Local Plastic Bag Tax to Begin — At grocery stores, convenience stores and drug stores, a five-cent tax will be charged for each single-use plastic bag for customer purchases. The Northern Virginia Waste Management Board is working on outreach to help with the transition. [Patch]
County Launches New Photo Contest — The First Hike Fairfax contest returns next year with more categories for photographers to submit entrants. Participants can submit photos from any trails managed by the Fairfax County Park Authority. [Fairfax County Government]
Christmas Tree Recycling Underway — Christmas trees will be collected from Jan. 3 to 14. Lights, decorations and stands must be removed to ensure trees can be collected. [Reston Patch]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Reston Company Adds New Domains — Public Interest Registry is adding .giving, .charity, and .foundation to its network. The Reston-based company hopes to give more options for nonprofits, mission-driven organizations, and other entities. [Technical.ly]
Where to Find the Best Holiday Trees — There are many options to find the biggest and brightest trees in Northern Virginia. One local option is Reston Town Center, which is also hosting horse-drawn carriage rides and min train rides. [Northern Virginia Magazine]
County Issues Guidance on COVID-19 — The county is encouraging residents to maintain social distancing as the holidays draw near. Cases of COVID-19 are increasing. Northern Virginia has returned to a high transmission level this week, although the Omicron variant has not been identified locally. [Fairfax County Government]
Photo by Marjorie Copson
Reston Businessman Convicted of Bankruptcy Fraud — A Reston businessman was convicted on a series of fraud charges related to a bankruptcy case. Alan Russel Cook Sr., CEO of Metropolitan Aviation, discharged over is six million in personal debt when he file for bankruptcy. He reportedly transferred more than $350,000 to his former girlfriend and directed her to open accounts in her name and in the name of a fake company in anticipation of the filing. [U.S. Department of Justice]
NextStop Theatre Announces 2022 Schedule — The Herndon-based theatre has announced its line-up for the first half of 2022. Artistic director Evan Hoffman said the theatre company is excited to take programming to the next level after a gradual return to smaller productions this year. [Broadway World]
TransUnion Acquires Reston-based Company — TransUnion has acquired Neustar for $3.1 billion. The company’s CEO says he looks forward to the smooth integration of the businesses. Neustar is a network security company. [Cyber Wire]
Jingle on the Lake Returns — Hundreds of people attended the 50th anniversary of Jingle on the Lake at Lake Anne Plaza earlier this month. Santa arrived by a pontoon boat at the annual event. [The Connnection]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
The Town of Herndon has released its official roster of events for this holiday season.
Residents can choose from several options, including craft pop-ins, improv events, a German-inspired market, and holiday performances. Below is a rundown of events that are expected to run from Saturday, Nov. 27 through the end of the year.
Every Thursday except this Thursday and Dec. 23, residents can enjoy a holiday craft pop-in, which includes crafts for children and parents at Arts Herndon. The event takes place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and a donation of $5 is suggested.
A holiday market by local artists and artisans gives residents the chance to purchase unique Christmas and holiday presents at Arts Herndon. The market takes place on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
An open-mic event is set at Arts Herndon later than day at 7 p.m. It is open to all.
But if you’re looking for something more structured, Santa Clause, Rudolph and a wide array of other seasonal characters make an appearance in NextStop Theatre’s performance, “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!). The show runs from Friday, Dec. 3 through Sunday, Dec. 19. General admission is $25, with additional fees on top of that.
The Wicked Olde Band will kick off a holiday performance with a mix of folk, blues, Celtic and light jazz at Arts Herndon on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 7-9:30 p.m. The event is free, but a donation of $10 is recommended.
At the Town Hall Square, all can join for a holiday tree lighting and sing-along that day. The hour-long event begins at 5 p.m.
A arts and craft show with more than 70 vendors comes to Herndon Community Center. Admission and parking are free for the show, which takes place on Sunday, Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Residents can also enjoy a holiday performance by Treble Clefs and Friends that day at Arts Herndon from 5-7 p.m. A donation of $10 is recommended.
The Wintermarkt, which brings the old world charm of Christmas in Europe to Herndon, returns to the Herndon Municipal Center on Saturday, Dec. 11 from noon to 7 p.m. The event is free and open to all.
The holiday model train show also returns to Arts Herndon on Saturday, Dec. 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The caboose will be open for tours from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A New Year’s Ev golf tournament is also planned for Friday, Dec. 31. The shotgun starts at 10 a.m. and the entry deadline is Dec. 26. The fee is $75 per player.
Photo via Herndon Wintermarkt/Facebook
Reston Lease Gets Best Transaction Award — Boston Properties received the best transaction lease award for executing a lease with Volkswagen Group of America, which is headquartered in Reston. The award was given by the Commercial Real Estate Development Association. [NAIOP Northern Virginia]
Santa Comes to Town — Reston Association has set up a Santa-for-hire event. Residents can book Santa for a 30 or 60 minutes this holiday season. Bookings can be made through Dec. 31. [RA]
Fairfax County Police Department Collects Toys — The department is collecting toys for Santa’s Ride, which delivers toys to children in area hospitals and local charities. New and unwrapped toys, books, or games can be dropped off at any district station now through 9 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 13. [FCPD]
Photo by Marjorie Copson
With Christmas just around the corner, many government offices and services will be closed for the remainder of the week, as employees take Thursday and Friday off for the holiday.
Fairfax County government offices will officially close at noon on Thursday (Dec. 24), and they will be closed for the entirety of Christmas Day.
All county parks and recreation facilities, including golf courses and RECenters, will be closed on Christmas.
However, all RECenters will be open until noon on Christmas Eve, and other facility hours vary that day depending on the specific location.
Reston Association offices, including the Central Services Facility and the Nature House will be closed Wednesday through Friday. No RA news will be distributed on Friday.
Fairfax County libraries will close at 1 p.m. on Thursday for the holiday weekend.
The Town of Herndon is also implementing a new trash and recycling collection schedule through the beginning of the New Year. Government offices in the town will also run on an abridged schedule. Offices will close at noon on Thursday and remain closed on Friday and Jan. 1.
Fairfax County will not provide any trash and recycling collection services on Christmas Day. Customers who typically have their waste collected on Fridays will instead get service on Saturday (Dec. 26). In addition, the county’s recycling and disposal centers at the I-66 Transfer Station (4618 West Ox Rd.) and the I-95 Landfill Complex (9850 Furnace Rd.) will close at 1 p.m. on Dec. 24 and stay closed throughout Dec. 25.
For transit users, Fairfax Connector will operate on Christmas Day according to its Sunday service schedule. Information about specific routes can be found here.
With students on winter break since Monday (Dec. 21), Fairfax County Public Schools has put its meal distribution services on hold starting today through Jan. 1. Yesterday, FCPS offered four days of breakfast and lunch to students who picked up meals at bus stops, and students who used Grab & Go locations or meal kits sites received 14-day meal kits.
Bus route meal distributions will resume on Jan. 4, while distribution at Grab & Go locations and meal kits sites will return on Jan. 5 and 6, respectively.
Photo via Reston Farm Market website
COVID-19 may have put a damper on a lot of year-end festivities, but many hallmarks of this holiday season are still going strong.
There is a certain magic in getting bundled up for ice skating or sipping mulled cider (or hot toddies) at outdoor restaurants. For something spectacular, families can enjoy holiday light shows or their neighbors’ tacky Christmas lights.
All of these and more winter activities can be done in Fairfax County through January. This year, you can justify these cold weather-friendly events to your heat-loving friends even more, since the risk of COVID-19 transmission is lower outside.
Does winter hold a certain spark for you? Are you going stir-crazy at home and need places to go? Tell us below how you are taking in this season, and drop recommendations in the comments.
While the cold temperatures settle in, Christmas trees and greenery have become a hot commodity in the area.
Farms, markets and Christmas shops are open around the Reston, Herndon and Falls Church area, ready to provide the centerpiece of the family home for the holidays.
The Reston Farm Garden Market has five locations to pick up Christmas trees, greenery, wreaths and accessories. These include its main location in Reston (10800 Baron Cameron Ave.), as well as spots in Herndon (2551 John Milton Drive) and Fairfax (3089 Nutley Street).
The market is open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Dec. 24 at each location. The trees range in height from 4 feet to 12 feet, and are offered in three types of fir: Concolor, Douglas and Fraser.
Prices range from $89.99 and up for Douglas Fir, $49.99 and up for Fraser Fir, and a Concolor Fir is $69.99.
The market offers online shopping for pickup or delivery, within 10 miles of any of the five locations.
Krop’s Crops (11110 Georgetown Pike) in Great Falls is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. The 20-acre farm features a variety of pre-cut Noble Firs, Fraser Firs and Douglas Firs that range from 5 to 14 feet.
Delivery of pre-cut trees is available upon request.
The farm also sells poinsettias, wreaths and other holiday decorations. Its “choose-and-cut” section of trees is temporarily closed this season.
Sexton Christmas Trees has its Great Falls lot open behind the post office at 10001 Georgetown Pike. The lot will have Fraser Firs up to 12 feet, and wreaths, garland and other Christmas decorations available.
The lot’s hours (weather permitting) are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
The Merrifield Garden Center’s Christmas Shop is open in three locations, including Falls Church (8131 Lee Highway), Fairfax (12101 Lee Highway) and Gainesville (6895 Wellington Road). The garden center is completely open for customers to shop.
The center features an abundance of varieties and the sizes range from tabletop to 15 feet. The varieties include different firs, such as Fraser and Turkish, as well as different pines and a spruce variety. Additionally, wreaths, garlands, artificial trees and other decorative options are available.
The store hours are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.
Meadows Farms offers a variety of holiday greenery at 21 locations, including Falls Church (6461 Arlington Boulevard) and Herndon (11254 Leesburg Pike). Both the Falls Church and Herndon locations are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Meadows Farms has cut Christmas trees from tabletop to 12-foot options, and a large selection of pine roping, poinsettias and wreaths available.
Photo via Reston Farm Market website
The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Reston area.
We’ve searched the web for events of note in Reston, Herndon and Great Falls. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!
Tuesday (Dec. 1)
- Herndon Book Club (Online) — 6:30-7:45 p.m. — Discussing Mrs. Everything: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner, the group will meet via Zoom. Club members should call the Herndon Library (768 Center S.) during the Curbside Pickup times (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) to have staff check out and set aside your copy or visit the branch, the website said. To register, use this link.
- Holiday Craft Class (Online) — 11-11:30 a.m. — Reston Community Center will host a card making class on its Facebook page. Participants should have the following items ready before the class begins: two or three sheets of card stock, colored paper, markers, crayons, scissors and cookie cutters.
Wednesday (Dec. 2)
- Best of 2020 Book Discussion (Online) — 10:30-11:30 a.m. — Great Falls Library will meet via Zoom to discuss the best reads of 2020, the website said. To register, use this link.
Thursday (Dec. 3)
- Zumba Gold (Online) — 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. — Reston Community Center will host a virtual Zumba Gold class on its Facebook page.
Saturday (Dec. 5)
- Magical Moments at Woodland Park (December 5-20) — 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Woodland Park Crossing (12960 Highland Crossing Drive) — Families can stop by Woodland Park Crossing to revel in lights and a festive scene of Santa’s Workshop, the website said. Family photos are available with preregistration.
- Reston Town Center Holiday Performances — 12-4 p.m. at Reston Town Center (11900 Market St.) — Holiday characters, still walkers and jugglers will be on hand to entertain and make for fun socially distanced holiday selfies, the website said.
- Christmas Festival — 3-8 p.m. at Emily Rose Lewis Ministries (503 Carlisle Drive Suite 275) — Kingdom Living Ekklesia & Academy is hosting an indoor/outdoor Christmas Festival, the website said. Participants can enjoy free food and drinks.
Sunday (Dec. 6)
- Reston Town Center Holiday Performances — 12-2 p.m. at Reston Town Center (11900 Market St.) — Reston Town Center tradition returns this year for holiday songs performed by members of the Reston based Northern Virginia Ukulele Society, the website said.
- Holiday Family Portraits — 12-4 p.m. at Worldgate Centre (13007 Worldgate Drive) — Take a holiday family picture and go home with a free print. Participants can enjoy holiday favorites and free giveaways.
Photo via Reston Town Center
Cornerstones, a nonprofit that aids the Northwestern Fairfax County area, is combining two of its annual drives to eliminate the possible spread of COVID-19.
Cornerstones’ Thanksgiving Food Drive hosted every year, one week before Thanksgiving, and its Gifts for Kids, hosted every December will both run from November 16-20 at St. John Neumann Catholic Church (11900 Lawyers Road).
Both drives will provide extra help to families that are in need this holiday season. Due to the pandemic, Cornerstones will be assisting more families than usual.
“Normal years, we’re serving between 700-750 families,” said Nate King, Director of Urgent Needs and Herndon Resource Center Operations, “And this provides them with the non-perishable food items, as well as we give them a gift card for $25 to one of our local store chains that they can use to buy things like milk, dairy, meat products, and other things to help them with their Thanksgiving food dinner.”
This year, King said Cornerstones is “looking at helping between 1,000-1,050 families.”
The times of the drives will be Monday – Thursday (Nov. 16-19) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday (Nov. 20) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Although this year’s gifts will look different, more children will be receiving them.
“Normally teenagers ages 13-18 get gift cards through this particular drive this year, all children ages zero to 18, who get registered for this are going to get gift cards,” said King. “Normal years, we help about 1,300-1,400 children. We’re anticipating it’s going be closer to 1,600 this year, due to the upswing in people that are having problems getting jobs or that are losing jobs.”
The drive will be a contactless interaction, so donors and recipients can expect to have little interaction with Cornerstones’ employees.
“Basically, our volunteers will come and take everything out of your trunk if you’re making a donation and take it into the search,” said King. “And if you’re a donor-recipient coming in, you will be able to drive up and we will put it in your trunk you will not have to get out of your car to get the service so that everybody is protected.”
Photo via Cornerstones/Facebook
With Christmas Day behind us, residents can recycle their Christmas trees. According to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, it’s best to dispose of trees when they get dry due to the risk of fires.
Fairfax County collects trees for recycling in the first two weeks of January — so long as they are less than eight feet tall. Residents with private collection services should consult with the collecting companies.
The National Christmas Tree Association encourages residents to recycle Christmas trees — which are biodegradable:
Soil erosion barriers: Some communities use Christmas trees to make effective sand and soil erosion barriers, especially for lake and river shoreline stabilization and river delta sedimentation management.
Fish feeders: Sunk into private fish ponds, trees make an excellent refuge and feeding area for fish.
Bird feeders: Place the Christmas tree in the garden or backyard and use it as a bird feeder and sanctuary. Fresh orange slices or strung popcorn will attract the birds and they can sit in the branches for shelter. (Make sure all decorations, hooks, garland and tinsel strands are removed). Eventually (within a year) the branches will become brittle and you can break the tree apart by hand or chip it in a chipper.
Mulch: A Christmas tree is biodegradable; its branches may be removed, chipped, and used as mulch in the garden.
Paths for hiking trails: Some counties use shredded trees as a free, renewable and natural path material that fits both the environment and the needs of hikers.
Living, rooted trees: Get a rooted (ball and burlap or containerized) tree and plant it in your yard. (It’s a good idea to dig the hole in the late fall while the soil is still soft, then plant the tree into that hole immediately after Christmas.) Living trees have a better survival rate in mild climates.
Residents can also recycle trees at the I-66 Transfer Station, which requires a $7 fee per tree. All ornaments, decorations, and stands must be removed prior to disposal. Artificial trees can be brought to a donation station.
For the first time ever in Herndon, the Herndon WinterMarkt will let community members gather and take part in European holiday festivities.
The event offers food, crafts, drinks, shopping opportunities and entertainment from noon to 8 p.m. at the Herndon Depot Museum (717 Lynn Street) this Saturday (Dec. 14).
This is the first time the event has been held in Herndon, and Mayor Lisa Merkel said it will become an annual tradition to celebrate German and Austrian culture, which is prevalent in the Herndon area.
German Ambassador Niels von Redecker will be in attendance, according to Merkel’s Facebook page.
All ages are welcome to attend this free event. Though many vendors take Venmo and credit cards, the event page suggested that people also bring cash.
“I’m kicking it off at 12:30 [p.m.] with a big toast and German band, so see ya there,” Merkel said in a Facebook video.
Photo via Herndon WinterMarkt/Facebook
Seeing Santa is a Christmas tradition, and there are lots of places in the Reston area where people can meet him and possibly snap a few photos.
Roe & Co. Portrait Studio is hosting a session with Santa from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 14) at their Reston studio (11985 Market Street). People are invited to come and take photos of their families with Santa. Picture packages start at $25.
For people over the age of 21, there will be a Santa-themed bar crawl on Saturday (Dec. 14) from 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. beginning at the Reston Town Center (11900 Market Street). Coordinators ask that people bring gifts for Toys for Tots.
The Winter Wonderland at Worldgate Herndon (13037 Worldgate Drive) features a free meet and greet party with Santa on Saturday (Dec. 14). There will be hot cocoa, snacks, an igloo and games on-site. The event will run from 1 until 4 p.m. but attendees must arrive by 3 p.m. if they would like a photo with Santa.
People in Herndon have the chance to take a wagon ride with Santa at Frying Pan Farm Park (2709 West Ox Road) on Sunday (Dec. 15) from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 and people can help themselves to hot cocoa and roast marshmallows after the half-hour ride.
The following Sunday (Dec. 22), Santa will make an appearance on Sunday at the Reston Farmers Market (10800 Baron Cameron Avenue) from 2-4 p.m. Admission is free and attendees are welcome to take photos.
Photo via Friends of Frying Pan Park/Facebook
Restonians have banded together to launch “Light Up Reston,” a community-wide initiative that aims to encourage residents to support charities and decorate homes for the holidays.
The initiative aims to show residents’ community spirit and raise funds for Public Art Reston, Friends of Reston, and Cornerstones. It draws inspiration from Lake Thoreau Entertainment Associations’ “Festival of Lights,” which raises money for local charities and brings lights to the lake.
This year, residents — some friends and others strangers — decided to spread the initiative throughout the.
“With expanding this effort across Reston, we are hoping to raise holiday spirit as well as awareness of these wonderful Reston based charities by raising $25,000,” said Mary Prochnow, one of the organizers.
So far, $400 has been raised as the initiative kicks off. Last year’s “Festival of Lights” raised more than $8,500 for local charities.
Residents can donate funds to charities by contributing the dollar amount used to put up holiday decorations, the number of homes decorated in your neighborhood, or the number of times residents’ have thought about falling off a ladder while putting up lights.
Melissa Romano, who is also helping organize the initiative, said Restonians involved in lighting up Reston were drawn by their common desire to promote “great events in Reston.”
Photo via Charlotte Geary Photography
The Lake Anne Merchant Professionals Association will once again host Jingle on the lake on Saturday, Dec. 7.
Attendees can enjoy holiday music, take part in cookie decorating and participate in other activities around the plaza. Santa Clause is expected to arrive by boat at noon and he’ll stay at the Reston Used Books Store to hear the wishes of tiny tots and take photos.
All day long, stores at the plaza will offer materials to write a letter to Santa, which can be mailed of the “North Pole Mail Service” inside Chesapeake Chocolates. The store will also offer free wine tasting and hot chocolate from noon to 3 p.m.
The Reston Farmer’s Market and Reston Craft Market will take place from 8 a.m. to noon. Cookie decorating starts at 10 a.m. at Teapot and Cake. An adult choir performance is planned from 10:30-11 a.m.
More information about the event is available online.
Photo courtesy via Jingle on Lake Anne