Alexandria’s 272nd birthday celebration is happening on the waterfront in Old Town on Saturday, July 10, and the City is making plans for a shortened program without birthday cake and with multiple viewing locations to reduce crowding.
The show, which usually brings tens of thousands of visitors, was canceled last year due to the pandemic. The concert usually includes the National Anthem, a musical program by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra and a fireworks show, accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with live Howitzer cannon fire by the U.S. Army’s Third Infantry “Old Guard” Presidential Salute Battery.
“The fireworks display should be comparable to years past,” Jack Browand, division chief with the Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities, told ALXnow. “It was always about 15 to 17 minutes on average, and we are looking at the possibility of shifting the location of the (fireworks) barge a little farther south (on the Potomac River) than usual, so that we can create those additional vantage points.”
Browand also said he isn’t sure whether the Howitzers will be included this year.
The City’s Birthday Committee will be meeting to discuss the plan today (Thursday), and more details are expected to follow early next week. Browand said the City doesn’t have the resources to livestream the event, and that the shortened list of speakers is being ironed out. Speakers usually include the poet laureate and the mayor.
“We have the opportunity to spread people out,” Browand said. “We suspect a lot of people will still be in Rivergate Park, Canal Center, Founders Park, the City Marina, and Waterfront Park. If the barge is far enough south, you can get out on those piers at Jones Point Park and Ford’s Landing.”