The start of the summer always marks the return of another Philly tradition—Flag Fest. And sure enough, the 2022 rendition of the beloved experience will kick off this Sunday, June 12, at the Betsy Ross House.
Now in its 15th year, Flag Fest will return for eight days (June 12 to 19) full of activations, some of which are brand new to the event. Overall, the red, white and blue filled period promises entertainment for all ages and tastes including the chance to meet famous and not-so-famous figures from history, an after-hours event for the 21 and over crowd, plus free admission for the first 100 visitors every day of the celebration.
According to a release, the Betsy Ross House hosted its first Flag Day event on June 14, 1891 and has long been the site of the city’s official commemoration. In 2008, the star-spangled celebrations of the early 19th century were revived and since then, the House has hosted a full slate of events, spanning all of National Flag Week.
For obvious reasons, celebrations went virtual in 2020 and were scaled back in 2021, so 2022 marks the first year back in full force for the energetic festival.
Everything begins this Sunday at 10 a.m., with Betsy and her colonial counterparts as they raise the flag in the courtyard. Opening day will also feature a colonial chocolate making demonstration and free programming, which continues each afternoon. Throughout Flag Fest, there will also be activities that present the opportunity to meet historical figures and a flag history program presented by Betsy Ross, herself.
Another set of events to watch out for happens on Flag Day itself (June 14), which begins with a moving naturalization ceremony at 9 a.m. during which 13 new citizens will be welcomed. As a release states, visitors will also get to see the flag makers of the Defense Logistics Agency at work. These talented men and women embroider Presidential flags right here in Philadelphia, continuing the city’s long and rich tradition of flag making.
On June 16, a new activation—Meet the Women of 18th Century Philadelphia—will debut. During which, visitors have the chance to interact with History Makers who represent the racial, religious, social and political diversity of the city in the 1700s. Following the premiere, the new program (funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities) will run daily through the weekend.
Those looking to imbibe during Flag Fest will also have their opportunity with Red, White and Booze: A Star-Spangled Tipsy History. Participants can experience history with a twist when Betsy Ross leads a lighthearted look at flag history as guests sip on a flag-themed, handcrafted cocktail. Tours will run at 5:15, 6:15 and 7:15 p.m., and tickets must be bought in advance.
The popular Stars and Stripes Saturday also returns this year from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. next week on Saturday, June 18. As the release states, this all- day family affair will feature favorites like the Funicular Aerial Circus, which features acrobats who fly through the air high above the House’s courtyard and magical performances from Ari Felber. Plus, Philadelphians can enjoy old-time carnival games, musical performances and more.
The celebration then wraps up on Sunday, June 19 with a Juneteenth commemoration featuring a Juneteenth flag raising and performance by the Philadelphia Heritage Chorale. While there, guests will also have the chance to meet a historical interpreter portraying the formerly enslaved abolitionist, Henry “Box” Brown.
Additionally, those who are looking for a bit of an extra dose of Flag Day activities can also head to The Museum of the American Revolution to partake in a variety of activities this weekend as well. Highlights include free flag-themed craft-making on their outdoor plaza with Fleisher Art Memorial’s Color Wheels mobile art studio, flag talks, flag-themed discovery carts, flag storytelling, and a free flag for every guest. A full list of events can be found on the MoAR’s website.
For a full schedule of Flag Fest at the Betsy Ross House (239 Arch St.,) and to find out more information, visit historicphiladelphia.org
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