Local Activities | February 10, 2015
The third Monday in February is designated, Presidents’ Day, a day to honor all of the Presidents of the United States. However, the day started off as a celebration of George Washington’s birthday on February 22nd. General Washington’s actual birth date was celebrated by the young country for decades before it was officially made a federal holiday in 1885. At the time, there were only three other official federal holidays: Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Independence Day. President Washington was the first person to have a national holiday designated in his honor. In Washington D.C., Presidents’ Day is actually still celebrated as Washington’s Birthday. In 1970, Congress moved to have Monday holidays to have an extended weekend and Presidents’ Day as we know it was signed into law. Today, it is a day designated to honor all of our country’s presidents, with an emphasis on President Washington and President Abraham Lincoln, who also has a birthday in February. In fact, Abrahams Lincoln’s birthday on February 12th was celebrated by many states and the federal government as well as Washington’s Birthday for nearly one hundred years! This Monday, February 16th banks, federal, city and state offices, post offices and most schools are closed in observance of this holiday.
There are many events to celebrate President’s Day in the Washington D.C. area, specifically in Northern Virginia, including a parade and special events at Mount Vernon.
Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, is celebrating Washington’s Birthday for the entire three-day holiday weekend, but has a special birthday celebration on Monday, February 16th with free admission for visitors on this day only. Special events include storytelling from re-enactors of George Washington’s family and friends, wreath laying and a visit with “General Washington” himself. There will be an 18th century dance demonstration, tributes to our first president, patriotic music and Revolutionary War military demonstrations on the east lawn.
The city of Alexandria, Virginia hosts many of the Presidents’ Day events (link is external) this weekend. Alexandria played an important role throughout the Colonial, Revolutionary and Civil War periods and has many great historical buildings that still stand. The Alexandria’s Annual George Washington Classic 10K and 2K fun run is scheduled for Sunday February 15th starting at 8 am. The race benefits the Washington’s Day parade. Take a step back in time to celebrate President Washington’s birthday at the Birthright Ball at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum. (link is external) The 18th century tavern once played host to George Washington, John Adams, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson amongst other notable figures in our history and is one of the few taverns that is still in operation today. The Birthright Ball takes place the Saturday before Presidents’ Day and is an evening of toasts, re-enactors, historical programs, dancing, and an 18th century banquet. Monday, February 16th, Alexandria hosts the country’s largest Presidents’ Day parade in Old Town Alexandria. The Alexandria Presidents’ Day parade, dating back to 1923, contains marching bands, floats, wagons, horses, historical reenactments and special performances. The parade kicks off at 1pm. After the parade, you can visit and tour some of Alexandria’s historical buildings and museums for free including Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Friendship Firehouse Museum and the Lycium. There will also be a Revolutionary War reenactment camp at Fort Ward on Sunday, February 15th with military review and demonstrations of military life during the colonial years.
Presidents’ Day is a perfect day to visit the monuments on the National Mall (link is external) in Washington D.C. There are monuments and memorials to Presidents Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson and Franklin D. Roosevelt along the National Mall or the Tidal Basin. The museums and monuments are always free.
If you have the day off head out and enjoy history and honor our presidents by enjoying one of the many Presidents’ Day events in the Washington D.C. area. Stop by ezStorage’s six Northern Virginia storage locations to find out how we can help you with all of your storage needs.