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Annandale's big event Oct. 23: The annual parade and festival | Arts & Culture

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Annandale's big event Oct. 23: The annual parade and festival

The biggest annual event in Annandale is just a few weeks away. The Fall Festival and Parade, Saturday, Oct. 23, is sponsored by the Annandale Chamber of Commerce.

The parade runs along Columbia Pike, starting at the Annandale United Methodist Church parking lot near the Gallows Road intersection at 10 a.m. You can expect marching bands from local high schools, community organizations, and because it’s an election year, lots of candidates. The Kena Shriners are usually on hand with their tiny cars, and last year, the Bolivians marched in the parade with some amazing costumes. Spectators often wear wear Halloween costumes.

The festival, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., takes place at the Little River Turnpike Shopping Center parking lot, in front of Safeway, 7414 Little River Turnpike. It features a kids’ zone, community market, taste of Annandale, entertainment, and international dancers. Among the attractions: a mechanical bull, obstacle course, bungee jump, reading tent, bungee basketball, sticky wall, moon bounce, face painting, police and fire vehicles, and craft venders.

The deadline to participate in the parade is Oct. 5. Forms are available online. There’s a $150 registration fee for elected officials, political candidates, and non-chamber members to help offset VDOT’s charges for closing Columbia Pike for a few hours. There is no charge for non-profit organizations.

There are also forms on the chamber’s website for sponsorship opportunities, food venders, exhibitors, and musical or other entertainment providers. Volunteers are needed, too.

This year’s parade will salute the senior citizens of Annandale, and Irv Denton will serve as the grand marshal. Denton has been “a very longstanding and active member of the chamber and the Annandale Beautification Committee, as well as a huge supporter of the parade,” says Vicki Burman, executive director of the Annandale Chamber of Commerce.

Denton came to Annandale from the Midwest about 30 years ago, Burman says. He served in the Air Force and commuted to the Pentagon while living in Sleepy Hollow Woods. After retiring, he taught accounting at Northern Virginia Community College and now lives in the Aarondale Retirement Home. Denton has also done a lot of research on Annandale’s history. A fascinating online interview with him on the Braddock District history website touches on the original gallows on Gallows Road, the former federal missile site near Thornton Street and Gallows, “the great Annandale cattle drive” and other moments from our community ’s past.