Alexandria Kicks Off Star-Spangled Summer with 1812 Banners Flying on King Street

Concerts, lectures, yacht race and more planned to mark Alexandria's wartime experience.

Alexandria will commemorate the War of 1812 this summer. Artwork courtesy of Office of Historic Alexandria
Alexandria will commemorate the War of 1812 this summer. Artwork courtesy of Office of Historic Alexandria

You may have recently noticed new banners decorating King Street, commemorating the War of 1812. 

The new banners will kick off a "star-spangled summer," commemorating the war and in particular, Alexandria's experience, said Lance Mallamo, director of the Office of Historic Alexandria. 

Alexandria surrendered to the British in 1814 and the British occupied the city for five days, from Aug. 29 to Sept. 2. 

"The town was literally defenseless," Mallamo said. "We're very fortunate this act of cowardice saved our historic district from being burned. It's not viewed positively, but it ultimately saved the city from destruction."

The British made use of Alexandria's food, ships, horses "basically if it wasn't nailed down, they took it," Mallamo said. (Read more about the city's wartime experience here.)

The city has plans throughout the summer to commemorate the bicentennial, ending Aug. 30; afterward, the regular Old Town banners will go back up.

The following are some of the events planned: 

Presidential Salon with James Madison | $15 adult, $10 student 

  • Sunday June 22September 14 and November 16:  Join President Madison as he discusses and engages guests about political and personal issues of 1814. Reservations required. 3 -  4:30 p.m.
Museum Open Houses: Call to Arms Weekend | FREE! 
  • July 26-27: Open houses relating to the War of 1812 at various museums in VIrginia, Maryland and DC. Details to follow. 
Boat Cruise | $75, $100 sponsor    
  • June 14: Explore Alexandria's War of 1812 history by boat! Tour includes period-inspired food, accounts of the Battle of the White House, Fort Belvoir, and Fort Washington, plus costumed characters. 6:45 - 10 p.m.
Concert Series | FREE! 
  • Thursday evenings in June: Enjoy music inspired by the War of 1812 on the back patio of Carlyle House.
Lecture Series | $5, Free for Alexandria Historical Society MembersDownload Flyer 

War of 1812 Commemorative Weekend | FREE! 

  • Saturday, August 30  
  • Commemorative Wreath Laying to honor those who died in the War of 1812. Old Presbyterial Meeting House cemetery.
  • Concert on the stage at Market Square
  • Challenge Cricket Match 
  • Sunday August 31
    • Challenge Yacht Race 
    • Commemorative Event. Waterfront Park, 1 Prince Street, 12-5 pm. Free. Join us at Waterfront Park for this history festival to learn more about the War of 1812 and its impact on Alexandria through living history, exhibits about the War, educational programs, boat tours, sea shanties sung by the USN Sea Chanters, period vendors, food vendors, and the Challenge Tug of War!

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