A full calendar of events is on tap in July at the James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Ohio, where special events range from a naturalization ceremony to a Civil War encampment.
* At 10 a.m. on Friday, July 5, the site will host the first of its two annual naturalization ceremonies. The public is invited to watch approximately 30 individuals from across the globe take the oath as America’s newest citizens in the shadow of President Garfield’s home. This is a moving, uniquely American event and a perfect way to close out your Fourth of July celebrations.
* Saturday, July 6 at 7 p.m. brings the return of the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival to James A. Garfield National Historic Site. Both President and Mrs. Garfield were lovers of “the Bard,” and we know from his diary that the President read at least 17 Shakespeare plays. This year, the CSF will present Measure for Measure. The performance is held outdoors and is free of charge; visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and drinking water. Picnic baskets are welcome; NO alcoholic beverages are permitted.
* The site's monthly “Major Battles of the Civil War” program series continues on Wednesday, July 10, at 12 p.m. at Mentor Public Library (8215 Mentor Avenue in Mentor). July’s topic will be the pivotal July 1863 battle of Gettysburg. The program is free, and all are invited to bring a lunch to enjoy during the presentation. Please call Mentor Public Library at 440-255-8811 to make your free reservation for this program.
* The annual Civil War encampment weekend will return to the site July 19-21. The weekend kicks off with a free public symposium on various Civil War topics presented by the members of the Northeast Ohio Civil War Round Table on Friday night, July 19 at 7 p.m. From 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday-Sunday, July 20-21, visitors are invited to tour the grounds of the site, where numerous Union reenactor camps will be found. Firing and drilling demonstrations will take place at various times both days. Special guests will include “Abraham Lincoln,” “Frederick Douglass,” several important Union generals, and more. The Camp Chase Fife and Drums, who provided outstanding musical performances last year, will be back this year as well. This event is free of charge; please be prepared to be directed to nearby off-site parking and ride a free shuttle to and from James A. Garfield National Historic Site.
* July’s final special event will be an exciting performance from the Sounds of Sousa Band on Saturday, July 27 at 2 p.m. This Ohio-based band will present a free outdoor concert in the style of John Philip Sousa and will transport you back in time to the turn of the last century when the concert band was king of the entertainment scene. The Sounds of Sousa Band is composed of the finest musicians in Ohio. They are appointed to the ensemble based upon their musical skill, dedication to excellence in performance, professionalism, and belief in the common goals of the ensemble.
Hosting the Sounds of Sousa Band at James A. Garfield National Historic Site is particularly appropriate since John Philip Sousa directed the U.S. Marine Corps Band before, during, and after Garfield’s brief presidency and even played at several of the events surrounding Garfield’s March 4, 1881 inauguration. This free concert will be held on the lawn behind the Garfield home; those attending are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, drinking water, and sunscreen.
James A. Garfield National Historic Site is located at 8095 Mentor Avenue (U.S. 20) in Mentor, Ohio, approximately 25 miles east of Cleveland. The site offers guided tours of the Garfield home, museum exhibits, and an introductory film. The National Park Service completely restored the house in the late 1990s, making it one of the most impressive presidential homes preserved for the public.