Green Valley “Feel the Heritage” Festival Celebrates 30 Years

Green Valley “Feel the Heritage” Festival Celebrates 30 Years

Portia Clark, President of the Green Valley Civic Association, has put together a picture collage as well as a timeline of the growth and development and major events of the Green Valley neighborhood for the 30th year of the “Feel the Heritage” Festival celebrating Black history and culture. The timeline begins with the purchase of 46 acres of land by John Alexander in 1669 and continues to the 1898 official closure of Freedman’s Village; 1947 when Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church opened for Black Catholics; 1958 when Nauck Civic Association was the first Black Civic organization to be admitted to the Arlington County Civic Federation; 2012 when Nauck Town Square was developed as open space; and finally 2019 when the Civic Association voted to change the name of Nauck back to Green Valley. 

Peter Vaselopulos, Board member of the Arlington Historical Society, takes pictures of festival visitors in historical costume. His display focuses on Matthew Brady, one of the earliest and best known photographers who is most famous for his Civil War pictures. He explains Brady invested a lot of money at the beginning of photojournalism to bring photos into Civil War camps. Brady produced cartes de visites which he sold to soldiers who didn't know if they were going to live and wanted a memento to be sent home. Vaselopulos explains Brady went to Bull Run where he was captured by the confederacy and given a sword to protect himself on his way out. Vaselopulos says the link of photojournalism to Arlington is real with studios all over Arlington at the beginning of the war. 

Three-year-old Bleu Copeland sits with her grandma, Beverly Wilson, watching Seven Steps dance performance on the stage nearby at Drew Elementary School. 

George Long and Sabrina Long of the “Way Too Longs” entertain with blues and R&B at the “Feel the Heritage” Festival Saturday.

Six-year-old Alfred LaField savors his fried whiting lunch from the buffet line at “Feel the Heritage” Festival.

Volunteers dish up ribs, pulled pork, fried whiting, jerk chicken yellow rice, collards, cornbread and more at the buffet line at the Festival held at Drew Elementary on Saturday, February 24. Levette Hancock (right) says the most popular dish has been the ribs with the mac and cheese for kids. 

An Arlington park employee just inside the door at Drew Elementary School introduces a 35-old resident box turtle from Long Branch Nature Center to the curious attendees at Saturday’s Festival.