Celebrate George Washington’s Birthday with Events Throughout February
Thousands will join in the revelry for the 284th anniversary of George Washington’s birth in his hometown of Alexandria, Virginia. The city celebrates the General’s birthday throughout the month of February with more than a dozen festive events, including the George Washington Birthday Parade, a Cherry Challenge among Alexandria’s finest restaurants, free admission to historic sites, popular walking tours, 18th-century dance classes, and a 10K and 2K Fun Run.
Alexandria is a “best of” when it comes to the spectrum of sites and special events associated with General Washington. With George Washington’s Mount Vernon just eight miles south of historic Old Town, more than 140 locations in present-day Alexandria are associated with the nation’s first president, who conducted business, gathered with friends, worshiped, and even owned a townhouse in the city.
- George Washington Birthday Parade– February 15, 2016, 1-3 p.m.
The nation’s largest George Washington Birthday parade marches a one-mile route through the streets of Old Town Alexandria. With nearly 3,500 participants, this community parade honors one of the city’s favorite sons. FREE.
- Cherry Challenge– January 28- February 11, 2016
In honor of George Washington’s birthday, participating restaurants will create unique, cherry-centric dishes in celebration of one of the most cherished legends surrounding our first president. This year features dishes from over 50 eateries such as prior participants Chadwick’s, Mount Vernon Inn, and Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub. Patrons rate their favorite dishes and winners are given special recognition at the George Washington Birthday Parade. A “Frequent Cherry Diner Award” will go to the customer who buys and rates the greatest number of Cherry Challenge entries.
- 18th Century Dance Classes –January 28, February 4 and 11, 2016, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
In preparation for the Birthnight Ball on February 13, learn 18th-century English country dancing from expert dance instructors at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum. Tickets: $12 per class or $30 for series.
- Walking with Washington Tours – Every Sunday in February (7, 14, 21, and 28), 2016, 2-3:30 p.m.
- Walk in George Washington’s footsteps through his hometown, historic Alexandria, and view some of the sites connected to the General, like where he filled his prescriptions or slept overnight before returning to Mount Vernon. Begin your journey at the Ramsay House Visitors Center. FREE.
- Winter Warmer Tea at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum – February 7, 2016, 3:00 and 3:15 p.m.
Enjoy the warmth and hospitality of the tavern! Join guest Martha Washington for a variety of 18th-century desserts and wash them down with a cup of John Gadsby’s special blend of tea or American Heritage Chocolate. Tickets: $35 inclusive.
- George Washington’s Birthnight Banquet & Ball– February 13, 2016, 5:30-11 p.m.
Don your dancing shoes for this famous celebration of Washington’s Birthday at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, set in the year 1799. The evening includes an 18th-century banquet, English country dancing, dessert collation, character re-enactors plus the General and Mrs. Washington. Period costume optional; “after-five” attire encouraged. Tickets: Tiered, starting at $125 for banquet and ball; $50 for ball only.
- “George Washington Classic” 10-K Race & 2-K Fun Run– February 14, 2016, 8 a.m.
Start & end at the US Patent & Trademark Office. Dash through this certified course through Eisenhower Valley. Special recognition of the 150th anniversary of the Alexandria Fire Department. Awards, t-shirts and refreshments provided. All proceeds benefit the historic George Washington Birthday Celebration. Fee: $40 for 10-K; $10 for 2-K.
- Revolutionary War Reenactment at Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site– February 14, 2016,
10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Historic camp and tactical demonstrations throughout the day including a Revolutionary War skirmish at 2 p.m. between the Redcoats and the Colonial Army. FREE.
- Mount Vernon Open House – February 15, 2016, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Enjoy free admission at George Washington’s beloved home, the most visited historic estate in the United States. Observe the traditional wreath laying ceremony at Washington’s tomb, hear patriotic music and delight in a meet and greet with the General, who roams the grounds all day. FREE.
- Historic Alexandria Open Houses– February 15, 2016, times vary
Admission is free at these historic Alexandria sites: Carlyle House, Christ Church, Friendship Firehouse Museum, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Old Presbyterian Meeting House, Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum and The Lyceum, Alexandria’s history museum. FREE.
- Breakfast & Meeting of the Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association– February 15, 2016, 9-10:30 a.m.
Sponsored by the Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association, this annual tradition at the Hotel Monaco features “George Washington’s” first appearance of the day, plus an address by Representative Don Beyer, the awarding of the prestigious Ben Lynt Award and a hearty breakfast. Tickets: $30. Ticket information at friendshipfire.net or at 703-751-6416.
- Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the Revolution– February 15, 2016, 11 a.m.-noon
Colonial military and civilians honor the soldiers of the Revolution at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House. FREE.
- Armed Forces Community Covenant Ceremony – February 15, 2016, 11-3:00 p.m.
Come honor our Nation’s Veterans, Active Military, and their families with music, games, and activities for children with military vehicles, demonstrations, informational booths, and displays at the Parade Reviewing Stand at Market Square. FREE.
- National Historic Landmark Unveiling Ceremony at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial – February 27, 2016, 10-11:00 a.m.
Just outside the Memorial’s entrance, followed by a special tour of the Memorial.
- George Washington Symposium at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial – February 27, 2016, 1-3:00 p.m.
The George Washington Symposium is held annually on Washington’s Birthday to provide the public with enlightening contemporary research on the life of George Washington. The theme of this year’s symposium is “From Relics to Repositories: Preserving George Washington’s Legacy Yesterday and Today.” Speakers include Carol Borchert Cadou, Senior Vice President for Historic Preservation & Collections at George Washington’s Mount Vernon; Martha Custis Peter, sixth-generation granddaughter of Martha Washington; and Timothy K. Winkle, Curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. FREE.
- Annual Birthday Gala at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial – February 27, 2016, 5:30-9:30 p.m. Black tie. Tickets $125, reservations required. Reception at 5:30, entertainment in the Memorial Theater at 6:45 p.m., Banquet in the Memorial’s Grand Masonic Hall at 7:30 p.m. The Presentation of the George Washington Memorial Award will take place during the banquet.
For More Information:
ALL EVENTS: www.VisitAlexandriaVA.com/GWbday
SELECT EVENTS: www.washingtonbirthday.net/events