Donald Trump’s latest idea to enshrine American greatness is to throw the country “the most spectacular” birthday bash — one that will last all year.
In 2026, the U.S. will celebrate the semiquincentennial: the quarter millennial since its declaration of independence. To commemorate the anniversary, Trump is proposing a blowout, 12-month-long “Salute to America 250” celebration. In a new policy video, Trump calls for a “Great American State Fair,” featuring pavilions from all 50 states, nationwide high school sporting contests, and the building of Trump’s “National Garden of American Heroes” with statues of important figures in American history like Frederick Douglass and Amelia Earhart.
“As a nation, we should be preparing for the most spectacular birthday party. We want to make it the best of all time,” Trump said in the new policy video previewed by POLITICO.
A birthday celebration for the nation is the type of event that can be described as quintessentially Trump: heavy on patriotic themes and state planning. It has been on his radar for a while. In his first address to the joint session of Congress, Trump noted, “in nine years, the United States will celebrate the 250th anniversary of our founding — 250 years since the day we declared our independence.” Trump also created a 1776 Commission while in the White House to “better enable a rising generation to understand the history and principles of the founding of the United States in 1776.”
For the current incarnation of the idea, Trump is proposing the creation of a task force on Day One of his presidency to work with state and local governments “to ensure not just one day of celebration, but an entire year of festivities across the nation starting on Memorial Day 2025 and continuing through July 4th, 2026.”
The biggest part of Trump’s yearlong party plans is a massive fair — like a modern world’s fair — showcasing each state. Trump suggests the event “could be” held at the Iowa state fairgrounds, a conspicuous suggestion that seems designed to appeal to voters in the first caucus state.
“I will work with all 50 governors, Republican and Democrat alike, to create the Great American State Fair, a unique one-year exhibition featuring pavilions from all 50 states. It’ll be something. The Great American State Fair will showcase the glory of every state in the Union, promote pride in our history, and put forth innovative visions for America’s future,” Trump said in the video.
“My hope is that the amazing people of Iowa will work with my administration to open up the legendary Iowa state fairgrounds to host the Great American State Fair and welcome millions and millions of visitors from around the world to the heartland of America for this special one-time festival,” Trump said. “Together we will build it, and they will come.”
Just how the country could fill 365 days of celebration is not entirely clear, though Trump suggests some ideas. He proposed “Patriot Games” for high school athletes and called for the revival of his proposed “National Garden of American Heroes,” which was part of an executive order he signed before leaving the White House. Trump’s garden however, never received funding or broke ground after President Joe Biden scrapped plans for it at the beginning of his term.
In 1976, President Gerald Ford presided over the 200th anniversary of America’s independence and a yea long, bicentennial celebration that featured an American Freedom train that traveled through the continental U.S., nautical parades of tall ships, and a U.S. bicentennial parade with special guests that included Queen Elizabeth.
Trump also proposed inviting dignitaries from around the world to the celebration.
“America’s tourist industry should get ready because we’re going to have a lot of people coming. It will be a record year,” Trump said in the video.