America won’t celebrate its 250th birthday until 2026, but Fairfax County has decided it’s not too early to start planning the party.
At the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday (July 13), Gunston Hall Executive Director Scott Stroh presented a report on behalf of a seven-person work group with recommendations for how the county could observe the U.S.’s semiquincentennial anniversary.
Recommendations touched on thematic, organizational, and practical considerations, among them adopting the word “commemoration” to describe the anniversary, making sure it reflects the “fullest American story,” and issuing a countywide survey of residents about what they want out of the occasion.
Additionally, the work group recommends having an organizational structure, a marketing and promotional plan, and a preliminary multi-year budget set by the end of the year.
“This commemoration offers an important and compelling opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments and progress as a nation and community, but also opportunities to foster cooperation, facilitate conversation, and inspire actions so that all can equally enjoy the benefits of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” Stroh said. “Fairfax County is distinctly positioned to lead this effort in Virginia.”
July 4, 2026 will represent 250 years of American independence from Britain, which is generally marked from the full adoption of the Declaration of Independence and formal start of the Revolutionary War. Both nationally and in Virginia, committees, organizations, and work groups are taking shape to start preparations for the anniversary.
Fairfax County is the only municipality in the Commonwealth to have initiated this effort to date, according to materials provided to the board.
“I’m glad we are leading by example,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said.
The board established Fairfax County’s work group in October 2020. It includes representatives from Visit Fairfax, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the Fairfax County History Commission, and the City of Fairfax Regional Library.
Going forward, the work group suggested that it could become a “more formal planning entity,” one with a larger membership that’s more diverse and more representative of the county as a whole.
Stroh anticipates the planning and the commemoration itself will be paid for through a variety of methods, including county funds, grants, state money, and private support.
In general, the board seemed pleased with the report, but it didn’t take any action beyond accepting the report. Instead, a board matter outlining possible next steps will be proposed when the board next meets on July 27, McKay said.
McKay emphasized that the commemoration should be inclusive and tell a “fuller American story.”
“I think many of us have heard of this notion of erasing history or redoing history,” McKay said. “In fact, [it is] quite the opposite. We are trying to bring to light the entire history and how we do better in the future.”
Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk made similar comments, saying his daughter recently remarked on many of America’s founders being slaveholders.
“That is a contradiction. That is a flaw,” he said, while reading off a portion of the report that positions commemoration as a chance to assess how the country is still striving to match its ideals with its actions.
“[This commemoration] is more than a chance, it’s an opportunity to actually do this,” Lusk said.
Monday, June 28
- Pride Social, Remembering Stonewall (6-9 p.m.) — Come join the party at Freddie’s Beach Bar in Arlington. With Pride month coming to an end, head over to Northern Virginia’s most popular LGBTQ+ bar for a name tag and some socializing. What’s more, June 28 marks the 52nd anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, so here’s a chance to pay respects with others.
Tuesday, June 29
- Hummingbirds In the Morning (6-9 a.m.) — Get up early, grab your camera and head to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna for a golden light photography workshop. Snap photos of hummingbirds, butterflies, or anything else that catches your camera’s attention.
Wednesday, June 30
- Skate Your Heart Out (11 a.m.-10 p.m.) — Take a spin on the newly-opened Mosaic Skateland. This outdoor roller rink just opened earlier this month and will be so until mid-September. So, grab those roller skates (or rent a pair) and roll your way into some fun.
Thursday, July 1
- Fifty Years of Wolf Trap (8 p.m.) — Celebrate five decades of Wolf Trap, the historic outdoor performance arts venue, with opening night performances from Grammy Award winner Cynthia Erivo and internationally-acclaimed soprano Christine Goerke. All of this will be accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra.
- Footloose (7:30 p.m.) — Put on those dancing shoes and go to Strawberry Park in the Mosaic District for an outdoor showing of the 1984 movie Footloose. Every Thursday night through Labor Day, a classic, family-friendly movie will be played outside in the park.
Friday, July 2
- Darn Good Country (4 p.m.) — Music festivals are back after a year off, and Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville is hosting a “Darn Good Country Weekend.” Headliners include Chase Rice, Dustin Lynch, and more.
Saturday, July 3
- City of Fairfax’s Independence Day Celebration (10 a.m.) — After missing out last year, many local jurisdictions are back to in-person July 4 celebrations this year. The City of Fairfax will commemorate the holiday on both July 3 and July 4 this year with a parade and marching bands on Saturday and fireworks on Sunday.
Sunday, July 4
- Great Falls July 4th (8 a.m.) — Spend all of the Fourth in Great Falls for their celebration. There will be a blood drive, a kids parade, a main parade, a festival, and fireworks at night.
- Firecracker 5k (8 a.m.) — Before chowing down, get some exercise on the Fourth with a 5k at Reston Town Center.
- Herndon Fireworks (9:30 p.m.) — Look to the sky at Bready Park for a firework celebration hosted by the Town of Herndon. Free admission and parking, though there will be no concessions or other entertainment this year.
Fairfax County government offices and libraries are closed on Thursday, July 4 and Friday, July 5 for the Independence Day holiday.
The following is a list of closures and openings in the area:
- Reston Community Center Hunters Woods: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Reston Community Center Lake Anne: Closed
- Reston Association headquarters: Closed
- Frying Pan Farm Park: Open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- County trash and recycling collection: Contact trash and recycling collector directly for service schedule changes
- Circuit Court: Closed
- General District Court: Closed
- Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court: Closed
There are plenty of local places to catch Independence Day events in Reston, Herndon and Great Falls.
Photo via Elisha Terada/Unsplash
Enjoy Fireworks Safely — Any firework that explodes, emits a flame or sparks higher than 12 feet is prohibited by the county’s fire prevention code. The county’s emergency divisions offer tips on how to use fireworks and note that even the possession of unapproved fireworks is prohibited in the county. [Fairfax County Government]
Farmers and Makers Market Today — The market returns to Reston Town Center at 10 a.m. today with a mix of items like fresh produce, meat, honey and vintage items. It is scheduled to run until November, but an end date has not been finalized yet. [Reston Town Center]
Wine Tasting at the Lake House — Enjoy a sunset and a wine-filled evening at the Lake House on Tuesday, July 23 from 5:30-7 p.m. Registration is $23 for Reston Association members and $28 for all others. [Reston Association]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Parents Respond to Herndon High School Porn Case — Concerned parents gathered this week to discuss the case of a former Herndon High School drama teacher who is accused of possessing child pornography and unlawful filming. Police believe Raphael Schklowsky may have also set up two cameras at the school. [WUSA 9]
Fireworks Safety Demonstration Tomorrow — As the Fourth of July approaches, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department is hosting a demonstration on how to safety use fireworks. The demonstration is set for 10 a.m. at the Fire and Rescue Training Academy. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]
Free Yoga at Reston Station — Beloved Yoga will offer free yoga lessons today (Thursday) from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the plaza. [Reston Station]
Registration Deadline for Lake Anne Cardboard Boat Regatta — The deadline to register a boat to participate in the event is on Monday, July 1. The event is set to take place at Lake Anne on Saturday, August 10. [Reston Historic Trust & Museum]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
If you missed fireworks shows over the weekend, there are several opportunities to catch the skies light up on Wednesday (July 4):
The ninth annual Firecracker 5K for the Troops will take place in Reston Town Center from 8-10 a.m. This year’s event is sponsored by Leidos. Live music and post-race refreshments will be offered. The top three overall male and female finishers and the top three fastest team will also win cash prizes.
The Town of Herndon’s celebration on Wednesday brings live music, arts and crafts activities and family games to Bready Park (814 Ferndale Avenue) from 6:30 to 10 p.m. The fireworks show begins at 9:30 p.m. No pets, fireworks, alcohol or grills are allowed.
Enjoy water slides, water games, magic shows and music at Vienna’s celebration at 7 p.m. in Yeonas Park (1319 Ross Drive). Fireworks begin at dark around 9:30 p.m. Sprinklers and sparklers will be available at the Vienna Community Center Grounds.
City of Fairfax
The celebration kicks off with a parade from 10 a.m. to noon in downtown Fairfax (4100 Chain Bridge Drive). When the sunset sets, the evening show will begin at Fairfax High School, featuring fireworks displays and on-stage entertainment.
A 5K race kicks off at 8 a.m. at the Great Falls Freedom Memorial. At the same time, an INOVA blood drive will run from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. A patriot parade for babies and toddlers up to age five will begin at 9 a.m. at the Village Centre Green. The complete day-long lineup is available online.
Don’t wait until July 4 for fireworks at Lake Fairfax Park (1400 Lake Fairfax Drive). The annual fireworks show will take place on Saturday (June 30).
The park opens at 7 a.m. and the water mine park opens at 10 a.m. Boats can be rented from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and food vendors will be onsite and near the park’s main office.
Parking is $10 per car. A puppet show will take from 1:30-2:30 p.m. and live music will be offered from 4:15-9:15 p.m. Once the sun sets and the skies darken, the fireworks show will begin.
The campgrounds are available for an overnight stay. Reservations can be made by calling 703-471-5415.
A rain date is set for July 1.
Photo via Fairfax County Government
This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. Contact her on Reston Real Estate.
Happy Independence Day! I hope you have a fun-filled day planned. I’m looking forward to hanging out with my family — my favorite way to spend every holiday!
To me, the highlight of the 4th is always the fireworks. Most places did their fireworks on Saturday, which honestly is a bit of a letdown. There is nothing like watching the fireworks on the 4th. Thanks to the town of Herndon, you can!
The town of Herndon will hold its annual 4th of July celebration beginning at 6:30 p.m. tonight. This free event will feature entertainment, arts and crafts, bingo, and family games. How fun is that?
The fireworks display will begin at around 9:30. Maybe I’ll see you there.
Celebrate the Fourth Today — Independence Day celebrations are taking place today in Herndon, Great Falls, Fairfax, Vienna and lots of other places in the area. [Reston Now]
Security Tight on National Mall — One of the nation’s largest fireworks shows will go off tonight on the National Mall in DC. Security will be heightened, but officials say visitors probably won’t even notice the increased efforts. [NBC Washington]
RA Marking the Holiday — Reston Association offices, including the Nature House and Central Services Facility, are closed today in observance of the Fourth of July holiday. RA will host holiday festivities at the Lake Newport Pool facility from noon-4 p.m. Registration is not required. [Reston Association]
File photo courtesy Reston Swim Team Association
If the fireworks Saturday night at Lake Fairfax Park weren’t enough for you, the Town of Herndon has you covered.
Herndon’s annual Fourth of July celebration is scheduled for Tuesday night at Bready Park (814 Ferndale Ave.). Free games, bingo, and children’s arts and crafts start at 6:30 p.m. There will be entertainment throughout the night, leading up to the fireworks show at 9:30 p.m.
Traffic will be rerouted during the event. Ferndale Avenue will be closed to through traffic from Vine Street to Barton Oaks Place once the event parking lots are full, and it will remain closed until the conclusion of the fireworks. Additional parking will be available at Herndon Middle School, Herndon Centennial Golf course and Herndon Community Center.
— Mayor Lisa Merkel (@Lisa4Herndon) July 2, 2017
Cars that are parked at the Herndon Community Center will not be released until the fire marshal clears the area an hour after the fireworks show.
Eventgoers are encouraged to leave their pets at home and to leave the fireworks to the professionals. Blankets and lawn chairs are allowed, but no alcohol or glass containers. Bags and coolers may be searched.
In the case of inclement weather in the evening, the fireworks may be delayed or postponed until Wednesday night.
The eighth annual Firecracker 5K for the Troops will be held at Reston Town Center on Tuesday morning.
The Independence Day race is a part of Potomac River Running store’s PR Race Series. The store will make a financial donation to the USO Metro in honor of the military branch with most participants.
If you haven’t yet registered, that’s OK: you can still sign up tomorrow morning at the event, which will start at 8 a.m. at 11911 Democracy Drive. The run is not dog- or stroller-friendly.
There will be a fun run on Market Street following the 5K. All Tot Dash finishers will receive a bib and medal.
Cash awards will go to the top 3 overall male and female finishers ($300, $200, $100). The top master runners will receive $100. Awards will also be presented for the top 3 in each age group.
The event will last all morning, with live music and refreshments after the race.
It’s a long weekend! Fourth of July is coming up on Tuesday, but be sure to check out the awesome things going on around town before the holiday.
If fireworks are the one and only thing you’re looking for this weekend, check out our list of events around the area.
On Tuesday, whether you’re worn out on fireworks or you’re saving them for that night, spend the day at the Water Mine Swimmin’ Hole for its Family Day. Everyone will be allowed to enjoy the expansive waterpark for $11 each.
But there are lots of other things going on this weekend too. Here are some fun things that are happening around Reston this weekend:
- Reston Station’s “Summerbration” series continues tonight at 7 p.m. with a free concert by Elikeh. Tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m., head to a free outdoor showing of “Sing” on the plaza. The Summerbration events outside the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station will continue through the end of August. (Note: To receive free parking for these events, parking tickets need to be validated by personnel on the plaza. Find the sign that reads “Parking Validation Here.”)
- Reston Town Center’s summer concert series continues Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. with the Deanna Bogart Band, a boogie-jazz and blues performance. The show will take place at the Town Center’s pavilion.
- The Reston Farmers Market will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Lake Anne Village Center.
- Reston Museum (1639 Washington Plaza N.) is hosting is “Reston Stories” exhibit through July. The Reston Historic Trust and Museum has been collecting residents’ stories and preserving them for future generations. The collection includes stories about volunteering in Reston, the Fountain at Lake Anne Plaza, the early history of Reston and the amazing connections we make in our community.
- Lake Anne is hosting Sunday Yoga on the Plaza each week, at 9:30 a.m.
- “Radcliffe Bailey: The Great Dismal Swamp” remains on display at Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St.) through August.
- On Sunday, be sure to catch the Art in the Park with the Shenandoah Conservatory at Reston Town Center. The band Two Brass Hit presents a program of jazz and other international music, all on two bases.
- Family Fun Entertainment Series at Reston Town Center presents Turley the Magician, an interactive magic show.
- Many restaurants and bars in Reston will have live music this weekend. These include: Vinifera Wine Bar and Bistro (11750 Sunrise Valley Drive) from 7-10 p.m every Friday and Saturday night, CraftHouse (1888 Explorer St.) every Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. and Tavern64 (1800 Presidents St.) every Friday form 6-10 p.m.
- It’s Family Splash tonight at Reston Community Center’s Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center. The whole family can play from 7-9 p.m. for $13 ($26 for non-Reston families).
- Enjoy the outdoors? Come to the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia for a day of tracking and identifying butterflies. This survey supports the North American Butterfly Association’s (NABA) Butterfly count.
- Tonight, join the Walker Nature Center for a screening of an action-adventure movie Mission Blue. There is a suggested donation of $5 a person.
Who doesn’t love the oohs and aahs of a fireworks display on Fourth of July weekend?
Whether you’re staying in Reston this weekend or heading out for a little getaway, you’re sure to be able to find the American tradition wherever you go. Lay out a blanket and enjoy the show.
Here are some of the locations around the area where you’ll be able to celebrate the nation’s 241st birthday this long weekend:
- South Riding: South Riding Golf Club (43237 Golf View Drive) — The event kicks off with the Star Spangled Parade, which will leave from Town Hall (43055 Center St.) at 5 p.m. From 6-9 p.m., enjoy music by The Reagan Years. The night concludes with fireworks at approximately 9 p.m.
- Warrenton: Aquatic and Recreation Facility (800 Waterloo Road) — Music, games, swimming, vendors and more. Family-friendly fun. Fireworks at dusk. Free, everyone is welcome. Event begins at 4 p.m.
- Reston: Lake Fairfax Park (1400 Lake Fairfax Drive) — 7 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. Features live music, puppet show, food vendors and of course, the fireworks. Parking is $10 per car. The Water Mine water park and the Lake Fairfax boat rentals/rides will also be operating.
- The Plains: Great Meadow Foundation (5089 Old Tavern Road) — Gates open at 4 p.m. There will be a huge variety of children’s activities included with general admission purchase, including rock wall for climbing, pony rides, moon bounces, slides, the famous rain machine, lasertag and more. Throughout the day enjoy a choreographed air performance, polo exhibitions and rocketry demonstrations. The grand finale comes at dark with one of the metropolitan area’s biggest fireworks shows.
- Leesburg: Lansdowne Resort (44050 Woodridge Parkway) — Celebrate America’s most patriotic holiday at Lansdowne Resort and Spa with live music, food trucks, local brews and wines, and fireworks. $5 admission fee.
- Waterford: Water Street Meadow (15513 Loyalty Road) — Parking at the Old School and Waterford Elementary School. No parking on the meadow except cars with handicapped tag. No sparklers or other fireworks allowed
- National Mall — Considered one of the best fireworks shows in the country, viewing areas on the National Mall near the Washington Monument and Reflecting Pool will be accessible only through secure access points. Begins after sunset. Plan to arrive early. Other viewing areas in D.C. include the U.S. Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, National Mall, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, The White House Ellipse, West Potomac Park, East Potomac Park and Anacostia Park; in Virginia, check it out from the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial and the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
- Herndon: Bready Park (814 Ferndale Ave.) — Events begin at 6:30 p.m. with games, bingo and children’s arts and crafts, followed by entertainment at 7:15. Fireworks show choreographed to music begins at dark, about 9:30 p.m.
- Great Falls: Turner Farm Park (925 Springvale Road) — Kicks off with a 5K Walk/Run at 8 a.m., followed by the hometown Fourth of July Parade at 10 a.m., at the Great Falls Village Centre, 776 Walker Road, Great Falls. After the parade, enjoy the food, music, field games and festivities on the Village Centre Green. Turner Farm Park will open its gates at 6 p.m. for music, games, contests and food trucks until the fireworks show gets underway just after dusk.
- Fairfax: Fairfax High School (3501 Rebel Run) — After a parade from 10 a.m. to noon, and a day filled with activities, live music will start at the high school at 5:30 p.m. building up to the fireworks show at about 9:30.
- Vienna: Yeonas Park/Southside Park (1319 Ross Drive SW) — Fireworks will begin at dark, about 9:30 p.m. Prior to the fireworks, Fat Chance will entertain with songs from all generations. kids’ pie-eating contest for ages 5-10 takes place at 7 p.m., followed by the chili dog-eating contest. Little League concession will be open for refreshments at Yeonas Park. Call 703-255-6352 for details.
- Leesburg: Ida Lee Park (60 Ida Lee Drive NW) — The Independence Day celebration begins with the annual parade at 10 a.m. and continues with a concert and fireworks at Ida Lee Park in the evening.
- McLean: Churchill Road Elementary School (7100 Churchill Road) — Begins at 6:30 p.m. with a disc jockey providing the music and food trucks selling a variety of entrees and snacks, followed by fireworks. Off-site parking and shuttles available. Admission is free.
- Mount Vernon — (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Salute the first commander in chief during Mount Vernon’s annual Independence Day event. Watch dazzling made-for-daytime fireworks shoot off over the Potomac River and listen to the roar of cannon fire while viewing special military re-enactments throughout the day.
- Woodbridge: Potomac Nationals (7 County Complex Court) — The P-Nats will clash with their “Battle of the Beltway” rival, Frederick Keys, for a special 6:35 p.m. first pitch. Gates will open at 5 p.m., signaling the beginning of the Food, Fireworks and Fun picnic in the Bullpen Picnic Patio. After the game, the night sky with light up with the best fireworks show of the 2017 campaign.
- Manassas Park: Signal Hill Park (9300 Signal View Drive) — Fireworks celebration from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Signal Hill Park. There will be free shuttles from the VRE Station and City Hall starting at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free. Parking is $5 beginning at 5 p.m. There’s on-site parking for handicapped individuals only.
- Fredericksburg: Pratt Park (120 River Road) — The Heritage Festival is an all-day affair that includes a 5-mile run, a downtown parade, a street festival with more than 100 vendors, live music and a fireworks display. Gates close at 8:30 p.m.; earlier if police determine the crowd is too large. Alcoholic beverages, sparklers and grills are not allowed. All dogs must be on a leash.
Weather Report for Holiday Weekend — This Saturday, expect a high near 90 degrees, but a chance of afternoon thunderstorms might impact projected fireworks shows in the area. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday will also have highs in the low 90s, but there’s a chance of rain on the Fourth. [The Weather Channel]
Heavy Congestion Projected on Holiday Weekend — According to the Virginia Department of Transportation’s interactive traffic trends map, expect major traffic jams along Interstate 95 on Sunday as people travel for the holiday. [VDOT]
Residents Reminded to Be Safe With Fireworks — Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them, never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse, never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully functioned, and never point or throw fireworks at another person. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]
New Laws Take Effect Tomorrow — Take a look at some of the new legislation that will go into effect July 1, including changes to rules about absentee voting, concealed carry permits and more. [Fairfax County]
Toll Road Ramp Work Starts After Holiday — Make sure to reevaluate the morning commute starting next next Friday. The ramp from the eastbound Dulles Toll Road to the Fairfax County Parkway will be diverted through the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride parking lot, starting next Thursday night and lasting “through 2017.” [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]
Local Artist Wins Tröegs Contest — Marni Manning’s “Renaissance of Beer” painting was the big winner in the Pennsylvania craft beer company’s recent art contest. [Tröegs]
Herndon Man Admits to Bank Robberies — Bruce Wayne Higgins robbed four banks in Maryland and New Jersey last December. [WTOP]
On July 1, Lake Fairfax Park (1400 Lake Fairfax Drive) will host a “Fireworks, Food and Family Fun” event from 7 a.m.-9:15 p.m. The all-day event will feature live music, a puppet show and a fireworks show, plus more.
Parking will cost $10 for the event, said Dave Hantagimana from the Lake Fairfax Park staff. That is up from last year’s parking fees, which were $5 a car. The year before in 2015, parking was free with a suggested donation.
The rain date for the event is Sunday, July 2.
All of the park’s usual amenities will be open for families to enjoy. The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole will open at 10 a.m.
— Fairfax County Parks (@fairfaxparks) June 26, 2017
Pedal boat rentals will also be available to take out around the lake at the rate of $7 for a half hour. At least one person in the pedal boat must be 16 or over. There will also be tour boat rides and the opportunity to take out a private boat.
Food vendors will be set up near the park entrance, according to the Fairfax County Park Authority flyer for the event.
Campgrounds are available for an overnight stay but reservations are recommended.