Baltimore Hosts 200th Anniversary Star Spangled Spectacular

Image of crowd at dock of Tall Ship.

The Star Spangled Spectacular Takes Place September 10-16, 2014.

Jordin Sparks, Kenny Rogers, Melissa Etheridge, and Train are but a few of the star performers on stage during the Star Spangled Spectacular festival happening in Baltimore.

Baltimore celebrates the 200th anniversary of our national anthem written during the attempted British invasion in 1814.  The Star Spangled Spectacular festival features amazing fireworks, visiting Tall Ships, the Blue Angel, an air show, a live and televised music concert, and a viewing of Francis Scott Key’s original manuscript.  Check out this calendar of events during the Star Spangled 200 festival

See The Tall Ships Arrive September 10th

A flotilla of some 48 ships including several tall ships from around the world sail into Baltimore’s Inner Harbor on September 10th.  For the next 5 days visitors can tour onboard some of the ships between 12:00 pm and 5:00 pm.  The Tall Ships leave the harbor on the 16th.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle is one of the tall ships joining in the celebration.  It is the largest tall ship flying the Stars and Stripes.  A square-rigger, it features a three-masted barque.  This ship was built in 1936 but is the sixth ship to carry the name Eagle dating back to 1792.  It travels the world with 6 officers and 50 permanent crew members on board.  It also travels with about 150 trainees.  The ship can reach speeds of 10 knots under power or 17 knots under full sail.  It is 295 feet long and 147 feet tall at its highest point.  Fully loaded it holds 23,000 gallons of fuel oil, 239 people, and provisions for extended cruises.

  • Chris Kaltenbach of the Baltimore Sun wrote some updated information “More details announced for Star-Spangled Spectacular celebration“.  He mentions that ships will be coming from Canada, UK, Norway, Spain, Germany, and Turkey.  Former Secretary of Sate Colin Powell will be on hand the morning of September 14th.  Also a 911 flag from ground zero and part of the original Fort McHenry flag will be on display.  Also music performers to include Ken Kolodner, the Crawdaddies, Duende, the Naval Academy Band’s Elecrric Brigade and the Royal Norwegian Navy Band.

Air Show

Image of U.S. Navy Blue Angels in flight.
U.S. Navy Blue Angels. photo deposit photos


The air show is free and can be viewed on September 13th and 14th between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm as they fly over the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River.  The U.S. Navy Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Team will perform for approximately 90 minutes.  This is a performance you do not want to miss.

Places to view the air show:
Inner Harbor Festival Village
Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
Canton Waterfront Park
Port Covington Walmart
Martin State Airport
MedStar Harbor Hospital

Music Concert

image of people at music concert
Music Concert and Festivals Are So Much Fun


Actor and musician John Lithgow will co-host with music superstar Jordin Sparks the September 13th music concert that takes place at the Pier Six Pavilion.  Performers include Smokey Robinson, Kristin Chenoweth, Kenny Rogers, Train, Melissa Etheridge, Denyce Graves-Montgomery, STOMP, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and many more groups.  Tickets are still available for this performance.  The concert runs from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  It will also be telecast live on PBS TV as part of their THIRTEEN’S Great Performance series at 8 PM ET.


Image of fireworks and light display in Baltimore.
Fireworks and Light Display over Baltimore. photo fireworks by grucci.


At the conclusion of the concert the largest fireworks display in Baltimore’s history will take place.  Free public viewing sites are designated at the Spectacular Festival Villages at the Inner Harbor and Fort McHenry.  It will be a 20 minute performance stretching the three miles between the Inner Harbor to Fort McHenry.  The music score was choreographed and includes music by John Williams, James Ingram, Jennifer Hudson, Faith Hill, and more.  If you are at home it is available online.

Spectacular Villages

Festival villages are being set up at Inner Harbor, Fort McHenry, and the Martin State Airport.  View the aircraft, see local music performance, and enjoy food and beverage vendors before and after going through the Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum.  The village at Fort McHenry will operate on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  It will have fair type food options, ethnic specialties, hands on activities, living history demonstrations, and more.  Inner Harbor has cooking demonstrations, kids activities, local music, great food, sponsor giveaways, beer and wine gardens, and a Family Fun Zone.

Fort McHenry

Image of Fort McHenry, Baltimore.
Fort McHenry is home to Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner. photo courtesy National Park Service


The famous fort survived the attack on the night of September 13th, two hundred years ago.  All events are open to the public including the living flag kickoff on September 9th.  Over 7000 school children dressed in red, white, and blue will create a living flag.  On September 14th at 9:00 am a group of military units will raise the 15 star and stripe replica flag that Francis Scott Key saw that morning.  Also available is a viewing of the original document penned by Key.  It was lost for 75 years and later found.  It did not become our national anthem until 1931.

The Star Spangled Banner:

There are four verses but generally only the first verse is played.

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light.
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight.
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Some facts about the War of 1812:

The war began in 1812 at a time in which the British and French were deeply involved in the Napoleonic Wars that began in 1803.  The British brought the Americans into the war by restricting trade and pulling sailors off American merchant ships.  The war lasted 2 years and 8 months with British victories throughout the first two years.  In fact the city of Washington was burned to the ground.  The British navy attacked east coast towns and extracted goods under the threat of burning them down.  New York was saved in early 1814 and Baltimore was still standing at Fort McHenry on September 14th.  These two set backs shifted the war to New Orleans in January 2015.  Andrew Jackson’s army defeated the British there which effectively ended the war.  At the same time, the war in Europe was ending and peace negotiators were working out details.  The war ended on February 15, 1815.

Francis Scott Key was a Maryland poet and attorney who was called in to negotiator a prisoner release.  He watched the attack on Fort McHenry on September 13th from aboard a British warship in the harbor.  About 1800 cannon shells were fired at the fort.  At dawn the flag over Fort McHenry was still waving.  The manuscript was found some 75 years later in a desk at the Key family home. 

Funtober continues our Fall Things to do as we Countdown to Halloween day 80 blog series.  Find more festivals at funtober.

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