Featuring live music, colonial-inspired beer, food trucks, games for kids, traditional artisans, art and craft fair, and colonial battle re-enactments, the 29th Annual American Independence Festival on Saturday, July 13 will delight people of all ages.

“This a fun and unique family festival that showcases not only the wonderful community of Exeter and the greater Seacoast, but talent from across the region,” said museum Executive Director Emma Bray. “Our art and craft fair alone brings in top vendors from New Hampshire Made and throughout region.”

For those interested in American colonial history, the festival features a working Artisans’ Village, sponsored by the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.

“It’s a chance to interact with artisans who create items with the same tools and techniques as the colonial craftspeople who would have lived and worked in the area,” said the museum’s Victoria Su, who organizes the event. 

Featuring colonial-inspired beer and beer garden outside the museum’s Folsom Tavern (c.1775) in which George Washington once enjoyed a libation, the festival also includes an original copy of a Dunlap Broadside printing of the Declaration of Independence. One of just 26 known to still exist, the Declaration of Independence will be available for viewing on just this one day.

“It is always very special and exciting to have the Declaration on view during the Festival. ,” said Bray, who noted visitors may also see two original working drafts of the US Constitution. “Being up close with these important founding documents is a wonderful way for guests to connect to the history of  New Hampshire’s and nation’s Revolutionary history.” For Florence Ruffner of Ruffner Real Estate, which is sponsoring the parade with George Washington that marches through the center of historic downtown Exeter, the festival is unlike any event in the region.

“It is such a wonderful festival and perfect for families,” she said. “I think Exeter is a beautiful, dynamic town, and this event really showcases it for locals and tourists.”

In total, more than 4,000 visitors are expected to descend upon downtown Exeter, which includes numerous shops and restaurants that remain open during the festival. Just one hour north of Boston and one hour southwest of Portland, Maine, Exeter is accessible from both locations by train.

Tickets for the festival, which takes place on Saturday, July 13, are $10 for adults; $5 for ages 6 to 18; and free for children under 6, active and retired military, veterans, and Museum members.

About the American Independence Museum
Founded in 1991 in historic downtown Exeter, the private, not-for-profit American Independence Museum includes the Ladd-Gilman House (c.1721) and Folsom Tavern (c.1775). Its collection includes one of only 26 surviving copies of the Dunlap Broadside of the Declaration of Independence, two rare drafts of the U.S. Constitution, and an original Purple Heart awarded by General George Washington (who also visited Folsom Tavern).

In addition to presenting the American Independence Festival, the Museum hosts guided tours and year round family-friendly events and interactive programs to showcase New Hampshire’s rich colonial history.

The museum is a member of the 17-member NH Heritage Museum Trail, which connects the public with culturally rich heritage institutions in New Hampshire.  For more information about the NH Heritage Museum Trail, visit nhmuseumtrail.org.