Four ways to make the most of July around the Richmond Highway corridor

Mount Vernon fireworks

July is a month for fireworks and much, much more. (Mount Vernon image)

As a heat wave settles in the DMV, it’s time to find some unique ways to cool off. Following are four ways to make the most of July.

1. Celebrate the dog days of summer. Kick off July starting at noon today with Forge Brew Works, “dog-encouraged” Hops & Hounds event, which benefits Sighthound Underground. Later this month, the Class Act Players present “Good Dogs,” a new dark comedy exploring the minds of humans and dogs. Performances take place various dates between July 20-29 at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton. And don’t forget to order puppy pops for your hound when you’re getting ice cream at the Custard Shack in Belle Haven. Other surprisingly dog-friendly venues include George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Cedar Knoll’s patio.

2. Enjoy Independence Day traditions. The southern end of the corridor is full of historic sites frequented by our Founding Fathers. George Washington’s Mount Vernon will hold “An American Celebration” from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 4. The event — which is included in the cost of admission — will include a wreath-laying, naturalization ceremony, National Concert Band performance, daytime fireworks, military reenactments and birthday cake, among other festivities. Relief from the heat can be found at the Ford Orientation Center, the Museum and Education Center, and the Food Court Pavilion and Shops at Mount Vernon. Meanwhile, at Historic Pohick Church, there will be a special reading of the Declaration of Independence by a historical reenactor from noon to 12:30 p.m., followed by free docent-led tours of the colonial church once attended by the Washington, Mason and Fairfax families.

3. Cool off on local waterways. The Ski Club of Washington, DC holds casual two-hour sailing excursions for people of all experience levels from Belle Haven Marina on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings. Potomac sails are followed by a meal and socializing at Primo Family Restaurant. Other organized water events include Mason Neck State Park’s Evening Paddling Adventures along Belmont Bay and Kane’s Creek on July 21 from 7 to 9 p.m. The park also offers morning and twilight paddling on select dates. At Pohick Bay Park, organized tours in July include a Birds of Prey Kayak Tour, a Sunset Stand Up Paddle Board Tour and a Full Moon Kayak Tour.

4. Refresh with local brews at sporting venues. Lorton’s Fair Winds Brewing Company recently announced big news: its Quayside Kolsch and Siren’s Lure ales will be available on draft at the brand-new Audi Field when DC United kicks off play there July 14. The brewery’s beers are also available at the District Draft Carts in Section 129 at Nationals Park.