In 2017, National Day Calendar® began celebrating each state in the order they entered the union starting the week of Independence Day and ending with Hawaii. We highlight a small part of each states’ history, foods and the people who make up the state. Many states have their own state celebrations, and National Day Calendar’s observances in no way replace them. There’s so much more to explore, we can’t help but celebrate our beautiful country even more!
National Pennsylvania Day on July 20th recognizes the second state to join the Union. Once the home of the temporary capital of the United States in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is also known as the Keystone State. While the source of the nickname has been forgotten, the meaning is not lost. Bridge builders know leaving the vital keystone out of their structure would be folly, leading to collapse.
Pennsylvania played many roles that could be considered keystones. To begin with, its vote for independence split between eight delegates. Because of this, the split played a vital role in deciding to move toward independence and cementing the union of the newly formed country.
Throughout military operations, Pennsylvania provided forces to support the cause. In fact, Valley Forge tells the story of leadership and sacrifice of a young, developing army and citizenry.
As we know, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed in Philadelphia during its tenure as the temporary capital. It was geographically centered among the 13 original colonies.
We can eat our way through history, too! To understand Pennsylvania’s flavor profile. We start in Lancaster County, which is the heart of the Pennsylvania Dutch country. German and Swiss immigrants brought with them a wide range of hearty recipes that they incorporated into the fresh ingredients available in Pennsylvania countryside. From pork and sauerkraut, to pot pies and scrapple, these dishes filled the tables with the bounty of the land.
Much of more of the sweeter side of Pennsylvania, Dutch flavor finds its way into restaurants than the savory flavored foods. For example, the whoopie pie, shoofly, and funnel cake are tourist and fair favorites found everywhere. Unfortunately, the home-cooked seasoning of chicken corn chowder or stuffed cabbage rolls are often not found in a restaurant.
For the best and original Philly Cheesesteak, there is only one place to go. Philadelphia, of course! Made with thinly sliced beef rib eye, sauteed onions, peppers and mushrooms, melted cheese, on a long, crusty Italian roll. A hot dog vendor, Pat Olivieri, created the cheesesteak in the 1930s. One cab driver caught a whiff and soon after Olivieri opened a restaurant. It’s still there with competition across the street, a 24-hour a day rivalry for tourists and cheesesteak lovers to choose along with several others in the area.
Head on over to Hershey to pick up all variety of chocolate and adventure. Don’t stop there! Pennsylvania’s sweet tooth has deep roots. From Twizzlers to Peeps, confectioners love Pennsylvania. Candy isn’t the only sweet treat on the menu, though. In 1904, the banana split was invented in Latrobe, PA.
If your preference is more on the salty side, Pennsylvania has that covered, too. They’ve mastered soft and hard pretzels. They also have a terrific competition between four regional potato chip brands.
Full of regional festivals and local cuisine, Pennsylvania is also home to Kennett Square, otherwise known as the Mushroom Capital of the United States. Every year, in celebration, they shut down the town square for a mushroom festival. It’s no wonder Pennsylvanian mushrooms make it into dishes around the world, even into your very own house.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalPennsylvaniaDay
Join National Day Calendar as we celebrate National Pennsylvania Day by exploring the iconic, historic, and hidden treasures of this enchanting and complex state. Use #NationalPennsylvainaDay to share your experiences on social media.
Daniel Boone - Frontiersman - (November 2, 1734 - September 26, 1820)
Betsy Griscom Ross - Flag maker - (January 1, 1752 - January 30, 1836)
James Buchanan - 15th U.S. President - (April 23, 1791 - March 4, 1861)
The only president elected from Pennsylvania, James Buchanan’s tenure as president left the nation in turmoil and on the cusp of war.
Mariah Bowersock Mendenhall - Midwife - (May 2, 1813 - May 19, 1911)
Louisa May Alcott - Author - (November 29, 1832 - March 6, 1888)
Grant Marsh - Riverboat Pilot - (May 11, 1834 - January 1916)
Edward Goodrich Acheson - Inventor - (March 9, 1856 - July 6, 1931)
Nellie Bly - Journalist - (May 4, 1864 - January 27, 1922)
The World also sent Bly on a Jules Verne style journey around the world, inspired by the author’s novel Around the World in Eighty Days.
Maxwell Anderson - Playwright - (December 15, 1888 - February 28, 1959)
Samuel Barber - Composer - (March 9, 1910 - January 23, 1981)
Lee Iacocca - Auto Executive - (October 15, 1924)
Arnold Palmer - Golfer - (September 10, 1929 - September 25, 2016)
John Updike - Author - March 18, 1932 - January 27, 2009
Reginald Reggie Jackson - Baseball Player - May 18, 1946
Then in 1977, after Jackson had signed with the Yankees, he added another series win and MVP honor to his name. Jackson and the Yankees earned another World Series Championship a year later.
During his career, he hit 563 home runs and 2584 hits with a batting average of .262.
Stephen Foster - Composer - (July 4 1826 - January 13, 1864)
Mercer Museum & Fonthill Castle – Doylestown
The Dream Garden – Philadelphia
Philadelphia Magic Gardens – Philadelphia
Cave of Kelpius – Philadelphia
American Treasure Tour – Oaks
Longwood Gardens – Kennett Square
Columcille Megalith Park – Bangor
Leap the Dips – Altoona
Oldest operating rollercoaster
Horseshoe Curve – Blair County
National Watch & Clock Museum – Columbia
Railroaders Memorial Museum – Altoona
DelGrosso’s Amusement and Water Park – Tipton