Join Somerville’s 247th Annual Grand Union Flag Raising

Program begins at 11:30 a.m. with Procession from City Hall to Prospect Hill

SOMERVILLE – Mayor Katjana Ballantyne invites all to join the City’s annual kick off for the New Year on Sunday, January 1, 2023, with a ceremony for the anniversary of the Grand Union’ flag-raising at Prospect Hill Park. A processional that all are welcome to join will leave from the City Hall Concourse at 11:30 a.m., followed by a ceremony at Prospect Hill Park from 12 to 1 p.m. All are welcome to join this family-friendly event, and anyone who wishes to is encouraged to don Colonial-style or Colonial-inspired clothing. (See below for links to how to make a tricorn paper hat or neck ruffle.)  

The annual ceremony commemorates the raising of the nation’s first official flag, featuring thirteen red and white horizontal stripes, atop Prospect Hill on New Year’s Day, 1776. At the time, Prospect Hill was a key site in a string of fortifications created by Washington and the Continental Army in their siege of British troops in Boston during the first year of the American Revolution. 

The afternoon’s program will include songs to join in,and remarks by Mayor Ballantyne as well as participants from the Charlestown and Rhode Island Militia, and the Ancient and Honorable Company (first chartered in 1638). His Majesty’s 10th Regiment of Footwill bring a disturbing message from King George III, and the American Legion Post 19 Honor Guard will lead a military salute as a commemorative flag is raised atop the Prospect Hill Tower.

Light refreshments will be offered, as well as a few items highlighting the City’s historic assets for purchase from the Somerville Museum, including miniature replicas of the Grand Union Flag, both as a flag and a lapel pin, 1852 maps, as well as colonial-era tri-corner hats. Depending on the weather, the Tower will be open briefly to the public following the ceremony.

Make Your Own Paper Tricorner Hat or Neck Ruffle
Paper hat and neck ruffle patterns: You’ll find a pattern sheet from the JFK Library for both a paper traditional tricorner hat and paper neck ruffle (known as a cravat). You’ll need to download, print, cut-out, and either staple or tape. The patterns are at
Instructional video: A video showing how to use the tricorner hat pattern above is at
Internet and Printing access: Internet access and free printing of up to 20 black-and-white (or 10 color) sheets of paper is available at all three Somerville Public Libraries.

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