Memorial Day

The Boalsburg Memorial Day Committee is proud to announce the 2023 Boalsburg Memorial Day Festival! View or download the schedule below:

Visit the birthplace of Memorial Day in Boalsburg. The Memorial Day Festival features food, music and craft vendors complete with two Civil War battle re-enactments at the historical Boal Mansion and Estate. 

Honor the soldiers of the past and present by visiting the Pennsylvania Military Museum to see their exhibits. On the grounds of the museum the AACA holds a car show for Memorial Day celebrators to enjoy. 

If you’re a history buff, stop in at the Boalsburg Heritage Museum to find out how the town formed, who made up its history and so much more. Nittany Theatre at the Barn will also be giving tours of their facility. 

Following the festival is the annual Memorial Day Service in the adjacent Boalsburg Cemetery. Join the famous three ladies in honoring our soldiers. 

Don’t forget to sign up for the Annual Boalsburg Memorial Day Run. The 3.8 mile course weaves through historic Boalsburg and welcomes both runners and walkers. All race proceeds benefit Boalsburg-area causes. Details on registration and parking can be found at the Nittany Valley Running Club website.

The Boalsburg Fire Company will host their annual parade and carnival with rides, food and more. 

History of Memorial Day in Boalsburg

Located just off Route 322 in Centre County, Pennsylvania, is a tiny old-fashioned American village called Boalsburg. Perhaps to some people this little town is just another dot on the map, but the locals know a truer meaning behind Boalsburg. “Boalsburg. An American Village – birthplace of Memorial Day.”

It all began with a lovely young teen-age girl named Emma Hunter and her friend Sophie Keller on a pleasant Sunday in October, 1864. The girls gathered some garden flowers to place them on the grave of her father, Dr. Reuben Hunter, a surgeon in the Union Army. That very same day an older woman, Mrs. Elizabeth Meyer, chose to scatter flowers on the grave of her son Amos, who was a private in the Battle at Gettysburg. The two spoke of their loved ones and respectfully placed flowers on both graves. These women did not realize what they had in common, but as it happened they were participating in their first Memorial Day service.

On that very Sunday in October, 1864 these women made a pact to meet again on the same day the following year to honor their loved ones as well as others who may have no one left to kneel at their graves. In the next months these women shared their plan with friends and neighbors. The result was a meeting on July 4, 1865, which had turned into a community service. All of Boalsburg gathered, along with a clergyman – Dr. George Hall – who preached a sermon. Not one grave went left undecorated.

This day of remembering easily became a tradition held annually in Boalsburg, and slowly the neighboring communities began observing “Decoration Day” each spring. On May 5, 1868, only four years after that first meeting in the burial ground, General John A. Logan, then commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued an order. He named May 30, 1868 as a day “for the purpose of comrades who died in defense of their country” the order was signed and was kept from year to year. (Source: Boalsburg Heritage Museum)