By Hannah Himes | [email protected]
Starting tomorrow, Alexandria is celebrating the 287th anniversary of George Washington’s birth with a week’s worth of special events.
Washington, who considered Alexandria his hometown, will be honored with more 15 events throughout the city, including the George Washington Birthday Parade, George Washington’s Birthnight Banquet and Ball and free admission to historic sites like Mount Vernon.
Events will begin tomorrow at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, located at 134 N. Royal St., with George Washington’s Birthnight Banquet and Ball. The banquet begins at 5:30 p.m. and the ball begins at 9 p.m. The event includes an 18th-century banquet, English country dancing, a dessert collation and character re-enactors including George and Martha Washington. Period dress is optional, and formal attire is recommended. Reservations are required, and tickets are $125 per ticket. To dine in the same room as the Washingtons, tickets are $150, and to dine at the same table as the Washingtons, tickets are $250. To purchase last-minute tickets, visit alexandriava.gov/shop.
George Washington’s Birthday Parade will take place on President’s Day, Feb. 18, from 1 to 3 p.m. The event is free and will take place in Old Town. The one-mile parade route starts at the intersection of Gibbon and Fairfax streets, travels north along Fairfax Street until it intersects with Queen Street, then pivots to travel south along Royal Street to end at Wilkes Street. There will be a reviewing stand at the intersection of King and Royal streets.
Washington’s estate, Mount Vernon, will also hold birthday celebrations for its former owner on Feb. 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Feb. 22, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. In honor of Washington’s birthday, admission will be free at both events.
The event on Monday features a wreath-laying, speakers at the Official Observance Ceremony of George Washington’s Birthday, Continental military demonstrations and drills and patriotic music from the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps.
During the celebration, visitors will be able to take a “Pose like the Prez” photo in Mount Vernon’s Education Center Lobby, see character performances around the historic site and take tours of the Washington Library reading room. In addition, guests can partake in fun activities like sampling Falling Bark Farm’s Shagbark Hickory syrup and going to a book signing by Jeff Finegan, author of the series “I Knew George Washington.”
On Feb. 22, visitors can create a birthday card for Washington, as well as attend a concert and a ceremony honoring new citizens.
For history buffs wishing to celebrate Washington’s special day, there will be free “Walking with Washington” tours on Feb. 17 and Feb. 24. Starting at the Alexandria Visitor Center at 221 King St., the tours of historic Old Town begin at 2 p.m. and will last two hours. The guided walking tours will explore and contextualize significant sites associated with Washington including Ramsay House, Wise’s Tavern, Gadsby’s Tavern, Washington’s townhouse and more.