John Maloney, 5, of Great Falls, joins Ella DeTrani, 6, of McLean and her sister, Lia, 5, after listening to Terry Bender of Great Falls explain how the organ grinder plays music.
Photo by Mercia Hobson.
Great Falls traditions returned to the Village Centre Green for the 4th of July 2021. Presented by Celebrate Great Falls, the welcoming atmosphere and organization drew families from the community and surrounding areas to the shaded, grassy common.
Before the younger children paraded around the perimeter of the interior common, dressed in their finest patriotic displays in the Little Patriot Parade, the older children, like Michael Picard, 7, and his sister Caitlyn, 10, provided service hours.
“I’m helping in the pizza booth,” said Caitlyn. For Michael, volunteering took on a special meaning. “I’m looking forward to a snow cone,” Michael said, eyeing the machine. “I don’t remember having one before.”
Organ grinder Terry Bender of Great Falls and his wife Jan brought a festive historical aspect to the event. He situated himself along the interior pathway with his newest street organ, handmade for him in 2018. As children and parents walked by, they gathered for a short time around Terry. He showed how the organ played music using punched paper rolls with tunes arranged especially for this type of street organ.
Charlotte Klesh, 3, of Vienna wandered with her dad around the common. “We came a few years ago. We love the old town, Americana feel,” he said.
Story Summers, 10, of Great Falls, said while she loved the fireworks best, those would be later in the evening at Turner Farm, “I’m glad we don’t have to be stuck inside like last year, and we don’t have to wear any masks.”
Shortly after 9:15 that morning, the Patriot Parade began, followed by the Main Parade at 10 and food and festivities until 12:30 p.m.
Little Patriots Parade Awardees
Young George Washington – John Maloney, 5, of Great Falls
Miss Betsy Ross – Sophia Blandford, 1 ½, of Great Falls
Little Liberty – Jay Enfield, 2, of Reston
Best Decorated Wagon – Harlow Grindler, 3, and Every, 6, of Great Falls
Best Curly Hair – Madison (Maddie) Moore, 2 ½ of Ashburn
Most Entertaining – Emerson Smyers, 3, of Great Falls.
Star Spangled Family – Aiden, 2, Callum, 7, Sadie, eight weeks, Brooks, 2, Emerson, 4.