This Saturday, honor the men and women who really beat the heat at the Friendship Firehouse Festival. Alexandria's first fire company was founded in 1774, and for its 231st anniversary, the streets of Old Town are sure to be aflame with activity.
Firefighters will be on-site with some of their equipment; children can join the crew by donning a free helmet and becoming (supervised) "co-passengers" on a parked city firetruck. Sadly, there won't be any Dalmatians on hand at this year's proceedings (seems that last summer's steamy temps made the hounds a bit cranky). But inside the Firehouse Museum, which was restored to its original condition in 1992 (though it isn't active in fighting fires any longer), visitors can still tour exhibits of antique equipment and trucks, including hand-drawn fire engines like the Baltimore-built Rodgers Pumper, which dates back to 1851.
The festival is free and runs from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., taking place on South Alfred Street between Prince and King streets (703-751-6416). Not in the mood to play with fire? There are plenty of other diversions on offer, including food, craft booths and live music by the ever-so appropriately named Smoke and Mirrors.