Frequently asked questions about the Star-Spangled Spectacular

One of the biggest events in Baltimore history is going down this weekend. Here's what you need to know to make the most of the Star-Spangled Spectacular.

What is it?

Star-Spangled Spectacular is a 10-day festival to celebrate the 200th birthday of the national anthem. It starts Wednesday Sept. 10 and ends Tuesday Sept. 16. The events will be centered on the Inner Harbor and Fort McHenry in Locust Point.


What about the rain?

As of noon Saturday, organizers said all events were scheduled to go on as planned including the fireworks. The festival areas will be covered by tents.

How much does it cost?

Most events are free, but getting there, food and refreshments will cost you. Entrance to Fort McHenry normally costs $7 per person, but the fee will be waived on Saturday and Sunday.

A star-studded concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at Pier Six featuring performances by Kristin Chenoweth, Melissa Etheridge, Train and others is one of the few ticketed events. Tickets range from $79-$175. The Maryland Science Center is also screening the movie "Star-Spangled Banner: Anthem of Liberty" on their giant IMAX screen throughout the festival. Tickets are $8.

What's the food situation?

The Star-Spangled Spectacular has set up three festival areas in the Inner Harbor, Fort McHenry and Martin State Airport. All three will feature street fair type food vendors and activities for children. Of course the area around the Inner Harbor is filled with restaurants from McDonald's to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.

How do you get there?

Organizers strongly encourage people to walk, bike or take public transportation. Traffic around the Inner Harbor and Fort McHenry is expected be heavy.


During the events, the organizers will run two shuttle buses that can take people from the Inner Harbor to Fort McHenry and North Locust Point. Both shuttles leave from Light and West Conway streets. One stops at Fort McHenry and other near the naval ships in North Locus Point. Click here for more information about the shuttles. Another shuttle to the Hampstead Hill site in Patterson Park will also be available.

Can I bring a bag?

Yes, you bring a bring a bag but the organizers have specific rules. You can bring any small clutch bag about the size of your hand, but larger bags must be clear and not exceed the size of a one gallon freezer bag. One bag per person is permitted. Below you'll find a list of items you can bring and items you can't. The best advice here is: Pack light.

Things you can bring
  • Strollers
  • Blankets
  • Sunscreen and bug spray in non-aerosol containers
  • Rain ponchos or umbrellas
Things you can't bring
  • Outside food or beverages
  • Alcohol
  • Any type of chair or stool
  • Ice or ice packs
  • Coolers
  • Animals or pets (except service animals)
  • Grills
  • Laser pointers
  • Bicycles
  • Fireworks
  • Skateboards or scooters

How do I see the fireworks?

The highlight of the Star-Spangled Spectacular will be a massive and elaborate fireworks display, featuring high tech imagery and heavy firepower. The fireworks start at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday and can be viewed from all along the waterfront including the Inner Harbor, Fort McHenry, Canton and Fells Point. And if you can't make to Baltimore Saturday, there's always the webcam option.

Will President Obama be there?

Yes, the president is planning to visit Fort McHenry on Friday during the 200th anniversary celebration of the Battle of Baltimore. Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Colin Powell are also among the dignitaries scheduled to attend events during the festival.

How can I see the Blue Angels air show?

The Blue Angels will be flying over the Middle Branch of the Patapsco from 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The organizers have several viewing locations including the Inner Harbor, Fort McHenry, Canton Waterfront Park and the Port Covington Walmart.

Can I tour the tall ships?

Yes, all the ships are available for public tours. The ships are berthed in and around the Inner Harbor, Fells Point and Locust Point. For tour times and ship locations, go to sailbaltimore.org

How is the festival going to affect traffic?

Star-Spangled Spectacular will cause road closures and parking changes in many South Baltimore neighborhoods. The city has a detailed list of the changes that you can find here.

I often go out boating around the Inner Harbor. What do I need to know for the festival?

A lot of security precautions will be in place for the festival. So check out the restrictions before going out on the water. Here's a complete overview of the regulations.

What's with all the cannons? 

Cannons will fire at Fort McHenry throughout the day on Wednesday, Sept. 10 and Tuesday, Sept. 16 as the ships sail in and out of the harbor. Cannons will also be fired for various special ceremonies and programs on Saturday, Sept. 13 from 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and on Sunday, Sept. 14.

Have more questions? Go here for more answers.