Alexandria February Calendar of Events
Thousands will join in the revelry for the 286th anniversary of George Washington’s birth in his adopted hometown of Alexandria, Virginia. The city celebrates the General’s birthday throughout the month of February with 16 festive events, including the George Washington Birthday Parade, a Cherry Challenge among Alexandria’s restaurants, free admission to historic sites, popular walking tours and an 18th-century banquet and ball.
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.
For complete event information, visit www.VisitAlexandriaVA.com/GWbday.
Parade & Featured Events
George Washington Birthday Parade
Old Town Alexandria
The nation’s largest George Washington Birthday parade marches a one-mile route through the streets of Old Town Alexandria. This community parade honors one of the Alexandria’s favorite sons. For more information, including parking, maps, route and status, visit www.washingtonbirthday.net or call 703-829-6640. FREE.
Jan 28th through Feb 11th
In honor of George Washington’s birthday, participating Alexandria 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 dozens of restaurants, including Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap, Junction Bakery & Bistro and Jackson 20, and from every area of Alexandria—Old Town, Del Ray, the West End, and along the George Washington Memorial Parkway. 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 most Cherry Challenge entries. For more information, visit www.washingtonbirthday.net or call 703-829-6640.
Every Sunday In February
Walking with Washington Tours
Alexandria Visitor Center
Walk in George Washington’s footsteps through his adopted hometown of historic Alexandria and view some of the sites connected to the General, like where he filled his prescriptions or wined and dined with important Alexandrians. Meet at the Alexandria Visitor Center (221 King St.). FREE.
17th – 19th & 22nd
Washington’s Birthday Celebration
17th – 19th 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
22nd – 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon
On February 17-18, wish the General a happy birthday while enjoying hoecakes made over the open fire, #PoseLikeThePrez in the Education Center Lobby and observe wreathlayings at Washington’s Tomb. Across the estate, listen to members of the Washington family recount stories about the General, visit with George and Martha Washington at the Interpretive Center and watch dancing demonstrations on the bowling green. On February 19, enjoy free admission to Mount Vernon, witness a presidential tribute featuring honored guests, a wreathlaying at Washington’s tomb, watch Continental soldiers conduct a marching drill, and enjoy character performances around the estate. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. greet author Jeff Finegan who will sign books from his series, I Knew George Washington. For more information, visit www.mountvernon.org/birthday or call 703-780-2000.
George Washington’s Birthnight Banquet & Ball
5:30-11 p.m. (9 p.m. if attending the ball only)
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum
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. Cost is $125 per ticket. $150 per person ticket includes dinner in the same room with the Washingtons. $250 per person ticket reserves your spot at a table with the Washingtons for dinner. Reservations required. To purchase tickets, visit Alexandriava.gov/Shop or call 703-746-4242.
Historic Alexandria Open Houses
11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Various museums throughout Old Town Alexandria
In honor of George Washington’s birthday, admission is free at these historic Alexandria sites: Friendship Firehouse Museum, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum and The Lyceum: Alexandria’s History Museum. FREE.
1st , 8th,& 15th
18th Century Dance Classes
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum
In preparation for George Washington’s Birthnight Ball on February 17, learn 18th-century English country dancing from expert dance instructors at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum. Tickets are $12 per class or $30 for the series. Reservations are recommended. For more information, visit Alexandriava.gov/Shop or call 703-746-4242.
Facetime with History: Dr. Samuel Dömjen, Natural Philosopher
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum
Meet natural philosopherDr. Samuel Dömjen at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum. Learn about his story from the past while journeying through the museum. Admission is $5 per adult. For more information, visit www.alexandriava.gov/GadsbysTavern or call 703-746-4242.
Revolutionary War Reenactment
10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site
Historic camp and tactical demonstrations throughout the day, including a Revolutionary War skirmish at 2 p.m. between the Redcoats and the Colonial Army. Participants include renowned reenactment units from around the United States dressed in authentic period costumes and demonstrating authentic 18th-century weaponry. For more information, visit www.washingtonbirthday.net or call 703-829-6640. FREE
Breakfast & Meeting of the Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association
The Alexandrian, Autograph Collection
Sponsored by the Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association, this annual tradition at The Alexandrian, Autograph Collection features “George Washington’s” first appearance of the day, a hearty breakfast and an address by a special guest. Tickets are $35. For more information, visit www.friendshipfire.net or call 703-829-6640.
Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the Revolution
11 a.m.-noon, Old Presbyterian Meeting House
Join the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Sons of the American Revolution as they host colonial military and civilians to honor the soldiers of the Revolution at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House (321 S. Fairfax St.). FREE.
Come enjoy a free one-hour concert by the parade marching band units in honor of the General and Lady Washington at Market Square. FREE.
Armed Forces Community Covenant Ceremony
12 noon-12:45 p.m.
Come honor our nation’s veterans and active military, and sign the community covenant document showing your support for our armed forces and their families at the Parade Reviewing Stand adjacent to Market Square. FREE.
Lecture: “I Cannot Tell a Lie: Myths about George Washington that Should be Discarded”
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum
Abigail Adams said that truth was George Washington’s best eulogy. During this lecture at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Professor Peter Henriques examines a number of the various myths that have developed and that keep us from better understanding the remarkable individual who was our first and greatest president. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 per person or $10 for Society members and volunteers. Reservations are recommended. To purchase tickets, visit Alexandriava.gov/Shop or call 703-746-4242
George Washington Symposium
George Washington Masonic National Memorial
The theme of the 2018 George Washington Symposium is Envisioning a Great Nation: Where George Washington’s Journeys Took Him. The symposium will take place Saturday, February 24, 2018, as part of the Memorial’s celebration of Washington’s Birthday. The lectures begin at 1 p.m. in the North Lodge Room. 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. Mark Tabbert, the Memorial’s director of collections, serves as the symposium’s master of ceremonies. Admission is free, and free parking is available. Attendees are asked to preregister at bit.ly/101Callahan. FREE.
Annual Washington’s Birthday Gala
Formal (white tie optional). Reception at 5:30 p.m. 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. Tickets are $150. Reservations are required. To purchase tickets, visit gwmemorial.org or call 703-683-2007.
For the most up-to-date information about related celebrations, visit www.washingtonbirthday.net. The George Washington Birthday Celebration Committee also maintains a 24-hour phone line that will report any change of status or the cancellation of any event (in case of inclement weather, for instance). Call the events hotline at 703-829-6640.