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Alexandria City Council approves waiver allowing for 500+ person public events every weekend

With spring and summer on the horizon, tourism-troubled Alexandria has gone full steam ahead with public events.

City Council, on Tuesday, unanimously approved a waiver to the Special Event Policy to allow for programs and events on consecutive weekends in Old Town.

The waiver supersedes a 2010 Council action that limited such events. According to the policy, “Events in Old Town with anticipated attendance over 500 (people) are limited to no more than one such event every other weekend (Friday at 5 p.m. to Sunday at 6 p.m.) in a calendar year.”

Mayor Justin Wilson said that there should be future community conversations about how the waiver will impact residents and the environment.

“This policy is now over a decade old, we’ve invested millions of dollars and millions more to come in some of the park spaces on our waterfront,” Wilson said. “I think it’s probably time for a community conversation about the the nature of this policy and kind of how this policy should be applied in the future.”

Alexandria is home to a number of large-scale shindigs, including the recent George Washington Birthday Parade, the Scottish Christmas Walk, Art On The Avenue, the city’s birthday celebration, and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade — the latter of which is postponed until September. Many of the events, including two New Year’s Eve fireworks celebrations, have been canceled or altered over the last two years under the pandemic.

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