It was almost a century ago that the residents of McLean first gathered together for a community day dedicated to outdoor fun, food and festivities. McLean has seen many dramatic changes since that first “McLean Day” held 92 years ago in the field adjacent to Franklin Sherman Elementary School — but for the most part — the actual McLean Day celebration has managed to remain remarkably unchanged through it all.
The first McLean Day was held in 1915 and was sponsored by the McLean School and Civic League, but not unlike today, local residents and neighbors all pitched in to help put on the event. Back then the day featured a tournament in which men rode wild horses at full gallop while attempting to place a lance through a tiny ring. Today, children enjoy leisurely rides on miniature ponies, and get thrills from exciting amusement rides that seem to grow in size and number with each passing year. However, the overall premise of family fun and community socialization is still intact.
McLean Day was originally held during the month of August as local politicians used the celebration as one final venue for stating their platforms before the August Democratic Primary. The festival is now held in May, but local politicians still seize the opportunity to mingle with their constituents, and local residents now use McLean Day to vote for the members of the McLean Community Center (MCC) Governing Board.
MCLEAN DAY 2007 will feature a bevy of entertainment options including Irish dancers, the Village Jazz Band, performances by the McLean Community Players, jazz, hip-hop and cheerleading routines. In between performances, residents can enjoy culinary samplings from a variety of countries. This year’s food vendors include Sherri’s Fun Foods, Oriental Bowl, A & A Sweets and Eats, the McLean Rotary Club, International Grill Co., Jillian’s Fare, Tommy T’s, Domino’s Pizza, Brad’s Concessions, Minute Man Kettle Corn and All-American Nut Roasters. And thanks to sponsorship from the Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce, there will be a large “Eating Oasis” tent with tables and chairs, providing a cool and comfortable place for families to sit down and enjoy their food.
McLean Day 2007 will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 19, at Lewinsville Park, located at 1659 Chain Bridge Road. Voting for the McLean Community Center Governing Board election will begin at 9 a.m. in the park. The event is sponsored by the McLean Community Center and is free and open to the public. No parking will be allowed at Lewinsville Park on the day of the festival. Beginning at 9:30 a.m., free shuttle buses will run from Redeemer Lutheran Church, McLean Baptist Church and the parking lot of McLean Community Center. The festival will be held rain or shine. For more information, call 703-790-0123/TTY: 703-827-8255, or visit www.mcleancenter.org. The Center’s telephone will be answered from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the day of the festival.