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Sunday, June 18, 2017

The past comes alive at Fairfax County's 275th birthday celebration

Fairfax County celebrated its 275th birthday in style June 17 at the Historic Courthouse in Fairfax with many costumed re-enactors, live music, storytellers, crafts, and living history exhibits.

Members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment stationed at Ft. Myer in Arlington appear as soldiers of the Continental Army in 1776.

Re-enactors portray the 17th Virginia Infantry Regiment, Company D, known as the Fairfax Rifles.

Alikhal, 6 (center), a student at Providence Elementary School, learns about women’s struggle to gain the right to vote from Patricia Depew Wirth, executive director of the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association

The group is raising money to build the first-ever monument to women’s suffrage in the United States, in Occaquan Regional Park. So far, the group has reached just 10 percent of its fundraising goal. It’s a hard sell, because “people don’t donate to women-centric projects and don’t know about the history of woman’s suffrage,” Wirth says. “History books were written by white men who didn’t think women were important, so they left it out.”

Re-enactors appear in the Historic Courthouse in Fairfax as Founding Father George Mason and his brother.

Robert Ford and Patricia Tyson offer information from the African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation & Museum in Washington, D.C. Tyson is a member of Female RE-Enactors of Distinction (FREED), which is affiliated with the museum. The group gave a presentation at George Mason Regional Library in February.

A display from the Cold War Museum in Warrenton.

Nicholas Fairfax, the 14th Lord Fairfax of Cameron and a member of the British House of Lords, gives a talk in the Historic Courthouse about the issues surrounding Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. Fairfax is a strong supporter of Brexit, or as he calls himself, a “keen leaver.”

Fairfax County is named for his ancestor, Thomas Fairfax, the sixth Lord Fairfax, who received a land grant in Northern Virginia from King Charles II. 

Vicki Chistiani, wearing a summer white outfit, appears in a fashion show with her colleagues in the Victorian Society of Falls Church. The show also included colonial-era outfits worn by volunteers from Gunston Hall, the home of George Mason.

Girl Scouts play colonial-era games, including this game in  which blindfolded kids try to tag a friend running around ringing a bell.

 A functional replica of a “three-pounder” cannon, known as a “grasshopper,” because it’s small enough to be carried around without the use of horses, says Stephen Espinal (left) of the Fixed Regiment of Spanish Louisiana. Those soldiers fought for the Americans in the Revolutionary War.    

Dancers from Gottaswing perform the jitterbug and lindy hop.

Kirk Goolsby of Warrenton (left), portraying a member of the Hessian Guard Regiment, which fought for the British in the Revolutionary War, chats with Robert Ford of Baltimore, appearing as a member of the 54th Massachusetts Company B, a volunteer infantry regiment in the Civil War.

Greg Markowski, appears as a colonial royalist from a Scottish family serving in the 84th Regiment during the Revolutionary War. He’s wearing an authentic uniform, including a sporran made from a raccoon who “died of natural causes.”

 A corn-grinding demonstration from Colvin Run Mill in Great Falls.

A mix of old and new on display at the Fairfax County 275th birthday celebration. 


  1. Most of these people had slaves or benefited from slavery. This should not be celebrated. We should have an international day so everyone feels included.

    1. Hey Adam... still got that snickers? I found someone who needs it...

    2. I'm out of the country don, need you to step in for me.

    3. I don't know why I called you Don. I have a buddy named Don Longo, that must be it

  2. I wasn't able to attend, as my in-laws were visiting and had passes to sight-see elsewhere. I would have loved staying in town, but at least I have the article and photos--thank you!