So. It’s July 4, 2013. Independence Day. A federal holiday celebrating our freedom from Great Britain. The National Day of the United States.
And you have nothing planned.
Your children have dreams of fireworks in their head, your neighbors’ homes are festooned with patriotic flair, and your friends already have their coolers packed and lawn chairs ready for their memorable 4th of July celebration.
(And no, you can’t wear that stars-and-stripes shirt with the matching light-up fireworks socks some “other” day.)
It’s not too late for you to have a fun-filled 4th of July too. We’ve compiled a list of the best local events, close to your home and mostly free. You’re welcome.
Happy 4th of July!
- 8 a.m.—5K Walk/Run at the Great Falls Freedom Memorial
The Great Falls Trailblazers are bringing the Annual 5K Walk/Run to local trails. Join them at the Freedom Memorial on the library grounds. From there, go off-road on the Lucy Hanes Trail, along Arnon Chapel and past Great Falls Elementary before heading back to the Freedom Memorial.
- 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.—INOVA Blood Drive at the Great Falls Volunteer Fire Department, 9916 Georgetown Pike.
Save lives and give blood this July 4th. Everyone who completes the donor screening procedure will receive a $10 Gas Card. A Photo ID is required. Allow one hour for donor visit.
- 9 a.m.—The Little Patriot Parade at the Village Centre Green Gazebo, at Georgetown Pike and Walker Road.
Be a “Star Spangled Family” and head out to one of Great Falls’ most popular events. Children up to age 5 are welcome to parade their finest patriotic garments around the Green. Awards will be given for "Young George Washington," “Little Miss Betsy Ross," and "The Star Spangled Family."
- 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.—Parade at Great Falls Village Centre & Village Centre Green Festival
Enjoy colorful floats, horses, antique cars and pets at the Main Parade. Be sure to spot the winning floats for Best Neighborhood, Best Business and Best Organization. The parade begins on Columbine Road and proceeds around the Village Centre Green. After the parade, enjoy burgers, hot dogs and snow cones along with music, field games and festivities on the Village Centre Green.
- 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 6—Fireworks at Turner Farm, at the intersection of Georgetown Pike (Route 193) and Springvale Road (Route 674)
This 52-acre park, located on the site of a former dairy farm, is the setting for the annual Great Falls fireworks display. Enjoy games, activities and music, and bring something to sit on to watch the fireworks light up the sky at dusk.
(Events sponsored by the Neighbors Foundation. For more information, go to www.neighborsfoundation.org.)
- 8 p.m.—Fourth of July Fireworks Langley High School Stadium, 6520 Georgetown Pike
In honor of the nation’s 237th birthday, the McLean Community Center (MCC) presents its annual 4th of July Fireworks Celebration held at Langley High School. The grounds will open at 8 p.m. The fireworks show will begin at approximately 9:15 p.m. Admission and parking are free. Come out and hear music provided by DJ L.A. Express and a special presentation before the fireworks. Food, refreshments and glow items will be available for purchase.
Receive an American flag from the McLean American Legion Post 270 and see one of Northern Virginia’s best fireworks displays. Rain date is Friday, July 5. Free shuttle bus service will be available from St. John’s Episcopal Church (6715 Georgetown Pike) and MCC (1234 Ingleside Ave.), beginning at 7 p.m. A handicap-accessible bus will be available at both sites. Smoking, pets, fireworks, sparklers and alcohol are not allowed on school grounds.
For more information, call 703-790-0123, or go to www.mcleancenter.org.
Town of Vienna
- 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.—Fourth of July Festival, Vienna Community Center, 120 Cherry St. S.E.
- 7 p.m.—Fireworks preshow
- 9:15 p.m.—Fireworks at Southside Park. 1315 Ross Drive S.W.
The Vienna Community Band kicks off the annual Town of Vienna Fourth of July festivities, which include arts, crafts, a classic car show and the famous chili cook-off. New this year is the “Pooches on Parade” at noon. Dress your pet in July 4th costumes and register at the Gazebo to be a part of the parade. Enjoy the oldies throughout the day by Ron Moody and the Centaurs on the Main Stage. At 2 p.m., stop by the Kids Craft Corner near the gazebo for fun Fourth of July crafts. At 7 p.m., the fireworks pre-show begins at Yeonas Park with music by Fat Chance. Seating is available at Yeonas Park, and the Little League Concession will be open. Some seating will be available near the playground at Southside Park. At 9:15 p.m., the fireworks show begins at Southside Park. Rain date for fireworks show is Friday, July 5. Parking is available at Cedar Lane School and Thoreau Middle School.
For more information, go to www.viennava.gov. For live updates on the fireworks show, follow the Town of Vienna on Facebook or Twitter.
- 8 a.m. to noon—Firecracker 5k at Reston Town Center’s Potomac River Running Store, 11911 Democracy Drive
The 4th annual Firecracker 5k, benefiting the USO of Metropolitan Washington, is open to runners of all ages. Enjoy live music, face painting, flag-waving and free massages. Come out and root for your favorite military branch in the “Battle of the Branches” competition. Sign up to race at bit.ly/Firecracker5k. Celebrate our littlest patriots by bringing pencil sharpeners and notebooks to “Stuff the Mobile USO Truck!” The school supplies contribute to USO-Metro’s Operation Back to School program, which provides nearly 4,000 local military children a backpack filled with school supplies.
For more information, go to www.potomacriverrunning.com.
- 8:30 a.m.—American Tap Room Hosts 4th of July Festivities, Reston Town Center, 1811 Library Street
The American Tap Room of Reston will be going all out this 4th of July with a special celebration including food and beverage specials, Kids’ Patriotic Zone and a Harley Davidson motorcycle giveaway. The event kicks off early as runners, families and friends come out for breakfast following the Potomac River Running 5K. Breakfast will be open for all from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Also starting at 8:30 a.m. is the “Kids’ Own Patriotic Zone,” with a Scavenger Hunt and Moon bounce area. At noon, there will be a Harley Davidson simulator as well as a last-chance opportunity to sign up and win a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Food and beverage specials will be available throughout the day. The restaurant features a variety of American favorites, local craft beers, a stylish bar and expansive dining area.
For more information, go to www.americantaproom.com or call 703- 834-0400.
- 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.—Lake Newport Pool 4th of July Party, Lake Newport Pool, 11601 Lake Newport Road
Start Independence Day with a splash. The Lake Newport Pool hosts a July 4th celebration, featuring a DJ, contests and prizes. Pizza, popcorn and cotton candy will be available for purchase. This free program will be canceled in the event of rain.
For more information, contact Ashleigh@reston.org or call 703-435-6577.
- 9:15 p.m.—Lake Fairfax Fireworks Spectacular, Lake Fairfax, 1400 Lake Fairfax Drive; Park opens at 7 a.m.; The Water Mine opens at 10 a.m.
Lake Fairfax Park features an 18-acre lake and the family-friendly Water Mine, an outdoor swimming pool with water slides and a lazy river. The 476-acre park also features seasonal fishing, campgrounds, picnic areas, trails, party areas, a carousel, and playground. On July 4, park grounds open at 7 a.m., and admission is free, so bring your family for a full day of fun. The Water Mine water park will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., but usually hits capacity very early, so plan accordingly. There will be vendors near the park’s main office offering a variety of foods and dessert treats. The carousel and marina will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. There is also a puppet show from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. near the carousel. Parking attendants will be directing traffic throughout the park. The fireworks show will begin at approximately 9:15 p.m. The fireworks are shot off over the lake so the view can be seen from almost any location in the park. The campgrounds are available for anyone wishing to stay overnight. Reservations are highly recommended and will be accepted as long as space is available.
For more information, go to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/lakefairfax/ or call 703-471-5415.
The Town of Herndon
- 5 p.m.—The Town of Herndon’s Fourth of July Celebration, Bready Park at the Herndon Community Center, 814 Ferndale Avenue
Join the Town of Herndon on July 4 for a family-fun event featuring games, arts & craft activities, bingo, food face painting, balloon artists and more. At 6:30 p.m., enjoy a variety of festival food for sale, along with games and activities. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. and will be choreographed to music. Bring a blanket or a lawn chair. Parking is available at Herndon Middle School. Please note: If you park at Herndon Community Center you will not be able to leave the parking lot until after the Fire Marshall gives the all clear generally 30-45 minutes after the conclusion of the show. The Herndon Community Center is open on the July 4th from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For more information, go to www.herndon-va.gov.
City of Fairfax
Day-long Independence Day events include a parade, fireworks, history, firefighters and more.
- For additional information on Independence Day activities, call 703-385-7858 or visit the city’s web site at www.fairfaxva.gov.
Rich with Revolutionary and Civil War history, the City of Fairfax has always made the Founding Fathers proud with a day of family-friendly, old-fashioned events capped by an explosion of fireworks that draws more than 15,000 people to Fairfax High School’s stadium each year.
Many families have made the celebration an annual tradition for generations.
“We come back to the event every year to dance, eat snowballs and get water-soaked,” said Jennifer Loeb. Loeb and her sister, Kerry Petrauskas, grew up in the City of Fairfax and travel from Bristow every year to celebrate the city’s Independence Day events with their family.
“Our parents still live here, and we all get together for this event. What could be more American and fun than this," Loeb said.
City of Fairfax Mayor Scott Silverthorne said the City of Fairfax goes the extra mile to make the fireworks finale a spectacular event. “It gets better every year,” Silverthorne said.
Following is a detailed list of events for the City of Fairfax Independence Day celebration:
- 10 a.m.—Independence Day Parade at 4100 Chain Bridge Road, rain or shine.
Featuring marching bands, inflatable balloons, dancers, horses and clowns, the 47th annual Independence Day parade is colorful and entertaining. The parade loops around downtown Fairfax, along Chain Bridge Road, Main Street, University Drive and Armstrong Street. This year, eight high school marching bands from as far west as Nebraska and Minnesota join with the city's own Fairfax High School Marching Rebels. This year’s grand marshal is the Honorable Quin S. Elson, a longtime community activist and Fairfax Police Youth Club (FPYC) volunteer. Elson is being recognized for his dedication and commitment to the community.
- 12:30-5 p.m.— “You Will Get Wet!” Old Fashioned Fireman’s Day at Fire Station 3, 4081 University Drive.
After the parade, watch area fire companies compete in this one-of-a-kind event—a favorite among locals—which includes the Battle of the Barrel and Lay-a-Line competition. During Lay-a-Line, a timed competition that simulates an emergency response to fire, fire engines race down University Drive, firefighters jump out of their trucks, lay hose lines and try to knock down targets with their water hoses—all in under 30 seconds. Battle of the Barrel is a reverse tug of war, in which an empty beer keg is suspended 12 feet in the air. Members utilize a 2 1/2-foot hose line to push the barrel to the opponent’s side. Spectators are "warned" that they will get wet, and—on a typical sweltering July 4th—the warning is a crowd-pleaser. Also at the event are plenty of food, beverages and games.
- 7 p.m—Evening Show and Fireworks at Fairfax High School, 3501 Rebel Run.
As the sun sets, enjoy music and dancing before the fireworks. The show features the City of Fairfax Band, and the popular cover band, GrooveLine, which plays favorites from the 1950s to today’s current hits. A spectacular fireworks display will follow with a finale performance by GrooveLine until 10:30 pm. The rain date for the fireworks only is July 5. Items that may puncture the synthetic turf, smoking, alcohol and animals (except service animals) are not permitted on the football field.
- 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.—Historic Open Houses
Several historic properties will be open to the public on July 4, including the Fairfax Museum and Visitors Center, 10209 Main Street and the Ratcliffe-Allison House, 10386 Main Street.
Parking and Shuttle Information:
- Shuttle bus service for the parade runs from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. from George Mason University, Woodson High School and Fairfax United Methodist Church. Shuttles will return spectators to these locations after the parade.
- For the evening show and fireworks, public parking is available at Fairfax High School. Use shuttle buses available from 6 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. at Woodson High School, 9525 Main Street, to Fairfax High School. Shuttles will return spectators to Woodson High School after the fireworks until 11 p.m. On July 5th, rain date for fireworks only, shuttles are available from 7 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. at Woodson High School. Shuttles will return spectators to Woodson High School after the fireworks until 10:30 p.m. Handicapped parking is available at Fairfax High School. Event sponsors include Fair City Mall and 97.1 WASH-FM.
- 7 p.m.—Red, White and Blue Light Up the Sky with fireworks at the Workhouse Arts Center Saturday, July 6 at 9601 Ox Road.
- For more information on performances, exhibitions, events and camps, visit www.workhousearts.org.
The Workhouse Arts Center will celebrate Independence Day with live music, a patriotic exhibition and a fireworks show on Saturday, July 6. Beginning at 7 p.m., enjoy a free Mount Vernon Nights concert, featuring the funky bluegrass style of Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen. Afterwards, swing with the City of Fairfax Band Swing Ensemble in the Rizer Pavilion at 8 p.m. Throughout the evening, stop by the latest exhibition, 360 Degrees of Post-Traumatic Stress, and see works created by soldiers transitioning to civilian life. Bring kids, pals, blankets and lawn chairs to an evening that captures the patriotic spirit of this country.
“We’re looking forward to an exciting evening of music and fun for the whole family on July 6, and we are grateful to our wonderful sponsors for providing a fireworks display again this year,” said Joseph Wallen, director of performing arts at the Workhouse Arts Center. Fireworks at the Workhouse is sponsored by EnviroSolutions, Inc., 95 Express Lanes, Silver Diner restaurant and Sentara Healthcare.
Fairfax County Parks
- 9:15 p.m.—Lake Fairfax Fireworks Spectacular
Lake Fairfax, 1400 Lake Fairfax Drive Park opens at 7 a.m.; The Water Mine opens at 10 a.m.
- For more information, go to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/lakefairfax/ or call 703- 471-5415.
Lake Fairfax Park features an 18-acre lake and the family-friendly Water Mine, an outdoor swimming pool with water slides and a lazy river. The 476-acre park also features seasonal fishing, campgrounds, picnic areas, trails, party areas, a carousel and playground. On July 4, park grounds open at 7 a.m., and admission is free, so bring your family for a full day of fun. The Water Mine water park will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., but usually hits capacity very early, so plan accordingly. There will be vendors near the park’s main office offering a variety of foods and dessert treats. The carousel and marina will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. There is also a puppet show from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. near the carousel. Parking attendants will be directing traffic throughout the park. The fireworks show will begin at approximately 9:15 p.m. The fireworks are shot off over the lake so the view can be seen from almost any location in the park. The campgrounds are available for anyone wishing to stay overnight. Reservations are highly recommended and will be accepted as long as space is available.