You’re a Grand Old Flag: Philly Flag Day Celebrations
Celebrate the stars and stripes in Old City all week long!
Flag Day is June 14, and there is no better place to celebrate the stars and stripes turning 242 years old than their birthplace. Fittingly, Old City goes all out; especially the Betsy Ross House, who is celebrating all week! Here is what’s in store for Flag Day festivities.
239 Arch St.
Every day from June 9—15, there will be fun activities at Betsy Ross House, beginning with daily flag raisings with Betsy Ross at 10 am, and including educational programming, historical reenactors, and more.
It all kicks off on Sunday, June 9 with a flag donut wall made of “1776” donuts, specially created for the Betsy Ross House by Philly favorite Federal Donuts! The event starts at 11 am and donut distribution is at 1 pm while supplies last.
On Monday, June 10 from 11 am—4 pm, there will be children’s interactive chocolate making demonstrations, where kids will learn about the Revolutionary role of chocolate, practice their hand at frothing, and finally enjoy a delicious cup of 18th-century chocolate.
See historical reenactors on Tuesday, June 11 (George Washington) and Thursday, June 13 (Betsy Ross) from 11 am–1 pm. You can also see them at the Stars and Stripes Saturday carnival (see below)! If you are inspired by their colonial couture, stop by on Wednesday, June 12 for a free interactive that program teaches the audience about dressing in colonial America.
On June 14, which is Flag Day, admission to the Betsy Ross House will be free all day long. Throughout that day, visitors will also have the unique opportunity to meet artisans from the Defense Logistics Agency who hand-embroider the U.S. flags, and see how they do their detailed work. That day there will also be a public naturalization ceremony, as the Philadelphia Flag Day Association will welcome 13 new citizens to take the Oath of Allegiance. Musical accompaniment will be provided by the United States Army Field Band Brass Quintet. All are welcome to join them in their first Pledge of Allegiance as new American citizens.
But the party doesn’t end with Flag Day. On Saturday, June 15, the Betsy Ross House will host Stars and Stripes Saturday, a free daylong carnival with games, live entertainment, and more. Enjoy circus arts, puppet shows, storytelling, games, and so much more from 10 am– 5 pm in the courtyard of Betsy Ross House. And of course, Betsy will be there too!
National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St.
Celebrating the birthday of both the American flag as well as the U.S. Army, this festival includes events to honor the flag, as well as military elements. At 10:30 am, come to the front lawn of the National Constitution Center for a 50-star flag raising ceremony followed by a patriotic parade to Independence Hall led by both current and retired troops. This year, during the parade, the Stripes and Stars Festival will pay tribute to the festival’s late co-founder, James “Jim” Donahue, who passed away unexpectedly this past year.
Come to Independence Hall at 11 am for remarks celebrating the Army’s 244th anniversary, culminating with the cutting of an Army birthday cake and music by the United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps. Stick around, because at noon, visitors on Independence Mall will have the opportunity to witness a spectacular skydive demonstration by the Team Fastrax Professional Skydiving Team.
Throughout the day, families can stop by the Stripes and Stars Community Fair (10 am–3 pm) on the Constitution Center’s front lawn for activities hosted by veterans’ organizations and museums, and displays featuring military vehicles and equipment.
Inside the Constitution Center, you will find arts and craft activities, educational programs on the history of the flag, and more. Visitors can also attend special Soldier Talks, in partnership with the “Meet Your Army” Campaign at 11:30 am and 1:30 pm. Events inside the Constitution Center require a ticket for general admission.
The day concludes at 2 pm, as festival visitors can help fold a giant American flag on the front lawn of the Constitution Center.
101 S, Third St.
Throughout this weekend, add a stitch to a reproduction of a Revolutionary flag, design your own flag, and try cutting a six-pointed star like the one on the Washington Standard. This flag marked Washington’s presence on the battlefield, and you may recognize the flag’s six-pointed stars from the museum’s logo!
You can also compete in an interactive “capture the flag” challenge in the museum’s galleries and join hands-on activities inspired by the work of flagmaker Rebecca Flower Young, who advertised “all kinds of colours” for the Revolutionary cause from her shop here in Philadelphia.
Photographs courtesy of Visit Philadelphia.