Black History Month and Presidents' Day events

The First Virginia Regiment performs at Alexandria's George Washington parade.
The First Virginia Regiment performs at Alexandria's George Washington parade. (Katherine Frey/the Washington Post)
Friday, February 18, 2011

Washingtonians are lucky enough to experience both history in the making and the country's important past firsthand. Events this weekend and beyond offer a mix of activities celebrating both Black History Month and President's Day. Here are some highlights.

- Brandon Weigel

Presidents' Day

George Washington birthday party The "general" is on hand at his Mount Vernon estate for a birthday surprise party reminiscent of the celebration by the Continental Army at Valley Forge in 1778. Festivities include breakfast, a cavalry reenactment and a wreath-laying ceremony. Saturday-Monday. Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy., Alexandria. 703-780-2000. Free admission Monday. Regular prices are $15, $14 seniors, $7 ages 6 to 11 and free for age 5 and younger.

Smithsonian American Art Museum The presidents are celebrated with family-friendly crafts, performances and a scavenger hunt. Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eighth and F streets NW. 202-633-1000. Free.

George Washington birthday parade Old Town Alexandria hosts a mile-long parade through downtown, the culmination of a long weekend celebration of the birthday of the first president and native Virginian. Monday from 1 to 3 p.m. Parade starts at Gibbon and South Fairfax streets and ends at Wilkes and South Royal streets. 703-746-3301.

Black History Month

'A Celebration of Black History Month: A Musical Journey of Hope and Freedom' George Mason University's wind symphony and opera ensemble are joined by area church choirs for jazz, African drumming, spirituals and a musical tribute to Rosa Parks. Saturday at 11 a.m. Hylton Performing Arts Center, 10960 George Mason Cir., Manassas. 703-993-7759. $10.

African American festival Enjoy workshops, storytellers, performances and vendors at this festival celebrating African American culture. Feb. 26 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex, 8001 Sheriff Rd., Landover. 301-583-2400. Free.

National Museum of American History Audience members take part in a reenactment of a civil rights-era lunch counter sit-in. Fridays and Sundays through February at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30, 3 and 4:30 p.m. National Museum of American History, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. 202-633-1000. Free.

'African Americans of Calvert County' Author William Poe discusses and signs his book examining the history of African Americans in the county, dating to the 17th century when settlers first arrived. Sunday at 2 p.m. Calvert Marine Museum, 14200 Solomons Island Rd., Solomons. 410-326-2042. $7, $6 for seniors, $2 for ages 5-12, free for age 5 and younger.

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