PLYMOUTH NOTCH, Vt. – The Coolidge Foundation is excited to announce that on July 3, for the first time in 20 years, fireworks will light up the Plymouth Notch sky to kick off a two-day celebration of American independence and the birth of its thirtieth president, Calvin Coolidge, on July 3 and 4. Coolidge is the only U.S. president born on Independence Day, and July 4 has been commemorated at his birthplace in Plymouth Notch for many decades. All activities take place at the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site (3780 Route 100A, Plymouth, Vermont). This year’s celebration has been designated a “Top 10 Summer Event” by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.
July 3: Activities begin the night of July 3rd with a fireworks show in Plymouth Notch. The show will begin at dusk on July 3rd and is free and open to the public. Come early to meet President Coolidge himself (as portrayed by reenactor Tracy Messer), who will address the public at 8:45 PM, prior to the fireworks show. There will be signs and individuals directing traffic to help the public with parking and to direct them to the best viewing area.
July 4: The next day, events begin at 9:00 a.m. with a public reading of the Declaration of Independence in the Plymouth Union Christian Church. At 10:00 a.m., the Coolidge Foundation and the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) will host an official naturalization ceremony. Twenty immigrants will become U.S. citizens. Judge J. Garvan Murtha will preside. The public is invited to attend. Please arrive early.
At 12:00 p.m., the public is invited to gather at the Plymouth Notch village green when a delegation of the Vermont National Guard will lead a march to the Plymouth Notch Cemetery. There, a wreath from the White House will be placed at the President’s gravesite in a brief ceremony with members of the Coolidge family in attendance. President Coolidge’s great-granddaughter Jennifer Sayles Harville will perform the National Anthem, taps will be played by the National Guard, and members of the Coolidge family will read selections from the speeches of President Coolidge.
At 2:30 p.m., the final round of the Coolidge Cup National Debate Championship will take place in the Plymouth Union Christian Church where the final two debaters will compete for the 2018 Coolidge Cup and the first prize award – a $7,500 college scholarship. The Coolidge Cup is a national high school debate tournament that features top debaters from across the country. Competitors will argue for both sides of this year’s debate resolution: Resolved: For the United States, socialism would be a better economic system than capitalism for promoting the well-being of the average person. The public is highly encouraged to watch and attend the debate rounds which will take place throughout the day. The day will conclude with a speech by President Coolidge (portrayed by Tracy Messer) at 4:00 p.m.
The Coolidge Foundation is proud to partner with the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site to host all of these exciting events. The State Historic Site has arranged a number of other ongoing activities throughout the Fourth including a barbecue at the Wilder House restaurant, cheese making at the Plymouth Artisan Cheese Factory, performances by the Stringfield Springers old-time string band, horse-drawn wagon rides with Plymouth resident Fred DePaul, children’s games, and birthday cake.
The public can tour twelve buildings at the Coolidge Site which is owned and operated by the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. A National Historic Landmark, Plymouth Notch is considered one of the best-preserved presidential sites in the country. At the Museum & Education Center, visitors can see the permanent exhibit, More Than Two Words: The Life and Legacy of Calvin Coolidge. This season’s temporary exhibit, Presidential Holiday: The Coolidge Summer Retreats, 1924-1928, has received rave reviews.
For further information about July 3 and 4 programs, or other special events, contact the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation, 802-672-3389, or visit the Foundation online at: www.CoolidgeFoundation.org.