Reston, VA

Frying Pan Farm Park’s annual Spring Farm Day has been canceled for the second year in a row due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The fundraiser had been scheduled to take place on May 1, but Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park, the nonprofit that supports the park, announced this morning (Wednesday) that plans have “unfortunately” changed.

Spring Farm Day’s cancellation means that the Friends group has to scramble again to raise the funds need to support the dozens of animals that live at the park in Herndon.

“We’ll lose thousands of dollars Spring Farm Day would have raised. This money would have helped feed our farm animals and support the farm,” the organization said in a Facebook post. “If you can, please make a donation to help replace our lost funding.”

Spring Farm Day typically takes place in May and offers crafts and activities, such as sheep-shearing demonstrations and encounters with the baby farm animals, that highlight the park’s role in showcasing early and mid-20th century farm life.

When the pandemic shut down the event last year, the Friends organized an online fundraiser to collect the $30,000 that the group said is required to feed, care for, and shelter the roughly 100 animals on the farm each year. The fundraiser exceeded its goal, ultimately bringing in $44,254 from 513 supporters.

Frying Pan Farm Park is operated by the Fairfax County Park Authority, but the animals are owned by the Friends group, which is responsible for covering their food, shelter, and medical care.

Both one-time and recurring donations can be made online through the Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park website.

Reston Now contacted Frying Pan Farm Park for a comment on the decision to cancel this year’s Spring Farm Day but has not heard back as of press time.

Photo via Yvonne Johnson

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Fairfax County Park Authority Issues Warning About Scam — The Fairfax County Park Authority is warning Facebook users about a targeted scam that uses the FCPA logo and a misspelled version of Fairfax County to friend request and message people that they’ve won a prize. [FCPA]

Frying Pan Farm Park Seeks Job Applicants — The farm is currently hiring for three part-time positions. Candidates will work up to 30 hours per week, including some weekends and evenings. [Fairfax County Government]

Vienna Firm Acquires Reston Company — With demand for IT services and cybersecurity on the rise, Vienna’s Criterion Systems has expanded its portfolio into the intelligence space with its acquisition of Reston’s Realm Consulting. [Washington Business Journal]

Virginia Moves Ahead in COVID-19 Vaccine Goal — “In early January we set a goal of administering at least 50,000 doses of #COVID19 vaccine per day. Today, our daily average is over 51,300 shots and nearly 16% of Virginians have received at least one dose. While we still have a lot of work ahead of us, this is great progress.” [Gov. Ralph Northam/Twitter]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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(Update 3/1/21) The public hearing  regarding leasing Frying Pan Farm Park’s Ellmore Farmhouse to ServiceSource will take now place on May 4 as opposed to March.

Earlier: Earlier this week, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a hearing in March to discuss allowing Fairfax County Park Authority to sublease the 130-year-old, two-story, 3,300 square foot house at 2739 West Ox Road to ServiceSource as part of the county’s “Resident Curator Program.”

The terms of the lease allows the organization to transform the house into a “Community Integration Center” that would provide employment to its clients through an onsite café and handicrafts specialty store.

ServiceSource has programs across the country including theirs in Northern Virginia for more than 40 years, according to its website.

It was back in July 2019 when ServiceSource was first identified as a candidate to take over Ellmore Farmhouse.

The sublease would be for 29 years.

The ServiceSource – the “resident curator” – has proposed rehabilitating “by making ADA-compliant improvements and incorporating green-building designs in a manner that respects the heritage, historic features and appearance of the property,” reads the board agenda.

Under the lease, the resident curator also agrees to provide ongoing maintenance and property upkeep for the next nearly three decades in exchange for rent-free use.

The Resident Curator Program is managed by the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA). There are four properties in the program: Lahey Lost Valley in Vienna, Ash Grove also in Vienna, Hannah P. Clark House in Lorton, and Ellmore Farmhouse in Herndon.

In 2001, FCPA acquired Ellmore Farmhouse for inclusion in Frying Pan Park.

The house was first constructed in 1891 as a family home. William Ellmore, a prominent local politician who served on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisor, operated a dairy farm on the property as well until it was sold in 1945. It continued as a dairy farm for another decade before shutting down operations.

It went through several different owners, including a church, prior to being sold to FCPA.

Photo via Fairfax County Government

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Monday Morning Notes

Police Investigate Possible Shooting in Reston — Local police investigated a possible shooting that happened around 4:15 p.m. on Friday on Torrey Pines Court. So far, no victim or scene was located. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Missing Fairfax County Man Located — “After sending a senior alert, Virginia State Police have found a missing 93-year-old man from Fairfax County, Virginia. Richard Douglas Pease was last seen on Dec. 3 around 11:30 a.m. on the 2000 block of Colts Neck Road in Reston. The senior alert was canceled on Sunday morning after Pease was safely located.” [NBC]

Holiday Lights at Frying Pan Farm Park — The park is hosting a driving tour of holiday lights at the farm. The fee is $20 per car. Online registration is required. [Fairfax County Government]

Tanbark Holly (Photo by Ray Copson)

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Reston Association Offers Update on Capital Projects — Chris Schumaker, RA’s director of capital projects, offers an update on recent capital projects, including the roof replacement at Uplands Pool and concrete repairs at Lake Newport Pool. [Reston Today]

County Offers Recommendations on Celebrating Winter Holidays — “Recommendations shared for Thanksgiving apply to December holidays as well. Remember: the safest way to celebrate the holidays this year is with people in your household. Therefore, we recommend making the holidays more leisurely this year. Stay home, stay cozy, and keep it small and simple.” [Fairfax County Government]

Local Volunteer Wins Elly Doyle Award — Leslie painter, who frequently volunteers at Frying Pan Farm Park and also serves on the board of directors, has been selected for an Elly Doyle Award. [YouTube]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Friends of Frying Pan Park, a local park in Herndon, will host its first NASCOW race next Friday (Oct. 16)

This event will race 11 of the park’s cows in efforts to replace revenues lost by the COVID-19-related cancellation of the park’s annual Farm Harvest Days fundraiser, the event ad said.

“Farm Harvest Days usually bring in 8,000 people per day,” said Yvonne Johnson, Manager of Friends of Frying Pan Park. “Due to COVID-19, we found a different way to generate revenue to support the farm and park.”

The cows that will race are of different ages from nine-months to four-years-old:

  • Bandit (Age: 1)
  • Brandy (Age: 3)
  • Evee (Age: 3)
  • Florence (Age: 2)
  • Guinness (Age: 9 months)
  • Helene (Age: 2)
  • Hokie (Age: 3)
  • Marybelle (Age: 4)
  • Rain (Age: 3)
  • Skipper (Age: 9 months)
  • Smokey (Age: 1)

The race will be videotaped and aired online.

Sponsors for the NASCOW race can use this form to pick their cow and donate. So far the park has raised $8,000 of its $10,000 goal.

Photo via Friends of Frying Pan Park/Facebook

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Leslie Painter, a volunteer at Frying Pan Farm Park, is one of three recipients of an award honoring volunteers at Fairfax County parks.

The county announced the winners of the Elly Doyle Service Awards last week. “The purpose of the award is to publicly recognize a volunteer or group of volunteers for outstanding contributions to Fairfax County parks,” the announcement noted.

From the announcement:

Leslie Painter has been a volunteer at Frying Pan Farm Park for more than a decade. As secretary of the Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park Board, she has provided a wealth of technology support for the Board and park staff.

The avid horsewoman also teaches equestrian sessions, helps manage shows at the park, and is quick to volunteer when any work needs to be done — from serving meals to cleaning the barn to running major events. She has made a major impact on the Friends’ fundraising efforts by increasing participation and managing the paperwork and responses to the group’s many donors.

The other winners included volunteers with Colvin Run Mill and the Olander and Margaret Banks Neighborhood Park.

The award is named after a former Fairfax County Park Authority board chairman, who helped preserve parkland and create natural and recreational areas in the county.

The county plans to honor the three winners during a virtual ceremony in November.

Photo via Fairfax County

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Summer Entertainment Series Returns — “Beginning July 30, the Fairfax County Park Authority will livestream 25 free summer concert events featuring a mix of nationally known performers and singer-songwriters. These virtual events provide a new way to enjoy great performances from the safety of your home.” [Fairfax County Government]

Private Wagon Rides at Frying Pan Farm Park — The park is offering 30-minute  private tours Monday through Friday mornings throughout August. The cost is $40 per family and advance reservations are required. [Fairfax County Government]

Public Art Reston to Host Virtual Artist Talk — “Join Public Art Reston for a live virtual artist talk with DeWitt Godfrey. The artist’s latest work ‘Simon’ is scheduled to be installed at Valley & Park here in Reston in August. During the artist talk, Godfrey will be interviewed by Public Art Reston Board Director and local artist Marco Rando. They will discuss the new sculpture, the artist’s creative process, and inspiration.” [Viva Reston]

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With the COVID-19 pandemic restricting many recreational activities, Frying Pan farm Park is turning to a new kind of tour.

The park, which is located at 2739 West Ox Road, is offering a driving tour of the farm. Residents will get the chance to see animals “up close and personal,” according to the farm. An audio tour will also be offered.

Here’s more from the park on the tour:

Here is your chance to cruise the park like the farmer! Load the family up in the old pickup truck (or minivan!) and come to enjoy Frying Pan Farm Park like never before as you tour the park from the comfort of your car. Enjoy a custom audio tour on your smart phone while driving the park and learn about history, farming, and other parts of Frying Pan Farm that you may not have known about! Price $25 per car.

The cost of $25 per vehicle. Registration is open online for four sessions on Saturday, June 20.

Photo via Yvonne Johnson

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After Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon lost income from visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a fundraiser is working to provide care for the animals.

The park, known around the community as a public, livestock-friendly facility, offers classes and camps for kids, has an on-site equestrian center and hosts field trips and similar events, according to Fairfax County.

But since the annual Farm Day, which was scheduled to take place (May 2), was canceled, people are rallying to make up for this significant source of income, according to the fundraiser page.

Roughly 100 animals live on the property, according to Yvonne Johnson, the manager of Frying Pan Farm Park.

Community members have donated $27,062 of the $30,000 that is required yearly to feed the animals living on the property, the page said, adding that the budget to feed the animals doesn’t come from Fairfax County. Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park is hosting the fundraiser.

“The Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park own the farm animals and contribute significantly to the cost of their feed and care,” the fundraising page said. “The Park Authority operates and staffs Frying Pan Farm Park.”

The $30,000 includes things like vet bills, equipment to grow food and other necessities, according to Johnson.

Despite the revenue loss, the animals are still well cared for and “having babies left and right,” Johnson said, but added that the animals and the staff are missing the typical interaction from guests.

Since Northern Virginia started the first reopening phase that is easing COVID-19 restrictions, Johnson said that the parking lots and trails are open for visitors who want to view the animals from the “peripheral fields.”

On the donation page, one contributor commented: “Visited there many times when my son was growing up. It is a part of our community. Love the 4-H Fair and the concerts.” A kids’ book has even been written about the center and its relation to the area’s history.

As of today, 322 people have contributed to the fundraiser. It will run for another 30 days in case anyone would still like to donate.

Photo via Friends of Frying Pan Park/Facebook

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Local history lovers can learn more about their community with an upcoming event at the Reston Museum.

“The Reston Story — Case Exhibit” (1639 Washington Plaza) invites people to check out an illustrated history of Reston from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., according to the Facebook page.

Illustrated pages offer guests the chance to see how people used to “live, work and play” in Reston, the website said.

This is exhibit is available for a limited time through the end of the month (Feb. 29), according to the website.

Tomorrow (Saturday)

  • Pebble to Pearl Party at Crafthouse Reston (10 p.m.) — This live musical event at 1888 Explorer Street invites people to come and enjoy live music, which brings together a variety of groups for a comprehensive musical experience — including local artists, according to the Facebook page. Drink and food will be served on-premises.
  • Candy Making Party (3-4:15 p.m.) — A candy making party at Frying Pan Farm Park (2709 W. Ox Road) welcomes people to enjoy a sweet day of historical candy making. This event includes a history demonstration lesson on a wood-burning stove. Admission is $10 and people over the age of 10 are welcome.
  • Romantic Roost (7-10 p.m.) — This event at 12976 Highland Crossing Drive allows people to come and drink wine while painting. Tickets are $55 per person.

Sunday (Feb. 9)

  • Carolina Blue (7 p.m.) — Frying Pan Farm Park (2739 W. Ox Road) is hosting a bluegrass concert from an award-winning group. This event is free and open to the public.

Image via The Reston Museum/Facebook

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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.

If anyone doesn’t get the chance to see Santa in person, people are always welcome to track his whereabouts on Christmas Eve thanks to the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Photo via Friends of Frying Pan Park/Facebook

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A new fine arts academy that was approved by Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors three years is set to transform the rural nature of land adjacent to Frying Pan Farm Park.

The Floris Conservatory of Fine Arts is expected to break ground sometime this month, bringing a 48,000 square foot conservatory with a 300-seat auditorium and music, dance, creative and visual arts classes.

The project is located at the intersection of Centreville Road and West Ox Road, south of the Town of Herndon.

The developer, Scimores Academy LLC, successfully received the county’s blessing to rezone the property, which is located within the nationally listed Floris Historic District, in June 2017. The approval came after more than two years of negotiations with landowners, historic preservation organizations, and educational entities.

Roughly six acres from the eight-acre project were rezoned to allow the project to move forward. Three existing structure on the site will be incorporated into the development.

The academy will be placed at the lowest point of the site in the southeastern corner in order to minimize its visual impact on neighboring areas.

Photos via handout/Fairfax County Government

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As we head into Labor Day weekend, here’s a look at some area closings and schedule adjustments for the holiday.

Public schools, library, county offices, the county’s animal shelter, General District Court, and Reston Community Center Hunters Woods and Lake Anne will be closed.

The Fairfax Connector will be operating on a Sunday schedule. Metrorail and Metrobus will also operate on a Sunday schedule, with off-peak fares in effect all day. Parking will be free at all Metrorail facilities.

Frying Pan Farm Park’s farm and indoor arena will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but its visitors center will remain closed. More information about county closures is available online.

Reston Association offices, the Central Services Facility and the nature house will close at noon today (Friday) and remain closed on Monday.

The pool schedule for the holiday weekend is below:

Glade, Lake Audubon, Lake Newport: Noon to 7 p.m.

North Shore, Ridge Heights: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In the town of Herndon, government offices will be closed. Recycling collection will be postponed from Monday to Tuesday. The town’s Labor Day festival is set from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the town green.

Photo via Ben White/Unsplash

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Two resident curators presented their plans to repurpose the historic Ellmore Farmhouse as part of the Fairfax County Park Authority’s resident curator program.

Two applicants proposed uses for the property through the program, which allows individuals and organizations to secure long-term lease agreements in exchange for rehabilitating the park authority’s underutilized historic properties.

Applicants Karl and Jessie Scherm proposed to use the property as a residential home, drawing on his memories and experience of visiting Frying Pan Farm Park.

The Scherms proposed to use the property for several community uses, including hosting members of the Chantilly Bible Church and welcoming widows and their school-aged children into the home.

“Our children, much like the Ellmore and Smith children, have had the opportunity to spend time learning about farming and caring for animals through the 4-H clubs they are in,” according to the application. “Living in the Ellmore Farmhouse would allow us more time to learn and share with others about the original families and animals that lived here on this property.”

The second applicant — a nonprofit organization that helps people with disabilities — proposed to use the property as a gathering space for its longterm and community integration services program, which serves 15 clients.

“Our solution will maximize heritage conservation efforts for the property to benefit the Fairfax community, including Frying Pan Park visitors, adults with disabilities, and the general public,” according to the application.

The next meeting on the proposals will be held on Thursday, September 12 at 9 a.m. at the Herrity Biulding (12055 Government Center Parkway). The meeting is public but no comments will be taken.

All written comments must be submitted via email to [email protected] by Friday, September 6.

The Ellmore Farmhouse is a two-story home on West Ox Road in Herndon that was first used by William Ellmore, a prominent local politician, until 1935. The successive owners continued to operate the property as a dairy forum until it was sold in 1854. FCPA purchased the property for inclusion into Frying Pan Farm Park in 2001.

Photo via Fairfax County Government

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