Arch, Old Courthouse ready to celebrate National Park Service Centennial

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)- On Thursday, August 25, 2016, the National Park Service will celebrate its 100th anniversary. The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, which consists of the Gateway Arch and the Old Courthouse, will be part of the nation-wide celebration.

From Thursday to Sunday, all guests to the Gateway Arch can enjoy $3 off their adult Arch tram ticket, and free Entry-Only tickets, in celebration of the Centennial.

On Thursday, a Centennial Commemoration Ceremony & Birthday Party will be held at 11:00am in Luther Ely Smith Square, park located between the Old Courthouse and the Gateway Arch. City and state leaders will join park superintendent Mike Ward for the event. Visitors can enjoy lunch from local food trucks, free birthday cupcakes, and a free concert from the Centennial Band from the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park.  You are also welcome to bring your own picnic.

On Saturday, August 27, a Dred Scott Mock Trial will be held at 9:00am and 3:00pm. The enslaved Scott family, including Dred, Harriet and their daughters, sued for their freedom from slavery prior to the Civil War. In one of the Old Courthouse’s restored courtrooms, rangers will facilitate a mock trial, and participants will read scripts, taking on the roles of the people involved in the Scott’s 1850 trial.

Also Saturday, the Bright Star Touring Theater will present an original play “Lift Every Voice: The Black Experience in the Heartland” for free in the Old Courthouse Rotunda at 10:30am and 1:30pm. The play celebrates the National Park Service’s Centennial and the many Black Americans who made a difference in the American Midwest. This play is ideal for kids ages 8-12.

At Noon Saturday, the Centennial Band from the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park will again perform a free concert, this time in the Old Courthouse Rotunda.

And on Sunday, you can join St. Louis natives Cole and Elizabeth Donelson, the “Switchback Kids,” and hear about their yearlong journey visiting all 59 national parks in honor of the National Park Service’s Centennial. The program will be held at 5:00pm.