A Reason to Celebrate
Celebrate Fairfax is an annual festival that takes place in Fairfax, VA at the Fairfax County Government Center. We decided to spend our Saturday morning combing the grounds of the festival. Before we headed out, I spent some time on their website. It offers great information on parking, free shuttles, directions and the various entertainment pieces at the festival.
We were expecting a huge crowd on a Saturday morning so we wanted to get there as soon as it opened. The amount of people at that time of day happened to be just right. (Our Kids Rule #1 – always arrive early!) We were afforded a parking pass but most people were taking the shuttle from Fair Oaks mall due to limited parking on site. We met some friends there and they mentioned that it was about a 20-minute shuttle ride (due to the shuttle pick up points) from the mall to the fairgrounds. It seems as though they would have spent that much time riding around finding a parking space so the shuttle was probably the better way to go. Did I mention the shuttle is free? Bonus!
On Site Experience
The festival grounds housed vendors from all types of services. There was a craft market, food vendors, an extreme zone and several stage areas for various musicians to perform. We headed straight to the KidWay MidWay area, as that is most appropriate for the younger children. This area had the typical carnival rides (carousel, spinning elephants, toddler alligator ride, etc.). While my husband and daughter eagerly waited to get on the elephant ride, I headed to the ticket kiosk. The tickets are a dollar each and each ride requires at least 3 tickets. We spent $20 on tickets and did not even end up using them all. This was because right next to the KidWay MidWay area, there was an area full of jump castle type apparatus. This section does not require tickets and our kids were enjoying this area all the same. Although we did not make it to all of the children’s activities they did offer a petting zoo with over 40 animals, kids crafts, and a train ride.
After walking around the grounds for another 20 minutes we got some fresh squeezed lemonade ($4) and realized that it was also lunchtime. We walked over to the food court by the main stage and grabbed some food. While waiting, I noticed a wonderful service that the festival offers to its patrons. There is a first aid/security area for families to register their child. The child gets a sticker to wear with important contact information so if they get lost then it’s easier to find their guardian. Excellent idea.
We had to get back home for nap time so our stay was not quite as long as we had hoped it to be but here are some other points of information that may be helpful to you if you decide to hang out at Celebrate Fairfax next year.
- The festival is generally open Friday to Sunday in June. This year it ran June 10 to 12, 2011; Friday 6pm to midnight, Saturday 10am to midnight and Sunday 11am to 7pm. You can follow Celebrate Fairfax on Facebook to keep abreast of any news about the festival.
- Admission ticket prices do not include entries into the rides, food or to the vendor stands. Bring money or use the ATM machines that are on site.
- Adult tickets are $12 at the gate; Children 3 to 10 are $5; Children under three are free. Seniors (65+) and Active Military with ID are $10 at the gate.
- Strollers are permitted.
- The venue offers several special programs. Some of the programs this year included a karaoke contest, a hospitality test for military and their families and a free ventriloquist comedy show. For families with older kids, Celebrate Fairfax offers a nightly fireworks show. Check the website before heading out so you can plan your day accordingly.
- We could only find one shaded pavilion area to sit and eat our lunch. If it was hot like the day we went, be sure to wear sunscreen and be prepared to be in the sun. You can bring your own food in, but coolers are not allowed.