From neighborhood parades to backyard grilling to fireworks viewings, yesterday’s July 4 celebrations in Arlington largely went off without a hitch, despite continued power outages and the threat of evening storms.
The following are some of the scenes captured by photographers in our Flickr pool.
Neighborhood Thanks Power Crews – A few special guests stopped by the Waycroft-Woodlawn Fourth of July picnic yesterday (see photo, above). The neighborhood invited two hard-working power crews from Ontario, Canada to have a quick lunch with them. “The community clapped and cheered to say thanks,” writes resident Jim Pebley. “Was a nice moment after a long hot couple days.”
Storm Damage at Arlington National Cemetery — Arlington National Cemetery is reporting some significant damage in the wake of last Friday’s storms. The cemetery lost three of its oldest trees, which are all between 225 and 240 years old. In all, 8 large trees were lost and 17 were damaged to the point where they need to be removed. Falling trees also damaged some headstones. The cemetery says the damage is similar to that suffered during Hurricane Irene. The cemetery “continues to assess the extent of the damage and has started on the restoration.” [Arlington National Cemetery]
Hospital Visits Up Last Weekend — The number of patient visits to Virginia Hospital Center were about 30 percent higher than normal last weekend, largely due to heat-related symptoms, especially among the elderly, following Friday’s storms. No heat-related deaths have been reported in Arlington since the storms. [Arlington Mercury]
Tree Destroyed House While Family Was Inside — An Arlington couple and their two young girls were, amazingly, unharmed after a large oak tree came crashing through their house during Friday’s storm. The family was at home at the time. The parents were watching a movie in the basement; they came upstairs to find the girls still sleeping in their beds. [WUSA 9]
Blackwell Re-Elected as RNC Rep — Arlington resident Morton Blackwell — founder of the Courthouse-based Leadership Institute, a conservative political training organization — has been re-elected as Virginia representative to the Republican National Committee. [Sun Gazette]
Photo courtesy Jim Pebley
The region’s big Independence Day fireworks display on the National Mall is expected to kick off around 9:10 p.m. tonight
The display will last about 17 minutes, according to the National Park Service. For those who want to watch the fireworks from this side of the Potomac River, there are a number of places to watch the fireworks in and around Arlington tonight.
- Long Bridge Park
- Air Force Memorial
- Iwo Jima Memorial (Marine Corps War Memorial)
- Rosslyn Gateway Park
- Gravelly Point
- Pentagon Reservation
- Key Bridge
Numerous road closures will be put in place to keep fireworks watchers safe. The planned closures include Memorial Bridge, Memorial Circle, and portions of Columbia Pike, eastbound Route 50, Washington Boulevard, and Long Bridge Drive. A full list is available on the Arlington County Police Department website.
Additionally, police are reminding fireworks-goers that grills, fireworks and alcoholic beverages are prohibited on county and federal park lands. Coolers and backpacks will be subject to search.
If you’re planning on going out to watch the fireworks, you might want to pack an umbrella. Storms are possible between 5:00 and 10:00 tonight, according to the Capital Weather Gang.
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA.
Send us your fireworks and Fourth of July celebration photos via our Flickr page. We’ll be publishing a number of Flickr photos tomorrow. Want to know how to take great fireworks photos? See the guide posted by We Love DC.
Dislosure: Arlington County is advertising its Fourth of July event at Long Bridge Park with ARLnow.com.
Public affairs personnel from the military base are advising Arlington residents who live in the area that they might hear cannon fire around noon tomorrow (July 4) as a result of the annual ceremony.
Please be advised that there will be a 50-gun salute to the nation at the stroke of 12 noon, Wednesday, July 4 at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall’s Whipple Field by Soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Presidential Salute Battery.
According to Army regulation, “in commemoration of the Declaration of Independence, a salute to the Union (50 guns) will be fired at 1200 hours on Independence Day at all Army installations provided with the necessary equipment for firing salutes.” In 1810, the “National Salute” was defined by the War Department as equal to the number of states in the Union. Today the Presidential Salute Battery fires 50 rounds at noon on Independence Day to celebrate the nation’s history. This 4th of July, the Presidential Salute Battery will fire the 75mm blank ceremonial shell with 1.5 pounds of powder. The salute takes about four minutes total, so arrive early to view this celebration of America.
The platoon is equipped with 10 M5, 75mm antitank cannons mounted on M6 howitzer carriages. Each gun weighs 5,775 pounds
Portions of several roads on the base — including Marshall Drive, Grant Avenue, and Washington Avenue — will be blocked off during the salute.
Capt. Gregg Karl says the first step to fireworks safety is to make sure you’re using fireworks that are legal in Arlington County. Any fireworks purchased from an authorized fireworks stand in the county should comply with county regulations, Karl said. Those regulations specify that the fireworks emit a flame or spark less than 12 feet in the air.
Any fireworks that are “projectiles, explode, emit flames or sparks to a distance greater than twelve (12) feet are prohibited by Arlington County,” according to the county’s fireworks safety web page. The fire department also has a 42 page long list of fireworks approved for use in Arlington.
To prevent your fireworks from lighting anything on fire, Karl recommends placing them away from structures and watering down any nearby grass or brush.
“If you’re going to do any [legal fireworks], make sure you’re away from buildings and combustibles,” he said. “If you’re on grass, make sure you wet the ground around it. Please use extreme caution due to the dry conditions.”
Karl noted that fireworks should not be lit on county streets or sidewalks.
Other personal fireworks safety tips from the county include:
- Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks. Sparklers, considered by many the ideal “safe” firework for the young, burn at very high temperatures and can easily ignite clothing. Children cannot understand the danger involved and cannot act appropriately in case of emergency.
- Read and follow all warnings and instructions.
- Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks. Never shoot a firework at or near another person.
- Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves, and flammable materials.
- Never try to re-light fireworks that have not fully functioned. Douse and soak them with water and throw them away.
- Keep a bucket of water handy in case of a malfunction or fire.
- Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
- Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
- Store fireworks in a dry, cool place. Check instructions for special storage directions.
- Observe local laws.
- Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting.
- Don’t experiment with homemade fireworks.
Arlington fire marshals will be patrolling the county and responding to resident complaints about fireworks tomorrow, Karl said. Any illegal fireworks will be confiscated and a warning will be issued. Repeat offenders may be issued a summons to appear in court.
Police will also be on the lookout for illegal fireworks, but will be more focused on traffic control efforts connected to the fireworks display on the National Mall. The fireworks are scheduled to run between 9:10 and 9:30 p.m. Viewing areas in and around Arlington include the Iwo Jima memorial, the Air Force Memorial, Gravelly Point, Rosslyn Gateway Park and Long Bridge Park.
“Our Special Operations Section is going to be out there directing and monitoring all traffic,” said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Power Outage Update — As of 8:30 a.m., there were 14,860 Dominion customers still without power in Arlington. That’s down from 27,586 outages as of 9:30 yesterday morning.
911 Now Accessible By Cell Phone — Arlington County says its 911 system is now properly receiving calls from cell phones. Problems were reported with the system yesterday afternoon.
Cancel Special Events on the Fourth? — Citing power outages and a dodgy 911 system, Arlington Office of Emergency Management Director Jack Brown says he’s not sure it’s the best idea for Arlington to host events for the Fourth of July tomorrow. He told the Washington Post yesterday: “I’m questioning having a special event during an emergency.” [Washington Post]
School Board Renews Murphy’s Contract — Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy had his contract renewed at Monday morning’s School Board meeting. The contract calls for Dr. Murphy to stay with the school system until the end of the 2015-2016 school year. He’ll be paid an annual salary of $209,976. [Washington Post]
Community Pools Busy — The indoor pools at Yorktown, Wakefield and Washington-Lee high schools were all busy this weekend, in the wake of Friday’s storms. [Sun Gazette]
Do you take off Tuesday or Thursday, giving yourself something of a mid-week weekend? Do you take two days off either before or after the Fourth of July, thus giving yourself a very long weekend? Do you throw caution to the wind and just take the entire week off? Or do you not take any time off work at all, and leave the easy long weekend for next year, when the Fourth falls on a Thursday?
How many days this week — including the Fourth — will you be taking off of work?
Flickr pool photo by Mennyj
The county’s Department of Parks and Recreation announced today that it’s planning a day-long Independence Day celebration at the recently-opened Long Bridge Park near Crystal City.
“During the day the park will be programmed to do what it was created to do… hold fun sports events on the fields and creatively program the Esplanade with viewing, dining and shopping options,” parks department spokeswoman Susan Kalish said via email. “In the evening, there will be a more traditional old-time Fourth of July celebration with games for all ages, decorated bicycle parade, face painting, balloon art, and of course, amazing views of the Washington fireworks display.”
Arlington is currently seeking partnerships for the family-friendly event, including community groups and food and craft vendors.
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
The long holiday weekend has begun, and that means many county services are stopped or altered. Here’s a list of changes:
- All courts are closed.
- DMV locations are closed.
- All libraries are closed.
- Human services offices are closed.
- Park grounds are open but all administrative offices are closed.
- Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center is open from 6:00am-6:00pm. All other centers are closed.
- Trash and recycling pickup runs on regular service, but some special collections are altered.
- Public swimming pools are on an altered schedule.
The police department has also provided a list of road closures for activities on July 4. In addition, police are reminding event attendees that:
- Alcoholic beverages, grills and fireworks are prohibited on county and federal parkland during Independence Day activities.
- Vendors will not be allowed in the area of the Iwo Jima Memorial.
- Coolers and backpacks are subject to search.
Officials are encouraging people heading to the Air Force Memorial or the Iwo Jima memorial to watch the fireworks to take public transportation.
Flickr pool photo by Timkelley
The symphony, conducted by Jeff Dokken, will play at a free concert called “Honoring America” which will feature patriotic-themed classical music. It will take place tonight at 7:30 in the theater at Kenmore Middle School (200 S. Carlin Springs Road).
The Symphony Orchestra of Arlington is a professional caliber volunteer orchestra founded in January. Its goal is to foster education, outreach and entertainment while providing high quality classical music to residents in and around Arlington.
The concert will also feature the Open5ths, a Washington, D.C. based men’s chorus.
You know the Fourth of July is almost here when fireworks sellers start popping up around the area.
A fireworks booth is now up and running at the corner of Columbia Pike and Glebe Road, offering all manner of sparklers and (legal) pyrotechnics.
The booth accepts cash, Visa and Mastercard.