It’s Friday night at Royal Lake Park, in the Kings Park West neighborhood, and families are enjoying the free sounds of music and children playing.
Braddock Nights opened to a large crowd, Friday, June 1, at 7:30 p.m. The free concerts are also offered at Lake Accotink Park at the same time, and at Ossian Hall Park on Thursday evenings. The shows continue weekly at all three locations until the end of August.
At least 100 people showed up at Royal Lake to hear Honky Tonk Confidential, a roots and rock band that played the likes of Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. Braddock Nights is a free concert event sponsored by the Fairfax County Park Authority and Supervisor Sharon Bulova (D-Braddock), in conjunction with the countywide summer entertainment series. The free concert is a way to bring a smaller, community-feel to the otherwise large and densely populated region, according to Bulova.
"It feels very local," said Nancy Rosene, a Kings Park West resident who has been attending Braddock Nights for several years with her family. "It has a Norman Rockwell feel to it."
Since the show is at the park, the only seating area is a grassy knoll just in front of the lake. Audience members are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets, and some people bring picnic baskets and eat dinner during the show. Children run around, some dancing while others skip rocks onto the lake’s surface.
"It’s a great way to experience different kinds of music," said April Carter, a parent who brings her children to the show. "It’s just a great family event."
— Lauren Glendenning