Were you wondering where the city’s fireworks were this weekend?

Fret not: the city reserves its fireworks and pageantry for Saturday, July 10, the celebration of the City of Alexandria’s birthday — a tradition that outdates 4th of July.

The city is celebrating its 272nd birthday with a fireworks display along the Potomac River, viewable in-person or online, starting at 8:45 p.m. The ceremony will include an opening by the Town Crier, a message from Mayor Justin Wilson, poetry by Poet Laureate KaNikki Jakarta, and a performance by the Alexandria National Symphony Orchestra.

The scene will be a little different this year compared to years past. The fireworks are being repositioned to be visible from multiple spots along the Potomac River waterfront, stretching from Canal Center Plaza to Jones Point Park. The event will also not include food trucks or food vendors this year, and no cannon support during the fireworks display.

Attendees are asked to leave pets at home and refrain from smoking during the event.

The city listed recommended viewing spots as:

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This coming weekend is the Fourth of July, and unlike last summer when — well, you know — travel is on the table for many Alexandrians.

Nationally, 47 million Americans are expected to travel this weekend, many of them by car, according to Travel and Leisure. It’s an estimate in line with pre-pandemic figures.

Are you planning to head out-of-town this weekend? How are you planning on traveling? List your mode-of-choice in the comments if it’s not a plane or car.

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Alexandria’s history with slavery makes Juneteenth a particularly important holiday.

June 19 recognizes the emancipation of slaves in the United States, and the date is expected to soon be a federal holiday, even though Alexandria has recognized it since 2019.

But because June 19 falls on a Saturday this year, the City is also recognizing Friday, June 18, as a holiday.

“We should all be looking at ways that we can help our community, especially in the context of a pandemic which has particularly ravaged communities of color,” said Audrey David, executive director of the Alexandria City Black History Museum, in a recent blog post, “Start by exploring the Black History Museum’s Preserving Their Names online only exhibition, released to coincide with the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, which features images of objects and digital photographs from the new Black Lives Remembered Collection.”

The Alexandria Black History Museum is also presenting a virtual performance on Saturday with the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices.

The holiday means most, but not all, City employees will have Friday off. Parking restrictions will also be lifted at legal parking spaces throughout the city, however Alexandria City Public Schools will be open.

What’s open

City-run facilities and services that will be open include:

Closures

The following City services are closed Friday:

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Alexandria honored its military veterans on Monday in Del Ray, in one of the first public events in the city since the easing of COVID-19 restrictions on Friday.

Mayor Justin Wilson and Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker were among the attendees at Monday afternoon’s event, which was held at the Captain Rocky Versace Plaza and Vietnam Veterans Memorial outside the Mount Vernon Recreation Center.

“Throughout our 272 years of history, Alexandria’s sons and daughters have been called to service in our nation’s defense,” said Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson. “They have spilled blood around the planet in wars and conflicts defending our freedoms and ideals. On Memorial Day, we remember those who did not return from conflict and provided the ultimate sacrifice to our nation. We are eternally grateful.”

This was the first time that the event has been held outside and in person since 2018. Last year’s event was canceled by the pandemic, and the 2019 event was held indoors because of rain.

U.S. Army Capt. Humbert Roque “Rocky” Versace is the sole Alexandrian to win the Medal of Honor, and is among 68 residents who died in the Vietnam War.

Photo via Friends of Rocky Versace/Facebook

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It’s Memorial Day weekend in Alexandria, and it’s also a short work week for ALXnow.

Yes, we’re taking a quick breather by taking off most of tomorrow (Friday, May 28).

Not to worry. We’re still covering tonight’s mayoral debate between Mayor Justin Wilson and former Mayor Allison Silberberg at 7 p.m. This will be the fourth and final candidate conversation hosted by the Seminary Ridge Civic Association, and our story will be published on Friday morning.

Our top post this week is about Hilco Redevelopment Partners, which is planning to host guided tours of the Potomac River Generating Station (PRGS) site in Old Town North. The tours will be held on June 4 and 5, and the property is being planned for a mixed-use development.

On a sad note, former Virginia Senator John Warner passed away this week at his home in Old Town. He was 94, and is being recognized around the country as a conservative icon from a bygone age of political cordiality. Also, on Sunday, former Alexandria Delegate Richard R.G. Hobson died.

And local businesses are adapting to this Friday’s easing of COVID restrictions throughout Virginia. In Alexandria, the Health Department is launching the new ALX Promise Gold accreditation program for businesses to complete in the days ahead.

Election stories

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Developer offers tours of abandoned Alexandria power plant before demolition
  2. Amazon Fresh supermarket planned for former Shopper’s Food Warehouse in Potomac Yard
  3. Photos: More than half of the Potomac Yard Metro Station is complete
  4. School Board says swimming pool colocation a form of ‘reparations’ for Alexandria
  5. Go-go music star-turned Alexandria teacher ‘Sugar Bear’ in the spotlight after Oscars shoutout
  6. Here’s a list of restaurants and other businesses for sale in Alexandria
  7. Here’s a preview of what’s ahead for Alexandria’s post-pandemic economic development
  8. Catholic Charities hopes to turn vacant Carlyle restaurant into workforce training kitchen
  9. Here’s the order that City Council candidates will appear on the ballot for the June 8 democratic primary
  10. Former Alexandria Delegate Richard R.G. Hobson dies
  11. Alexandria Police investigating knife fight, prostitution and drugs at West End hotel

Have a safe weekend!

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All Alexandria government offices will be closed on Memorial Day.

The holiday will also see free parking all around the city, a Sunday-like operating schedule for DASH buses and the opening of the Potomac Yard interactive fountain from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The festivities begin with the sold-out 43rd annual Alexandria Jazz Festival on Saturday, May 29.

The city and Visit Del Ray calendars do not, however, include the formerly annual Memorial Day Ceremony at Rocky Versace Plaza and Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Del Ray. The event was also canceled last year due to the pandemic.

Below is the city’s list of what’s open and closed on Monday, May 31.

Resource Recovery: Residential refuse and recycling will not be collected  May 31. Collection services will be delayed one day during the week to account for the Monday holiday. Visit Resource and Recovery for more information. The Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Collection Center (3224 Colvin St.) is now regularly open on Saturdays and Mondays; however, it is closed May 31.

Animal Shelter: The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria will be open May 31, by appointment only. To make an appointment, email [email protected]org or call 703.746.4774.

Health Department: The Alexandria Health Department (4480 King St.), the Flora Krause Casey Health Center (1200 N. Howard St.) and the Teen Wellness Center at T.C. Williams High School (3330 King St.) will be closed May 31.

Historic Alexandria: All City museums will be closed May 31. For more information, visit alexandriava.gov/Historic or call 703.746.4554.

Hotlines: All emergency hotlines operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including the child protective services hotline at 703.746.5800; the domestic violence hotline at 703.746.4911; the emergency services for mental health or substance abuse crisis hotline at 703.746.3401; the adult protective services hotline at 703.746.5778 and the sexual assault hotline at 703.683.7273. For immediate police, fire or emergency medical assistance, call or text 911.

Libraries: All Alexandria Library branches and the Alexandria Law Library (520 King St.) will be closed May 31. Visit Alexandria Library for more information.

Parking: On May 31, the Alexandria Police Department will suspend enforcement of parking restrictions for metered spaces, residential permit parking districts and other areas with posted parking time limits. This suspension of enforcement applies only to the restrictions at legal parking spaces and does not permit parking in any location normally prohibited, including no parking zones, loading zones or spaces for persons with disabilities. Temporary no-parking signs will be enforced May 31.

Impound Lot: The City’s Impound Facility (5249 Eisenhower Ave.) will be closed May 31.

Recreation, Nature and Arts Centers: On May 31, Charles Houston and Patrick Henry Recreation Centers, and Chinquapin Park Recreation Center & Aquatics Facility, will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. All other City recreation, nature and art centers will be closed.

Outdoor Pools: All City pools will be open starting June 26.

Schools: All Alexandria City Public Schools and administrative offices will be closed May 31.

Courts: The Alexandria Circuit Court; the Clerk of Circuit Court; the Alexandria General District Court; the Alexandria Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court; and the Court Service Unit (located at 520 King St.) will be closed May 31. Visit alexandriava.gov/Courts for more information.

Department of Motor Vehicles: On May 31, all Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices will be closed. All Virginia DMV locations in Northern Virginia (including 2681 Mill Road) remain closed to the public until further notice. Many DMV services are available online.

Transit: On May 31, regular DASH bus service will operate on a Sunday schedule. Service on the free King Street Trolley remains suspended until further notice. For more information, visit dashbus.com.

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Next week is a double-hitter in terms of holidays, with Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday and Inauguration Day on Wednesday.

As with many holidays, all government offices will be completely closed on both days, but other services around the city are operating on different schedules:

  • Residential trash and recycling will not be collected on Monday, with pickup delayed by one day throughout the week. Monday collection will be on Tuesday, Tuesday on Wednesday, and so-on. The hazardous waste center at 3224 Colvin Street will be closed on Monday.
  • The animal shelter will be open be open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. by appointment only
  • Schools will be closed on Monday, but virtual classes will be held on Wednesday.
  • All library services will be closed on Monday and Wednesday.
  • The Alexandria Police Department also announced that they will suspend enforcement of parking restrictions at metered spaces and residential permit parking districts on Monday and Wednesday, though parking in normally prohibited zones is still subject to fines or towing.
  • DASH bus service will operate on a Saturday schedule on Monday but will run regular service on Wednesday. The trolly remains suspended until further notice.

File photo

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Morning Notes

Bilbo Baggins Now for Sale — “Longtime Alexandria restaurant and pub Bilbo Baggins has closed its doors for good. The cozy eatery, which opened in 1980, closed in the spring when COVID-19 first struck. Since then, the family-owned restaurant has not reopened and the nearly 4,000-square foot property is now for sale for $2.8 million.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Reminder: Illegal Starting Jan. 1 to Hold Cell Phone While Driving — “Starting January 1st, the ‘Hands-Free’ law will go into effect. The law makes it illegal to hold a cell phone while driving.” [Twitter]

Goodwin House Residents and Staff Receive Vaccine — “Earlier today, some residents and staff at Goodwin House Alexandria received the vaccine. Before the end of 2020, it is estimated that 125 residents and employees will be vaccinated.” [Zebra]

What’s Open and Closed on New Year’s? — “A week after Christmas, residents will get another holiday with the arrival of 2021. Some services in Alexandria will be closed or modified for the New Year’s holiday.” [Patch]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Nine-year-old Chaquira and her eight-year-old daughter Princesa are inseparable, and the pair are looking for a new home via the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.

AWLA took in Chaquira and Princesa with 12 other dogs from the Florida-based True and Faithful Pet Rescue Mission.

“Senior dogs like Princesa and Chaquira have spent their whole lives giving love to others,” said AWLA Executive Director Stella Hanly. “They deserve just as much love in their older years.”

Princesa is reportedly the more outgoing of the two dogs, although treats and ear scratches have proven to quickly bring Chaquira around.

“They are sweet, curious girls who have taken in stride the many changes they’ve experienced over the last month,” AWLA spokesperson Gina Hardter said. “We know that the person or people lucky enough to adopt them will receive double the love and gratitude from their new canine family members.”

Incidentally, their adoption fees have been pre-paid this month by Priority Automotive as part of the Home for the Pawlidays event, where adoption fees are waived for pets older than six months.

Anyone interested in learning more about these two should email [email protected]alexandriaanimals.org.

Photos via AWLA

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We’re coming up on an unusual Christmas at the end of 2020.

Thanksgiving gatherings resulted in an increase in coronavirus cases and — while Inova is holding steady with hospitalizations — there is a continued increase in COVID-19 cases in Alexandria.

Alexandria Health Director Dr. Stephen Haering urged locals not to travel for the holidays if they could avoid it.

“Traveling for celebrations is a hallmark of these holidays but is especially risky with the COVID-19 increases across the country,” Haering said. “If you can’t avoid traveling, know your travel risk and consider getting tested both before and after traveling, particularly if you are visiting or returning home to someone at high risk of severe illness. Keep in mind that the virus can take between 2-14 days to incubate. AHD recommends that you wait about 7-10 days after a gathering or travel to get tested.”

Even distanced, the CDC warned that gathering with friends or family who do not live with you can increase your chance of spreading COVID-19.

Are you risking that to gather with family or are you planning something smaller with the folks you live with. Sound off in the comments if you have other plans.

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