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McLean Day, a community tradition, just a few days away

Festival will take place May 17-18 at Lewinsville Park
The dragon-themed kids roller coaster always is a highlight of the McLean Day festival.

Local families are invited to come out to play May 17-18 at the McLean Community Center’s (MCC) annual McLean Day festival at Lewinsville Park, 1659 Chain Bridge Road.

Admission is free; ride tickets, food and beverages will be available for purchase.

This year’s festival begins with an expanded T.G.I.F. Carnival Rides event from 2 to 10 p.m. on Friday, May 17. Some of the new features of the full-day event from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 18 include a beer garden, a relocated main stage and enhanced musical offerings.

Some of the highlights:

109 Years of Bringing the Community Together: McLean Day has been in existence for 109 years. It began in 1915 as a school and community fund-raiser put on by the McLean School and Civic League at Franklin Sherman School. Over the years, a host of community organizations kept it going until the mid-1970s when MCC began producing it and then moved it to its current home, Lewinsville Park, in 1988.

Friday Night Activities Expanded: Patrons can enjoy carnival rides Friday, May 17, from 2 to 10 p.m. at the park. Ticket prices vary and some rides have height requirements. This year, patrons also can enjoy free climbing walls, bubble ball and laser tag Friday night. Ride tickets can be purchased in advance from Cole Rides through a link on the center’s Website,, or on site on Friday and Saturday.

Saturday Festival Features: Carnival amusements and rides are a big draw at McLean Day. Large rides are in the parking lot at the right of the entrance. The Kids’ Way area of the park offers ticketed rides especially for younger children. Costumed characters, including popular superheroes, will be available to interact with patrons and pose for photos. Other free activities include laser tag, Bubble Ball, two rock-climbing walls, balloon twisters, a magician and a petting zoo.

Live Performances on Stage: Free performances will be offered throughout the festival on the Community Stage, which is now more centrally located closer to the house in Lewinsville Park. Students enrolled in dance classes at MCC will open the show at 11 a.m. by performing several routines they have learned. At noon, (the) Unruly Theatre Project, the Alden Theatre’s teen improv group, will perform. MCC dance students will return to perform again at 12:30 p.m. DC Synergy’s young, hip and energetic entertainers will perform the latest songs on the chart and the best dance tunes from the past at 1:55 p.m. McLean Citizens Association will present the Teen Character Awards at 2:45 p.m. D.C. Synergy returns to the stage for a second show at 3 p.m. and the final performance at 4:15 p.m. will be by the English Channel Band that plays British hits of the 1960s and 70s, along with classic rock and pop. There also will be a Jugglers’ Stage, located in the children’s ride area, with free performances throughout the event.

Food and Beverage Options Abound: New this year is the McLean Day Beer and Wine Garden offering a variety of beer and wine for patrons age 21 or older. Also, some of the area’s best gourmet-food trucks will be on hand to serve the crowds in Lewinsville Park.

Vote for MCC County Board Candidates: The McLean Community Center’s 2024 Governing Board Election will be held at the park on two dates this year. Voting will be held Friday, May 17, from 4 to 8 p.m. during the T.G.I.F. Carnival Rides event and on Saturday, May 18, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the festival.  Fifteen Dranesville Small District 1A residents are running for seats on the board. Ten adults are vying for four vacant adult seats and five teens are vying for two vacant student seats (one for the Langley High School boundary area and one for the McLean High School boundary area). Only residents of Dranesville Small District 1A are permitted to vote in the election. For more information, visit

Transportation Options Are Plentiful: Parking will not be available at Lewinsville Park on festival day. Patrons can take free Fairfax Connector shuttles from three satellite locations (the McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Ave.; McLean Baptist Church, 1367 Chain Bridge Road; and Redeemer Lutheran Church,1545 Chain Bridge Road.) Buses will run from the parking sites to the park from 10:25 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Patrons also can take Fairfax Connector Route 721 to stop ID 5429 for just $2 each way. All Fairfax Connector shuttles to McLean Day are air-conditioned, ADA- and wheelchair-accessible, and have low floor ramps or are lift-equipped. They also have two bike racks and allow service animals.

Sponsors Help Make McLean Day Happen: McLean Community Center produces McLean Day. Community-minded local businesses enhance festival offerings. To date, this year’s sponsors are: Wheat’s Landscaping (Park Beautification), Fairfax County Connector (Event Transportation); Fairfax County Park Authority (Venue), Giant Food (Marketplace), Mars Inc. (Kids’ Way), McLean Properties (Picnic Tent-Food Court), Johns Hopkins Community Physicians (Picnic Tent-Kids’ Way), Northwest Federal Credit Union (Balloon Twisters) and Partner MD (Climbing Walls).

Clean and Comfortable for All: For the third year, MCC has taken efforts to help McLean Day stay clean and green by hiring a company to manage and process all the waste and recyclable materials generated at the event. Patrons are encouraged to help by using the proper bins when disposing of items throughout the festival.

For festival updates, driving directions, shuttle-bus stop locations and a festival area map, visit or call the center at (703) 790-0123/TTY: 711. The center’s telephone will be answered from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the day of the festival.