By Patricia Hall, FairfaxFamilyFun.com
It’s almost here: Northern Virginia’s largest community festival, a three-day celebration with an incredible amount of fun! The Celebrate Fairfax Festival, June 9-11, 2017, features dozens of concerts with local and celebrity bands, dancing and other live entertainment, kids’ activities, unique fun, animals to pet and watch perform, nightly fireworks, and more. The event, celebrating its 36 year, takes place on the grounds of the Fairfax County Government Center and features all-ages entertainment all day long.
What’s new this year
If you’ve been attending this festival for years, you already know there is plenty to enjoy (more than you can take advantage of in just one day). But now the festival has added more, for additional fees. New this year are some VIP areas, a Luau Lounge featuring local artists, and the Sunday Brewfest.
The VIP tickets include perks such as on-site parking, food, snacks, and reserved areas. The Luau Lounge showcases not just music but other local entertainment: in addition to music acts, performer here include the dueling pianos from Bobby McKey’s and Brad Matchett, a comedy hypnotist.
On Sunday, Celebrate Fairfax tacks on another celebration with The Sunday Brew, a pop-up beer festival. Located next to the Bud Light Main Stage area, the Sunday Brew will have brews from 12 local breweries, two entertainment stages, activities, and exhibitors. Visiting this area to see vendors and entertainers is included in the admission, but brew samplings require an extra ticket or VIP package.
There also will be touring “escape rooms,” two air-conditioned rooms with “missions” that may include preventing an explosion, stealing priceless art, saving the world from an asteroid or another fun adventure. Admission to this is $15 per person.
Fun for everyone
Along with the new options, this year’s Celebrate Fairfax brings back its popular features. Included with your basic admission price ($10-15 for adults, $5 for kids) at Celebrate Fairfax includes: dozens of carnival rides, special competitions and presentations, fireworks, and live entertainment all day and night with more than 130 performers on eight stages. There are also special areas such as the robotics pavilion, Transportation Station, and S.T.E.A.M.works Tent.
A big appeal of Celebrate Fairfax is its evening headliner acts, also included with admission. This year, you can see rockers Bush on Friday and Everclear on Saturday. Multi-platinum rock band Bush has sold more than 10 million records in the United States and is known for its hits such as “Comedown” and “Glycerine.” Everclear is another multi-platinum band whose top hits include Santa Monica,” “Wonderful,” and “Father of Mine.”
All day and night kids can enjoy carnival midway rides (purchase tickets separately) and games. Some vendors also have games and activities at their both. Families with young children should not miss the Innovation Health Children’s Avenue. This area geared to kids age 12 and under has numerouss free activities such as a petting zoo, toddler moonbounce, the Fairfax Express Trackless Train, Wiggle Cars Village, crafts, an instrument petting zoo and a public safety display area.
This is also where you’ll find the Inova Children’s Hospital Family Stage with some of Northern Virginia’s most popular kids’ entertainers such as The Great Zucchini, Rocknoceros, and Ryan Buckles, along with magic shows, Reptiles Alive, Wildlife Ambassadors, and Mad Science.
Other activities going on all weekend include donut-eating contests, karaoke competitions, and a 5K. Our favorite special event is the Fairfax County Dock Dogs Competition every day. Dogs compete in Big Air (long jump), Extreme Vertical (high jump), and Speed Retrieve by jumping off a 20-foot dock into a 40 foot pool of water. It’s quite a sight to see these agile, athletic pups fly through the air! We enjoy this so much we tend to make this our spot for a lunch break or snack time, making a picnic on the lawn to eat while we watch the show.
For late-night fun
There really is so much to do (including contests, demos, and exhibits) you’d be well-advised to go through the Celebrate Fairfax website in advance so you don’t miss out on something special. There’s a reason why the festival is three days… you may want to go more than once! If you can attend only one day and want to stretch it out, or you want to go back for a night of fun sans the kids, evening options include entertainment, late-night concerts, rides, silent disco, and of course the fireworks.
- General admission includes all performances; shows are included with daily tickets to the event.
- At the gates, general admission is $15 per adult on Friday and Saturday or $10 on Sunday, $5 per youth any day, and free for children 2 and under; see the ticket page for discounts on advance purchases.
- Festival hours are: Friday, June 9, from 6 pm to midnight; Saturday, June 10, from 10 am to midnight; and Sunday, June 11, from 11 am to 7 pm. Find more information at www.celebratefairfax.com
All photos provided by Celebrate Fairfax and used with permission