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Every year, residents of Fredericksburg and their guests enjoy a potpourri of festivals and special events that showcase local culture and strengthen the bonds of fellowship.

Spotsylvania County holds its Stars and Stripes Spectacular every July in the square at Spotsylvania Courthouse featuring games, great food and a spectacular fireworks display. The July 4th Heritage Festival in downtown Fredericksburg celebrates America’s birthday with a bang.

Thousands go to the Fredericksburg Agricultural Fair, the oldest fair of its kind in America. Visitors can get a look inside privately owned historic homes during Historic Garden Week and the holiday Candlelight Tour. Localities throughout the area hold Christmas parades that draw large crowds, as does the City of Fredericksburg’s First Night each New Year’s Eve.Spectators enjoy reenactments of Civil War battles, artillery demonstrations and encampments. Visitors can witness 18th century life during special programs at George Washington’s boyhood home of Ferry Farm and at Kenmore, the mansion owned by Washington’s sister, Betty Lewis. Other historic attractions that offer tours or unique programs include Chatham, the Rising Sun Tavern, the Mary Washington House and the James Monroe Museum.

The Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center recently expanded to include a wider array of artifacts and exhibits—some dating back to prehistoric times—as well as a beautiful new gift shop.

Another beloved pastime in Fredericksburg is visiting a library in the Central Rappahannock Regional Library (CRRL) system, which serves almost 300,000 residents of the City of Fredericksburg and the counties of Stafford, Spotsylvania and Westmoreland. The CRRL system consists of a headquarters facility, seven branches and a website, LibraryPoint.org, facilitating access to CRRL collections and promoting reading day and night from computers anywhere.

The CRRL has been the frequent recipient of awards commending libraries for their increasingly crucial role in their communities, especially in these tough economic times. The Library Journal Index, a new national rating system designed to recognize American’s best public libraries, named the CRRL a “Star Library” for 2009. The award recognizes public libraries in America with the highest level of cost effective service and the most efficient use of tax dollars in the provision of excellent library service.

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