Fairfax: Fireworks, Firefighters and Fun

Fairfax: Fireworks, Firefighters and Fun

Fairfax Fourth of July includes a parade and music, too.

Come one, come all, to the City of Fairfax’s 49th annual Fourth of July celebration. The festivities include a gigantic parade, a Firefighters’ Muster, live music and a spectacular fireworks display.

Thrilled that the World Police & Fire Games (WPFG) has come to Fairfax this summer, the Independence Day Celebration Committee chose as this year’s theme, “Saluting Our First Responders.” Riding on a float with the grand marshal, Uncle Sam, will be special guests, Police Chief Carl Pardiny with McGruff and Fire Chief Dave Rohr with Sparky.

Marching in the colorful parade will be the Fairfax 2015 WPFG volunteers. And according to Special Events Coordinator Leslie Herman, “A Mr. Potato Head fireman, helium balloon will be a highlight of the parade. Air O'Dynamic Art will be carrying a super-large fire truck constructed with over 10,000 balloons. The balloon fire truck will be built on site, the morning of the parade.”

Musical entertainment will be provided by the City’s own Fairfax High Marching Rebels, plus bands from Woodson and West Springfield high schools. The Washington Redskins Marching Band will also participate, as will the Monache Marauder Marching Band and Color Guard from Porterville, Calif.

A Flying Circus flyover will signal the start of the 10 a.m. parade, followed by color guards, firefighters, police, Boy and Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, dance groups, musicians and barbershop singers. Also on hand will be Rocky’s Fiddlers, the Knights of Columbus, members of the Kena Shrine Temple zooming around in miniature cars, plus floats, big balloons and clowns.

But that’s not all. Among the many participants are the Clifton Horse Society, GMU men’s basketball team, American Heritage Girls, Harley motorcycles, Fairfax Library Precision Book Cart Drill Team, City of Fairfax Theatre Co. and the Northern Virginia Firefighters Emerald Society Bagpipe Band.

Organizing the parade are the Independence Day Celebration Committee and the City of Fairfax Parks and Recreation Department. And helping make it possible are countless volunteers who’ve tirelessly donated their time and talents. The event goes on, rain or shine, and usually lasts two hours.

It begins at the Massey Building at 4100 Chain Bridge Road and goes in a loop around Historic Old Town Fairfax. It’ll pass the old courthouse, traveling along Main Street and University Drive before passing the reviewing stand in front of City Hall on Armstrong Street. Except for service animals, parade attendees should leave their pets at home, and tents aren’t allowed along the parade route.

Parking, Shuttles

Streets on the route will close at 7:30 a.m., but shuttle buses will run from 8:30-10:30 a.m. from parking areas at George Mason University (GMU), Woodson High and Fairfax United Methodist Church. They’ll return again following the parade. GMU is at 4400 University Drive; Woodson, 9525 Main St.; and Fairfax UMC, 10300 Stratford Ave.

Fairfax Mayor Scott Silverthorne expects it to be a terrific Fourth of July celebration, and it’s jam-packed with fun-filled events. After the parade, people may enjoy the Firefighters Muster which, this year, is part of the World Police & Fire Games.

Firefighters from around the world will compete in activities including an old-fashioned, hose cart and bucket brigade. It’ll be held from 12:30-5 p.m. in front of Fire Station 3 at 4081 University Drive. Some 140 firefighters are expected to participate and, while they do, University Drive will be closed to traffic between Armstrong Street and Sager Avenue.

In addition, several historic buildings will be open to visitors that day. They include the Fairfax Museum and Visitors Center, 10209 Main St., from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., and the Ratcliffe-Allison House, 10386 Main St., from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Music and Fireworks

Then in the evening, Fairfax High, at 3501 Rebel Run, will host the public for music and fireworks. The show starts at 7 p.m. on the football field. On tap are music and dancing to Almost Journey/2U (a Journey and U2 tribute band). The City of Fairfax Band will perform the “1812 Overture” to signal the spectacular fireworks display at 9:30 p.m. Then afterward, the tribute band will entertain again.

Shuttle buses will run from 6-9 p.m. from Woodson High to Fairfax High.

“The evening show at Fairfax High School will have very limited general and handicapped parking, so we’re encouraging everyone to take the shuttle buses from Woodson High School,” said Herman. “Buses will run from 6-9 p.m., but don’t wait to take the shuttles, as they’ll stop running at 9 p.m. The shuttles will return spectators to Woodson High [until 11 p.m.] following the fireworks.”

Furthermore, she said, “There’ll be overflow seating at FHS this year due to the additional crowds expected with the World Police & Fire Games, and we urge folks to bring chairs. Overflow seating will be provided with a large TV screen televising the entertainment from the stadium.”

If it rains, the fireworks will be held July 5 at 9:30 p.m. Shuttle buses will run from 7-9 p.m. from Woodson to Fairfax High, returning to Woodson until 10:30 p.m. For more information on the Independence Day activities or to volunteer, call 703-385-7858 or visit www.fairfaxva.gov/July4.