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Star Spangled Spectacular

Local Activities

September 9, 2014


5 min

Star Spangled Spectacular

Celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the National Anthem starting September 10th to September 16th in Baltimore at the Star Spangled Spectacular!  The free celebration is being held in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Fort McHenry and Martin State Airport with great events to celebrate the writing of the “Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key after the Battle of Baltimore. There will be many events and activities over the 6 day festival from the arrival of tall ships to patriotic concerts to performances by the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels. Plus, there are Festival Villages at the Inner Harbor, Fort McHenry and Martin State Airport with special events and family activities, food, historical reenactments and demonstrations and much more.

Star Spangled Banner History

200 years ago, the young United States was in the midst of the War of 1812 with Britain. British forces had just burnt down major government buildings in Washington D.C., including the White House and they were on their way to Baltimore. Maryland and Baltimore citizens with the Maryland militia and U.S. Army banded together to protect the city and harbor. After 25 hours of bombardment by the British Army and Navy, Fort McHenry and Baltimore still stood and the British were defeated.  Francis Scott Key, a lawyer who was on a diplomatic mission to release British prisoners of war in the Baltimore Harbor was held on a British prisoner ship during the bombardment. After the bombardment ended, he saw the U.S. still flying over the fort and was inspired to write a poem, which he called “Defense of Fort McHenry”.  The lyrics were soon set to a popular British tune written by John Statford Smith called the “Anacreontic Society”, which was named for a London’s men social club. The song was later renamed “The Star Spangled Banner” and began being played public events. The song officially became the National Anthem of the United States by an act of Congress in 1931. There were actually two flags that were commissioned by Major George Armistead to fly over Fort McHenry. He asked local seamstress Mary Pickersgill to sew the flag. Mary and family and friends made two flags. The first one was the 30×42 garrison flag and the second was a smaller 17×25 storm flag that was flown during bad weather. The flag had 15 stripes and 15 stars for the 15 states of the United States, including the two newest states of Kentucky and Vermont.  The larger garrison flag is on display at the National Museum of American History.

Star Spangled Spectacular Celebrations

There are many events that will be taking place from September 10th to 16th in and around Baltimore Harbor. Every day of the Star Spangled Celebration, Fort McHenry, the fort that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words to the “Star Spangled Banner”, will be hosting special events commemorating the anniversary. Each day there will be ranger talks, cannon firings and living history events.  The actual handwritten manuscript of the “Star Spangled Banner” will be on display at the Fort as well as pieces from the original flag. The Star Spangled Banner fort, as some people call it, will fire off salutes as the tall ships and naval ships enter Baltimore Harbor on September 10th.  On September 11th, the American flag found in the ruins of the World Trade Center will be on a special display honoring those that gave their lives on 9/11/2001. Fort McHenry is also a great place to watch the air show performed by the United States Navy’s Blue Angels on both Saturday and Sunday. Fort McHenry will host a concert by the U.S. Marine Band, “President’s Own” on Saturday evening and lead off the flag raising ceremony and huge fireworks display. To celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore, 35 tall and naval ships will be on display in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The ships will be from countries all over the world including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, Spain and Turkey. The ships arrive in the harbor on 9/10 and will be available for touring from 9/11 to 9/15 from noon to 5pm. The ships will depart on 9/16. Seeing the ships coming in or leaving the harbor is definitely a site to see. There will also be an air show put on by precision flight team, The Blue Angels on Saturday and Sunday. You will able to see the show from the Inner Harbor and Fort McHenry. Martin State Airport is one of the Star Spangled Spectacular Festival Village sites. The airport festival will have food, family entertainment and interactive activities, a chance to get autographs from the Blue Angels pilots and a display on U. S. Navy aviation history.

Star Spangled Spectacular Concerts

There will be two concerts held Saturday, September 13th to commemorate the bicentennial of the “Star Spangled Banner”. The first one starts at 6pm at Fort McHenry and features the U.S. Marine Band (mentioned earlier). The second concert takes place at Pier Six Pavilion and will be broadcast live for PBS’s Great Performances. The concert will be hosted by John Lithgow and feature performances from the pop, rock, country, R&B and Broadway worlds paying tribute to America’s ideals through song. Performers include: Kristen Chenoweth, Melissa Etheridge, Little Big Town, Smokey Robinson, Train, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The show will be capped off with a spectacular fireworks display, choreographed to music, over Baltimore Harbor. There are so many great activities celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner. It is one of our nation’s treasures and has been an important symbol to our country since its very early years. Maryland and Baltimore citizens fought very hard to protect their city and fort from the British army and we celebrate this hard-fought victory with the Star Spangled Spectacular! ezStorage is very proud to be part of the resilient Maryland community! Stop in to see how our 46 Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. area locations can help you with your storage needs. We offer a variety of self storage units to help with any storage need from business to personal, vehicle to RV, medical supply to holiday decoration storage.

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