The Betsy Ross House celebrates all things Old Glory during the 15th annual Flag Fest, June 12-19. This year, two new programs make their debut, joining a host of favorites from past events. Free family programing is featured each day of the week, highlighted by Stars & Stripes Saturday on June 18 when organizers pull out all the stops for a full day of fun.
The brand new Meet the Women of 18th Century Philadelphia, which gives visitors the chance to interact with History Makers, who represent the racial, religious, social and political diversity of the city in the 1700s, kicks off on Thursday, June 16 and runs daily through the weekend. Also new is Red, White & Booze: A Star-Spangled Tipsy History. For the grown-ups only, this lighthearted after-hours tour combines a patriotic cocktail with fun, historical tidbits delivered by Betsy Ross, herself on Friday, June 17.
Each day of the week starts at 10 a.m. in the House’s courtyard with an interactive flag raising. On several days of the festival, Betsy will raise flags representing diverse groups, including the Pride flag and the Juneteenth flag.
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day guests will be treated to free, historical programming from colonial chocolate making to fun flag history presented by Betsy Ross, and the chance to meet History Makers. From Thursday through Sunday, Flag Fest visitors will be among the first to experience Meet the Women of 18th Century Philadelphia. This exciting new program, which will continue through Labor Day, is funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
On Flag Day, Tuesday, June 14, the Betsy Ross House welcomes new Americans during a moving, annual naturalization ceremony and visitors will meet the Flag Ladies from the Defense Logistics Agency, who hand embroider Presidential flags right here in Philadelphia.
It’s bottoms up on Friday, June 17 when the 21 and over crowd is invited to join Betsy for Red, White & Booze: A Star-Spangled Tipsy History. Sip on a patriotic-themed cocktail and hear Betsy share fun facts in this unique, after-hours event. The tour runs at 5:15, 6:15 and 7:15 p.m.; ticket are $25 and must be purchased in advance at www.historicphiladelphia.org Tipsy History is sponsored by a patriotic friend of the Betsy Ross House.
The highlight of the week comes on Saturday, June 18 with Flag Fest’s signature event, Stars & Stripes Saturday. This popular, daylong celebration is full of family-friendly entertainment and activity in the House’s courtyard. Highlights include performances by the amazing Funicular Aerial Circus, the magic of Ari Felber and more. Guests will love meeting Betsy Ross and playing old-time carnival games.
Celebrations wrap up on Sunday, June 19 with a special recognition of Juneteenth, a commemoration of the day the final enslaved people in the United States were emancipated. Betsy will raise the Juneteenth flag in the courtyard at 10 a.m. During the day, visitors will meet Henry “Box” Brown, who was born enslaved in Virginia and escaped to freedom by shipping himself in a box to abolitionists Philadelphia.
This 15th annual celebration pays tribute to the tradition of Flag Day commemorations that began at the Betsy Ross House more than 100 years ago, resuming with the first modern Flag Festival in 2008. The House hosted its first Flag Day event on June 14, 1891 and has long been the site of the city’s official observance.