Our view: Two birthdays are better than one


The United States of America is 235 years old, but if you were in Alexandria on July 4, you might have missed the news. 
The city has an odd way of officially celebrating the countrys birthday: we dont, until days later, to coincide with Alexandrias July 7 founding. This years celebration doesnt take place until Saturday, July 9, well after the rest of the country has swept up its firecracker shells and put their grills away for the work week.
And thats OK. After all, Alexandria was already a young adult 27 years old when America was born. July 4 is about the birth of our country, but it is more about our independence from another land, so Alexandrias unique celebration is apt. No need to reinforce the status quo when we could enhance it, right?
From an economic standpoint, rolling two celebrations into one saves taxpayers money. Festivals were one of the first items slashed during the budget crunches of the last few years, but the birthday / Independence Day celebration remained untouched, and for good reason: the free night of fun is efficient on the wallet and easy on the eyes, ears and taste buds.
While the rest of the country is still nursing hangovers, Alexandrians can party like its 1749, the year of the citys founding. Fireworks will explode over the Potomac River and the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, led by Maestro Kim Allen Kluge, will perform Tchaikovskys 1812 Overture in front of (hopefully) thousands of residents. Try not to cover your ears when cannon blasts from the United States Marine Corps Basic Training School shake the ground at Oronoco Bay Park.
Alexandrias dual celebration reinforces the citys distinctive charm. In a state comprised mostly of counties, Alexandria is an independent city with a unique history that marches to the beat of its own drum, and our celebrations pay homage to that. The Scottish Christmas Walk and St. Patricks Day Parade (the first in the country year after year) arent exactly punctual; theyre each well before the exact holidays they represent, but that doesnt ever dampen the fun.
So this Saturday (rain check Sunday), make your way down to the waterfront for a family and community celebration at Oronoco Bay Park. Festivities begin at 4 p.m. and end at 10, so come out and take part in the citys unique tradition.