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McLean Day Only Gets Better With Age

This year’s Saturday, May 18 celebration approaches centennial.

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A photo of Franklin Sherman School students and staff taken around 1917.

The McLean Community Center’s annual community festival is approaching its 100th anniversary. The originators who worked to pull together a little fundraiser for their school could not have imagined that what they were setting in motion would grow to be one of the McLean community’s most beloved events.

McLean Day 2013: Celebrating Our Hometown will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, at Lewinsville Park, 1659 Chain Bridge Road. The event is free and open to the public.

The first festival of its kind to be held in Fairfax County, the inaugural “McLean Day” was held in 1915 as a fundraiser for Franklin Sherman School. The McLean School and Civic League and the McLean Volunteer Fire Department sponsored the event, which was held in an open field adjacent to the school. In contrast to today’s festival, the first went on for several weeks and was held before the Democratic Primary in August. Attractions included carnival games, a jousting tournament, a baby show, dancing, musical performances and homemade refreshments.

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A historical photo of the McLean Post Office and General Store.

Over the intervening years, the sponsorship of McLean Day passed from one community organization to the other, until 1975 when the McLean Community Center became its “home.” In 1989, the center collaborated with community groups and moved it to Lewinsville Park.

Even after nearly 100 years, one critical aspect of the festival’s success remains the same—the support of the community. Many McLean-based civic organizations and businesses participate in the festival every year and the community comes out in a big way to support it. Some things never change.

The festival will be held rain or shine. For more information, contact the center at 703-790-0123, TTY: 711, or visit: www.mcleancenter.org/special-events.