Alexandria's 271st Birthday Celebration

Page updated on Jul 10, 2020 at 5:05 PM

Saturday, July 11: A Virtual Celebration

Celebrate Alexandria’s 271st and the USA’s 244th  birthday from the safety and comfort of home this year.

To comply with Virginia's Safer at Home Phase Three guidelines, this year's celebration will take place online with virtual performances, including a citywide sing-along. Enjoy music from the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra and the Navy Commodores. Alexandria’s Poet Laureate KaNikki Jakarta wrote a stirring poem to celebrate the occasion. Tune into a Facebook live singalong at 7 p.m. 


Alexandria Symphony Orchestra

The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra (ASO) has served Alexandria and Northern Virginia for 76 years. Today, under music director James Ross, ASO presents energetic programs focused on composers and artists from diverse backgrounds.

PROGRAM NOTES: “La Bernadina” by Josquin des Prez; “Spring from The Four Seasons” by Antonio Vivaldi; “Trio for Brass, Movement 1” by Francis Poulenc; “Shenandoah” (Traditional); “Happy Birthday ala Richard Wagner” by Gil Hoffer, arr.; “Helas” by Heinrich Isaac


U.S. Navy Band

The United States Navy Band Concert Band and Sea Chanters perform "America, the Beautiful" by Samuel Ward, arr. by Carmen Dragon at the U.S. Navy Band Birthday Concert in Oct. 2011. Lyrics written by Katherine Lee Bates.


Fireworks Display featuring the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra

Watch a recording of the 2014 USA/Alexandria Birthday Celebration fireworks display, featuring music performed by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra.


2020 KaNikki Jakarta poem - smail

Alexandria, The Beautiful

A new poem by Alexandria's Poet Laureate KaNikki Jakarta to celebrate Alexandria's 271st City Birthday

I will name my daughter Alexandria
Because that’s where the thought of her was conceived
Beneath the weeping willow trees 
In old town
I found… 
Peace in the sun that sat itself atop of the Potomac River
that delivered
ferries and steam boats afloat its history
18th and 19th century 
Spoke to me
as a walked down streets paved with bricks from founding fathers 
Just south of Washington, D.C.
A beautiful city
captured my heart with its art that day
Just a half of a mile from Delray
And as I sat beneath a weeping willow tree
Imagining the future me
I smiled at the thought of returning one day to this very place
Looking upon my daughter’s face
Telling her just how her name had come to be
How both of my Alexandria’s had captured my heart
Like a first love
Taking my breath away so pleasantly
Beneath a weeping willow tree
In old town 

🔈 Listen: KaNikki Jakarta Reading


2020 City Birthday LeaCommunity Happy Birthday Sing-Along

Saturday, July 11 at 7 p.m.

Stand on your porch, stoop, balcony, or window and sing Happy Birthday to Alexandria along with residents from across the community. Local singer/songwriter Lea leads the song in a Facebook live stream, also featuring performances in some of her favorite places around Alexandria.


Historic Cake

Desserts in the 18th century often were displayed on a dessert buffet, or collation. From cream puffs to dried fruit, the seasonality and availability of ingredients were key to what was served. Similar to the symmetry of Georgian architecture, plates were arranged in a symmetrical pattern on tables. While “birthday cake” in our modern sense was not common in the 18th century, cake full of fruit and liquor was. To celebrate Alexandria’s 271st birthday, try your hand at Mary Randolph’s Pound Cake! Thanks to the Office of Historic Alexandria.


To request a reasonable disability accommodation, contact  anne.odell@alexandriava.gov or call 703.746.5419, Virginia Relay 711.

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