By Patricia Hall, FairfaxFamilyFun.com
It won’t be summer officially for a couple more weeks, but for many people in Fairfax, it sure feels like summer has formally begun when Celebrate Fairfax arrives. The three-day celebration, taking place June 8-10, 2018, is Northern Virginia’s largest community festival. This all-ages event features dozens of concerts (from national headlining acts, local bands, and community performers), plus other live entertainment including children’s shows, kids’ activities, and more. Of course, there’s plenty fun carnival food, the nightly fireworks, community displays, and dozens of rides for guests of all ages. The event, now in its 37th year, takes place on the grounds of the Fairfax County Government Center at 12000 Government Center Pkwy, Fairfax, VA 22035.
One of the most popular draws for Celebrate Fairfax is the number of big-name acts that come each year. Because these shows are included in the price of basic admission, attending Celebrate Fairfax! is like going to a carnival, festival, AND multiple concerts.
Headlining the festival this year are the bands Good Charlotte on Friday, June, 8; Sugar Ray and Gin Blossoms on Saturday, June 9; and Cracker on Sunday, June 10. The multi-platinum selling band Good Charlotte has local roots, founded in nearby Waldorf, Maryland, and is best known for “I Don’t Wanna Be In Love,” “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” and “The Anthem,” among other songs.
Saturday’s double-header will have fans reminiscing with Sugar Ray’s “Fly,” “Every Morning,” “When It’s Over,” and many other popular songs, and the Gin Blossom’s many hit singles including“Hey Jealousy,” “Allison Road,” “Until I Fall Away,” “Mrs Rita,” and “Found Out About You.”
Cracker performs at The Sunday Brew, the Celebrate Fairfax! Festival’s newest addition. Over the years, Cracker has amassed ten studio albums, multiple gold records, thousands of live performances, hit songs that are still in current radio rotation around the globe such as “Low,” “Euro-Trash Girl,” “Get Off This” and “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out With Me.”
Fun for everyone
Along with the big concerts, Celebrate Fairfax brings back its popular features. Included with the tickets ($10-15 for adults, $5 for kids) at Celebrate Fairfax are: 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.
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 Children’s Hospital 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 F. H. Furr Family Stage with some of Northern Virginia’s most popular kids’ entertainers such as The Great Zucchini, Rocknoceros, 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 8, from 6 pm to midnight; Saturday, June 9, from 10 am to midnight; and Sunday, June 10, from 11 am to 7 pm. Find more information at www.celebratefairfax.com
All photos provided by Celebrate Fairfax and used with permission