Even Presidents Like Chocolate
A Who’s Who Guide of Presidents That Have Visited Hershey
With Hershey centrally located, and the ability to provide thousands of guests a sweet experience at one time, we’re often seen as the go-to venue for larger-scale events. Such events have even brought former presidents to town. What better way to commemorate Presidents’ Day than by revisiting the presidents who visited The Sweet Place On Earth throughout the years.
In October 1953, the National Republican Party hosted a birthday party for then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Since the number of guests attending was in the thousands, the celebration took place in three different venues across the complex including Hershey Stadium, Hershey Sports Arena and a Barnum and Bailey Ringling Brothers Big Top Tent that was erected specifically especially for the event.
President Eisenhower enjoyed his time in Hershey because he returned for a dinner at The Hotel Hershey in 1960. This time, he brought Vice President Richard Nixon. Three years later, he returned for a “Stag” dinner. This was also at the Hotel and followed a format used during his White House years where he invited scholars, business and cultural leaders to gather and discuss issues and ideas.
August 12, 1964 would be the final time President Eisenhower made his way to Hershey. The occasion was a summit meeting of GOP leaders and was held at The Hotel Hershey.
Fast-forward to the Bush administration. In 1988, George H.W. Bush visited the town and received an exclusive tour of the Hershey Chocolate Factory.
Then Texas Governor George W. Bush visited Chocolate Town on April 3, 2000, and attended a Pennsylvania Republican fundraiser at The Hotel Hershey. About 200 people attended the reception, which benefitted the candidates for Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives. The President was so impressed with the service, he sent the General Manager of the Hotel a letter complimenting the service and experience.
Four years later, President George W. Bush returned to Hershey. On this instance, he spoke at Hershey Lodge (then known as Hershey Lodge and Convention Center). On October 21, 2004, Hersheypark Stadium hosted a Victory 2004 rally for President Bush. His last visit (to date) was September 2001 where he served as the keynote speaker for the PA Chamber of Business and Industry annual dinner held at Hershey Lodge.
We’re proud of our history and the opportunity to welcome these presidents to our destination. We look forward to growing this list through the years.
The Hershey Community Archives provided the historical data for this post.