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The Alexandria Red Cross Waterfront Festival is a yearly favorite. It's held in Oronoco Bay Park, overlooking the Potomac River. The festival is held on a Saturday and Sunday each June, and features two full days of live music, exhibits of historical ships, many booths where vendors sell arts and crafts, with food and snacks provided by local eateries. Tickets are required and admission is all-inclusive for all entertainment and exhibits over the weekend.
The Scottish Christmas Walk weekend kicks off the holiday season the first weekend of December annually. This is a huge event with Old Town locals, some of whom throw large parties or set up elaborate parade-watching picnics. Historic homes throughout town are decorated with purple heather to mark the season. Events include a Children's Tea with Santa, the Taste of Scotland, Christmas Marketplace with vendors selling holiday gifts, food, heather and greens, a Parade with more than 100 Scottish Clans, pipe and drum bands, scottish dancers, reenactment groups, Scottie dog groups, dignitaries and Santa Claus. Tickets for certain events along with detailed information can be found on the official website: http://www.scottishchristmaswalk.com/
Just south of Alexandria is Mount Vernon, home to George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens. Each fall, on the first weekend of October, this historic site hosts the Fall Wine Festival. Visitors can sample wines from regional wineries and enjoy live music. They can also tour the historic home, including its wine cellars which are normally closed to visitors. Tickets are required and early purchase for this popular event is recommended.
The Virginia Scottish Games are held each September in The Plains, about a 90-minute drive from Alexandria. This cultural festival features a variety of live, traditional music, dancing competitions, and of course traditional Scottish athletic events such as "tossing the caber" and "putting the stone." Special games for children, such as disc throwing and foot races, are also held. Tickets are required and can be bought on site or in advance at http://www.vascottishgames.org/
If you're looking for a family friendly way to bring in the new year, First Night Alexandria is a New Year's Eve party with over 100 live performances and fireworks at midnight! Kids under 12 get in FREE, as well as Active Military (must provide an Active ID). Tickets are $15/adult until December 17th, when the price rises to $20/adult. Visit http://www.firstnightalexandria.org for more information and tickets.