On Saturday, July 13, thousands will descend upon downtown Exeter, NH, former capital of the Granite State during the Revolutionary War, for the 29th Annual American Independence Festival.
Celebrating the arrival of an original copy of the Declaration of Independence in town on July 16, 1776, the festival features a variety of entertainment, including music, battle re-enactment, tradition artisan working village and more.
One of the festival’s most unique highlights, however, is within the museum’s Ladd-Gilman House, which will feature one of the few remaining copies of the Declaration of Independence. Its arrival in Exeter is recreated at 11 am with a horseback delivery of the document that is then read by Greg Gilman. He is the direct descendant of John Taylor Gilman, who read the Declaration of Independence to the townspeople of Exeter on July 16, 1776.
“This is a unique opportunity to participate in a recreation of a seminal point in our state’s and nation’s history,” said museum Executive Director Emma Bray.
Presented by Newburyport Bank, the festival is additionally supported by New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, RiverWoods Exeter, Ruffner Real Estate, Exeter Hospital, Historic Motor Sports, Mitchell & Monti and Proulx Oil & Propane.
“This is a wonderful community event that educates, entertains and, we hope, inspires others to learn more about our nation’s history and its continued importance today,” added Bray.
Other highlights of the festival include colonial-inspired beer brewed by Cisco in Folsom Tavern from 12 to 6 pm, a craft and art fair and local food.
Tickets for the festival, which takes place from 10 am to 4 pm, are $10 for adults, $5 for ages 6 to 18, and free for children under 6 and museum members. Courtesy of Chinburg Properties, free admission is also available to active/retired military, veterans, and their immediate families. All proceeds benefit the American Independence Museum and support future festivals.