National Archives Hosts Declaration of Independence Reading for 8,000
The Foundation for the National Archives hosted its 35th annual reading of the Declaration of Independence on July 4 for nearly 8,000 people. Staged on the steps of the National Archives and Records Administration building, the reading by historical actors attracted about 1,000 more people than in 2010.
“The reading is the big kickoff to the Fourth of July celebrations in the D.C. area,” said the archive's manager of special events and scheduling, Quinn Bruster. “Before the parade and the fireworks, we host a live reading of the Declaration for anyone in the city who wants to attend.”
Prior to the reading, the archives hosted a private breakfast and tours for congressional staffers and representatives from event sponsors John Hancock Financial and law firm Dykema, along with their families. The archives set up historically inspired activities like patriotic story readings for kids and meet-and-greets with actors dressed as historical figures like John and Abigail Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
Occasions Caterers worked with Jack H. Lucky Floral Design and Perfect Settings to swathe the Washington and Jefferson rooms of the building in classic red, white, and blue decor. Picnic-style plaid linens draped the dining tables, with solid blue linens and red ties adorning the highboys around the perimeter of the two rooms. Oversize floral arrangements of red roses, blue hydrangeas, and white daisies topped the buffets, which served classic American breakfast foods like pastries, sausages, and eggs.
Veteran NBC News correspondent John Palmer served as the M.C. for the reading program, which also included a keynote speech from Royce Lamberth, U.S. District court judge for Washington. Following the reading, the breakfast attendees had V.I.P. seating for the National Independence Day Parade down Connecticut Avenue, coordinated by the National Parks and Pennsylvania-based Under the Sun Productions. The archives sponsored a float for the first time, with a tribute to its current National Archives Experiences exhibit “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” with local chef José Andrés of ThinkFoodGroup, which is behind America Eats Tavern.
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