Fairfax City, Virginia is a truly unique community founded on robust cultural arts, community involvement, commitment to excellence in education, and a shared vision for the future. Even from its earliest beginnings, Fairfax brought people together from all walks of life. Farmers from all over the region, including Maryland, Delaware and the Tidewater Region of Eastern Virginia were the original settlers of the community, bringing their different ways of life and histories together to create something larger than the sum of its parts. Today’s Fairfax City is a diverse, active and involved community with a proud heritage and bright future. Fairfax City has one of the best scenes for young couples and families in the region with a broad array of fine dining, eclectic local shopping, and excellent parks. As any couple strolling around Oldtown Fairfax would tell you, no city better embodies the Commonwealth of Virginia’s credo: “Virginia is for lovers”.
Virginians whose homes lie within city limits do more than just reside in the city – they grow here, they love here, and they live here.
Fairfax City’s cultural resources are crucial to the City’s identity – they enrich our civic pride, stimulate greater community involvement, promote the City’s commercial base, and inspire thousands. The City provides and supports a wide variety cultural activities to enhance the quality of life for residents, including several signature annual events that offer a taste of the City’s culture and traditions. The annual Independence Day Parade has been held for over 50 years and, with its broad mixture of themes, activities, and participants, best exemplifies the breadth and depth of the cultural heritage, talent, and diversity found within Fairfax City.
Fairfax City has long emphasized the growth and support of local cultural resources as an avenue to enhance our community. The Commission on the Arts, created in 1979, is a 15-member board appointed by City Council that supports many activities, events and groups through the events it administers as well as its grant programs and support to local arts organization. The Commission supports various special events throughout the year such as Spotlight on the Arts, the Old Town Hall Performance Series, Old Town Hall Children’s Series, Fall for the Book, Summer Band Concert Series, the Irish Folk Festival, and the Celtic Christmas Concert.
The Fairfax Art League also actively operates exhibits in the City, serving resident artists as a local guild and serving the residents of the City to make art available in the public buildings of the City. The City provides exhibit space on the second floor of Old Town Hall, while the Fairfax Art League provides art works for exhibition and sale at City Hall.
Opportunities involving the arts in Fairfax City are not simply limited to performing and watching. The new Fairfax City Regional Library also provides significant cultural opportunities through its Virginia Room, the foremost collection of books, photographs, and manuscripts related to Fairfax history, government, and genealogy. City residents also have a wide variety of opportunities for expanding personal skills and abilities in the arts. Courses in music, dance, theater, painting and sculpture are available through the City’s recreation program, through local arts organizations, as well as through George Mason University and private lessons.
Fairfax City Annual Cultural Events are held nearly every month around the year. that offer a taste of the City’s culture and traditions:
- Chocolate Lovers Festival during the first full weekend in February
- Fairfax Spotlight on the Arts Festival in April and May
- Rock the Block! every Fourth Friday of the month, May – October
- Cox Movies Under the Moon at Van Dyck Park
- Farmers Markets, Saturdays and Sundays during the Spring, Summer, and Fall
- Independence Day Celebration
- Fall for the Book Festival in September
- Fairfax Fall Festival in October
- Holiday Craft Show in November
- Festival of Lights and Carols in early December
- Children’s Performance Series at Old Town Hall held on the first and third Mondays of each month, September through July, part of the Old Town Hall Performance Series
- Friday Morning Music Club at Old Town Hall on the third Thursday every month
- Bonita Lestina Performance Series at Old Town Hall held on the second and fourth Fridays of the month
- Funday Mondays every Monday at Old Town Hall
- Art in the Park at Kitty Pozer Garden in April
- The Mason Opera
- Irish Folk Festival at Sherwood Center in September
For more information about any cultural or art events in Fairfax City, contact Joanna Ormesher, Cultural Arts & Marketing Director at Joanna.Ormesher@fairfaxva.gov or 703-273-6097.
Education and Public Schools
Aside from nationally renowned George Mason University’s offerings for higher education, Fairfax City Schools offer excellent public schooling options from elementary education through high school. When the Fairfax township incorporated into city status in 1961, it entered into a School Services Agreement with Fairfax County Public Schools. Through this partnership between Fairfax County Public Schools and Fairfax City, Fairfax students receive an education that inspires, enables and empowers them to meet high academic standards, develop 21st century skills, lead ethical lives and demonstrate responsible citizenship. Under this partnership, Fairfax County Public Schools manages and operates city schools, hires staff and develops curriculum, while the City School Board is responsible for the management of the contract and the four City school buildings. The Fairfax City School Board has responsibility for the education of approximately 2,700 or 90% of all students living within Fairfax City.
Our schools have a proven track record of academic excellence, exceptional faculty and facilities, award-winning environmental programs, and high ranking athletics and cultural arts. Fairfax City Schools have been honored with multiple awards from the Virginia School Board Association for their district wide efforts in environmental education. Fairfax High School earned a gold ranking in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report as the 10th best high school in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Fairfax City Public Schools have a 94% on-time graduation rate (higher than the Commonwealth of Virginia average at 91.3% and the national average at 83.2%), with 90% of graduates going on to attend a two or four year college.
Fairfax Academy for Communications and the Arts, Fairfax City’s ‘school within a school’ housed within Fairfax High School, is one of six career and technical education centers in FCPS offering elective courses with a career emphasis. The Academy offers outstanding opportunities for FCPS students with career interests in performing arts, design, and media communications. Three additional classes, Chinese, Arabic and Korean, provide accelerated language instruction.