Thanksgiving will soon be here! Below is our annual guide to special Thanksgiving Northern Virginia events, including community celebrations and “turkey trots” and other fun runs. Don’t miss the seasonal “turkey trains,” the big parade in Reston, and more!
Thanksgiving Northern Virginia: Celebrations and Special Events
Sat., Nov. 18: Turkey Train at Lake Fairfax Park
Ride Engine #62 of the Resources Railroad around Lake Fairfax and through the fall-colored forest as you hear about early Thanksgiving celebrations. Admission is $5 ages 3 through adult; trains run 11 am to 4 pm.
Sat., Nov. 18: Let’s Talk Turkey at Heritage Farm Museum
Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum hosts a half day (10 am to 2 pm) with crafts, games, and stories all about the turkey. This fun museum includes many hands-on play areas for young kids and exhibits of antique farm equipment for all ages. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for kids 2-12.
Sun., Nov. 19: Fifth Annual Thanksgiving Free Community Dinner at Franconia UMC
Enjoy a free “pre-Thanksgiving” dinner with all the trimmings at Franconia United Methodist Church. The event is free and open to all. If you’d like to bring a favorite holiday dish to share, you’re welcome to do so, but are not obligated. This is simply a free community event, no strings attached provided as a community service by Franconia United Methodist Church!
Thurs., Nov. 23: Thanksgiving Morning with The Great Zucchini
The Great Zucchini, Washington’s funniest and most magical preschool and kindergarten entertainer, performs a fun mix of comedy and magic that delights young children. Start your holiday on a happy note with this show at Jammin’ Java! Tickets are just $5 per person for ages one and up.
Fri., Nov. 24: Rocknoceros Show at Jammin’ Java
Work off that big Thanksgiving meal by moving around to the great sounds of Rocknoceros, the multiple-award-winning band that had wowed area audiences for more than 10 years. Their music is fun, clever, and geared to kids but fun for all ages. Tickets are just $5 per person for ages one and up.
Fri., Nov. 24: Reston Town Center Holiday Kickoff
Celebrating its 27th year, Reston’s Holiday Parade, the day after Thanksgiving, is a big and festive event featuring Macy’s-style giant balloons, antique cars, musicians and marching bands, dancers, and community groups marching through the Reston Town Center. This year’s parade theme is “Home Sweet Home.” The parade is part of a fun day of fun that also includes the Gingerbread Man Mile run for kids (see “races” section below), horse-drawn carriage rides, and at night, a visit by Santa and Mrs. Claus, who arrive at Fountain Square to light the Christmas tree and lead the community in a sing-along.
Sat., Nov. 25: Turkey Walk at E. C. Lawrence Park
What are turkeys really like?Discover the wild turkey’s habits and secret ways during a walk in the cedar forest and look for wild turkeys and their signs. Children must be accompanied by an adult registered in the program; the fee is $6 per participant.
Thanksgiving: Turkey Trots and Races in Northern Virginia
Sat., Nov. 18, Herndon: Herndon Turkey Trot 5K
Annual family-friendly 5K; the course takes you through Herndon Centennial Golf Course grass and paved paths, parts of the WOD paved trail and vehicular paved road. The overall male and female winners will get a turkey and all the trimmings. Advance registration is $20 plus a can of food for donation.
Sat., Nov. 18, Alexandria: 1-Mile Thanksgiving Fox Trot
The Fort Hunt Elementary 1-Mile Thanksgiving Fox Trot is a fun community event that is stroller- and dog-friendly. A tradition now in its 15th year, the fun race is followed by entertainment and treats. Prizes will be awarded for the top 3 male/female finishers in each division. Registration is $10 per person.
Sat., Nov. 18, Falls Church: Spend Yourself 5K Run and 3K Walk
The third annual Spend Yourself 5K Run/3K Walk through Falls Church on the W&OD Railroad Regional Park is a certified course with professional timing, sponsored by Columbia Baptist Church. Registration fees start at (early bird, by Nov. 9) $30 for adults and $10 for children under 18. Participants are encouraged to bring non-perishable food donations.
Sat., Nov. 18, Leesburg: Freeze Your Gizzard 5K and 1-mile Fun Run
All-ages annual event at Ida Lee Park, hosted by the Town of Leesburg. Pre-registration fees are $30 for the 5K or $12 per child; plus two cans of food to donate. The event benefits the Loudon Hunger Relief food bank.
Sat., Nov. 18, Alexandria: Run for Shelter
Flat and fast out-and-back race in Alexandria, VA, that is Metro-accessible via the Yellow Line and benefits its host, the nonprofit Carpenter’s Shelter. The event includes a 10K, 5K, and Fun Run. Registration starts at $35 for the 5K or 10K and $20 for the fun run; strollers permitted with restrictions.
Sun., Nov. 19, Vienna: Vienna Turkey Trot
Now in its 14th year, this is a fun, all-ages community event includes the 5K plus a double-loop 10K course and a kids’ 1-mile Fun Run. There will be cash awards and famous Whole Foods turkeys for overall winners. Registration fees begin at $20 for the fun run, $30 for the 5K, and $35 for the 10K.
Thurs., Nov. 23, Centreville: Virginia Run Turkey Trot
The annual USATF-certified 5K course starts and finishes on Pleasant Valley Road and runs through the Virginia Run neighborhood. The all-ages event is a benefit for the Life with Cancer group and also features a 2K walk. Entry fees start at $30 for the 5K and $10 for the 2K walk.
Thurs., Nov. 23, Fairfax: Fairfax Turkey Trot
Second annual family-fun 4-mile turkey trot where you can walk, jog or run. Strollers are welcome and children under 7 are free. Proceeds are donated to Britepaths (formerly Our Daily Bread food bank). Entry fees are $20 person for ages 7 and up.
Thurs., Nov. 23, Reston: Turkey Day 5K
Potomac River Running presents the Turkey Day 5K at South Lakes High School, an all-ages event that includes a timed 5k, 1-Mile Fun Run, and even a FREE Tot Trot (100-yard course). Registration fees start at $3; cash prizes for the top three males, top three females, and top three in various age groups. Please note: no strollers or dogs allowed.
Thurs., Nov. 23, Alexandria: Alexandria Turkey Trot
This is a “flat, fast, USATF-certified 5-mile course” that starts and ends at George Washington Middle School in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood. Entry fees start at just $5 for kids 12 and under in advance and $20 for adults. Food donations will be collected for ALIVE!, a nonprofit organization serving Alexandria’s needy.
Thurs., Nov. 23, Arlington: Arlington Turkey Trot 5K
Founded by Christ Church of Arlington, this event raises funds for the Arlington Food Assistance Center and multiple other local charities. Registration is $45 for adults, $25 for children age 6-17, and free for kids under age 6.
Thurs., Nov. 23, Lansdowne: Lansdowne 5k Turkey Trot
Lansdowne on the Potomac Homeowners’ Association hosts a 5K and 1 mile Family Fun Run/Walk. Stroller-friendly, rain-or-shine event; no dogs allowed. Registration fees start at $15 for youth and $25 for 18 and over and benefit Women Giving Back.
Thurs., Nov. 23, Manassas: Prince William Turkey Trot
For this family-friendly event you’re encouraged to wear your best Thanksgiving gear (pilgrim, turkey, pie, and such). The festive event at the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center has a 5K and a 1-mile Fun Run/Walk, plus music, best costume awards, and giveaways. Registration starts at $15 per person.
Fri., Nov. 24, Reston: Gingerbread Man Mile
Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!” This annual fun course for kids covers a 1-mile loop around Reston Town Center, starting at 8 am (registration is $10). It precedes the annual Macy’s-style parade with giant balloons at the Reston Town Center (parking is free that day) that kicks off the Holiday Festival with a tree-lighting and other events that day.