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First-Ever Reston Pride Festival to Celebrate Local LGBTQ Community

The Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston is sponsoring the first-ever Reston Pride Festival on June 2 from 2-6 p.m.

The family-friendly, alcohol-free event aims to support and celebrate Reston’s LGBTQ community, said the Rev. Debra Haffner, a minister at UUCR.

Her son, Greg Tartaglione, will emcee and perform as Mama Celeste, a drag performance artist, at the festival. Mama Celeste will also host Oakland’s first drag festival this month.

As someone new to Reston, I was surprised to discover that despite Reston’s founding commitment to diversity and inclusion, there had never been a Pride festival in Reston. I am delighted by the enthusiastic response and support we are receiving for Reston Pride, often from groups and organizations that have never spoken out before on LGBTQ issues,” Haffner said.

The festival, which takes place at UUCR, includes more than 10 performers, presentations by area political and faith leaders, exhibits, booths, food, and music.

Reston Community Players will perform “Rock the Ages and “Hairspray” at the festival. State Del. Ken Plum and state Sen. Janet Howell will speak alongside Lisa Merkel, the mayor of the Town of Herndon.

Eighteen cosponsors are supporting the event, including six churches and synagogues,  Cornerstones and the YMCA.

To volunteer, email [email protected]. The complete program is available online.

Photo via Myers Public Relations

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What’s Going On Around Reston This Weekend?

Things are going to get colorful this weekend at Reston Town Center.

Public Art Reston’s fourth annual ChalkFest kicks off today with professional artists beginning their work, but the big day for the event is Saturday. That’s when, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the event is open to artists of all ages and talents.

Categories for participants are amateur ($15 registration fee), families and kids ($15), and professional ($20). Registration can be done online through today, or at the event Saturday morning.

That’s just one of many events going on around the area this weekend, though. This is officially the last weekend of summer, as the autumnal equinox comes a week from today and brings with it the fall season. The weather forecast calls for plenty of sun and temperatures in the 80s all weekend, though there are chances of a few afternoon showers.

Have fun out there!

(Editor’s Note: This is just a limited list of all the 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.)

  • The JamBrew series continues tonight in Herndon. Aslin Beer Co. will be pouring frosty mugs, Weird Brothers Coffee will be offering tasty drinks, Nordic Knot Pretzels will provide tasty snacks, and there will be much more. Live music will be offered from DJ Ragz, The DuskWhales and JUXT. The free event is slated for 6-10 p.m. at the Herndon Town Green (777 Lynn St.).
  • Speaking of Aslin Beer Co., it will be celebrating its two-year anniversary Saturday at 771 Elden St., which will become its permanent home in the coming months. The event, slated for noon to 6 p.m., will feature dozens of guest breweries along with food trucks, live music and much more. General admission is $35, which includes an anniversary glass and five 6-ounce pours.
  • There will be an improv show, presented by Reflex Improv, tonight from 8-9:30 p.m. at Café Montmartre (1625 Washington Plaza).
  • Traditional music trio Lulu’s Fate will perform Saturday from 4-6 p.m. at ArtSpace Herndon (750 Center St.). Tickets are $15.
  • Sue Wrbican: Well Past the Echo” will be on view at Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St.) through Nov. 18.
  • The Reston Farmers Market will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Lake Anne Village Center.
  • Lake Anne is also hosting Sunday Yoga on the Plaza each week, at 9:30 a.m.
  • The Herndon Kids Triathlon is scheduled for Sunday at 8 a.m. at the Herndon Community Center (814 Ferndale Ave.). Registration for the event is full; however, volunteers are still needed to help.
  • The Susco 8K and 2K fun run, to promote brain aneurysm and organ donation awareness, will take place Saturday beginning at 8:30 a.m. at South Lakes High School. Registration ($40 for the 8K, $25 for the 2K) can be done the morning of the event.
  • Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive) will host Kevin Patti from Clara Barton National Historic Site (National Parks Service) from 2-4 p.m. Saturday. He will present “Between the Bullet and the Hospital,” using photos from the Civil War era to explore the dangers Barton faced and the accomplishments she achieved.
  • Explore the history of Lake Audubon on a guided canoe/kayak exploration from 4-5:30 p.m. Saturday. No experience is necessary, and all equipment (including canoes and kayaks) will be provided. Cost is $10 for RA members and $12 for non-members.
  • Curiosity Day at Scrawl Books (11862 Market St.), Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., will include an appearance by Curious George himself, story time, crafts and more.
  • Pulitzer Prize-winner display “Disgraced,” exploring Muslim assimilation and identity in America, will be performed at NextStop Theatre Company (269 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon) tonight at 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 7 p.m.; and at a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee. Tickets range in price from $17.50 to $55. A package experience for the Sunday matinee that includes brunch at PassionFish (11960 Democracy Drive) is available.
  • Floris United Methodist Church (13600 Frying Pan Road, Herndon) will present a concert of Christian music through the decades from 5-8 p.m. Sunday. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed in an outfit from their favorite decade.
  • Many restaurants and bars in Reston will have live music this weekend. These include: Vinifera Wine Bar and Bistro (11750 Sunrise Valley Drive) from 7-10 p.m every Friday and Saturday night; Crafthouse (1888 Explorer St.) every Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; and Tavern64 (1800 Presidents St.) every Friday from 6-10 p.m.
  • Kalypso’s Sports Tavern (1617 Washington Plaza N.) will have live music from Rusty Cage tonight from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; and DJ Kram will play Top 40 hits during those hours Saturday night.
  • Musician Patty Reese will be performing Saturday from 8-11 p.m. at The Tasting Room Wine Bar and Shop (1816 Library St.).
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United Christian Parish Plans Community Discussion on Bigotry and Unconscious Bias

An upcoming event at a Reston church plans to dive into the issue of hate in the wake of violent clashes earlier this month in Charlottesville.

United Christian Parish (11508 North Shore Drive) will host a panel of community and faith leaders on Sunday, Sept. 10 at 2 p.m. for what it is calling a “post-Charlottesville town hall.” According to information provided by the church, residents are invited to take part in the “[discussion of] bigotry and unconscious bias as we seek to work together to heal the wounds.”

Panelists scheduled for the event include:

  • the Rev. Debra Haffner, Unitarian Universalist Reston
  • Imam Ali Siddiqui, the Muslim Institute for Interfaith Studies, Virginia
  • the Rev. Dr. Ken Brooks Langston, Disciples Justice Action Network
  • the Rev. Michele Nickens, Washington Plaza Baptist Church
  • the Rev. Russell Heiland, Unity Fairfax
  • Minister Wendy Hamilton, Metropolitan Community Church of Northern Virginia
  • Ronald Lapitan, the Center for Health and Human Rights
  • the Rev. Marcus Leathers, United Christian Parish-Reston

Registration is also open for the church’s Justice & Inclusion Conference, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 11. Workshops will include Justice of Anti-Racism, Immigrant Sanctuary Cause & the Law, LGBTQ Students, Employees and Families in Public Schools, Troubling the Waters: Intimate Violence & the Church, Movement for Health & Human Rights, Think Global Warming: Act Local, Social Justice and Islam, Social Witness & Justice Advocacy, Transgender Advocacy, Immigrant/Refugee Advocacy and more.

“In light of recent events, it seems more important than ever for people to come together to discuss and work together for justice, inclusion and peace,” the church says in a press release. “We will not agree on all of the issues, but we can find common ground and we can work together to advance justice, inclusion and peace.”

Singer/songwriter Bobby Jo Valentine will also perform at the free conference.

For more information about either of these events, contact James Dean at [email protected] or 571-830-8730.

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Nursery School Plans Continue for St. John Neumann Church

The potential for a nursery school at St. John Neumann Church looks a lot more likely.

On May 17, the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals approved a special permit amendment that will allow the addition of the nursery school. Located at 11900 Lawyers Road, the projected nursery and pre-school would be one of several in the Reston area.

The Rev. Joseph T. Brennan made the official announcement in the church bulletin last week.

“I want to share an update on the potential of a preschool at St. John Neumann. On Wednesday, May 17, 2017 the Board of Zoning Appeals for the County of Fairfax, Virginia approved the proposal to permit the addition of a nursery school. This is a significant step towards the possibility of a pre-school opening in the Fall of 2018. Please stay tuned as we continue to work out the next steps and examine the feasibility of this endeavor.”

A parish survey that was conducted last year indicated an interest in pursuing the school.

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Social Justice Conference Aims To Advance Peace, Inclusion in Society

United Christian Parish - RestonA coalition of faith-based organizations will put on a conference Saturday in the effort to help build understanding between communities.

The Social Justice & Peace Conference, hosted by United Christian Parish (11508 North Shore Drive), will include workshops on how people from different religious backgrounds can support immigrants, the trans community, environmental justice and more.

The event’s keynote speaker will be Dr. B. Chris Dorsey, president of Higher Education & Leadership Ministries. He will speak on “A Social Justice Paradigm for Building and Sustaining Authentic Community.”

Organizations participating in the conference will include Higher Education & Leadership Ministries, Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation, Interfaith Partners for Justice, Unitarian Universalist Church, All Dulles Area Muslim Society, Equality Virginia, Washington Plaza Baptist Church, Martin Luther King Jr. Christian Church and National City Christian Church.

“In light of recent events, it seems more important than ever for people to come together to discuss and work together for social justice,” said James Dean, an organizer of the event. “We will not agree on all of the issues, but we can find common ground and we can work together to advance justice, peace and inclusion.”

Advance registration is encouraged, but on-site registration will also be available at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. A concert by UCPraise! will start the event. For more information, contact Dean at 571-830-8730 or [email protected].

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Nursery School Proposed for St. John Neumann Catholic Church

St. John Neumann Catholic Community/Courtesy St. John Neumann

St. John Neumann Church (11900 Lawyers Road) is looking toward the prospect of adding a nursery school to its facility as early as 2018.

According to information printed in a recent church bulletin, the preschool would be state-licensed and would be operated under the direction of the Office of Catholic Schools of the Arlington Diocese.

A parish survey that was conducted last year indicated an interest in pursuing the school, according to the Feb. 12 bulletin.

“We are working with the diocesan-appointed attorney and have submitted a Proposed Special Permit Amendment Application to the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning. It is important to emphasize that we are in the early stages and that barring any roadblocks, the soonest the preschool would open is Fall of 2018.”

According to Reston Association’s Land Development Tracker, the special permit amendment application was filed with the county Jan. 27, and it is being reviewed for quality control before acceptance.

Photo courtesy St. John Neumann Catholic Community

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Zoning Appeals Board Listens to Pros, Cons of Church on Crowell Road

crowell at Hunter Mill1The Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals will continue to hear testimony on Wednesday regarding the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ request to build a 16,558-square-foot church on the Reston/Vienna border.

The church has filed a special permit exception to build the structure at Crowell and Hunter Mill Roads. The special permit exception would allow the church to build a place of worship on land designated residential.

Because it is a special permit, the church would not have to go through the Fairfax County Planning Commission or the Board of Supervisors for final approval.

After several postponements over the summer, the BZA heard a first round of testimony last Wednesday, with several speakers falling on both sides of the issue.

Several said the church — which plans 292 seats, a 30-foot roofline and a 70-foot steeple — has a relatively small footprint, and would mostly be in use on Sundays, when traffic backups on Hunter Mill are less likely.

“It is important we all support religious freedom, said John Thoburn, a Hunter Mill resident whose family also formerly owned much of the nearby land (including the former driving range where the new Oakcrest School is under construction).

However, nearby resident Bruce Bennett said the latest plans for the project no longer show a roundabout to control traffic in the mostly residential neighborhood. He said that “just one abject failure in this special permit process that in and of itself is sufficient justification for a complete denial of this application.”

“It has been totally removed and in its place a weasel-worded commitment that is no commitment at all and in fact may have eviscerated the original transportation agreement,” Bennett told the BZA.

Other speakers took issue with the application’s standard of a minimum of 233 parking spaces for the church. They want assurances that the maximum number of spaces would not grow exponentially.

“I have a concern that there is going to be a sea of asphalt,” said one speaker. “This is not a megachurch. Five hundred people on the site at one time is in excess for a low-density neighborhood.”

See all of last week’s testimony on this video on Fairfax County’s website. Additional testimony is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sept. 21 at the Fairfax County Government Center.

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