Normally, we enjoy Old Town Alexandria when the weather is warm and the streets are full of shoppers, performers, and ice cream eaters. However, on Presidents Day, Daycation DC bundled up and headed to King Street for George Washington’s Birthday Parade. Community members of all ages braved the cold and lined the streets that afternoon to welcome the parade. We snagged some great seats on a ledge near Market Square so we were able to see above the spectators lining the street.
The two hour parade began at 1:00 pm when a town crier in 18th century fashion announced the start of the festivities. He was followed by a parade of veterans and policemen as well as local Virginia representatives, organizations, and marching bands. The size of the parade reflected the proximity to a large, metropolitan area but parade participants embraced the small town feel of Old Town Alexandria. They waved, gave out candy, and shook hands.
The parade also provided a unique volunteer opportunity for some of the locals. “This was a great volunteer opportunity, and I hope to volunteer again for next year’s parade,” says Laura Pond, parade volunteer and Arts Management graduate student at George Mason University. “I truly felt like a valued member of the team as volunteer, even though I am new to the area and had never been on the logistical side of things for a parade. I was invited to several meetings and kept well-informed so that I could be as confident and prepared for my duties as possible. The other parade volunteers I interacted with were very kind and we all focused on the task at hand: having the most smoothly-run parade as possible.” As a Richmond area native, Laura loves to support events like this that bring the community together and show off the metropolitan area’s true spirit.
Laura also told us that this event is the largest parade celebrating George Washington’s birthday. The parade is in its 85th year and has a history of military veteran parade directors. The parade is a celebration of George Washington’s birthday instead of President’s Day because Washington called Alexandria home.
The parade also gave us a great opportunity to head over to one of our favorite pizza places in the area. Bugsy’s Pizza Restaurant and Sports Bar was right around the corner serving up hot pizzas to chilly parade performers and spectators.
How did you spend President’s Day weekend? What are you favorite cold weather activities in Old Town Alexandria?