By Aili Hou
On Monday, there were not one but two mayors of Leesburg: Mayor Kelly Burk and “Mayor” Amelia Brown—a nine-year-old third-grader at Loudoun Country Day School.
Brown won the chance to be “Mayor for the Day” through an auction at her school, and accompanied Burk on a tour of some of the most important venues in town through the day.
Although many other prizes were available at the auction, ranging from birthday celebration baskets to poetry books, Brown was solely interested in the “Mayor for the Day” experience. Her mother, Amanda Felts, said Brown is a curious student who loves to ask questions and learn about how things work.
Brown’s term as mayor began with a tour of Leesburg’s Town Hall. The next stop was the Leesburg Water Treatment Plant, where Brown was able to get an inside look at the water filtration processes that help keep the town’s water supply safe and clean.
Afterward, the mayoral pair headed over to the new interchange on Rt. 7 and Battlefield Parkway for its ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony. Among a host of other elected leaders and local officials, Brown stepped up to the podium to introduce herself and Burk before Burk gave her remarks.
Shortly after the dedication ceremony, the two visited the Leesburg Executive Airport for lunch and several aviation-associated activities. With the guidance of airport staff, Brown sat in the pilot’s seat and explored the controls of a helicopter as well as practiced flying a plane on a flight simulator. Throughout these activities, Brown piped in with a variety of different questions—from whether licenses are needed to fly aircraft to where the pilots who work 24-hour shifts at the airport sleep at night. Lastly, Brown and Burk finished their day together with an aerial tour of downtown Leesburg in Cessna Skyhawk.
Leesburg Executive Airport, in particular, was chosen as a stop on the “Mayor for the Day” tour because of its importance to the county and its operations, Burk said.
Although Brown’s day was packed with numerous activities, she highlighted the ribbon-cutting ceremony and Water Treatment Plant tour as her favorite parts of the day because they were “the most fun.” Just before their plane took off for the aerial tour, she added that their flight would likely end up as her favorite experience.
As for the real mayor’s take on their time together, Burk said that she was “really impressed by [Brown’s] questions” as well as the way she spoke.
After a full day of exploring the ins and outs of Leesburg, what could possibly be next for Brown? Soon she will embark on a two-week sleepaway camp in Pennsylvania, where she will participate in a range of activities from horseback riding to visiting a blueberry farm.
While she may be trading in her mayoral duties for hiking, farming, and fishing, the young “mayor” remains eager for new opportunities and to learn as much as she can about the world.