<cal1>Thursday/Feb. 24

<cal2>Pre-Festival Concert. 7 p.m. The Mount Vernon High School orchestras perform in preparation for the district-wide orchestra assessment in March. At Mount Vernon High School’s Little Theater. Contact the MVHS Orchestra Conductor, Timothy Gaffga, at TFGaffga@fcps.edu.

Short Story Discussion Group. 7 p.m. Will meet to talk about the introduction and first three short stories in Short Shorts: An Anthology of the Shortest Stories, edited by Howe and Howe. At Burke Branch Library, 4701 Seminary Rd. Call Mark Schwartz at 703-746-1770.

”Oscar Night” Gala Benefit. 7 to 10 p.m. An evening of Hollywood glitz and glamour, featuring an Oscar Raffle, Silent Auction and Cocktail Buffet, the event promises to be a sellout! The event will raise funds for the Center for Alexandria’s Children (CAC), a public-private partnership dedicated to the elimination of child abuse. Tickets start at $125 each. Tickets are available at www.oscarnight.@eventbrite.com or 703-746-6008. At Belle Haven Country Club, 6023 Fort Hunt Road, Alexandria.

Story Time. 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Designed for young children and caregivers, features story time and a craft. Fee is $3/family. At the Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden. Call 703-548-1789. Visit www.leefendallhouse.org.

<cal1>Saturday/Feb. 26

<cal2>Life Line Screening. Get screened to reduce your risk of having a stroke or a bone fracture. Packages start at $139. At Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 1608 Russell Road, Alexandria. To schedule an appointment, call 1-877-237-1287 or visit www.lifelinescreening.com.

Step Competition. 6 to 9 p.m. The event celebrates African American heritage and the art of stepping, a percussive style of dance originated by African American college students. Step teams from McLean High School and Poe and Sandburg Middle Schools, along with teams from Maryland and Virginia, will participate. At West Potomac High School.

FEB. 26

Community Appreciation Day. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. Class demonstrations and family activities. At the Charles Houston Rec Center, 901 Wythe Street, Alexandria. Contact Shelia Whiting at sheila.whiting@alexandriava.gov or 703-746-5552.

Ensemble Gaudior. 7:30 p.m. Ensemble Gaudior presents “Barroca Nova” (Music in the Key of Light) – chamber music by Scarlatti, Leclair, Buxtehude, and Handel among others. Tickets are $20/adults; $15/seniors. At St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 8009 Fort Hunt Road, Alexandria. Call 703-395-2899 or visit www.ensemblegaudior.com.

Prohibition Night Fundraiser. 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $45/advance; $55/door. At Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden, 614 Oronco St., Alexandria. Call 703-548-1789.

U.S. Army Concert Band. 7:30 p.m. Free. With guest artist Steve Houghton, percussion. At the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center, NOVA Campus, Alexandria. Visit www.usarmyband.com.

Learn About Bees. 4 to 5:30 p.m. Cost is $6. Find out how bees contribute to the human world and what you can do to attract them to your garden. At Huntley Meadows Park, 3701 Lockheed Blvd., Alexandria. Call 703-222-4664.

History Lecture. 1 p.m. Cost is $10. Historian Carroll R. Gibbs presents, “Whirlwind Coming: African Americans in the District and Alexandria during the Civil War.” At Fort Ward Museum, 4301 West Braddock Road. Call the Museum at 703-746-4848 to make reservations. Visit www.fortward.org.

<cal1>Feb. 26-27

<cal2>Mattress Sale Fundraiser. Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m. All sizes of mattresses available. A West Potomac High School All-Night Graduation fundraiser. At the WPHS Main Lobby, 6500 Quander Road, Alexandria. All profits go directly to the senior class fund.

<cal1>Sunday/Feb. 27

<cal2>Learn About Bones. 2 to 3:30 p.m. Cost is $6. Every skeleton has a secret. Search the clues left behind in animal skulls, teeth and bones. At Huntley Meadows Park, 3701 Lockheed Blvd., Alexandria. Call 703-222-4664.

<cal1>Monday/Feb. 28

<cal2>“Alexandria and the Civil War: Pride and Shame in Black and White.” Reception at 6:15 p.m., Dinner ($25 members/$30 nonmembers) at 6:45 p.m.; Program 7:15 p.m. Dinner reservations required. With Ronald Beavers, Civil War Historian; Andy Evans, Community Activist and Comedy Counselor; Lillian Patterson, Retired Curator, Alexandria Black History Museum; and Laura Trieschmann, Director, Survey and Documentation at EHT Traceries. Special Guest, Barb Winters, author “Letters to Virginians.” Holiday Inn Eisenhower Metro Center, 2460 Eisenhower Avenue. Contact Sherry Brown, 703-548-7089 or agendaalexandria@aol.com.

<cal1>Tuesday/March 1

<cal2>”Who Owns the Past?” 6 to 8 p.m. Morrison House Presents Michael Lee Pope, Journalist, who will discuss how recorded histories become convoluted by conflicting interpretations of the past. Part of a Salon-Style Series Celebrating Culture through Arts, Literature, and History Discussions. At Morrison House, 116 South Alfred Street, Alexandria. Visit www.morrisonhouse.com or 703-838-8000.

<cal1>March 2-31

<cal2>Woodlawn Needlework Exhibition. America’s oldest and largest display of historic and contemporary needlework will be showcased at the 48th Annual Woodlawn Needlework Exhibition. Hundreds of needle workers from around the world, both professional and amateur, enter their creations each year. Demonstrations throughout the month will highlight a variety of techniques for the visitor. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday - Monday during March. Admission prices are $10 for adults and $5 for students through 12th grade. At Woodlawn Plantation, 9000 Richmond Highway, three miles west of Mount Vernon. Call 703-780-4000 or visit www.woodlawn1805.org.

<cal1>Wednesday/March 2

<cal2>Owls: Birds of Mystery and Majesty. 7:30 p.m. Free. Retired pathologist John Spahr will share his knowledge and images of these nocturnal birds. A presentation by the Friends of Dyke Marsh, co-sponsored by the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia and the Northern Virginia Bird Club. At Huntley Meadows Park Visitors’ Center, 3701 Lockheed Blvd., Alexandria. Call 703-768-2525. Visit www.fodm.org.

Swing Dancing. 9 to 11 p.m. Admission is $6. DJ Dance Party with DJ Dabe Murphy. At Nick’s Nightclub, 642 South Pickett Street, Alexandria.

Summer Camp Fair. 5:30 to 8 p.m. Free. Some 50 exhibitors will represent a wide range of camp programs, including day and overnight camps. Sponsored by the PTA Council of Alexandria. At the cafeteria of TC Williams, Minnie Howard Campus, 3801 W. Braddock Road, Alexandria. Contact Marianne Hetzer at alexptaccamp@comcast.net or 703-823-3367.

<cal1>March 4-12

<cal2>”Bye Bye Birdie.” March 4, 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m.; Matinee on March 5 at 2 p.m. At St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes Upper School,, Chapel/Performing Arts Center, 1000 St. Stephen’s Road, Alexandria. Visit www.sssas.org/arts

<cal1>Friday/March 4

<cal2>Louisiana Dance Party. 8 p.m. Popular dance instructors Ben Pagac and Debbie Shaw will be on hand to provide free lessons in the art of swing, cajun and zydeco stepping. There will be King Cake and Mardi Gras beads for all, and drinks will be plentiful at the cash bar, along with light snacks. Tickets are $15/advance; $20/door. With the bands Junkyard Saints and Squeeze Bayou. Tickets at www.hungryformusic.org. At the Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union St. on the Potomac River in Old Town Alexandria.

<cal1>Saturday/March 5

<cal2>Ninja Warrior Night. 7 p.m. 100 contestants must run through four increasingly difficult obstacle courses that test endurance, strength, and agility. Cost is $20. At Urban Evolution, 5402 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria. For more information or to participate, visit www.urbanevo.com, or call 571-215-8218.

Digging for Buried Treasure. 1 to 3 p.m. How a Treasure Trove of Civil War and Alexandria History was Uncovered and Became The Book, "Letters to Virginia" .... At the Alexandria Library, 717 Queen street, Alexandria.

Fun Dog Show. 11 a.m. to noon. Sponsored by Barkley Square and the Ballyshaners, held in conjunction with the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. At Market Square (on the corner of N. Fairfax and King Street).

La Bella Sinfonia. 6 p.m. An Evening in Italy. The Symphony Orchestra League of Alexandria is hosting its 24th annual ball to benefit the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra. The gala begins with a reception and silent auction; followed by dinner, live auction, dancing, and music. At the Westin Hotel, 400 Courthouse Square, Alexandria. Price $200; $150 first timers. Part is tax deductible. Contact 703-960-7994 or mtpwoods@aol.com

Greg Greenway and Reggie Harris. 7 p.m. Tickets are $18/general; $15/advance at FocusMusic.org. At St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, 8531 Riverside Road, Alexandria.

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration and Parade. Free. Old Town is Irish for a day with the Fun Dog Show at 10:30 a.m. in Market Square, classic car competition at 10:30 a.m. along King Street and the parade at 12:30 p.m. The parade will start at the corner of King Street and Alfred Street, and proceed East down King Street to the corner of King Street and Lee Street. Co-Grand Marshals are Tom and Nancy VanCoverden. Throughout Old Town, Alexandria. Call 703-237-2199 or visit www.Ballyshaners.org.

Mardi Gras Celebration. 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Cost is $40/person. Hosted by the Mount Vernon District Democratic Committee. Del. Scott Surovell is a confirmed speaker. Congressmen Gerry Connolly (D-11) and Jim Moran (D-8), Supervisor Gerry Hyland, and other local Democratic leaders from Mount Vernon District are invited to speak. At Don Beyer Volvo, 7416 Richmond Highway, Alexandria. Visit www.mvdemocrats.com.

<cal1>March 5 and 6

<cal2>Jazz and Tap Festival. Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 4 p.m. Presented by the Dancin’ Unlimited Jazz Dance Company. Tickets are $18/advance; $20/door. At Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Campus Theatre. The NVCC Annandale Campus is at 8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale. For tickets and information, visit www.dance-festival.org.

<cal1>Sunday/March 6

<cal2>Eclipse Chamber Orchestra. 3 p.m. Conducted by music director Sylvia Alimena, the concert will feature Bruch’s Violin Concerto No.1 in G Minor, to be performed by violinist Elisabeth Adkins. Tickets are $25/$20. Call 703-635-2770. Performs at George Washington Masonic National Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria. Visit www.eclipseco.org.

<cal1>Wednesday/March 9

<cal2>Swing Dancing. 9 to 11 p.m. Admission is $6. DJ Dance Party with DJ Dabe Murphy. At Nick’s Nightclub, 642 South Pickett St., Alexandria.

<cal1>Thursday/March 10

<cal2>”Race to Nowhere” Screening. 7 to 9 p.m. Documentary film examines the culture of education and achievement in America. Tickets are $15/door; $10 online at http://www.racetonowhere.com/epostcard/4135. At Mt. Vernon High School Little Theatre, 8515 Old Mount Vernon Road, Alexandria.

Pat Wictor. 7 p.m. Part of the Second Thursday Music at The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street, Alexandria. Tickets are $10. Call 703-548-0035 or nvfaa.org.

<cal1>Friday/March 11

<cal2>”Celtic Aire.” 8 p.m. Free. An evening of Celtic music performed by the U.S. Air Force Band Chamber Players. At George Washington Masonic National Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria. Call 202-767-5658 or visit www.usafband.af.mil.

<cal1>March 11, 12, 18, 19

<cal2>A Night of Broadway. 8 p.m. Featuring Lisa Anne Bailey and Andy Izquierdo, accompanied by Charlie Manship. Presented by Zemfira Stage. Tickets are $15/general; $10/students/seniors. At The Lyceum, 201 South Washington Street, Alexandria. Call 703-615-6626.

<cal1>Saturday/March 12

<cal2>Tauxemont Silent Auction. 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 at the door. Come celebrate Tauxemont Treasures and help raise money for Tauxemont Cooperative Preschool. At Mount Vernon Country Club, 5111 Old Mill Road, Alexandria.

”Tracing Your Civil War Ancestors.” 1 p.m. Cost is $10. Presented by experts from the National Archives and Records Administration. Archives specialists Constance Potter and Katherine Vollen will review some of the many Union and Confederate records and resources for researching Civil War ancestors. At Fort Ward Museum, 4301 West Braddock Road, Alexandria. Reservations suggested at 703-746-4848 or visit www.fortward.org.

Movies with a Mission. 4:30 p.m. Free. “Good Fortune.” This film explores how massive international efforts to alleviate poverty in Africa may be undermining the very communities they aim to benefit. Screening will be followed by a discussion and gallery walk. Reservations are requested, as seating is limited. At the Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe Street, Alexandria. Contact 703-746-4356.

Scout Day. 1 to 3 p.m. Fee is $10/Scout. Scouts will learn how to explore their own family histories through oral history, story-telling, and games. At Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden. Call 703-548-1789 or visit www.leefendallhouse.org.

Swordsmen’s Rendezvous. 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Swordsmen tours last one hour and include re-enactment of 18th-century swordplay and a display and discussion of 18th-century weapons. Admission is $5, ages 5 and up. At Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 North Royal Street, Old Town Alexandria. Call 703-746-4242.

<cal1>Sunday/March 13

<cal2>Bach Vespers at Westminster

Sundays, March 13, 20, 27; April 3 and 10, all at 6 p.m.

Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2701 Cameron Mills Road, Alexandria. Visit www.wpc-alex.org

<cal1>Wednesday/March 16

<cal2>Swing Dancing. 9 to 11 p.m. Admission is $10. With the Hot Buttered Nuggets. At Nick’s Nightclub, 642 South Pickett St., Alexandria.

<cal2>”Race to Nowhere” Screening. 7 to 9 p.m. Documentary film examines the culture of education and achievement in America. Tickets are $15/door; $10 online at www.burgundyfarm.org. At Burgundy Farm Country Day School, 3700 Burgundy Road, Alexandria.

<cal1>Thursday/March 17

<cal2>”Meet the Legends” Reception. 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Silent auction and live auction, special guests the Hon. William D. Euille, mayor of Alexandria and Gen. George Washington, portrayed by Don DeHaven. Tickets are $35/advance; $45/door. At the Patent & Trademark Office, 600 Dulaney Street, Alexandria. Send payments to Living Legends P.O. Box 10485, Alexandria VA 22310. Visit AlexandriaLegends@ninatisara.com.

<cal1>Saturday/March 19

<cal2>Reading: A Family Affair. 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Free books, storytelling, puppet shows and more for the entire family. Presented by the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia, at the James Lee Community Center, 2855 Annandale Road, Falls Church. Contact Suzie Eaton at the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia, 703-237-0866 or seaton@lcnv.org.

<cal1>Sunday/March 20

<cal2>Angels and Demons. 2 p.m. Presented by the U.S. Marine Band. At the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center, Northern Virginia Community College, 3001 North Beauregard Street, Alexandria. Call 703-845-6156 or www.schlesingercenter.com.

Roy Zimmerman with Jean Bayou. 7 p.m. Tickets are $18/general; $15/advance at FocusMusic.org. At Church of the Resurrection, 2280 N. Beauregard St., Alexandria.

<cal1>Tuesday/March 22

<cal2>Detour Berlin: Meet the Author. 7 p.m. Ruth Baja Williams, author of Detour Berlin, shares her story of life, love and friendship against the backdrop of Cold War Berlin. At Kingstowne Library, 6500 Landsdowne Centre, Alexandria. Call 703-339-4610.

<cal1>Friday/March 25

<cal2>Mount Vernon Choral Pyramid Concert. 7 p.m. Free. All the schools that feed into MVHS are having a USO-themed concert. At Mount Vernon’s Field House. Includes music from Ella Fitzgerald, the Andrews Sisters, as well as patriotic songs.

St. Petersburg Trio. 7:30 p.m. Presented by the Washington Balalaika Society. The Trio, all members of the Washington Balalaika Society orchestra, met while studying at the prestigious Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St Petersburg, Russia. A Meet the Artists reception will follow the performance. Tickets are $25/door; $20/advance. At the Lyceum, 201 S. Washington Street, Alexandria. See www.balalaika.org or call 703-549-0760.

<cal1>Saturday/March 26

<cal2>Rae Pica In Person. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Will be speaking on “The Whole Child: Thinking, Feeling, Moving.” Sponsored by Children Together at the First Baptist Church in Alexandria. Visit www.children-together.com or www.movingandlearning.com.

<cal1>Sunday/March 27

<cal2>Celebrating a Century. 2 p.m. Presented by the U.S. Marine Band. At the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center, Northern Virginia Community College, 3001 North Beauregard Street, Alexandria. Call 703-845-6156 or www.schlesingercenter.com.

Community Lodgings Spring Event. 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Community Lodgings’ 6th Annual Spring Event, “Spring Forward to Union Street,” to raise awareness and funding for Alexandria’s homeless. To purchase tickets, call 703-549-4407. At Union Street Public House, 121 South Union Street, Old Town, Alexandria. Visit www.communitylodgings.org.

Scrapbooking Workshop. 1 to 3 p.m. Join scrapbooking expert Claudia Lopez-ViÒas for this hands-on scrapbooking workshop. Materials will be provided. Cost is $7/person. RSVP to 703-548-1789. At Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden. Visit www.leefendallhouse.org.

<cal1>April 2 Through Oct. 30

<cal2>Civil War Walking Tour. Saturdays and Sundays 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Covers the changing role of African Americans on the estate, views on George Washington from the perspective of Union and Confederate supporters, and the Washington-Robert E. Lee connection. At Historic Mount Vernon. These tours are limited in capacity and cost $5 in addition to Estate admission: $15 adults; $7 children (6-11); free for children 5 & under. Visit www.MountVernon.org or call 703-780-2000.

<cal1>Sunday/April 3

<cal2>Drawing the Clothed Figure. 1 to 4 p.m. In this workshop students will practice drawing the clothed model in a simplified manner intended to express the underlying human form. Cost is $15/DRA members; $18/nonmembers. Contact Katherine Rand at 703-836-1468 or DRA.LifeDrawing@gmail.com.

<cal1>Wednesday/April 6

<cal2>"Alexandria, Virginia: Southern Town, Yankee Citadel" Lecture. 7:30 p.m. Cost is $10. James Barber, historian at the National Portrait Gallery, describes Alexandria during the Civil War. At The Lyceum, 201 S. Washington St., Alexandria. Call 703-746-4994 or www.AlexandriaHistory.org

<cal1>Saturday/April 9

<cal2>Spring Mulch Sale. Mount Vernon High School Class of 2011 is conducting its spring mulch sale. Pick up in MVHS parking lot. Orders must be made by Tuesday, March 29, 2011. Limited delivery area for orders of 10 or more bags. The cost is $5 per bag and the proceeds benefit the Class of 2011. Call Robin Gordon at 703-799-1330, or email: MVhSmulchsale@gmail.com.

Movies with a Mission. 4:30 p.m. Free. “Promised Land.” Though apartheid ended in South Africa in 1994, economic injustices between blacks and whites remain unresolved. As revealed in this award-winning film, the most potentially explosive issue is land. Screening will be followed by a discussion and gallery walk. Reservations are requested, as seating is limited. At the Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe Street, Alexandria. Contact 703-746-4356.

<cal1>Saturday/April 16

<cal2>78th Annual Historic Garden Tour of Alexandria. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This Alexandria tradition offers the opportunity to be invited into some of Old Town's finest private homes and gardens. Many of the area's historic sites offer special activities, including Carlyle House, which hosts its Herb Sale, with historical plants plus crafts. Call 703-746-3301 or www.VaGardenWeek.org.

<cal1>May 14 to 15

<cal2>Creating Outdoor Mosaic Garden Ornaments. Saturday from 11:30 to 3:30 p.m.; Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. At the home of the instructor in Alexandria. Workshop fee is $60/both days; $30/one day. On-line registration at http://calendar.thedelrayartisans.org/view_entry.php?id=911&date=20110514. Visit www.TheDelRayArtisans.org or contact the instructor Sally Coler at 202-270-9524 or sallycoler@hotmail.com.