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DelVal Looks Ahead to America’s 250th Birthday in 2026

“A republic, if you can keep it,” Ben Franklin said when asked if the United States would be a republic or a monarchy.

Now, the Delaware Valley is gearing up for a royal celebration on July 4, 2026, which will mark the 250th anniversary of our republic.

Michelle Kichline, a former Chester County commissioner, is that county’s liaison to the America250 Committee. The nonpartisan U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission was established by Congress in 2016 to plan and orchestrate the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

“We’ve been working hard to get the word out,” said Kichline. “We’ve been reaching out to all the Chester County municipalities. America250 is a multiyear effort to commemorate this historic event.”

A lot of tourists will be drawn to the area in 2026. Philadelphia will host the World Cup soccer tournament, and the PGA Championship will be held at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square.

Kichline said Chester County has many historical places and stories to tell, such as the Underground Railroad. Or the Battle of Brandywine. Plus, Phoenixville and Coatestown were steel industry hubs that helped build American skyscrapers, including the World Trade Center.

“We have a lot of historic impacts,” said Kichline. There are also immigration stories, such as her parents, who came from Hungary. “It’s certainly changed a lot since Washington was here.”

“We’re working with public and private entities to make America250 a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all county residents of all ages and all walks of life,” said Kichline.

Andrea Silva, Delaware County’s America250 director, said the planning process is just getting underway there, and she is meeting with various community organizations.

On June 27, leaders from about 30 community groups, including the Chester Economic Development Authority, met at the historic courthouse and waterfront in the city of Chester.

Delaware County’s riverfront is ‘Where Pennsylvania Began’ from Marcus Hook to Tinicum, officials said. This area of Delaware County has significant historical importance, from the Declaration of Independence to the Underground Railroad through World War II.  Attendees also learned about the Chester Creek Connector (trail) plan and its overlap with the Chester History Hub. The City of Chester is the oldest city in Pennsylvania. Founded as Upland in 1644, its name was changed to Chester in 1682.

“Many organizations are just getting started imagining what they want to do,” said Silva. “Our goal is to create the most inclusive collaboration of 250 years of America.”

Similarly, Bucks and Montgomery County officials are also planning for the 250 anniversary bash.

“The Bucks County America250PA Commission will endeavor to bring together diverse community stakeholders with the goal of inspiring and encouraging Bucks Countians to learn from our shared past, reflect on the present, and work towards a future that meets and expands upon the ideals of liberty, equality, and democracy that were established at the founding of our nation,” the county said on its website.

And Montgomery County officials said, “Montgomery County plays an outsized role in the fabric of our nation. From our historical significance in the Revolutionary War to the diverse and vibrant cultures of our present-day community, Montgomery County is poised to be at the center—both of our past and of our future.”

“I challenge you to prepare for the biggest, most inclusive celebration in our nation’s history,” said Kichline. She asks people to think about what history means to them and asks, “What can we do to help renew this daring experiment we call America so it can last another 250 years?”

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