Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July 4: Fourth of July Fun at Aurora Historical Society's Tanner Museum

Aurora, Ill. -- John F. Kennedy proclaimed "Let's ring freedom bells!" in 1963 and what should have become a national movement to help celebrate the Fourth of July was launched and then more or less forgotten.  But not in Aurora, Illinois.  The Aurora Historical Society has been ringing their two historic bells since 1967, and calling on the children of the city to do the honors.

The 1869 Center School bell and the 1918 Liberty Bell replica commemorating the end of World War I grace the grounds of the Tanner House Museum all year long, but just once a year, on July 4, the historians there hang the clappers, line up dozens of children on each of the 4 ropes and precisely at 1:00pm Central Daylight Time, have them pull away for two minutes of joyful cacophony.

"The sight of all those children, and the sounds of the bells, are one of the highlights of my entire year," said Mary Clark Ormond, historical society president.  "This is the 50th anniversary of the Congressional resolution to ring bells, and Aurora should be very proud to claim such a long tradition."

The annual picnic and Ringing of the Bells is at the Tanner House Museum, 304 Oak Avenue, Aurora, IL  60506, from 11am to 3pm.  It is free.  Other offerings at the event are live music, a petting zoo, the Windy City Wizard magician, horse-drawn wagon rides and free tours of the Tanner House.  Hot dogs, old-fashioned sodas and ice cream are available at a nominal charge. for more information.

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