South Lakes High School Alum Returns to Reston to Debut New Children’s Book

Ethan Berlin has written for various comedians’ shows including George Lopez, Jon Stewart and Sarah Silverman. But his latest venture is writing a children’s book.

Berlin will be returning to his roots in Reston on June 2 (Saturday) to read his debut children’s book “The Hugely-Wugely Spider” at Scrawl Books. The reading will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The story tells the tale of the Itsy-Bitsy’s spider’s larger counterpart, who can’t fit into the water spout.

Part of the idea for the story came about when he was singing the Itsy-Bitsy Spider to one of his two kids. Berlin added that he was typically the bigger kid in his class growing up and always wondered if a bigger version of the Itsy-Bitsy Spider existed.

A 1995 graduate of South Lakes High School, Berlin said he loved doing theatre and comedy during his time at SLHS.

“The thing I lived for at South Lakes was theatre,” he said.

Berlin described himself as a “weirdo” in high school and said he’s grateful for how nicely he was treated at SLHS.

Now living in New Jersey, Berlin said he’s excited to read to kids in Reston and catching up with old friends. And if he could somehow maintain his comedy and writing career from Reston he said he would move back.

Image via Scrawl Books’ website

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Here’s a Breakdown for This Weekend’s Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival

The 27th annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival is returning this weekend, and this year the festival is a day longer.

The festival will run Friday (May 18) through Sunday (May 20) at the Reston Town Center. The event encourages attendees to make a $5 donation, which comes with $200 worth of restaurant coupons.

The festival hosted by the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) brings in 30,000 to 50,000 attendees each year, the festival said in a press release.

For the first time, this year’s festival also includes a participatory performance “The Illuminated Fountain of Extinction” by Laure Drogoul both Saturday night during the Festival Party and on Sunday afternoon. Another festival first, is that GRACE members are given a free ticket to the Festival Party. Cost for membership for artists is $40 and $50 for other members.

Rain or shine the festival will go on, so long as a major storm does not hit, one of the organizers told RestonNow.

Below is a breakdown of the three-day event:

Friday (May 18) 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.:

  • All day — More than 200 artist booths from across the U.S.on display
  • Festival Friday — There will be specials all day among retailers and restaurants in Reston Town Center

Saturday (May 19) 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.:

  • All day — More than 200 artist booths from across the U.S.on display
  • Family Art Park — Free art making activities for all ages in the Pavillion
  • Festival Party (7-9 p.m.) — A celebration for sponsors, Adopt-an-Artist donors, GRACE members and artists. The party includes an award ceremony and first look into “The Illuminated Fountain of
    Extinction” by Laure Drogoul.

Sunday (May 20) 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.:

  • All day — More than 200 artist booths from across the U.S.on display
  • Family Art Park — Free art making activities for all ages in the Pavillion
  • “The Illuminated Fountain of Extinction” by Laure Drogoul (1-3 p.m.) — an immersive, interactive artwork in the Pavillion that is a tableau of natural and post-natural creatures inspired by manuscripts. Viewers are encouraged to participate in the performance that shows off a pageant of creatures from the past, present and future.

Garage parking is free during the festival. No registration is required.

Photo Courtesy of Carol Nahorniak

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“LOVE” Letters to Return to Lake Anne Plaza This Month

Virginia’s “LOVE” letters are making a comeback to the Lake Anne Plaza from May 31 through June 7.

The letters statue is known for photo opportunities. Lake Anne Brew House is encouraging locals to come to the plaza for the statue and to stay for local events on the plaza including a Pride Night event held at the brewery on June 1 from 4-11 p.m.

June is LGBTQ pride month. It was established to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, during which patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn protested to resist the harassment and persecution of LGBT Americans by the police, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Reston has other events in store for the month, including an inaugural Pride Festival, led by the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston.

File photo

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Love Your Body Yoga Festival Returns June 17

Beloved Yoga is bringing back the Love Your Body Yoga Festival for its 10th year in Reston Town Center on June 17.

Yoga studios and wellness centers of Northern Virginia will offer classes, services and information at the free event. While classes are free, the festival encourages attendees to make donations benefitting the Southgate Community Center.

The family-friendly event will also feature live music, energy healing demonstrations and free food and drink samples. The festival will include a kids tent, which will have laughter yoga and storytelling.

The full festival schedule is made available on its website.

The festival also kicks off the 10th annual Yoga Week, from June 18-25, where yoga studios and private instructors will be offering free, $5 and Karma classes throughout Northern Virginia.

Photo via Love Your Body Yoga Festival’s website

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Walker Nature Center’s Spring Festival Returns Next Week

The Walker Nature Center’s Spring Festival is back next week, featuring a recycling clown magic show, crafts for kids, and live entertainment.

The free event will be held May 5 from 1-5 p.m. Song Garden, Hickory Grove, and other artists will perform acoustic music live throughout the festival.

There will be $5, half hour canoe and kayak rentals at Lake Audubon, as well as fishing activities, a native plant sale, and information from local environmental groups.

The entertainment schedule is as follows:

  • 1:30-2 p.m. — Blue Sky Puppet Theater: The Three Green Pigs
  • 2:45-3:30 p.m. — Teddy the Recycling Clown: Magic Show
  • 4-4:45 p.m. — Reptiles Alive: Live Animal Show

Parking will be available at Glade and Soapstone Drives as well as at Glade Pool.

Photo courtesy of Reston Association

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Documentary Screening to Honor Nabra Hassanen Almost A Year After Her Death

An event to honor the life of 17-year-old Muslim teen Nabra Hassanen almost a year following her murder will be held Saturday, April 28 at the Reston Community Center.

The event, which will run from 1:30-3:30 p.m., is organized by with Reston community members and the non-profit organization Pious Projects.

During the event, Hassanen’s classmates and teachers will speak and one or two of her friends will sing a song, said Jumana, one of the event’s Pious Projects organizers.

About a year ago, Pious Projects set up an online campaign where the community could raise enough money to build seven wells and a mosque in Hassanen’s name in Mali in Africa.

To honor Hassanen’s life, Pious Projects also made a documentary to commemorate her, which the non-profit will screen at the event.

Jumana, who asked that her last name remain private, said she has found comfort working with Hassanen’s father and helping other families work through similar losses at the Pious Projects.

“I do enjoy basically speaking with the families and trying to guide them through their heartbreak and bring them something positive in the end,” she said..

Two friends of Hassanen, Afnan Abdel and Amina Siddiqui, said they plan to share memories of Hassanen at the event that highlight her personality so more people will know what she was like.

Sibbiqui fondly remembers when she attended a Islamic spring camp with Hassanen and while riding a canoe with Hassanen, she would shake the boat to scare her in a joking way.

“We all just kept joking around with her, and shaking the boat and scaring her and she was just laughing and we were all just having a really fun time,” Sibbiqui said.

Hassanen was a great dancer and danced to lots of silly songs, Siddiqui added. Abdel said she wants to people remember Hassanen as a caring and funny person.

“If you ever felt insecure, she was always there for you to remind you that you’re beautiful,” Siddiqui said. “Even people she doesn’t know.”

Hassanen, a South Lakes High School student, was killed near the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) mosque in Sterling.

Darwin Martinez-Torres, 22, has been charged with capital murder and rape after police say he followed Hassanen and a group of teenagers at 3:40 a.m. Sunday, June 18 after a Ramadan service at ADAMS.

The group split up, but Martinez-Torres returned with a baseball bat, striking Hassanen and taking her in his car. Hassanen’s body was later found that day in a Sterling pond, police said.

While community members have said Hassanen’s death was fueled by a bias against Muslims, police say Martinez-Torres’ rampage was just an extension of his road rage at the time.

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PROJECT Trio to Perform at Reston Community Center

PROJECT Trio is bringing its classical training blended with an eclectic music taste to the Reston Community Center on Sunday at 3 p.m.

The trio includes Greg Pattillo on the flute, Eric Stephenson on the cello and Peter Seymour on the double bass.

The group has been described by Gramophone Magazine as “an ensemble willing and able to touch on the gamut of musical bases ranging from Baroque to nu-Metal and taking in pretty much every stylism in between.”

On top of that, The New York Times has called beatboxing flutist Pattillo “the best in the world at what he does.”

Tickets for the show cost $15 for Reston Association members and costs $20 for non-members.

Photo via RCC

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Mike Cloud to Discuss Upcoming ‘Figure Studies’ Exhibit

The Greater Reston Arts Center will be hosting the exhibit, “Mike Cloud: Figure Studies” from April 28 through July 7.

This is the first time Brooklyn-based artist Cloud will be showing his work in the greater D.C. area, according to the center. Cloud’s exhibit is described by the center as a selection of works that “consider language, symbolism, metaphor, history and identity through the examination of the figure.”

The exhibit based on a single painting “Cycle and Stable” (2015) features Cloud’s series of collages based on the work of photographer Anne Leibovitz and new paintings.

Cloud received an M.F.A. from Yale University School of Art and a B.F.A. from the University of Illinois-Chicago. He will also host a talk on the opening day of his exhibit from 4-5 p.m. followed by an opening reception from 5-7 p.m.

There will be a private dinner with Cloud celebrating the exhibit. Tickets cost $100 for the public and $75 for GRACE members, board of directors and sponsors. Those interested must RSVP by emailing [email protected] by April 25.

Photo courtesy GRACE

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Reston Community Center Adds Filmmaking Summer Camp This Year

Reston Community Center has added some new summer camps to its roster including some on filmmaking, jewelry making, engineering and environmental justice.

The camp, Documentary Filmmaking: Summer Studio for Teens, will be taught by Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Rebekah Wingert-Jabi. Wingert-Jabi will teach documentary filmmaking for the four-week full-day camp, targeted for ages 13-16. The camp runs from July 9 through Aug. 3.

Another new offering is a sensory-friendly camp called “We Rock the Spectrum,” a half-day camp for ages 6-11 that encourages strength, sensory processing, movement and positive social interactions through activities that include a zip line, rock wall, trampoline and obstacle course. The camp runs from June 25-29.

The other offerings include “Trendy Jewelry Making” where campers will create up to five pieces in this weeklong session. There will be two sessions one from July 2-6 and the other from July 9-13.

“STEAM I” is a half-day, weeklong introductory engineering camp where campers will create structures such as rollercoasters and catapults as well as Rube Goldberg machines. The camp will be from June 18-22 for ages 8 to 12.

“Green Earth Rangers” teaches campers how to work toward solving environmental issues in Northern Virginia. This full-day camp runs from July 30 through Aug. 3 for ages 11 to 14.

Registration for all camps is open at the community center’s website.

Photo courtesy of Fairfax County

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Teen Job Fair to Come to Reston on April 21

Teens and young adults in Reston can attend the free job fair at South Lakes High School on April 21 to meet potential employers and get tips on building their resumes.

More than 40 potential employers have signed up to meet young job seekers at the event, according to Connection Newspapers, one of the sponsors of the job fair. Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, Reston Chamber of Commerce and Springfield Supervisor Pat Herrity will also be sponsoring the event

The event will be from 11 a.m. to  1 p.m. and is aimed toward student job seekers between the ages of 16 and 18 who are looking for full-time employment, internships, after school employment, volunteer opportunities and seasonal work. Younger students may seek volunteer work and attend the resume building workshop.

Pre-registration is encouraged and teens can sign up here. Businesses interested in setting up a free booth can register here.

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A “Hidden Treasures of Reston” Bus Tour is Coming to the Area

The Reston Association is hosting a bus tour showing off the area’s hidden treasures.

“Even if you have lived here for a long time, have you ever seen the trolls under the bridge near Reston police station, the significant monarch trees, the Lake House or the Nature House?” said the RA’s event description.

The bus tour will take place on Monday (April 9) from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and will meet riders at the Lake House.

The tour will cost $12 for RA members and $18 for all others.

File photo

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Reston Native Kwame Alexander to Bring Book Tour to Scrawl Books

Reston native Kwame Alexander will be returning to the area at Scrawl Books on Thursday (April 5) to meet readers and sign copies of his new novel “Rebound.”

Alexander has won a Newbery Medal for his book “The Crossover.” His most recent book “Rebound” is a prequel to the award-winning novel and shows a glimpse of the childhood of Chuck Bell and how he became a huge fan of jazz and a basketball star.

“We try to forge connections between the people in our community and the authors, books and artists who inspire them,” said Scrawl Books’ owner and founder, Rachel Wood in a press release. “We believe that reading can change the way people understand and relate to the world around them. We are grateful for the support of authors such as Kwame, and love to see the way the community responds when they visit Scrawl Books.”

Alexander’s fans and readers are encouraged to meet on Fountain Drive near the Pavilion at Reston Town Center at 3:45 p.m. to secure a spot in line and say hello to Alexander when the Rebound tour bus pulls in at 4 p.m.

The first 15 people to pre-order Alexander’s book through the store’s website will receive a free t-shirt and a priority spot in the autograph line.

Photo via Scrawl Books

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A New Dock is Coming to Lakeport Cluster

A new dock is coming to the Lakeport Cluster soon, according to a Lakeport Cluster Association press release.

Amid construction of a new dock, the nearby bulkhead will see some repairs as well.

Building time should take 70 days and will begin five days after all the permits are obtained. Reston Association has said that the pedestrian pathway easement through the Lakeport Cluster will be closed through June 18.

The Lakeport Cluster Association said residents should expect some trouble with parking near Triangle Park, and some construction noise disruption between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and between 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends.

“We ask for your patience because at the end, we will have a beautiful and much more usable dock with decades of life ahead, better lighting along the RA path, and a newly landscaped focal point next to the dock for the community to enjoy,” wrote in a statement.

As a part of fixing the decaying bulkhead, workers will replace the vandalized light bollards and address shoreline stabilization, erosion mitigation and new landscaping at the other end of the dock.

Photo courtesy Lakeport Cluster Association

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Reston Association to Celebrate Arbor Day on Monday

Reston Association will lead a celebration of Arbor Day on Monday (April 2) by planting trees throughout Reston and learning more about the proper planting and care of trees.

An Arbor Day presentation and flag raising ceremony will be held at the Walker Nature Center (11450 State Route 4721) at 11:45 a.m., followed by a free pizza lunch for volunteers who planted trees earlier.

Tree planting will begin at 9:30 a.m. and will occur at various locations throughout Reston. Volunteers will be notified before Arbor Day which exact location they will be planting trees.

Groups are asked to register with Ha Brock by emailing [email protected] or calling 703-435-7986.

Reston is certified by the National Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City USA, meaning the area celebrates Arbor Day, maintains a tree board or department, spends at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and has a community tree ordinance. As of 2017, Reston has 62,000 trees, according to the foundation.

File photo

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What’s Going on Around Reston This Weekend?

Editor’s Note: This is just a limited list of  events taking place in the Reston area this weekend. If you have an event you would like to ensure is listed on the website, be sure to submit it to our Events Calendar. Know of other events in the area? Comment below.

  • Getting hitched in the near future? Then you might want to check out the Spring Bridal Show going on at Midtown Jewelers all weekend. The show runs from 12-8 p.m. on Friday, from 10 a.m – 7 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday.
  • Attend the free screening of The Babushkas of Chernobyl, which details the lives of a small community of women who live in the radioactive Dead Zone around Chernobyl’s Reactor No. 4. The screening will be at the Walker Nature Center on Friday from 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Does your child want to learn how to fish? Then take them to the free program of Kids Trout Fishing Day on Saturday from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. Check-in will be near the 7-11 on Soapstone Drive. Registration is encouraged.
  • Celebrate Easter a week early and bring your kids to the EGGnormous Egg Hunt at the Sunrise Valley Elementary School on Saturday from 10-11:30 a.m. The free event is for infants through children 8 years old.
  • Hunt for some eggs with your kids and pet some animals at the Frying Pan Park Visitor Center for the Easter Eggstravaganza on Saturday starting at 10 a.m. Registration is required and the event costs $8.
  • The Diva Central Event will be offering free formal and prom dresses for teens in middle and high school this Saturday at the RCC Lake Anne from 12-6 p.m.
  • Want to attend the March for Our Lives in DC? The Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston is organizing a group to take the Metro together into DC to participate in the march demanding more gun control on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. Make sure to contact the church if you want to join.
  • Looking for an aquatic twist on Easter Egg hunts? Then let your kid take a dive for eggs on Saturday at the Herndon Community Center pool between 1-4:30 p.m. Registration is suggested and entry for one adult and child together is $10.
  • Learn about the life of “Angel of the Battlefield” Clara Barton from a park ranger of the Clara Barton National Historic Site in Glen Echo at the Reston Regional Library Saturday from 2-3:30 p.m.
  • Immerse yourself in the sounds of 7-12 metal rings in a sound bath meditation from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Bikram Yoga Reston.
  • For $20, you can see the vintage country/western band Billy & Bob Country Classic Show perform at the ArtSpace Herndon on Saturday from 7-9 p.m. Tickets include free food and drink.
  • Award-winning journalist, author of three non-fiction books and former South Lakes High School teacher Chuck Cascio will be reading from his latest novel “The Fire Escape Belongs in Brooklyn” at Scrawl Books Sunday at 2 p.m.
  • It’s crime fiction evening with Josh Pachter, Meg Opperman and Barb Goffman for Reston Readings’ night at Reston’s Used Book Shop on Sunday from 5:30-7 p.m.
  • Fan of the blues? Check out the blues/rock-n-roll/Americana band By & By at Frying Pan Park’s Visitor Center on Sunday at 7 p.m. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door.

Photo via Reston Community Center

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