Hope everyone is enjoying the last days of summer. Soon the air will be crisp and the leaves will be changing color. Alexandria is stunning in the fall.
For those who are newcomers to Alexandria, I would like to extend a heartfelt welcome to our beloved, historic city!
Founded in 1749, Alexandria is authentic and charming. With a number of historic districts throughout our city, we are a city of great and diverse neighborhoods. Old Town Alexandria is recognized as a national gem with its restored homes and buildings of the 1700s and 1800s, gas lampposts, brick sidewalks, cobblestone streets, historic markers and ubiquitous plaques that show us where important historical figures such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Robert E. Lee, and the Marquis de Lafayette conducted business and dined in our taverns. Over three million people visit Alexandria each year. Historic preservation is a core value here.
A vibrant city of 150,000 residents, Alexandria still savors its small-town feel. Alexandria is an arts destination city with award-winning theater, the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, the internationally-known Torpedo Factory, and numerous art galleries. Farmers’ Markets thrive across our city. The Old Town Farmers’ Market is one of the oldest, ongoing farmers’ markets in the country. Known for some of the best culinary talent in the region, Alexandria is a city for foodies. And don’t miss the unique shops throughout our city.
We have beautiful parks plus biking and walking trails. Many Alexandrians love gardening, and the city will sell trees at a reduced rate this fall. I ask my fellow Alexandrians to please plant a tree for us. Let’s “green up” our city and dramatically increase our tree canopy over the next decade. This is a community-wide and team effort. Please join us in this endeavor.
We are a city of kindness and compassion. The City Council and I signed a Statement of Inclusiveness last year, reaffirming our strong commitment to diversity and declaring our city to be a hate-free zone. This is a core value of our city. There is no place for intolerance here.
We have a phenomenal nonprofit sector. If you would like to volunteer, we have a nonprofit for you. We are a can-do city. Our citizens are known for seeing an issue and rolling up their sleeves to create change. Check out Volunteer Alexandria for a ton of information about volunteer opportunities.
Here are some fun highlights for the coming months. On Sept. 23, the TWIG will host its 76th Annual Historic Alexandria Homes Tour. On Oct. 7, Del Ray will host its Art on the Avenue, a multicultural arts and music festival. It is a fantastic event for the whole family and even has a homemade pie contest. Be sure not to miss the Del Ray Halloween Parade, which is one of the best days of the year in Alexandria. On Dec. 2, the Campagna Center’s Scottish Christmas Walk Parade celebrates our Scottish heritage and will thrill thousands. There is our ever-popular and family-friendly First Night Alexandria on New Year’s Eve. On Feb. 19, the oldest and largest parade celebrating George Washington’s birthday will march through the streets of Old Town. On March 3, the Ballyshaners’ St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be phenomenal. In mid-July, be sure to join us for Alexandria’s annual birthday celebration in the park along the waterfront with the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, birthday cake, and thrilling fireworks over the Potomac. These annual traditions and more create the glue that gives our city an abiding sense of community. I am deeply honored to serve as your mayor.
At City Hall, we are working hard for all our citizens. I ask you to help us make our great city even greater. Please consider volunteering with one of our many non-profit organizations or joining one of our boards or commissions. Civic engagement is critically important. One Saturday a month, the City Council holds a monthly public hearing, and citizens can speak for three minutes about any concern. I welcome your input and host a monthly coffee called “Mayor on Your Corner,” where all are encouraged to come share thoughts and concerns.
Please let me know if I may ever be of any help. Together, we are making Alexandria even stronger. Welcome!