For Pricing When
All Guests
Free
Shuttles start at 7:30am
Shuttles start at 7:30am
Reserve Your Spot

Every year, Monticello's West Portico becomes an outdoor courtroom where dozens of individuals take the Oath of Citizenship to become Americans. 

Misty Copeland portrait photographPhoto by Masterclass

We are excited to announce this year's keynote speaker will be ballerina, author, and philanthropist Misty Copeland, who will provide remarks during the ceremony. Ms. Copeland is a Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre, having been the first Black woman to be promoted to the position in the company's 75-year history in 2015.

Join us as we mark the 248th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence for an entire morning welcoming new citizens to our country, family activities, music, community partners, and more!

Event Highlights

  • Event entry is free, but reservations required
  • Naturalization Ceremony begins at 9:00 a.m.
  • Shuttles to the historic mountaintop will run from Piedmont Virginia Community College starting at 7:30 a.m.
  • Before and after the ceremony, guests can enjoy music, concessions, children's activities, and the Community Partner Tent
  • Musical performances include the Charlottesville Band, Charlottesville Opera, Old Line Fife and Drum Corps, and The Virginia Consort
  • Free Monticello Root Beer floats after the ceremony

Can't attend the ceremony in person? We will livestream the ceremony on our Facebook pagewebsite, and YouTube channel.


On the Mountain: Event Details

  • 7:30 a.m. - Shuttles service from Piedmont Community College parking area begins
  • 8:00 a.m. - Farm Shop, Concessions, and Community Partner Tent open
  • 8:30 a.m. - Musical performances
  • 9:00 a.m. - Naturalization Ceremony
  • Following the Ceremony, beginning at approx. 10:30 a.m.:
    • Musical Performances
    • Family activities
    • Free Monticello Root Beer floats
  • 11:45 a.m. - House Tours begin (separate tickets required; purchase online or at the Monticello Ticket Office)
  • 12:00 p.m. - Concessions and Community Partner Tents close
  • 2:30 p.m. - Last shuttle returns to Piedmont Community College parking area
Misty Copeland portrait photographPhoto by Masterclass

Misty Copeland is a Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre, the first Black woman to be promoted to the position in the company's 75-year history in 2015. She has performed some of the most iconic classical ballet roles, including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake; Juliet in Romeo & Juliet; Giselle; Manon; Coppelia; Kitri in Don Quixote; and Firebird, to name a few.

She has performed alongside cultural icons such as Prince for his Welcome 2 America tour; Taylor Swift at the American Music Awards; Camilla Cabello, Common, Ben Platt, and dancers from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy at the Grammy Awards; as well as the televised Prince Grammy Tribute performing with award-winning recording artist H.E.R. Copeland made her Broadway debut in On the Town in 2015 and her major motion picture debut in Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms in 2018.

Copeland is an avid philanthropist and in 2022, she launched The Misty Copeland Foundation, with its first signature program BE BOLD, which aims to bring greater diversity, equity and inclusion to dance, especially ballet. She is an ambassador and alum of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and MindLeaps, a Rwanda-based arts program that helps young people get off the streets and into an academic setting to help enhance their lives.

Copeland’s production company, Life In Motion Productions, is focused on offering representative stories of artists - past, present, and future - and normalizing the arts experience for everyone. Her first independently produced project, Flower, is a silent arts activism film using dance to help raise awareness about intergenerational equity. 

She is the New York Times bestselling author of several books, including Life In Motion, Ballerina Body, Black Ballerinas, The Wind At My Back, and picture books titled Bunheads and Firebird.

In 2021, Copeland was the recipient of the Spingarn Medal, the NAACP’s highest honor and in 2023, she received the Trailblazer Icon Award at The Grio Awards, was named to The Root 100 list, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from New York University. In 2024, she received the Innovator Award from the African American Film Critics Association. Prior honors include Glamour’s Women of the Year, Black Girls Rock! Awards, and Time 100 Most Influential People.

Visit Our Community Partner Tent

Meet the organizations making a difference in our community. Stop by our Partner Tent before or after the ceremony to make useful contacts make useful and further the dialogue on civic engagement and citizen leadership. Hours of operation: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Participating Partners


Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society

Albemarle County Office of Equity & Inclusion

Center for Nonprofit Excellence

Charlottesville Ballet

The Charlottesville Band

Charlottesville City Office of Voter Registration and Elections

Charlottesville Opera

Charlottesville Sister Cities Commission

Hospice of the Piedmont

International Rescue Committee 

League of Women Voters of the Charlottesville Area

National Society Daughters of the American Revolution
Albemarle Chapter
Jack Jouett Chapter
Shadwell Chapter

Poplar Forest 

University of Virginia Karsh Institute of Democracy 

Monticello Departments and Projects
Archeology Department
Center for Historic Plants
Getting Word African American Oral History Project
Jefferson Library


 

Snacks and beverages will be available for purchase on the historic mountaintop from 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at both the Concessions Tent on the West Lawn and the Farm Shop under the North Terrace.

Free Monticello Root Beer floats will be available after the ceremony on a first come, first served basis in the Community Partner Tent.


The Thomas Jefferson Foundation wishes to express its genuine appreciation to:

The Scripps Independence Day Endowment and The Richard D. and Carolyn W. Jacques Foundation for their generous support of our Independence Day Celebration and Naturalization Ceremony.

"It just really gets you."

“I’m always in tears and get goosebumps when people give their oath. It just reminds me so much of when I became a citizen.” ~ Kay Nimax, who took part in the first Naturalization Ceremony at Monticello in 1962