25th American Independence Festival

Saturday, July 18th ~ 10:00am – 4:00pm

Rain or Shine

Celebrate American Independence

Artisan’s Village

Interact with more than 15 costumed interpreters in our Artisan’s Village sponsored by the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.  What is a milliner?  Watch a potter work on his wheel.  See a basket made before your eyes and watch the process of flax into linen.

Historic Encampments

Hear the boom of the cannons on Swasey Parkway and visit the British encampments including the popular Marquis tent.  Roam the Museum’s grounds to see the encampments of the Patriot Militias, and learn to muster, view a cooking demonstration and more.

Museum Tours

Our Ladd-Gilman House will be open with priceless items like our Dunlap Broadside, draft copies of the constitutions and hand written letters by George Washington on display for this one day a year only.

Children’s Activities

Learn from our Colonial Campers what life was like in the 1700s.  Play Colonial games, and complete our Colonial Scavenger Hunt.  Enlist in the Junior Militia. Our Loyalist and Colonial re-enactors will demonstrate and train children (and children at heart) on military maneuvers.

Re-Enactments and Portrayals

Experience history through the recreation of the July 16, 1776 delivery of New Hampshire’s Dunlap Broadside of the Declaration of Independence with a costumed rider galloping, hecklers, and more.  At 2:00pm view the battle portrayal on Swasey Parkway – who will win, the Patriots or the British?

Independence Ale at the Folsom Tavern

For the fourth year in a row we are once again partnering with Redhook to offer Independence Ale in the Folsom Tavern.  Enjoy this special brew in the very room where George Washington once ate breakfast.  Requires Festival admission and additional ale costs apply.  Must present valid I.D., Tavern is open from 12:00pm – 4:00pm.

Food, Music and More

Hear the beautiful sounds of a violin fill the Folsom Tavern, and feel the beat of the Fifes and Drums as they march around the museum’s grounds.  Plenty of food will be offered for sale on Swasey Parkway and at local restaurants in downtown Exeter, so make a day of the whole event!

With special thanks to our 2015 Festival Sponsors


William W. Treat Foundation



Access Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics

Buxton Oil Company

Exeter Hospital

Geoffrey F. Brackett PC

Historic Motor Sports

People’s United Bank


Exeter Inn & Epoch Restaurant

Pintuck and Purl


Help us Make it a Great Event!

Become a Volunteer

We need 75+ volunteers to ensure the day runs smoothly. Volunteer for the whole day, or just for half the day and receive free Festival admission.  Fill out our ONLINE VOLUNTEER FORM today, or call us at (603) 772-2622. For a paper-based form you can print, fill in and mail, click HERE.

Tell Your Friends

Please share our Facebook page with all of your friends, and tell them to save the date for July 18th! We offer special Group Admission prices for parties of 15 or more who call ahead in advance, contact Rachel for more information.

We are no longer offering online ticket sales in advance of this event.  Please purchase your tickets at one of our four admission booths on Festival Day.

Members, children under 12, Veterans, Active & Retired Military members & their accompanying immediate family members are Free to our Festival.