It's party time! By order of the Alexandria City Council!
The council voted unanimously last night to hire jazz bands, clowns who juggle and people who paint faces for a party in the streets of Old Town on June 2. Then, the council voted unanimously to hold a 254th birthday party for Martha Custis Washington, the first First Lady, on June 13. Happy Birthday, Martha!
The June 2 affair will celebrate the All America City award that Alexandria got last month from the National Municipal League for "involving citizens in their city." It will require the closing of Union Street from King to Cameron streets near the Potomac waterfront.
There will be hot dogs and city School Superintendent Robert Peebles will play his trumpet.
"We've got a lot to celebrate," said council member Margaret B. Inman. She noted that the council has "just come through an election" (in which Republican Inman was reelected) and approved the budget.
An ad hoc committee was set up to plan Martha Washington's birthday party. She had a home in Alexandria, and the city modestly refers to itself as "The home town of George Washington."
Plans for that party are incomplete, but there will be a cake-cutting ceremony in Market Square between noon and 1 p.m., about the time of Martha Washington's birth in 1731.
"The whole idea is to get every family to have a birthday cake June 13," said Emory W. Reisinger II, president of the newly formed Martha Washington Week Committee. "Martha's a symbol of the contribution women made to the founding and building of this country."
He said he wished the birth anniversary bore a rounder number -- say 250th. "But we just thought of it," he said. "And it happened to be the 254th."