John Brown commemoration highlights

October 15, 2009

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. - For John Brown 150th Commemoration events on Friday through Sunday, visitors must park at Cavalier Heights Visitor Center parking areas off U.S. 340 and take shuttle buses to the event. Plan to arrive early and allow time to reach event. Parking is on a first-come, first-served basis. The roads in Lower Town will be closed Saturday and Sunday.

Activities are set in Lower Town off Shenandoah Street in Harpers Ferry, W.Va. Events are free. For a complete schedule, go to

Schedule highlights

Thursday, Oct. 15

5:30 p.m. - West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III will kick off the weekend of activities with a brief ceremony with park officials.

Friday, Oct. 16

o 7:30 to 9 p.m. - "John Brown's Body," a play by Stephen Vincent Benet performed by the Jefferson High School Drama Department.


o 9 p.m. - Lantern-lit walk of Harpers Ferry that sets the stage of the eve of John Brown's raid.

Saturday, Oct. 17

o 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. - A variety of creative activities at the Family & Youth Tent.

o 10 a.m. to noon - Two-mile, park ranger-led hike. Learn about the people and buildings involved in Brown's raid.

o 11 a.m. - Matilda's Incredible Time Travel puppet show

o 11 a.m. to noon - Actor and historian Fred Morsell presents Frederick Douglass' famous 1881 address on Brown.

o 11:30 a.m. - New Orleans' Uptown Music Theatre presents children's musicals about Harriet Tubman and Althea Gibson.

o Noon to 1 p.m. - A living history event showing citizens, local militia, U.S. troops and voters reacting to Brown's raid.

o 2 to 2:45 p.m. and 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. - U.S. Marine Band concerts

o 3:30 to 5 p.m. - "Tattered Souls" world premiere with Delfeayo Marsalis. See story on page ??.

o 7 to 8:30 p.m. - "Sword of the Spirit," a play based on the original letters of John and Mary Brown and the final days of Brown's life.

Sunday, Oct. 18

o 9 to 11 a.m. - Walk of the Descendants. Commemorative walk follows the footsteps of Brown and his men during their raid on Harpers Ferry. Readings and moment of silence.

o 1 to 2 p.m. - Commemorative readings of Benet's Pulitzer-prize winning "John Brown's Body," featuring former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, special guest readers, and music by the Maryland Symphony Orchestra String Ensemble.

o 2 to 3 p.m. - U.S. Marine Band concert and history talk

o 3 p.m. - Parade with Marine Band through Lower Town.

o 3:30 p.m. - Wreath-laying at engine house for the U.S. Marine who dies capturing Brown

o 5 p.m. - Choral performance of Negro spirituals, gospel, folk songs and jazz choral music from 1918 to the present

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