The sun shined brightly as autumn leaves drifted from branches onto the street. It was a day of recovery for Americans in Arlington, Va., at the Clarendon Day festival, and my friends and I decided to take advantage of the free trip on the Metro to check it out.
This yearly festival greeted us with red, white and blue balloons that created a sense of togetherness and patriotism. The big party was dedicated to the Arlington county police, fire and rescue squads. Large “thank you” cards were stationed at the Red Cross stand for visitors to sign in appreciation. Patriotic memorabilia was sold at many stands, and merchants wore T-shirts and hats that read “proud to be an American.”
It was a family event and a shopper’s dream. Parents, children, friends and even dogs filled the streets to enjoy a day of cultural festivities. We wandered continuously and found beautiful antiques and jewelry on Antique Row.
We came across a GW class ring from the ’70s. The man selling the massive display of jewerly was a GW alumnus who majored in oceanography. After searching through a bundle of classic pendants from a stand that carried banana-pop tin signs, classic typewriters and baseball bats and gloves, I took away a Los Angeles Lakers pennant for $5.
The selection of arts and crafts was overwhelming. Handmade Mexican hats and bags, African sculptures, Egyptian pyramid jewelry boxes, original lithograph posters and colorful glassware were displayed for everyone’s fancy. The items were not cheap, but it was fun to window shop as we learned about different cultures.
The festival also featured a variety of food, beer and coffee from the local restaurants. We indulged ourselves with Persian and Greek delicacies and sipped on cool, refreshing lemonade as we listened to local band Jonasay on one of the many stages. We also watched an excellent performance from the Capital Area Tibetan Dancers. The performers were dressed in full costumes, playing with traditional instruments while the children danced.
There were poetry readings, games for little kids, a skate trail for the local rollerbladers and skateboarders and even a booth for dogs. My favorite part of the day was seeing the different dogs wagging their tails and sniffing hands for food. Their friendly, furry faces could not do anything but put a smile on any face.
At 2:45 p.m. an announcement was made that a B-52 Bomber plane would fly low across the festival on its way to Arlington Cemetery. When the plane flew by, people around us clapped, whistled and cheered.
Clarendon Day was certainly a culturally-rich festival. It was a gorgeous day to spend outside with friends, families and pets. The peaceful atmosphere took us away from the current events and allowed us to enjoy our own little world for a few hours.
photos by Cindy Lisco/Hatchet photographer
This article appeared in the October 18, 2001 issue of the Hatchet.