Baltimore’s Washington Monument turns 200 this year and the city will celebrate with the Monumental Bicentennial, a one-day celebration of the official reopening of the restored Washington Monument in Mount Vernon. The event takes place on Saturday, July 4, 2015 from 8:30am to 5pm beginning with ceremonies to mark the occasion followed by an old-fashioned country fair with music, children’s activities, great food and drink, and more.
Organizers will hold the event in the 600 block of N. Charles Street with festivities taking place throughout the four surrounding park squares. It all starts at 8:30am when 40 people will become American citizens at a naturalization ceremony. Musicians from the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University will perform during the ceremony. The restored Washington Monument reopens with a ribbon cutting at 10:45am with live performances from the Maryland Defense Force Band and Fort McHenry Guard Fife & Drum Band.
The country fair, beginning at 11:30am, features live entertainment from historical re-enactors including George Washington and musical acts Ken Kolodner, Larksong, Andy Poxon and The Crawdaddies. Colonial-style food and picnic fare includes Dooby’s fried chicken and corn bread, barbecue by Jurassic Pork, Brewer’s Art Monumental Ale, grilled oysters by Ryleigh’s Oyster, flights of whiskey and Washington State wines from Spirits of Mount Vernon and ice cream by The Charmery. Pahl’s Farmstead holds a farmer’s market and petting zoo with farm animals on-site. A baking competition also takes place where local bakers compete with recipes for the best cornbread, cherry or peach dessert.
Festival-goers are encouraged to venture out into the neighborhood where many Mount Vernon Place institutions and businesses present activities such as a neighborhood scavenger hunt, organ performances and tours at the Engineers Club, and a Walters Art Museum art activity. Camp Center Stage and the Baltimore School for the Arts also perform in the park squares. Many businesses, restaurants, the Walters Art Museum, The Peabody Institute and the Mount Vernon United Methodist Church will be open for the day with special Bicentennial activities. The Maryland Historical Society remains open and exhibits artifacts from both 100 and 200 year old time capsules found within the Washington Monument during the restoration.
Baltimore’s Washington Monument, the centerpiece of a National Historic Landmark District, was constructed 200 years ago when Baltimoreans envisioned and commenced one of the most beautiful urban spaces in America, Mount Vernon Place. Baltimoreans were particularly proud to be erecting this monument to Washington in light of their recent role in securing American liberty during the Battle of Baltimore, a turning point in the War of 1812. They were similarly proud that it was built of local white marble, from quarries north of the city in Baltimore County.
Baltimore Fishbowl is a media sponsor for the Monumental Bicentennial.