Virginia State Capitol Bell Tower

The Bell Tolls at Five: Fourth of July Kicks-Off Two Years of VA250 Celebrations

The Virginia American Revolution 250 Commission (VA250) invites Virginians from around the commonwealth to participate in a historic bell-ringing ceremony this Fourth of July. The event is one of the first of many to take shape as America gears up to celebrate its 250th birthday in precisely two years.

On July 4, 2024, at 5 p.m., the historic bell at the Virginia State Capitol Tower will toll 13 times, symbolizing the original 13 colonies that won their independence. The event is free to attend and open to the public, but RSVPs are requested here.

If you can’t make it to Richmond… Town halls, firehouses, places of worship, public carillons, cemeteries and all Virginia citizens are encouraged to participate, livestream and tag their bellringing using #VA250.

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy officially established July 4 as “National Bell Ringing Day” through U.S. Congressional Resolution Number 25, uniting the nation through the sounds of freedom – a tradition echoing the founders’ celebrations.

“VA250 aims to create a truly unforgettable Fourth of July celebration that resonates throughout the Commonwealth,” Executive Director Cheryl Wilson said. “Imagine the joyous sounds of bells echoing everywhere, reminding us of the shared history and values that bind us together.”

However, there’s more to the state’s Fourth of July festivities than bellringing. Until 9 p.m., performances of spoken word, dance and music, unifying keynote remarks and a very special finale promises a fun and inviting celebration of our nation’s freedom.

Confirmed speakers and performers include:

  • Master of Ceremonies: Geoff Bennett, PBS News Hour Co-Anchor
  • Carly Fiorina, VA250 National Honorary Chair 
  • Thomas Jefferson as portrayed by Kurt Smith of Colonial Williamsburg
  • Colonial Williamsburg Fifes & Drums
  • The DAY Program
  • Quantico Marine Band
  • Roanoke Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
  • New Fellowship Gospel Choir
  • Virginia’s Tribal Nations

The Virginia American Revolution 250 Commission (VA250) was established to commemorate Virginia’s role in the 250th anniversary of American independence. Its mission is to educate Virginians about their history and civic duty by hosting events and programs that tell Virginia’s complete story in shaping the nation. Sign up for VA250’s newsletter to discover events happening in your community.

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