It wouldn’t be February in Alexandria without the largest George Washington Birthday parade in the country.
The annual event, which will be held in Old Town on Presidents’ Day — Monday, Feb. 17 — is attended by thousands and caps the end of the George Washington birthday weekend.
This year’s parade theme for the nation’s first commander in chief is “selfless service to country.” The nearly 1-mile parade starts at 1 p.m. at the intersection of Gibbon and South Fairfax Streets and goes past the reviewing stand at Market Square.
The grand marshal is retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Robert Shumaker, who spent eight years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. The parade is dedicated to Kathleen Kelly, a volunteer with the Office of Historic Alexandria for more than 30 years, who passed away last year.
The weekend kicks off with George Washington’s Birthnight Banquet & Ball at Gadsby’s Tavern on Saturday, Feb. 15, from 5:30 to 11 p.m. The costumed evening of dancing and partying in 18th century style is a popular event and usually sells out. Presidents’ Day in Alexandria starts with the solemn wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the Revolution at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House (321 S. Fairfax St.) from 11 a.m. to noon.
New this year is the “Hunt for Washington” — a scavenger hunt that will take participants around Old Town. The hunt should take participants up to an hour-and-a-half to finish and a clue sheet can be picked up at the parade reviewing stand after 10 a.m.