The new Mason District Park was formally dedicated last week as approximately 200 Annandale residents looked on.
The brief ceremonies, directed by Newton W. Edwards of the Fairfax County Park Authority, began a day-long opening celebration that included tennis and shuffleboard demonstrations, music, a soccer game, a Little League Baseball game, an interpretive program on the history of land use in Annandale, guided nature walks and exhibits.
Families were encouraged to bring picnics and to spend the day exploring the many trails in the 60-acre park located at 6621 Columbia Pike at Sleepy Hollow Road.
The newly completed facilities also include six lighted tennis courts, two lighted multipurpose courts, two lighted ball fields, one lighted soccer and football field, one soccer practice field, a playground and an open play area.
The concession and restroom building is near a lighted patio center that contains shuffleboard coutrts, game tables and a picnic area. There is also an office for the park manager, Peter Deahl.
Most of the park and an adjacent 88 acres of surplus school land now being used by the park authority under an agreement with the Fairfax County School Board is in hiking and nature trails, a wildlife pond andstream. There are both meadows and wooded areas along the hiking trails.
A jogging trail is near completion. When finished, the paved and lighted trail will include 20 exercise stations where joggers can follow exercise rountines designed to strengthen heart muscles before jogging on to another station.
Total cost of park development was $1,036,943. It was financed through passage of a 1971 bond referendum. Land acquisition for the park began in 1971 with the first 20 acres and the last parcel was acquired in November 1975.
Fairfax Supervisor Alan H. Magazine spoke briefly at the dedication ceremonies and praised the park authority and local citizens for preserving open space.
A bouquet of daisies was presented to Loraine Foulds, a member of citizens' committees that helped plan the program. Other citizens involved in the planning were Drama Ennis, C.K. Lewis, Virginia Stanhagen, Natalie Coleman and William Dennis.
Lewis, who is 85, also gave the afternoon shuffleboard demonstrations and lessons to anyone who wanted to learn. He said he has played shuffleboard for years and believes it is wrongly thought to be a game only for older people.
"It's great fun for all ages," he said. "It is a family game, especially good for children. It teaches them coordination."
Lewis lives near the park and rides his bicycle through the park every day, his wife said.
Music for the picnickers and hikers was provided by the Jazz Masters, a 22-piece Northern Virginia Jazz ensemble directed by John Chandler.
A tennis demonstration was give by Dr. J. G. Houck and his son Tick of Falls Church. Houck is a tennis pro and inventor of a two-racquet system of playing. Tennis matches followed the demonstrations.
The Annandale Little League played baseball during the afternoon and the Annandale Boys Club sponsored a soccer game.
Among the demonstrations and exhibits at the shelter were native foods and medicinal plants, the birds of Mason District Park, and the making of a nature trail.
An interpretive program sponsored by the conservation and history division of the park authority in the early afternoon was titled "Buffalo Hunters to Commuters." It reviewed the use of land in Annandale from a time when Indian hunters followed buffalo trails along what is now Rt. 296, throughthe colonial settlements, the Civil War and into the 20th Century.
Others who participated in the dedication ceremonies were the Boy Scouts of John Calvin Presbyterian Church, and Joseph Downs and Fred Crabtree of the park authority.