Falls Church native Scarlett Williams graduated from George Mason University with a B.S. in Tourism and Event Management and decided to bring her skills back to the city that she was raised in and loves dearly where she now works as the Special Events Program Supervisor and Preschool Director for the Falls Church Recreation and Parks Department.
“Even though the City continues to grow, there’s still a small town feel to it,” said Williams. “I’ve always loved the idea of giving back to the community I grew up in. I love seeing familiar faces I grew up with, back home for the Memorial Day parade, continuing the tradition with their own families of running the fun run, attending the Memorial Day Ceremony, eating a chicken on a stick and funnel cake for lunch and watching the parade.”
Williams got her start with the Recreation and Parks department in 2006 keeping book and clock for men’s league basketball games while she pursued her degree at Mason.
Upon graduating, Williams took a job with Falls Church City Public Schools working at Mount Daniel Elementary School, the elementary school she attended in her youth.
Williams worked for FCCPS for nine years before receiving a phone call that the previous Special Events Program Supervisor was leaving. The new job would combine this position with the Preschool Director position, combining her passion for working with kids and planning events. She applied and began the job in December of 2018.
“I plan our Annual Easter Egg Hunt, Memorial Day Parade and Festival, Independence Day Celebration, Falls Church Festival, Sunset Cinemas, Halloween Carnival and Holiday Gift and Craft Show,” said Williams when asked about what her position involves. “I’m also the liaison between the City and organizing groups for the MLK March, Tinner Hill Music Festival, Concerts in the Park, Veteran’s Day Ceremony and Watch Night as well as ensure our preschool program is compliant with the Virginia Department of Education. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a variety of city departments, vendors, sponsors and more over the past 4 years.”
When the pandemic hit in 2020, Williams did not let it stop her from doing her job and bringing fun events to residents of the city. From a virtual fun run to taking Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny out and about and more she ensured fun could still be had.
However, 2022 may be the year that things return to “normal” and events make their comeback and residents can expect to experience events the same way they have in years past.
“I’m excited to announce that I’ve begun planning for a full year of our annual events,” explained Williams. “We all know this can change in a blink of an eye, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I’m kicking off the year with a new pop up in the park celebrating National Walk Through a Park Day on March 30. Community members will be able to walk through some of our very own parks and learn about the history and natural wildlife we have right in our own backyards. We’ll celebrate Easter with our Easter Egg Hunt on April 16 and our 40th Annual Memorial Day Parade and Festival on May 30. Our Falls Church Festival is set for September 17, Sunset Cinemas for September 23, 30 and October 7, Halloween Carnival for October 29 and our Holiday Gift and Craft Show for December 3 and 4.”
One of Williams’ favorite events is expected to make a full come back this year— the Memorial Day events!
“I always looked forward to Memorial Day as a child but now as the planner, I feel each event brings its own level of excitement,” she said. “Watching events from start to finish is one of my most favorite things, no matter the size of the event whether it brings in 300 or 15,000 plus attendees. I enjoy getting to know the sponsors and vendors and working with the Police Department, Public Works Department, Office of Emergency Management and Communications Department, all who help make the events successful.”
There are also plenty of ways to get involved with these events even if you don’t work for the city.
“We offer a variety of ways for locals to partake in events, whether you would like to be a participant or attendee,” said Williams. “Interested in participating? We have our 2nd Annual Mayors’ Fitness Challenge between the City of Falls Church, Town of Vienna and City of Fairfax beginning March 19. Help us retain the title as the Most Fit Community! Registration is now open online for City of Falls Church residents and employees. Have a business or organization you want to promote? We offer artist/crafter, merchant and civic booth opportunities at our Memorial Day Parade and Festival that brings in 15,000 plus attendees, our Falls Church Festival that brings in 12,000 attendees and our Holiday Gift and Craft Show that bring in 2,000 attendees. Not a business within the City of Falls Church but still interested in participating and hanging out marketing material? We offer sponsorship levels for all of our events! We’re also now accepting Grand Marshal nominations for our 40th Annual Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 30. If you’d like to nominate someone, submit a letter with the nominees name and why they deserve to be nominated to email@example.com by 5 p.m. on March 7.”
For more information on upcoming events, as well as vendor and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.fallschurchva.gov/SpecialEvents. Nominations for Grand Marshal can be sent to Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.