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Harpers Ferry Park gearing up for 75th anniversary celebration

By Staff | Jun 21, 2019

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park's 75th anniversary celebrations will culminate with three days of events on June 28-30. Courtesy photo

HARPERS FERRY — Harpers Ferry National Historical Park’s 75th anniversary celebrations will culminate with three days of events on June 28-30.

The weekend will feature any number of special events and activities commemorating the history of Harpers Ferry and will offer a variety of entertainment throughout the weekend as well. Planned activities include a block party, a swing band concert as well as other musical performances, Living History presentations and special guided hikes. There will be artists, musicians, scholars and alumni of the park on hand to perform and answer questions.

The Opening Ceremony for the weekend’s activities will be held at the Gathering Tent from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday. Superintendent Tyrone Brandyburg will offer remarks as will Robert G. Stanton, a member of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and former director of the National Park Service and Joy Oakes, senior regional director of the National Parks Conservation Association, among others.

Ongoing activities will begin Friday at approximately 4 p.m. and continue throughout the weekend. These include exhibits at the Meriwether Lewis Museum where the role Harpers Ferry played in the Corps of Discovery Expedition. One can also enjoy a variety of displays highlighting the park through the decades which will be available to observe at the Resource Management Tent on both Saturday and Sunday. These displays will feature a then-and-now photo array from the park archives, a look at park brochures produced through the years and an exhibit showing the park expansion over time.

A variety of re-enactments will take place throughout the weekend as living history rangers and volunteers join to share the story of Harpers Ferry. Gatherings and lectures on various topics will take place all weekend. Among the highlights will be a tour of Virginius Island on Saturday from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Author David Gilbert will take visitors past the ruins of the factories and discuss how the island was once a thriving industrial and residential tract.

Visitors can join the Urban Artistry, An International Culture and Education Project, in Arsenal Square from 10 a..m to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 29. Working through the lens of interdisciplinary urban dance, the public can experience becoming advocates of cultural preservation and artistic innovation as they discover dance, vocal and instrumental traditions that have endured through America’s history of enslavement, Civil War and Civil Rights. This internationally recognized organization dedicated to the performance and preservation of art forms inspired by the urban experience will engage visitors with the history of Harpers Ferry through various forms of dance.

On both Saturday and Sunday, the public can join in the opening of the Artist-in-Residence Exhibition, “Invisibles.” The exhibit will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with an informal discussion with the artist, Tim Lancaster, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Experience a series of portraits commemorating 24 of the men and women who actively supported John Brown’s 1859 raid on the US Armory at Harpers Ferry, featuring live discussion with the park’s 2018 Artist-in-Residence, Peter Cizmadia. Cizmadia seeks to encourage viewers to consider the motivations and background of all these individuals, and consider what drove each of them to risk so much in the fight against slavery.

A complete schedule of the weekend’s events can be found at the National Park’s website at www.nps.gov/hafe.