Celebrate the biggest birthday party of the year by heading to Alexandria, George Washington’s hometown, on July 9 to commemorate the city’s 267th anniversary. The event will double as a celebration of the nation’s 240th birthday. The festivities, which are expected to draw more than 10,000 people, run from 5-10 p.m. at Oronco Bay Park with 12 food and dessert vendors, live music and fireworks. “We just love it because it is such a great family celebration,” says Cheryl Lawrence, regional program director for the city of Alexandria.
The birthday celebration will kick off at 5 p.m. with a performance by local Jimmy Buffett tribute band B2B. Their tropical, laid-back repertoire spans beyond Buffett to include Charlie Daniels, Kenny Chesney and The Drifters, along with original songs. Following B2B, at 6 p.m., there will be an explosive performance from Downrange, a branch of the U.S. Army Band. These military volunteers combine popular music and patriotism for troops overseas and at home in order to boost teamwork and spirit.
At 7:30 p.m., the town crier will announce Mayor Allison Silberberg, who will give a brief speech. Then, former poet laureate Amy Young will read a memorial poem dedicated to Ryan Wojtanowski, captain of the Dandy Dinner Boats and the city’s most recent poet laureate, who died earlier this year.
The mayor and members of the city council will then serve over 2,000 chocolate and vanilla cupcakes. The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra will perform its annual pops concert with highlights from the orchestra’s upcoming season. They will be led by Victoria Gau, a regionally sought-after guest conductor known for her dramatic flair and enthusiasm.
The highly anticipated grand finale fireworks will kick off at 9:30 p.m. while the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra plays its powerful rendition of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” and the Presidential Salute Battery of the 3rd United States Infantry Regiment with cannon support. In the case of inclement weather, the fireworks will be moved to Sunday, July 10, at 9:30 p.m.
“[The organization] doing the national fireworks is the one doing the same fireworks for Alexandria, so we are with the big boys,” says Lawrence. “We got a lot of new things this year, and that’s what we are really excited about.”
Admission is free and visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets, however, grills and pets are not permitted.Parking is available throughout the city, but it’s recommended that attendees take public transit—either King Street Trolley, the DASH bus or Metro. (However, it’s worth noting the Blue and Yellow lines will be closed between Reagan Airport and Braddock Road until July 11 due to SafeTrack repairs.) If you do choose to drive to the historic district, street parking is available or you can pay for a parking garage.