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Updated at 6 p.m. Old Town residents and business owners are up in arms for not being officially notified of a route change for the George Washington Birthday Parade on Feb. 20 (President’s Day).

The parade will shut down large sections of Old Town North and Old Town near the King Street-Old Town Metro station, restricting parking and vehicular access for residents and businesses. The parade will start at 1 p.m. at the intersection of Pendleton Street and Fayette Street, and marchers will walk south down Fayette Street, hang a right on King Street and then end at the foot of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial at King Street and Commonwealth Avenue.

The new route was chosen by the volunteer-led the George Washington Birthday Parade Committee to recognize the 100th anniversary of the parade, which is the biggest annual parade celebrating George Washington in the world. The parade is traditionally held east of Washington Street near City Hall in the Old Town Historic District, but this year’s event will commemorate the construction of the Memorial in 1923, which saw then-President Calvin Coolidge, Chief Justice William Howard Taft and Virginia Governor E. L.Trinkle laying the cornerstone.

In November, the Committee submitted a request to the city to change the route. That request was approved on Jan. 24, and two days later parade organizers publicly announced that the parade will happen on Feb. 20, and that a number of side streets will also be closed.

“As with any large-scale event of this magnitude, a months-long process was necessary to assess the best approach,” Ebony Fleming, the city’s director of the Office of Communications and Public Information, told ALXnow. “While we are honored our city is home to such notable celebrations, we recognize how changes, and even temporary road closures, can be an inconvenience to our residents and business owners, especially on a holiday weekend. We will continue promoting the new parade route and ask impacted Alexandrians for their grace and flexibility as we prepare to welcome excited visitors for this historic occasion.”

The parade will be held between 1 and 3 p.m., and parking restrictions and access will be lifted no later than 5 p.m.

“If it’s such a big deal — the 100th anniversary — don’t you want to let people know?” said an Old Town resident who will be affected by the parking. “I haven’t heard anything about this parade at all.”

Parade spokesperson Bud Jackson said that the new route is a one-time experience, and acknowledged the inconvenience for residents and businesses. Jackson said that parade volunteers will soon be going door-to-door to inform those affected about the change.

“Like most parades, the George Washington Birthday Parade has always included portions of residential neighborhoods and inconvenienced some businesses,” Jackson told ALXnow. “We acknowledge that this year’s one-time only parade route change will inconvenience some residents and businesses.”

But many residents and business owners are either unhappy about the late notice or unaware of changes to the route.

“Certainly the organizers knew it was the 100 anniversary of this event for quite some time,” a business owner told ALXnow. “Perhaps even for the last 100 years. Why did the City allow them to change the route well after event permits were submitted and approved? Why were impacted residents and businesses not notified? Would a for profit organization like Pacers be given the same leniency? I don’t think so.”

The parade will also restrict vehicular access to a number of housing complexes, including The Asher (620 N. Fayette Street), The Henry (525 N. Fayette Street), The Prescott (1115 Cameron Street), 1111 Belle Pre Apartments (111 Belle Pre Way), as well as Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority properties.

“I didn’t know about (the new parade route) and none of the residents that I spoke with knew about it either but I haven’t heard any complaints,” said Kevin Harris, president of the ARHA Resident Association.

Another Old Town business owner said they will be losing up to $7,000 in business.

“We already have events and staff scheduled for February,” the business owner said. “Federal holidays are typically huge retail sales days. This will be a $5,000-to-$7,000 hit on our business. This is why notifying impacted businesses is required in the permitting process.”

Parade traffic and parking restrictions

While the parade starts at Pendleton and N. Fayette Streets, all parking on nearby side streets will be cleared by 9 a.m., according to organizers.

  • The bridge at King Street and Commonwealth Avenue will be cleared by 5 a.m.
  • All vehicles parked on the street will be towed between the 100 and 900 blocks of N. Fayette Streets (at the intersection with Braddock Place)
  • All vehicles parked on N. Payne Street will be towed
  • All vehicles parked on N. West Street from the intersection at King Street to Princess Street will be towed
  • All vehicles parked on Queen Street and N. Fayette Street
  • All vehicles parked on Princess Street, starting at the intersection with N. Fayette Street and going down to the intersection with King Street
  • Traffic will be shut down (except for residents) on King Street to Janneys Lane
  • Traffic will be shut down on Callahan Drive (except Amtrak station traffic and buses)
  • Traffic will be shut down on Diagonal Road and portions of Daingerfield Road (except buses and local traffic)
  • Traffic will be shut down on Sunset Street, Russell Road and Cedar Street near the intersection of King Street and Commonwealth Avenue
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It was an unseasonably warm 60 degrees on Saturday afternoon (Dec. 3) in Old Town for the Campagna Center’s 51st Scottish Christmas Walk Parade.

The parade is one of the most popular events in the city, bringing thousands of participants, including Irish dancers, historic reenactors and the City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums. It is considered the highlight of a weekend full of events.

This year’s grand marshal was former City Council Member Del Pepper.

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The Daughters of the British Empire Pimm’s and Poppies Chapter marches at the 50th annual Scottish Christmas Walk Parade in Old Town, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. (staff photo by James Cullum)

The Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk, one of the biggest events of the year in Old Town, is marching through the city this weekend.

It will be the 51st year for the event, which features Scottish clans, dancers and bagpipes working along a route through the city. The one-mile-long parade starts at 11 a.m. at the intersection of Wolfe and St. Asaph Streets and ends up outside City Hall (301 King Street).

The event, hosted by the Campagna Center and Visit Alexandria, celebrates the city’s founding by Scottish merchants in 1749.

The parade is the centerpiece for a full weekend of holiday activities, including a parade of boats decorated with holiday lights starting at 5:30 p.m. along the city’s waterfront.

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Redella “Del” Pepper finished a historic 36-year term on Alexandria’s City Council earlier this year, but the former City Council member is back and will be at helm of this year’s Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk Parade.

The parade is set to make its return the first weekend in December.

“Campagna Center and Visit Alexandria announce the selection of Redella “Del” Pepper as the Grand Marshal for the 51st Annual Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk Parade taking place on Saturday, December 3, 2022,” the Campagna Center, organizers of the parade, said in a release. “Pepper’s selection as Grand Marshal recognizes her status as the longest-serving member of Alexandria City Council with more than 36 years of service to the community.”

Pepper was elected to the Council in 1985 and officially finished her term on Jan. 1 this year. Pepper served as Vice Mayor three times during her time on the Council.

The Campagna Center said Pepper will be at the head of the procession she walked and rode in many times over the years.

“As Grand Marshal, Pepper will kick off the parade festivities and lead the delegations from the step-off point at the corner of S. St. Asaph and Wolfe Street, progressing through Old Town Alexandria and concluding in front of Market Square on King Street,” the Campagna Center said. “More than 100 community groups will join the celebrations.”

The release also noted that this year also marks the state of a new partnership between the Campagna Center and Visit Alexandria.

“Visit Alexandria is assuming logistical responsibilities for the event,” the release said. “Preserving the biggest holiday weekend experience ensures the continuation of a key economic driver for the city’s small business and hospitality communities and preserves a historic signature event that is a source of civic pride.”

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Visit Alexandria announced today that the city’s famous Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk Parade will be returning for its 51st year early next month.

The parade features dozens of Scottish clans represented in full regalia, along with pipe and drum bands and costumes. According to Visit Alexandria, the event is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 3, starting at 11 a.m.

“Alexandria was founded in 1749 by Scottish merchants and was named after Scotsman John Alexander who owned the land that became Alexandria,” the report said. “Today, the city continues celebrating its heritage with the iconic parade.”

The parade traditionally features over 35 Scottish clans gathering from around the region and across the country.

“Bagpipers include the Kiltie Band of York and the City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums plus a bagpiping Santa closing the parade,” Visit Alexandria said in a release. “A pipe band and color guard will be presented by St. Andrew’s Society of Washington, D.C., which is a charitable and social fraternity of Scottish descendants established in Alexandria in 1760, and a founding parade partner along with Campagna Center and the Old Presbyterian Meeting House.”

After walking the parade route, the pipe bands reassemble at Market Square for a concert.

“The parade kicks off on S. St. Asaph Street at the corner of Wolfe Street and progresses north to Queen Street, east to Fairfax Street, south to King Street, and west to terminate in front of City Hall,” the report said. “For the best views, spread out along the one-mile parade route.”

The parade is the centerpiece of a broader weekend of holiday activities, including the Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights on Saturday afternoon starting at 5:30 p.m.

“The Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk Parade is produced by Visit Alexandria through a new partnership with Campagna Center and the City of Alexandria,” the release said. “The weekend kicks off on Friday, December 2 with the Campagna Center’s Taste of Scotland, a festive cocktail party at the Torpedo Factory Art Center featuring whiskey-tasting stations, hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine bars and a custom art exhibit.”

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It was crisp, clear on Sunday in Del Ray — perfect for the annual Del Ray Halloween Parade.

Thousands of kids and adults marched in costumes for the event, including members of the Alexandria City Council and the Alexandria City High School ‘Zombie Band’.

It’s Visit Del Ray’s 26th year hosting the fun event, which it started at Mount Vernon Avenue and E. Bellefonte Avenue and ended with live music and prizes at the Mount Vernon Recreation Center athletic fields.

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President’s Day in Alexandria was marked with the return of an annual parade celebrating George Washington’s birthday.

Parades are something of a fixture in Alexandria, from the (now delayed) St. Patrick’s Day parade to the Scottish Christmas Walk.

Some parade events were cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to concerns about the spread of COVID, but with numbers steadily declining more of those events are coming back.

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The George Washington Birthday Parade returned to Alexandria on Monday after a two year hiatus. The streets of Old Town were lined with celebration for Washington’s 290th birthday.

Alexandria’s health care workers and first responders marched as parade grand marshals. The parade, which started at Gibbon and Fairfax Streets and snaked around City Hall, was attended by thousands. The event is the largest of its kind in the world honoring the founding father and first president.

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The George Washington Birthday Parade is happening this Monday, and thousands of visitors are expected to line the mile-long parade route in Old Town.

The parade is the largest in the U.S. honoring George Washington, who turns 290 on Feb. 22. The Alexandria government will be otherwise closed on Monday, which is President’s Day.

The parade was canceled last year due to Covid, and this year’s parade is dedicated to Alexandria’s health care workers and first responders, who will march as parade grand marshals.

The full celebratory weekend is not back to full strength, as the traditional George Washington’s Birthnight Ball at Gadsby’s Tavern is remaining virtual on Saturday night, Feb. 19.

Other pre-parade traditions are continuing, including the wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House at 11 a.m.; and the signing of the Armed Forces Community Covenant by Mayor Justin Wilson and the commanders of neighboring military installations.

The parade starts at Gibbon and Fairfax Streets at 1 p.m. and snakes around City Hall and the reviewing stand at King and Royal Streets.

Parade participants are listed below the jump.

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Morning Notes

George Washington birthday parade returning on Monday — “Celebrate Presidents’ Day and the first president’s 290th birthday at the George Washington Birthday Parade on Monday.” [Alexandria Times]

Study: coastal flooding to increase as seas rise 1 foot by 2050 — “Several areas in and around Alexandria are vulnerable, according to an updated interactive tool.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Alexandria Symphony to perform Bach and Vivaldi March 19 — “The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra (ASO) presents a special chamber orchestra concert Brandenburg, Vivaldi & Tango on Saturday, March 19, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Alexandria.” [Zebra]

ACPS receives award for renaming process — “The National School Boards Association awarded Alexandria City Public Schools a Silver Prize in its Magna Awards program for the campaign to rename two schools in the 2020-21 school year.” [Alexandria Times]

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