Beginning at 9 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 16, Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association will again host its annual George Washington Parade Day Breakfast at the Holiday Inn & Suites, 625 First St., Alexandria.
Highlights of this year's kick-off event to the nation's largest parade celebrating the birth of the nation's first commander-in-chief include a keynote address by former Del. Brian Moran, introduction of the 2008 Alexandria Living Legends, and the presentation of the Rev. Ben Lynt Distinguished Service Award to a surprise recipient.
Organized in 1774, Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association is one of the oldest fire companies in the nation and is known as "George Washington's fire company." The company purchased the city's first fire engine in 1775 from Mt. Gibbs in Philadelphia, Pa.
That engine was housed in a structure on Royal Street until 1838. During that year the company merged with the Crescent Fire Company and moved to the north side of King Street near the intersection with Columbus Street. It moved into its present location in 1851.
The original firehouse, a wooden structure, was damaged by fire in March 1851. By that November the new structure was ready for occupancy. Among other activities, the association promotes fire and safety education programs, awards scholarships, and maintains historic firefighting artifacts at the Friendship Firehouse Museum.
Located at 107 S. Alfred St., the firehouse is open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. It will be open on parade day, Feb. 16, for free tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Reservations are required for the three-course breakfast. Tickets remain $25 per person. A table of 10 is priced at $250. Corporate purchases are recognized with appropriate signage and in the printed program. For reservations and more information contact Bill Kehoe at 703-751-6416 or Google Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association.
<b>IN ADDITION TO</b> the breakfast and parade there a host of other activities taking place in Alexandria Feb. 16 to celebrate Washington's birthday. They include:
* Special free open houses at Gadsby's Tavern Museum, 134 N. Royal St., and Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, 105-107 S. Fairfax St. both from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
* A special free presentation at The Lyceum, 201 S. Washington St., 11 a.m., by actor Brian Hilton portraying the young Washington and describing his life from 1772 to 1760.
* The new History Center & Museum Store, 101 N. Union St., where visitors can try on 18th century clothing, make a tricorn hat and get pictures taken with cut-outs of George and Martha Washington from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
* Free admission to Carlyle House, 121 N. Fairfax St.; Lee- Fendall House Museum, 614 Oronoco St.; and Christ Church, 118 N. Washington St. that day.