Annual Reading of Founding Papers in City Hall at Noon
It’ll be steamy, with humidity up to 85 percent, but there will no rain and temperatures will be dropping from the day’s high of 88 down to the low 70s after dark when thousands are expected to pile into the George Mason High School athletic complex to watch the City of Falls Church’s annual July 4 fireworks show.
The annual event, presented free of charge by the City’s Recreation and Parks Department, kicks off at 7 p.m. with live music performances and will culminate with the fireworks show kicking off promptly at 9:20 p.m.
The fireworks show is one of two big annual July 4 traditions in Falls Church. The other is the memorable Independence Day Readings held at the Council chambers of City Hall from noon to 1 p.m. The Village Preservation and Improvement Society (VPIS) hosts the event, when those attending take turns reading seminal documents of our nation’s founding.
As for the fireworks show itself, while many people expect certain prohibitions at such a family-oriented event, including no alcohol, smoking, pets or consumer fireworks on site, a major cautionary note involves parking.
In the interest of helping provide folks with the best possible time, it needs to be stressed that there will be very little parking available on the campus, and tempting nearby shopping center parking lots are not open to fireworks-goers. Repeat: not open! There will be towing going on in the shopping center lots to protect the right of the retailers to have parking spaces open for their customers. Anyone experiencing such an unhappy result as to be towed will have an avoidable damper concluding an otherwise magical evening.
Spectators arriving two hours ahead of the fireworks will find seating in the grandstand of the Moore Cadillac Stadium, or on the field’s artificial surface or the parking lot of the adjoining Northern Virginia Graduate Center. Those preferring to sit on the field are encouraged to bring blankets. Chairs will be permitted only on paved surfaces. Food, drinks and ice cream will be available for sale.
At 7, a band called The Apple Core will kick off the entertainment. Its appearance is being co-sponsored by the VPIS as part of its weekly Concerts in the Park series. During its breaks, the Falls Church City Concert Band will fill in.
The fireworks show will one of many going on throughout the region, the granddaddy, of course, being the show on the National Mall in D.C. where routinely a half-million people come to experience the show surrounded by the monuments.
Other shows will be in Herndon, Reston, Lake Fairfax, Langley High School, the Vienna Community Center, Lorton, Great Falls, Fairfax High School, Long Bridge Park and Mt. Vernon.
But the Falls Church show is always an authentic community event, a celebration of our nation’s history and its finest values in the company of many friends and neighbors, as well as thousands of others who just prefer to see the fireworks here.
When the City faced a fiscal squeeze three years ago, the fireworks were one of the free events that was on the chopping block. However, the City Council simply didn’t have the heart to kill it, and voted to keep it going while passing a hat for contributions to its continuation in the future.
The more unique event, the noon readings of founding documents, has always been underwritten by the VPIS. A participatory history lesson, it will include the reading of the Declaration of Independence, the Fairfax Resolves.
Citizens are also cautioned that the possession, manufacture, storage, sale and unauthorized use of fireworks is illegal in the City of Falls Church. Given that the City now has its own fire marshal, Tom Polera, and is not just sharing Arlington County’s, it can be expected that a closer monitoring of potential violations will occur.