This year’s Fairfax Fall Festival offers children ages 3 to 18 a chance to shine in the spotlight. A few lucky young talents will even take home cash prizes for their performances.
It’s the first year for the Festival Superstar singing competition, and Special Events Coordinator Leslie Herman said it should be a great show. When Herman was in the Midwest over the summer, she saw something like it at an event and immediately thought it could be a big hit at the festival.
“I’m excited to see this Festival Superstar take off,” said Herman. “I think that’s going to be a special event this year.”
Qualifying performance rounds, Saturday, Oct. 14, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at Old Town Hall. No background music will be allowed; only the voices of the young aspiring stars will be heard. The top two finalists from each of four age categories will then compete on the festival’s main stage in the Sun Trust Bank’s parking lot the day of the festival at 4 p.m. The winner from each group will take home $100 in cash.
This year’s festival is Saturday, Oct. 14, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in the heart of Old Town Fairfax. Carnival hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. In case of rain, the festival will take place on Sunday, Oct. 15. The entrance fee is $3 for adults. Entrance to youth activities and carnival rides entails an additional cost. Shuttle Buses run from Fairfax High School, George Mason University and Woodson High School beginning at 9:30 am.
Children who don’t enter the competition will still have plenty to do and see at the festival though. Carnival rides, moon bounces, face-painting and pony rides will all be available for children. The Fairfax Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary will have a booth in front of Fire Station 3, on University Drive, selling Nathan’s hot dogs, Ghirardelli brownies and popcorn. They will also have firemen hats and Christmas tree ornaments for sale.
“All of the money raised is for the fire department,” said Peggy McElhinney, of the auxiliary. “It’s all volunteers.”
McElhinney said children can take tours of fire trucks, a fire engine and an ambulance at the festival, and walk through the station since it will be open to the public throughout the day. Every year, the station opens its doors for the community event.
Michael McCarty, the city’s new parks and recreation director, said he’s looking forward to his first glimpse at one of the city’s annual big events. For now, he’s taking note of how things operate by observing the planning and execution of the day’s events. McCarty said volunteers are walking around the festival taking surveys on how things turn out. This goes along with what McCarty said is one of his main goals as parks and recreation director: get community feedback and involvement whenever possible.
“I’ve heard so many great things about the festival and special events in the city,” said McCarty. “It’s going to give me an opportunity to get out into the community, meet some more people and see the staff at work.”
One of the festival’s spectacles will be the display of 2007 car models, put on by the Fairfax Auto Dealers Association. Sharon Cavileer, director of the association, said about 30-40 new car models, including many hybrids, will be parked along Armstrong Street for visitors to check out.
“It’s more of a social event for us,” said Cavileer. “People can just wander around and look at the cars in a friendly, relaxed, non-sales-y environment.”
The Fairfax Fall Festival attracts an estimated 25,000 people each year, said Herman, as long as it doesn’t rain. She said seeing children dancing and listening to the entertainment is always a joy. It’s just a good time for the whole family, said Joanna Ormesher, the city’s marketing manager.
“I even find it quite amazing that so many people attend, and I’ve been coming since I was a little kid,” said Herman.