What to expect for Juneteenth in the Reston and Herndon area

The Spring Meeting House at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon (via Fairfax County Park Authority)

(Updated at 3:35 p.m.) For the second year in a row, Fairfax County will observe Juneteenth as an official county holiday.

The county and Virginia first recognized the occasion as a paid holiday in 2020, and the General Assembly unanimously passed legislation making the holiday permanent in October. Juneteenth will be a federal holiday for the first time this year after Congress approved a bill earlier this week.

Juneteenth falls on June 19 every year to mark the anniversary of the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, learned that the U.S. Civil War had ended and that the Emancipation Proclamation had abolished slavery almost two years earlier.

Because June 19 is a Saturday, Fairfax County will instead close government offices and give most employees a day off tomorrow (Friday). Closures include health department COVID-19 vaccination clinics, the circuit and general district courts, and Fairfax County Public Library, which will also be closed on Saturday.

The Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services says there will be no change in its trash and recycling collection services, but county residents who utilize private collectors should contact their hauler directly to find out their hours.

DPWES offices will be closed tomorrow before reopening at 7:30 a.m. on Monday (June 21). The I-66 Transfer Station at 4618 West Ox Road and the I-95 Landfill Complex at 9850 Furnace Road will both be open tomorrow.

Reston Community Center is observing Juneteenth, but the Hunters Woods and Lake Anne facilities will both be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Most Fairfax County Park Authority facilities will remain open with the exception of the Green Spring Gardens historic house in Alexandria and the visitor center for Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon.

As part of a series of commemorative activities organized by the park authority, Frying Pan will host a Juneteenth celebration from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday with crafts, food vendors, and a talk by author Dr. Kelley Fanto Deetz, who will discuss her book “Bound to the Fire: How Virginia’s Enslaved Cooks Helped Invent American Cuisine.”

According to the Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park, the park is currently looking for volunteers to help direct parking during the event. There are eight open spots for a shift from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old and will be provided with training and safety equipment.

Fairfax County’s celebration will also include its inaugural Juneteenth Resiliency Award to recognize people between the ages of 13 and 21 “who have exhibited true perseverance to strive towards meaningful contributions and outcomes in their lives and/or the lives of others in the Black community,” according the county news release.

The 10 award recipients will be announced during a ceremony at 7 p.m. on Saturday that will also feature remarks from Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill, Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay, and Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk. The ceremony will air live on TV and online through Channel 16.

While all of its branches will be closed, Fairfax County Public Library has compiled a reading list and other educational resources for anyone interested in learning more about Juneteenth.

Photo via Fairfax County Park Authority

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