December 6, 2023

Array of Historic and Cultural Events On Tap for Trenton’s Patriots Week

PATRIOTS WEEK PAGEANTRY:Redcoat reenactors march toward the Trenton Battle Monument in a past year’s Patriots Week appearance. This year’s celebrations in Trenton, December 26-31, will feature an array of more than 40 exciting historic and cultural events. (Photo courtesy of the Old Barracks Museum)

By Donald Gilpin

The Colonial Ball, the Patriots’ Pub Crawl, battle reenactments, the Assunpink Firewalk, the Hogmanay Scottish New Year celebration, lectures, historical tours, puppet shows and more — Patriots Week in Trenton is back and bigger than ever this year with dozens of events taking place throughout the city from December 26-31, celebrating history and culture, while providing a rich array of entertainments for all ages.

Sponsored by the City of Trenton, Trenton Downtown Association, and the Old Barracks Museum in partnership with many different local groups, the festivities give participants multiple opportunities to engage with the city and its extraordinary role in the American Revolution and the shaping of the nation’s history.

A sort of preview of the Trenton celebration will take place just nine miles up Route 29 at noon on December 25 with the annual Christmas Day Washington Crossing reenactment at Washington Crossing Historic Park.

Then on Tuesday, December 26, five different events will launch the week’s activities in Trenton, starting with a Trenton Battlefield tour, including the Trenton Battle Monument; then New Jersey State House tours, visiting the home of the New Jersey State Legislature, including General Assembly and Senate Chambers; a “Hidden History” tour and “Tea, Sugar, and Chocolate in 18th Century America” presentations at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church on North Warren Street; and “The Stars of 1776” planetarium shows at the New Jersey State Museum.

Among the many highlights on the Wednesday, December 27 agenda are “A Revolutionary Conversation: Whose freedom anyway?” at the Trenton Free Public Library on Academy Street; musket demonstrations and tours at the Old Barracks Museum on Barrack Street; and “Make a Quill Pen and Write like John Hancock” at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church; along with a discussion of the Hessian soldiers in the American Revolution at the Masonic Temple on Barrack Street, and more.

On Thursday, December 28, the New Jersey State Museum will be holding a Civil War Flag Unveiling, featuring the history and unveiling of five new flags in the museum’s Civil War Flag Collection of New Jersey exhibition. “Tavern Beverages of the American Revolution” will be the topic of a talk by historian and mixologist David Emerson, who promises to include some recipes and what Benjamin Franklin considered “the proof of God’s love.” Other events will be taking place throughout the day at the Old Barracks, the planetarium, St. Michael’s, and the State House, culminating in the Patriots’ Pub Crawl starting downtown at 5 p.m.

Many of the previous days’ events will be repeated on Friday, December 29 with the additions of a walking tour, titled “A Burial Ground Comes to Life,” of the First Presbyterian Church cemetery on State Street; a presentation of colonial era songs by the A Capella Hopewell Hall Ensemble at the Trenton Friends Meeting House on Hanover Street; and the Colonial Ball, with period dress neither discouraged nor required, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Masonic Temple.

On the weekend the activities ramp up further with more planetarium shows, battle reenactments, and walking tours, as well as a celebration of Hogmanay at the William Trent House on Market Street, a puppet show “The Trouble With Trenton” at the Warren Street Plaza, and the Assunpink Firewalk at Mill Hill Park and on the Iron Bridge.

Bagpipers, Scottish folk tales, and Scottish treats will highlight the Hogmanay Scottish New Year celebration. The firewalk will include traditional music, warm drinks, and cookies, followed by the dramatic lighting of 13 torches along the river bank and a reading of Thomas Paine’s “The American Crisis.”

Patriots Week will continue on New Year’s Eve with a late afternoon peace sing-along with the Solidarity Singers and a candlelight peace vigil and dinner at the Trenton Friends Meeting House. A New Year’s Eve concert by the Capital Philharmonic Orchestra of New Jersey will wrap up the action-packed week at the Patriots Theater at the Trenton War Memorial at 8 p.m. on December 31.

Visit for details on times and locations of these events and for further information.