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Sock Monkeys and Fireworks

Southern Fairfax County celebrates the Fourth.

Amid the scattered bottle rocket launchings on the Fourth of July, several organized Independence Day events are planned in southern Fairfax County. These include a parade and picnic in Clifton, a parade and celebration in Lorton, a parade and ice cream social in Springfield, and festivities and fireworks at Lee District Park.

The entertainment at Lee District Park begins at 4 p.m. with food and children’s amusements. Park events coordinator Elaine Thompson said four or five children’s attractions would be on-site, including inflatables such as a moon bounce and a giant slide, as well as a couple of rides. Tickets must be purchased for these attractions. A variety of food vendors will be selling "everything from hot dogs and hamburgers to fried rice and Mexican food and drinks," said Thompson. From 7 to 9 p.m., the oldies group The Sock Monkeys perform. Fireworks begin at 9:15 p.m.

The celebration will take place on the field across from the recreation center, located at 6601 Telegraph Road. Parking costs $5. The rain date for fireworks is July 5.

THE PARADE in Clifton begins at 4 p.m., with line up beginning at 3:30 p.m. on Dell Avenue. Michelle Stein, who heads the planning for the event, said she expects about 100 participants, including children on bikes and three or four floats.

"There are usually more people in the parade than there are watching," she said. The parade, led by the town fire engine, will make its way down Main Street and around the block to Ayer Square, where the participants will raise the flag and sing "America the Beautiful" before heading to the park for a potluck picnic.

Hot dogs will be provided and picnickers are asked to bring a dish, be it entrée, side or dessert. There will also be a coleslaw contest. Entrants must bring homemade coleslaw and its recipe to the park by 5 p.m. Stein said she is still looking for volunteers to help with set up, hot dog grilling and clean up. To volunteer, e-mail michellestein@cox.net.

LORTON’S Independence Day Parade and Celebration is considered the largest annual event in Lorton, including about 50 parade units and a crowd of 2,000 to 3,000 spectators, said organizer John Fedorshik. Rain or shine, the parade will march south on Lorton Station Boulevard from Lorton Road to the Lorton Town Center. Several local politicians will participate in the parade, as well as many groups from the area, dozens of vehicles and some "rolling displays." Lorton Station Boulevard will be closed in both directions from Lorton Road to the Lorton Virginia Light Rail (VRE) station between 10:45 a.m. and whenever the parade enters the Lorton Town Center.

The Town Center parking lot will be closed to traffic starting early in the morning, to make room for a celebration that Fedorshik said "highlights some of the things going on in the community."

Among the groups represented will be the Lorton Library, American Legion Post 162, at least a half dozen church groups, the Lorton Arts Foundation, the Cold War Museum, local businesses and the Lorton Community Action Center (LCAC), which will raffle off a car. The Mason Neck Lions Club will sell hot dogs and soft drinks. Several different snacks, such as snow cones, popcorn and Popsicles will be available for free.

Children’s entertainment will include a moon bounce, a trackless train, Uncle Sam on stilts and balloon tricks. The stage entertainment has not yet been finalized.

The celebration will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. More volunteers are still needed. To volunteer, e-mail lortonparade@yahoo.com.

THE ORANGE HUNT ESTATES Fourth of July Parade, sponsored by the Orange Hunt Estates Civic Association, will roll down Sydenstricker Road in Springfield, from Hunt Valley Elementary to Orange Hunt Elementary. Line up begins at 12:30 p.m. at Hunt Valley and the parade begins at 1 p.m.

Paul Mac Kinnon, who is in charge of organizing the event, said last year’s parade drew about 200 to 250 participants, including the McGrath Academy of Irish Dance, which plans to travel with the parade again this year and then give a performance at Orange Hunt.

Regulars include Scout troops, swim teams, pickup trucks, convertibles, the occasional police car or fire engine and children on decorated bikes and wagons, said Mac Kinnon. This year’s parade will be led by a bagpiper and some local politicians and candidates will also be in the mix.

"There’s such a down-home feel to our little parade," said Bonnie Olsen, president of the Winston Knolls Civic Association, which sponsors the Olde Fashioned Ice Cream Social that follows the parade. She said free ice cream and water will be handed out in the Orange Hunt bus loop on a first-come, first-served basis.