Saturday, December 11 – Alexandria Black History Museum’s Kwanzaa Events
The Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe Street, is hosting three Kwanzaa events. The Pre-Kwanzaa Program, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., is a free event exploring the history and significance of Kwanzaa. Participants will learn about the principles of Kwanzaa, a seven-day cultural celebration that begins December 26 and ends January 1. From 1 to 3 p.m., families can take part in a Children’s Kwanzaa Craft Workshop. This event will be located in the Museum’s Watson Reading Room. Advance reservations are requested and a $5 fee covers craft supplies. At 4:30 p.m., attend a free screening of “The Black Candle: A Kwanzaa Celebration.” Narrated by Maya Angelou, this vibrant documentary traces the holiday’s growth out of the Black Power Movement in the 1960s to its present-day reality as a global, pan-African holiday. For more information, call 703.746.4356 or visit www.alexblackhistory.org.
Saturday, December 11 – “Christmas in Camp” Open House
This family-fun holiday event at Fort Ward Museum, 4301 West Braddock Road, interprets how Christmas was observed during the Civil War. From noon to 4 p.m., enjoy living-history interpreters, a Victorian Christmas tree, refreshments, readings of “The Night Before Christmas” and a patriotic Santa Claus. Guided tours of the fort will be given, weather permitting. Suggested donation of $2 for adults, $1 for children. For more information, visit www.fortward.org or call 703.746.4848.
Saturday, December 11 – Beginning Beadwork and Jewelrymaking Workshop
Come to a free workshop on beginning beadwork and jewelrymaking beginning at 2 p.m. at Duncan Branch Library, 2501 Commonwealth Ave. Registration for the workshop is required. For more information, call Renee at 703.746.1705 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday & Sunday, December 11-12 – Annual Historic Alexandria Candlelight Tours
Take a break from the fast pace of the season and experience the unique charm and history at Old Town Alexandria’s most popular holiday event. Tour Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Carlyle House, Lee-Fendall House and the Athenaeum by candlelight and enjoy seasonal decorations, entertainment and light refreshments. Sunday features kid-friendly tours and a special activity! The tour is self-guided, and the sites may be visited in any order, with a free shuttle running in a continuous loop among the sites. Tour times are from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday and 3 to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Cost is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors (65 and older), and $5 for children (ages 6-17). Reservations are recommended. For more information or to buy tickets, please visit www.historicalexandria.org or call 703.746.4242.
Saturday & Sunday, December 11-12 – Holiday Concerts in Old Town
Enjoy the music of the season in Alexandria! Holiday concerts are held outdoors at Market Square, 301 King Street, and are canceled in the event of inclement weather. For more information, call the Events Hotline at 703.746.5592 or the Special Events office at 703.746.5418.
Saturday, December 11
- Bell’s Angels, St. John’s Lutheran Church Handbell Choir ( Handbells ) at 1 p.m.
- Alexandria Harmonizers (Men’s Barbershop) at 2 p.m.
Sunday, December 12
- St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church Handbell Choir ( Handbells ) at 2 p.m.
- Blue Book Value Band (Swing Blues) at 3 p.m.
Tuesday, December 14 – Toys for Tots Donation Deadline at Sheriff’s Office
The Sheriff’s Office is hosting its annual Toys for Tots distribution to benefit the children of inmates at the Alexandria Detention Center. During the holidays, the children of incarcerated persons are often left without parents to comfort them, and without resources to help make the season brighter. While most of the toys this year will be provided by the Marine Toys for Tots program, your toy donations are needed, too. Donations are especially welcome for babies under two years and youth ages 13 and older. Please contact Deputy Todd Stubblefield at 703.746.5134 to arrange your toy donation.
Wednesday, December 15 – Duncan Library’s Holiday Open House
Join Alexandria Library’s Duncan Branch, 2501 Commonwealth Ave., for a holiday celebration and refreshments. The event features Jazz Band "Project Natale" at 6:30 p.m., followed by local novelist Thomas Kaufman, author of "Drink the Tea" (winner of a PWA award for best first novel) at 7:30 p.m. Please help our community by bringing new, unwrapped toys for Community Partners for Children. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 703.746.1705.
Saturday, December 18 – Local Author Book Signing for Letters to Virginia
Local Alexandria author Barb Winters will sign copies of her book, Letters to Virginia: Correspondence from Three Generations of Alexandrians Before, During, and After the Civil War. This free event will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Burke Branch Library, 4701 Seminary Rd. For more information, call 703.746.1704.
Sunday, December 19 – Colonial Handbell Ringers – The Lyceum
Join the Colonial Handbell Ringers as they present their festive holiday musical show at The Lyceum, 201 South Washington Street. Get into the holiday spirit as you listen – and sing along – with their performance of holiday classics using a long set of Whitechapel bells. Two free one-hour shows with the first performance at 2 p.m. and then repeated at 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.alexandriahistory.org or call 703.746.4994.
City of Alexandria Farmers’ Markets
The City of Alexandria is host to the Old Town Farmers’ Market and Del Ray Farmers’ Market every Saturday. The markets feature colorful displays of fresh, locally grown, in-season vegetables and fruit, gourmet coffee, fresh squeezed orange juice, meat, bakery items and artisans. For more information, visit www.alexandriava.gov/farmersmarket.
Open through May 1, 2011 – “Patriotic and Public Spirited” Commemorative Wares in George Washington’s Hometown
Alexandria prides itself on being the hometown of George Washington and Robert E. Lee, and historic events such as George Washington’s Birthnight Ball and Lafayette’s 1824 visit to Alexandria were cause for great celebration. This exhibition of commemorative ceramic wares, recovered from archaeological excavations or preserved in collections, shows the community’s interest in events and historic places of local and national significance. The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum (201 South Washington Street) is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.alexandriahistory.org or call 703.746.4994.
Open through May 7, 2011 - Style and Identity: Black Alexandria in the 1970s, Portraits by Horace Day
At the Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 S. Wythe St., view this new exhibition of 32 paintings by Horace Day featuring Alexandria street scenes and portraits of African American Alexandrians. Described as an American scene or regional painter, Day created this body of work at a time when “Black” was becoming “Beautiful,” but when media still promoted stereotypical, demeaning images of African Americans. Day’s portraits reflect the dignity and beauty he saw in his subjects. Museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Suggested admission is $2. For more information, visit www.alexblackhistory.org or call 703.746.4356.