51st Annual Independence Day Celebration and Naturalization Ceremony at the home of Thomas Jefferson to feature musician Dave Matthews as keynote speaker

Media Contact: Lisa Stites, 434-984-7529

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA — This July 4th will mark the 237th anniversary of American independence.

Since 1963, more than 3,000 individuals have been sworn in as American citizens on Independence Day at Monticello in proceedings presided over by the U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia. This year, 80 people from 38 countries will become citizens at Monticello. The ceremony is the oldest continuous naturalization ceremony that takes place outside of a courtroom in the United States.

Dave Matthews, best known as the lead vocalist/guitarist for Dave Matthews Band, will be the featured speaker at Monticello’s 51st annual Independence Day Celebration and Naturalization Ceremony. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, on January 9, 1967, Matthews became a naturalized American citizen in 1980. His family moved frequently during his childhood, spending time in the U.S. and England in addition to South Africa, and he credits their travels with widening his frame of reference.

Free tickets to the 51st Annual Independence Day Celebration and Naturalization Ceremony at Monticello featuring speaker Dave Matthews are still available to the public, on a first come, first serve basis. Tickets are available online at www.monticello.org/july4 or for pickup prior to July 4th at the Dominion Welcome Pavilion at Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center. Reservations are required; no one will be admitted to the event without a ticket. The event at the home of Thomas Jefferson begins at 9 a.m.


Due to the increased attendance anticipated at this year’s ceremony, Monticello asks that people plan to carpool to the designated parking location at Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC), where transportation will be provided to and from Monticello. All ticketholders will be assigned a specific time to arrive at PVCC, beginning at 6:30 a.m. Ticketholders are asked to arrive 30 minutes in advance of their assigned shuttle bus boarding time to allow ample time for parking and security screening. To ensure the most expedient transportation to the ceremony, visitors are asked to please leave bags and backpacks at home or in their cars.

Because of the Independence Day event, Monticello will not open for tours until 12 p.m. on July 4. Additionally, all sections of the Thomas Jefferson Parkway and the Saunders-Monticello Trail, including its parking areas, will be closed until 11 a.m., Thursday, July 4.


About the Thomas Jefferson Foundation

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation was incorporated in 1923 to preserve Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Today the Foundation seeks to engage a global audience in a dialogue with Jefferson’s ideas. Monticello is now recognized as a National Historic Landmark and a United Nations World Heritage Site. As a private, nonprofit organization, the Foundation is not supported by federal or state budgets to fund its twofold mission of preservation and education.  About 450,000 people visit Monticello each year. For information, visit www.monticello.org.