 to today. Evening program features:

  • U.S. Army Enlistment Ceremony
  • Concert by The United States Army Field Band

More information

Reservation or Registration: No