Weekend Planner: First Night Celebrations, New Year's Runs and More

Fun, free events for the whole family this weekend.

Choose from a variety of local activities as we close out 2012 and welcome the New Year.

First Night Alexandria

  • Where: Various Locations in Old Town Alexandria
  • When: Monday, Dec. 31 beginning at noon. Much more information is available on Old Town Alexandria Patch.
  • Why Go: This family-friendly event will feature live music and entertainment, arts and crafts, face painting, moon bounce, food and more.  Stay for midnight fireworks on the river to celebrate the New Year.      
  • Price: Adults: $20; Ages 12 and Under: FREE; Active Duty Military: FREE with ID (see www.firstnightalexandria.org for details)


Christmas Cookie Burn 5K

  • Where: Mount Vernon RECenter, Alexandria
  • When: Saturday, Dec. 29 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Why Go: Burn off some of those holiday calories at this 5K event that takes you through the wooded trails near Mount Vernon RECenter.
  • Price: $15 Entry Fee


Watch Night Falls Church

  • Where: Centered at the intersection of Broad Street (Rt. 7) and Washington Street (Rt. 29)
  • When: Monday, Dec. 31 beginning from 7 p.m. to midnight (see the City of Falls Church website for complete schedule of events)
  • Why Go: Events and entertainment both indoor and outdoors, this annual celebration is free and has been called one of the best family events in the area.
  • Price: Free.


The Nutcracker

  • Where: Ernst Community Cultural Center, Annandale
  • When: Friday, Dec. 28 and Saturday, Dec. 29 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Why Go: This classic holiday ballet, featuring young Clara and her nutcracker prince, will be performed by the Virginia Ballet Company and School.
  • Price: Tickets range from $20 - $30


The Nation’s Gun Show

  • Where: Dulles Expo Center, Chantilly
  • When: Friday, Dec. 28 from 3 – 8 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 29 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 30 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Why Go: The largest gun show in the DC metro area will feature approximately 1,000 tables of displays and vendors.
  • Price: Adults: $12 per day; Ages 12 – 17: $6 per day; Three-Day Pass: $18

150th Anniversary Commemoration of the Civil War Raid at Lake Accotink

  • Where: Lake Accotink Park, Springfield
  • When: Sunday, Dec. 30 at 1 p.m.
  • Why Go: This quiet observation of the burning of the wooden trestle over Accotink Creek in 1862 will be commemorated by a recitation of events and simulated torching of the trestle.
  • Price: FREE


Bull Run Runners 5K Run

  • Where: Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville
  • When: Monday, Dec. 31 at 3 p.m.
  • Why Go: Take part in this annual event and Bull Run Runners will donate 75 percent of the net proceeds to American Red Cross Disaster Relief.
  • Price: Race Day Registration is $30


First Day Hikes – Three Blinds Hikes

  • Where: Mason Neck State Park, Lorton
  • When: Tuesday, Jan. 1 beginning at 9 a.m.
  • Why Go: Choose one, two or all three of these guided hikes, each set at a different pace and level of difficulty.  Hikes will begin at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at various locations throughout the park.  See website for complete details.
  • Price: Weekday parking fee is $3 per vehicle


Library Events:

  • Fun Flicks at Pohick Regional Library, Burke.  Friday, Dec. 28 at 10:30 a.m.  FREE – Registration Required.
  • Treasure Hunt at the Library! at Sherwood Regional Library, Alexandria.  Friday, Dec. 28 from 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 29 from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  For ages 6 – 12.  FREE.
  • Inova Blood Drive at Pohick Regional Library, Burke.  Saturday, Dec. 29 from 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.  For adults.  Appointments Recommended.
  • Face Painter at Kings Park Library, Burke.  Saturday, Dec. 29 from Noon – 2 p.m.  FREE.
  • Meet Colonel and Mrs. Silas Burke! at Kings Park Library, Burke.  Saturday, Dec. 29 at 1 p.m.  FREE.
  • Kickin’ Back Barbershop Quartet at Kings Park Library, Burke.  Saturday, Dec. 29 at 3 p.m.  FREE.
  • Noon Year’s Eve Party at Beatley Central Library, Alexandria.  Monday, Dec. 31 at 11:30 a.m.  FREE.


Nature Highlights:

  • Nature Craft at Mason Neck State Park, Lorton.  Saturday, Dec. 29 at 1 p.m.  Weekend parking fee is $4 per vehicle.
  • Dino Puppet Show and Activities at Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Annandale.  Saturday, Dec. 29 at 1:30 p.m.  For ages 2 – 8.  $7 - $9 per person – Registration Required.   
  • Eagle Watch at Mason Neck State Park, Lorton.  Saturday, Dec. 29 at 4 p.m.  Weekend parking fee is $4 per vehicle.
  • Ghost Trackers at Walney at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park Walney Visitor Center, Chantilly.  Saturday, Dec. 29 at 9 p.m.  For ages 16 and up.  $15 - $17 per person – Registration Required.
  • Fall Guided Hike at Mason Neck State Park, Lorton.  Sunday, Dec. 30 at 3 p.m.  Weekend parking fee is $4 per vehicle.
  • Monday Bird Walk at Eakin Community Park, Annandale.  Monday, Dec. 31 at 7 a.m.  FREE.   


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