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Like candles on a birthday cake, blazing fireworks will light the night across Fairfax County as residents celebrate the 237th anniversary of our nation’s founding July 4. Parades, cook-offs, street festivals, carnival rides, live music and, of course, food, all are part of the celebration. All festivities take place July 4, with a rain date of July 5 for fireworks only, unless otherwise noted.


The City of Fairfax kicks off its 47th annual Independence Day Celebration with a parade, rain or shine, in the historic downtown from 10 a.m. to noon, and concludes with an evening show and fireworks from 7 to 10:30 p.m. For details, call 703-385-7858 or visit

Independence Day Parade

Where: Fairfax Historic District, from Chain Bridge Road to Main Street to University Drive to Armstrong Street

Admission: Free

Highlights: Seven divisions with eight marching bands, color guards, members of the police and fire departments, state and local dignitaries, the American Legion, the VFW, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, street entertainers, Macy’s-style balloons and more. The 2013 Grand Marshal is the Hon. Quin S. Elson, longtime community activist and Fairfax Police Youth Club volunteer.

Daytime activities

Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center Open House, 10209 Main St., 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ratcliffe-Allison House Tours, 10386 Main St., 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Old-Fashioned Fireman’s Day, 4081 University Drive, with firefighter competition, food, beverages and games, 12:30 p.m.

Evening show and fireworks

Where: Fairfax High School, 3501 Rebel Run, Fairfax

Admission: Free

Highlights: City of Fairfax Band, 7 p.m.; mayor’s welcome and awards presentation, 8 p.m.; GrooveLine playing favorites from the ’50s to today, 8:20 p.m.; “1812 Overture” by the City of Fairfax Band, 9:10 p.m.; fireworks display, 9:20 p.m.; and GrooveLine Finale, 9:50 to 10:30 p.m.

Restrictions: Lawn chairs, smoking, alcohol and animals (except guide dogs) are not permitted on the football field.


The City of Falls Church Recreation and Parks Department presents an evening of live music and fireworks from 7 to 10 p.m. For details, call 703-248-5178 (TTY 711) or visit

Where: George Mason High School, 7124 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church

Admission: Free; food, drinks and ice cream for sale.

Highlights: Live music by Beatles Tribute Band, The Apple Core, 7 p.m.; fireworks, 9:20 p.m.

Viewing: Spectator seating available at George Mason High School’s Moore Cadillac Stadium and the Northern Virginia Graduate Center parking lot. Most seating at the stadium is on synthetic turf. Bring a blanket; chairs permitted on paved surfaces only.

Parking: Limited at the high school. Visitors are reminded not to park in nearby shopping center lots, which are reserved for store customers. Illegally parked vehicles may be towed.

Restrictions: No alcohol, smoking, fireworks or pets permitted on site.


The Town of Herndon invites the whole family to enjoy games, children’s crafts, bingo, face painting, balloon artists, music and fireworks from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Bring blankets or lawn chairs. For details, call 703-787-7300 or visit

Where: Bready Park at Herndon Community Center, 814 Ferndale Ave.

Admission: Free; food for sale.

Parking: Available at Herndon Middle School and Herndon Community Center; cars parked at the community center may not exit until the Fire Marshal gives the all clear, which can be 45 minutes after the fireworks show ends.

Restrictions: No pets, personal fireworks, alcohol or glass containers allowed.


The Workhouse Arts Center celebrates Independence Day with live music, a patriotic exhibition and a fireworks show from 7 to 10 p.m. July 6 (no rain date). Bring blankets and lawn chairs. For details, call 703-584-2900 or visit

Where: The Quad, Workhouse Arts Center, 9601 Ox Road, Lorton

Admission: Free.

Highlights: Mount Vernon Nights concert featuring the funky bluegrass style of Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, 7 to 8 p.m.; musical performance leading up to the fireworks show, 8 to 9 p.m.; “360 Degrees of Post-Traumatic Stress,” exhibition of works created by soldiers transitioning to civilian life, on display throughout the evening.

Parking: Free, available on site.


The McLean Community Center hosts its annual July 4th Celebration from 8 to 10 p.m., with music provided by DJ L.A. Express before the fireworks at 9:15 p.m. For details, call 703-790-0123 (TTY 711) or visit

Address: Langley High School Stadium, 6520 Georgetown Pike, McLean

Admission: Free; food for sale.

Parking: Free shuttle bus service starts at 7 p.m. from St. John’s Episcopal Church at 6715 Georgetown Pike and McLean Community Center at 1234 Ingleside Ave. A handicap-accessible bus will be available at both sites.

Restrictions: Smoking, pets, fireworks, sparklers and alcohol are not allowed on school grounds.


The Fairfax County Park Authority offers a full day of picnicking, riding an antique carousel, swimming and boating at Lake Fairfax Park, starting at 10 a.m. Fireworks are shot off over the lake at 9:15 p.m. (no rain date). For details, call 703-471-5415 or visit

Where: Lake Fairfax Park, 1400 Lake Fairfax Drive, Reston

Admission: Free; fees for swimming and boating; food for sale.

Parking: Available at the park; parking attendants will direct traffic

Daytime activities

Park grounds open at 7 a.m. Vendors near the park main office offer a variety of foods and dessert treats.

The Water Mine, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (arrive early)

Pony rides and small petting zoo, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Carousel and marina, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Moon bounces, 1 to 5 p.m.

Field day with family games, 5 to 6 p.m.

Puppet show, 6 to 8 p.m.


Independence Day rocks Reston Town Center from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., with a 5K race to benefit the USO of Metropolitan Washington, followed by a brunch buffet at 8:30 a.m. and an all-day street festival. For details about the race, visit For details about the street festival, call 703-834-0400 or visit

4th annual Firecracker 5K

Where: Potomac River Running Store, 11911 Democracy Drive, Reston

Admission: $35 through July 1 (online registration closes at 8 p.m. July 1); $40 July 2 and 3; $45 race day. T-shirts not guaranteed to late registrants and race day registrants. Cash awards for the top three overall male and female finishers ($300, $200 and $100) as well as for the top master runners ($100); awards for the top three in each age group.

Post Firecracker 5K Brunch Buffet

Where: Library Street, Reston

Admission: Bring pencil sharpeners and notebooks to “Stuff the Mobile USO Truck.”

July 4th Street Festival with American Tap Room

Address: Library Street, Reston

Highlights: Outdoor concessions, beverages, music and more, noon to 9 p.m. Kids’ Own Zone until 3 p.m. Harley Davidson drawing during event; enter at any ATR location.


The Town of Vienna’s annual July 4th Celebration includes games and rides, arts and crafts vendors, community organization booths, antique cars, a chili cook-off and live music from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fireworks begin at 9:15 p.m., with spectator seating opening at 5 p.m. For details, call 703-255-6360 or visit

Daytime activities

Where: Vienna Community Center, 120 Cherry St. SE

Admission: Free; fees for rides; food and drinks for sale.

Highlights: Games and rides, arts and crafts vendors, community organization booths, antique cars, a chili cook-off and music, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. New this year is “Pooches on Parade,” sponsored in part by the Hope Center. Pet lovers are invited to bring their pets dressed in their finest Independence Day costumes and participate in a parade on the festival field at 1 p.m. Register on site at noon.

Evening fireworks

Where: Southside Park, 1315 Ross Drive SW

Admission: Free.

Highlights: Entertainment by Fat Chance at Yeonas Park (adjacent to Southside Park), 7 p.m.

Restrictions: No dogs, alcohol or glass items.