With the still active threat of COVID-19 in Alexandria, the George Washington birthday parade is unsurprisingly canceled, but a series of other events around Alexandria are scheduled to celebrate the first president’s 289th birthday.
The 13th annual “Cherry Challenge” is scheduled throughout that month, with local restaurants creating cherry-centric dishes to celebrate the entirely fictional myth of Washington and the cherry tree.
“Each restaurant will develop its own cherry cocktail, appetizer, entrée, and/or dessert, in honor of our distinguished native son,” Visit Alexandria said in a press release. “The competing restaurants and their entries will be listed on WashingtonBirthday.com. Patrons can digitally rate their favorite dishes and winners will be announced on the website and Facebook page. For more information, visit WashingtonBirthday.com.”
Other events around town include:
- American Legion Post 24’s “Run, Walk, n’ Roll” — A commemorative event encouraging locals to walk, run or roll over 24 miles around the area. Registration is $24 and open until Jan. 31.
- Hunt for Washington — a roughly hour/hour-and-a-half scavenger hunt around Old Town Alexandria associated with Washington. According to Visit Alexandria, “start by printing a clue sheet at home and bring it with you as you traverse the heart of Old Town and then use your sleuthing skills to find answers to the clues. By February 28, submit your findings to [email protected] There are prizes and mementos associated with this event.”
- The Great Theater of Action: The Life of George Washington in Four Acts — a virtual chat with a reenactor every Friday in February at 7 p.m. According to Visit Alexandria: “Join George Washington every Friday in February as he discusses various periods of his life and engages the audience. The first week will be about his youth; the second week will delve into the American War for Independence; the third week will cover his post-war retirement at Mount Vernon and his time presiding over the Constitutional Convention and the last installment will cover his presidency and final retirement years. $20 admission per event or $60 for admission for all events.”
- Christ Church Churchyard Tours — Tours of one of the oldest graveyards are hosted every Saturday in February from noon to 2 p.m. “Hear from Christ Church docents about the churchyard’s unique history, Washington’s connection with Christ Church and other presidents who worshipped there,” Visit Alexandria said. “15-minute tours will be given every Saturday in February (6th, 13th, 20th & 27th) from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.”
- George Washington’s Alexandria Tours — tours of Old Town offered every Sunday in February that will focus on locations associated with Washington and his colleagues. “The tour begins behind the Torpedo Factory’s south entrance and in front of Vola’s Dockside Grill at 101 N. Union Street,” Visit Alexandria said. “Physical distancing, masks and reservations required. Reserve your slot on Facebook or Eventbrite at WashingtonBirthdayEvents.eventbrite.com.”
- Birthnight Banquet & Ball — that annual birthnight ball is being held virtually this year on February 13, 2021 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at AlexandriaVA.gov/shop.
- Q & A with Officers of the First Virginia Regiment and an Officer of the Opposing Force — a virtual Q&A with reenactors who will discuss life in the military during the Revolutionary War and take audience questions related to the war. The event is scheduled for Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5.
- Wreath Laying Ceremony to honor the Soldiers of the American Revolution — a wreath laying is scheduled for Feb. 15 at 11 a.m., hosted by the Daughters of the American Revolution and Sons of the American Revolution at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House (323 S. Fairfax Street).
- George Washington National Birthday Celebration — a virtual celebration hosted by Mount Vernon scheduled for Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. “In February, patriots from across the country will gather in the comfort of their own homes to salute General Washington with an online program featuring performances and stories from actors, musicians, and historians,” Visit Alexandria said. “A highlight of the celebration includes a birthday toast to General Washington. $5 recommended donation. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to MountVernon.org/gwbirthday.”
Staff photo by James Cullum