On June 14, 1777 the United States Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act, stating that the official national flag contained thirteen alternating white and red stripes and thirteen white stars set against a blue backdrop. 237 years later on June 14, we’re still celebrating Flag Day and the home of the country’s first flag is dedicating a whole week to the celebration. From now until Saturday, June 14, the Betsy Ross House, National Constitution Center and Independence Hall are holding patriotic, flag-themed events in honor of Flag Fest and the Stripes and Stars Festival to get us warmed up for next month’s Independence Day activities.
Before Saturday’s big bash, the Betsy Ross House on Arch Street is holding a series of daily activities in honor of National Flag Week. On Tuesday, June 10 meet one of Philadelphia’s most prolific Founding Fathers: Ben Franklin. For two hours, starting at 11 a.m., visitors to the House can chat with the author, printer, politician and inventor. On Wednesday, June 11 hear stories from the point of view of a Revolutionary War soldier from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and then go through Army drills with the Continental Army on Thursday, June 12 at 11 a.m. After that you’ll be prepared for battle, but not without a pep talk from George Washington himself. He’ll be at the Betsy Ross House from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, June 13 to meet with visitors.
Make a day of it and experience all the other exhibits the Betsy Ross House has to offer, like Navigating Night: Light After Dark in Colonial Philadelphia—an exhibit showing what life was like in colonial homes after dark—and a meet and greet with Betsy Ross herself.
The week’s main event, the Stripes and Stars Festival, gets underway at 9 a.m. at the Betsy Ross House on Saturday, June 14 with a flag raising ceremony. However, Ross is kicking it way old school and raising a 13-star flag to welcome folks to the house for Stripes and Stars Saturday, featuring exclusive patriotic themed programming until 5 p.m.
As a part of the celebration, the National Constitution Center is offering $5 admission for Macy’s Family Day from 9:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. where families can enjoy activities, musical performances and a special exhibit where historic American flags will be on display.
Also taking place throughout the day is the Stripes and Stars Community Fair where besides information booths and vendors, military vehicles will be on display from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Independence Mall. The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps will bring the sound of the Revolution to life during their performance in addition to the U.S. Army Silent Drill Team executes a ceremonial drill.
Over at the National Constitution Center, current and former soldiers will join the public in raising a flag outside of the museum at 10 a.m. and then parade to Independence Hall where the festival’s opening ceremonies will be held at 10:25 a.m. The original Flag Act will be read as well as Washington’s proclamation declaring the U.S. Army.
Back at the Betsy Ross House at 1:30 p.m., watch as 13 people become American citizens in a naturalization ceremony.
Round out the day back at Independence Hall as modern day patriots are invited to learn the proper flag folding techniques during a giant flag folding demonstration at 5 p.m. followed by a performance by the U.S. Army Brass Quintet.