Grab your family and friends: The 36th Annual Burke Centre Festival returns this weekend.
The free two-day festival, which is hosted at the Burke Centre Conservancy Grounds located at 6060 Burke Centre Pkwy, starts on Saturday, Sept. 7 and lasts through Sunday, Sept. 8. The gates open at 10 a.m. on Saturday and at 11 a.m. on Sunday. The festival ends at 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The Burke Centre Festival originally began as a potluck community event for neighborhoods in Burke Centre back in the early 90s, according to Nancy Sherman, a director with the Conservancy. Since then, the festival has grown to attract anywhere between 8,000 and 10,000 people annually.
Every year, the festival includes amusement park rides, children's activities, booths from various vendors, a wine garden and live entertainment such as performances from bands and area dance groups. There are food and craft vendors and activities such as face painting, wildlife exhibits and more.
While some of the attractions are familiar to past festival attendees, Winslow said festival planners try to ensure there’s a mix of both old and new attractions every year.
"We're always looking for new ways to freshen it up," said Jeannie Winslow, director of administration with the Burke Centre Conservancy.
Admission to the festival is free thanks to sponsorships from businesses such as Burke Racquet & Swim Club, Burke & Herbert Bank, Burke Health & Rehab and many more, but tickets for the amusement park rides costs $1 each. Each ride will cost no more than three tickets.
"As a longtime resident, I'm thrilled most people can attend the festival without being charged for it. You can spend what you want, which can be a lot or nothing at all,” said Sherman.
The main goal of the festival, Sherman said, is to connect with neighbors and enjoy time together in the community. The festival is open to all Northern Virginia residents and is not limited to those living in the Burke and Springfield communities.