Erie, Proud Past, Bright Future
The Perry 200 Commemoration takes place in Erie, Pa. and recognizes Erie’s role in Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s naval victory in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. Perry’s fleet, including the Flagship Niagara, was built in Erie at the urging of Erie citizen Daniel Dobbins; the construction of that fleet almost single-handedly led to the transformation of Erie from a quiet frontier village to a bustling maritime port and manufacturing center.
Over the course of the next 18 months, the Perry 200 Commemoration will present a series of events – concerts, lectures, tours, pageants, picnics, parades, and fireworks – all of which share the common themes that unite us as citizens of Erie, of Pennsylvania, of the United States, and of the world itself.
Past Perry Commemorations
The centerpiece of the Perry Centennial Celebration was the Brig Niagara, raised from Presque Isle’s Misery Bay. Oliver Hazard Perry’s former flagship was displayed at the public dock every day during the celebration. After the exhibition in Erie, another historic Erie-built ship, the USS Michigan, towed the Niagara to other commemorations around the Great Lakes from Buffalo, N.Y to Green Bay, Wis.
At the heart of the Perry Sesquicentennial Celebration was the recognition of “150 years of peaceful borders” between the U.S. and Canada. The penultimate occurrence was the presentation of the Erie historama “From These Shores,” featuring a cast of 600 actors performing on the area’s largest outdoor stage at Academy Stadium. The pageant was a series of sketches reflecting Erie’s history and culture. An on-stage recreation of the Battle of Lake Erie complete with fireworks closed each of the 24 performances.