217 years ago our citizens celebrated the birth of the Father of Our Country with the first George Washington Birthday Parade through the streets of Alexandria. During the previous two years, in 1797 and 1798, George Washington was the guest of honor at birthnight balls held at Gadsby’s Tavern. Since that time we have celebrated annually with reenactments, ceremonies, and symposia remembering with pride the contributions Washington made to our city and to our nation.
In the beginning, military and civilian volunteers from many quarters of the community have arranged the celebration of Washington’s Birthday. Today a City Council-appointed committee of Alexandria citizens is charged with organizing it. This article is the first in a series to describe the Celebration Events for 2017. Whether through marching in parades, reenacting historic events, dancing at the birthnight balls, or walking with Washington to the many places he knew in Alexandria, I want to encourage everyone to participate in the annual remembrance of our First President.
Find out more about the Alexandria George Washington Birthday Celebration on our website at www.washingtonbirthday.com. We are also on Facebook and Twitter.
THE NINTH CHERRY CHALLENGE
The George Washington Birthday Celebration Committee in Alexandria proudly announces the ninth annual Cherry Challenge. In the spirit of the cherished cherry tree tale, we are celebrating George Washington's important presence in his hometown by inviting Alexandria restaurants to participate in this culinary contest. We urge everyone to patronize the participating restaurants during the period of Jan. 29 through Feb. 11, … and vote for your favorite cherry drinks, starters, entrees and desserts.
To participate, all you need to do is to enjoy the menu item that features cherries. Each patron who orders the item will have the opportunity to vote on taste, creativity, and presentation. At the end, the ballots will be collected, and tallied. The winners will be announced on our website and will march in the Parade on February 20, 2017.
To see the participating restaurants (or if you are a restaurant, you can still sign up to participate) go our website and then to the Cherry Challenge under Events.
JOIN THE PARADE
On Monday, Feb. 20, Alexandria hosts the George Washington Birthday Parade, the largest parade celebrating the birth of George Washington in the USA. Earl Cook, the just-retired Chief of Police will be the Grand Marshal.
It is also Alexandria's oldest community parade. If you are part of a performance group, a non-profit, a youth group, a historic organization, a business enterprise, or in some way a part of the Alexandria community, you are invited to march in the parade. It is great fun! For more information about the parade (and to sign up to be a marching unit), go to the Parade section of our website.