Every year, cities and towns across America celebrate Independence Day with parades, barbecues, and fireworks. Exeter celebrates in a different way, with activities revolving around events that occurred when our country began to come into existence almost 240 years ago.
Inspired by the discovery of one of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence in town in 1985, Exeter’s American Independence Festival recreates the spirit of the Revolutionary era. Through re-enactments of historical events and educational displays, this day-long festival tries to impart to visitors what it was like to be living in America when the thirteen colonies began their rebellion against their mother country.
This year the festival will take place on Saturday July 20th. There will be re-enactments of Exeter scenes from Revolutionary times, when Exeter was the rebel capital of New Hampshire. One of the highlights will be the reading of the Declaration of Independence in the town square, as originally occurred in Exeter on July 16th, 1776.
Visitors to the Festival will be able to tour the historic Ladd-Gilman House and Folsom Tavern, experience Revolutionary Era interpreters, see a battle re-enactment, enjoy an arts and crafts fair, and even watch minuet demonstrations. The American Independence Museum will have on display the Dunlap Broadside, one of the original handwritten 1776 copies of the Declaration document. The festivities begin at 10AM and end with fireworks at 8:45; for a complete lists of events, click here.
There is a charge for some events. Most activities will take place on the grounds of the American Independence Museum at 1 Governors Lane, Exeter. For more information about the 23rd American Independence Festival, visit its website.