If funnel cake and ferris wheels are your idea of a good time, the next six weekends should be right up your alley.
Beginning with Saturday’s second annual Chantilly Day, Fairfax County will be home to no fewer than six festivals over a five-week span. The 98th annual McLean Day is set for May 18, followed in short order by Viva! Vienna! (May 25-27), Herndon Festival (May 30-June 2), Springfield Days (June 1-2), and Celebrate Fairfax! (June 7-9).
It’s probably not a stretch to say these festivals represent a chance for many of our communities to hang onto the traditional virtues and pleasures of small-town life, while all around them there is fast-moving growth and change. It’s also not a stretch to say these events — with their carnivals, live performances and fireworks — are a lot of fun.
McLean’s biggest event, McLean Day, takes over Lewinsville Park for six hours with a mix of rides, games, exhibits, music, food and other festival-related fun. It also offers a chance for residents to be civically responsible by voting in the McLean Community Center Board elections. In a typical year, the one-day event draws roughly 10,000 people.
Herndon’s four-day festival has been a town staple for 33 years and will again feature a mix of live entertainment, carnival rides, fireworks, countless food options as well as arts and crafts stations for children. In the first year of its existence in 1980, the festival drew about 8,000 visitors. Now it attracts more than 50,000 people a year.
Celebrate Fairfax!, which began as a relatively tame one-day festival back in 1981, now draws about 80,000 people over a three-day span in early June. Like its counterparts in McLean, Vienna and Springfield, it boasts live entertainment, crafts galore, carnival rides, exhibits and more for people of all ages and interests.
The newest arrival on the scene, this weekend’s Chantilly Day, has introduced a few interesting elements to the festival slate. In addition to the usual fun and food, the Chantilly-Centreville Chamber of Commerce will present graduating seniors from Chantilly Academy and Chantilly, Westfield and Centreville high schools with $1,000 scholarships. There also will be a pet adoption, a program which resulted in 65 pets going home with new families a year ago.
From our perspective, these festivals have become a central part of our county’s fabric, fostering a unique sense of community in thousands of Fairfax residents who attend them. If time allows, make it a point to stop by Viva! Vienna!, Springfield Days or another area festival to enjoy some music, food and fun.
You’ll be glad you did.