From it’s beautifully preserved historic buildings to its proximity to a variety of outdoor adventures, Fairfax is the perfect place to launch a Virginia getaway. Beginning as the Town of Providence in 1805, the city quickly grew into an economic powerhouse, and by the 1860’s it was a hot point for conflict during the Civil War. Visitors can explore much of the city’s rich history by taking walking tours of Historic Fairfax which highlight essential sites like the Fairfax Courthouse, Ratcliffe-Allison-Pozer House, and Fairfax Museum & Visitor Center. Travelers looking for some outdoor fun should visit Burke Lake Park. Here outdoor enthusiasts will encounter an 888-acre park complete with opportunities for hiking, biking, boating, fishing, camping, and more.
Celebrate Fairfax! has been kicking off summers in Northern Virginia for nearly four decades, and it will take place June 8-10 in Downtown Fairfax. This year's edition has something for everyone including a variety of live performances, vendors, wine tastings, children's area, fireworks, and more. Live performances will take place at seven venues with shows ranging from headlining acts like the Gin Blossoms and Sugar Ray to a Silent Disco powered by Silent Events. Families with younger children should make time for the Inova Children's Hospital Avenue, which offers free interactive and educational activities and entertainment. All ages will love the Carnival & Kidway Midway. Here attendees can enjoy rides for all ages, traditional carnival games, and more. The newest edition to Celebrate Fairfax is Sunday Brew, a pop-up beer festival featuring more than 48 beers from a dozen local and regional breweries. Make sure not to leave early on Friday and Saturday nights because the event is wrapped up with a spectacular fireworks show by Leidos. For a complete breakdown of the activities and entertainment, stop by their website for more information. ResortsandLodges.com interviewed Program Coordinator, Nicole Yelland, to learn more about this unique celebration.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
NY: This will be the 37th Celebrate Fairfax! Festival.
RAL: How many annual attendees do you draw?
NY: We anticipate approximately 80,000 people during the three days of the event.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
NY: Celebrate Fairfax! has something for everyone! For the families and kids, we have the Inova Children’s Hospital Avenue, which includes a petting zoo, kids crafts, model train display, DockDogs Competition, Carnival and KidWay Midway, and more. For the adults, we have our main stage headliners: Good Charlotte, Gin Blossoms, Sugar Ray, and Cracker, plus 120 side stage performances, a pop-up craft beer festival, silent disco, esports competition and list goes on!
RAL: What makes this event unique?
NY: Today’s Celebrate Fairfax! Festival has evolved into an experience-first event. Programs are designed to be as interactive as possible, VIP experience packages offer the individual guest access to sponsor-like benefits, and attendee satisfaction is at an all-time high.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?
NY: There will be the Fairfax County Karaoke Championship, the esports Arena-PSISTORM CUP VI, Fairfax County DockDogs Competition, the Celebrate Fairfax! 5K, the Celebrate Fairfax! Loves the 90s Team Trivia, the Celebrate Fairfax! Donut Eating Contest, and the very popular Leidos Nightly Fireworks. After fireworks on Friday and Saturday night, you can’t miss the Silent Disco or performances by Herr Metal and Thunderstruck.
RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?
NY: Attendees will have over 40 food vendors to select from with food ranging from Indian, Thai, and Greek to pizza, ribs, and barbecue. To satisfy that sweet tooth, guests can enjoy many different types of ice creams, floats, shakes, sundaes, and slushies.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
NY: Celebrate Fairfax! is more than a festival. Our organization’s mission is the Celebration of Fairfax County and its communities, and we have three primary areas of focus: celebration, education, and community. The event is the most visible way in which we achieve our mission.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
NY: Absolutely. Using established tools for measuring economic impact, we have set a floor of approximately $1.6 million of impact. This total excludes secondary spending by those visiting the county who spend money outside of our festival. One home improvement company told me years ago that our celebration is like the Christmas Season to a retail business. It makes THAT much of a difference!
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
NY: Directly, it helps our ability to exist and fulfill our mission objectives. Beyond that, however, we also provide more than $40,000 in grants and scholarships to nonprofit organizations and students in our community. We also provide more than 1,000 tickets to low-income households who would not otherwise be able to attend the event. We are very proud of that!
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
NY: I suppose that is the million dollar question and one that we ask ourselves every single day. We believe in creating outstanding experiences for every person, no matter their interest. People talk about demographic groups and markets consisting of people who want this or that or are of a certain age, or whatever. We view every person as their own market. We know because we want this for ourselves, that each person demands an experience that is personal and vital to them. Walking around our event, one cannot help but find something that interests them. Whether it be our Silent Disco, our craft brew event, our headliner concerts, the performers on our other six stages, our family programming, the new esports arena, not to mention the largest carnival in the region, we want to deliver on the expectations of each person.
For more information about Celebrate Fairfax, please visit the event website.