It’s the biggest party of the year in the City of Falls Church. The annual Memorial Day Parade and Festival will engulf areas around City Hall with as many as 15,000 people from the entire region, and hundreds of colorful booth and food vendors, live music and the big parade comes down Park Avenue that starts at 2 p.m., all built around a solemn Memorial Day commemoration ceremony at 11 a.m.
According to Weather.com, it will be an ideal day to enjoy all this special event has to offer. It will be overcast but with only a 10 percent chance of rain, and the temperature should top out at 90 degrees.
It’s a day when a lot of old friendships are rekindled as people who’ve moved away from the City come back for the day and bump into old pals. There are also plenty of pets, mostly dogs, around, and strollers.
This edition of the News-Press includes a special 16 page insert which doubles as the official program for the day’s event. Those inserts will be widely circulated at the site on Monday, as well. Readers will be able to find every booth and follow the progression of the parade by referencing it, as well as to know when their favorite musical group takes to the bandstand.
The News-Press has always had a big presence at the parade and festival, in addition to the official program and an impressive forest green convertible Mustang in the parade, over 20 years of annually spearheading a food drive in cooperation with Diener and Associates, CPAs, and a Wacky Hat contest that encourages zany chapeaus and rewards winners with gift certificates to local eateries.
Readers are encouraged to bring nonperishable foods in a box or sack to the News-Press booth and while there to show off Wacky Hat entries. Photos will be taken of all entries, and Team News-Press will cast secret ballots on them the next day and publish the winners next Thursday.
All of these elements are presented in the News-Press’ Memorial Day special pullout section.
As always, the day’s festivities are kicked off with the annual Don Beyer Automotive Fun Run that kicks off from City Hall at 9 a.m., with all participants rewarded with this year’s complimentary t-shirt.
Fun features for kids in Cherry Hill Park will be operational from 9 a.m. onward and the first band, 40 Thieves, kicking off the bandstand at 9:15 a.m.
The special Memorial Day service will be held in front of the Community Center at the site of the City’s Veterans Memorial at 11 a.m. featuring long-time City fixture Harry Shovlin as the master of ceremonies and the Falls Church Concert Band.
Among the scores of vendors and other groups with tables set up will be those of the local Democratic and Republican committees, and it is around them that public officials and candidates can be expected to circulate. Community groups of all kinds, including those seeking volunteers to work with them, will be at the ready to capture citizens signatures.
Some who may be planning to run for the Falls Church City Council or School Board may also be present soliciting signatures of City residents to qualify themselves for the November ballot.
There is a wonderful small town feel to this very special day, even though thousands will be flooding the area from elsewhere (and most welcome).
On a cautionary note, the City has officially released a cautionary statement to help prevent what has become the day’s one major bummers, the fact that visitors to the events have not paid attention to “towing enforced” signage at private shopping areas.
“The private lots are for the customers of businesses only. Many businesses enforce parking restrictions on weekends and holidays and may tow without notice,” the City statement noted, adding “Free parking is available on many side streets and at the Kaiser Permanente facility garage only a block away, which will be open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Memorial Day.