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Several Reston Restaurants Open on Christmas

Christmas at Reston Town Center

Feel like going out for a little Christmas Day cheer? A selection of Reston-area restaurants will be open Thursday, Dec. 25.

Among them:

McCormick & Schmick’s 

Tavern 64 at the Hyatt

Amphora Restaurant (Herndon and Vienna)

Vinifera Wine Bar & Bistro

Generally, many Asian and Indian restaurants are open Christmas, so check with your favorites or try:

Mama Wok at Tall Oaks

Lakeside Asia at South Lakes

Great China at North Point

Mayuri at Hunters Woods

Know of any others? Add them in the comments.

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Most County Services Closed Thursday and Friday

Fairfax CountyVirtually all facets of Fairfax County and federal government are closed on Thursday, which is Christmas Day. Friday has been declared a day off for federal workers, and many Fairfax County agencies have followed suit.

A quick review of the holiday schedules:

County Government

  • Dec. 24 – Closed at noon.
  • Dec. 25 – Closed.
  • Dec. 26 – Closed.
  • Jan. 1 – Closed.
  • Jan. 2 – Closed.

Courts

  • Dec. 24-26 – Closed.
  • Dec. 31 – Closed at noon.
  • Jan. 1 – Closed.
  • Jan. 2 – Closed.

Fairfax County Public Libraries

  • Dec. 24 – Closed at 1 p.m.
  • Dec. 25-26 – Closed.
  • Dec. 31 – Closed at 5 p.m.
  • Jan. 1-2 – Closed.

Reston Community Center Hunters Woods 

  • Dec. 24 – 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Dec. 25 – Closed.
  • Dec. 31 – 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Jan. 1 – Noon to 5 p.m.

Reston Community Center Lake Anne

  • Dec. 24-25 – Closed.
  • Dec. 31-Jan. 1 – Closed.

For a complete list of Fairfax County resources and their holiday schedules, visit the Fairfax County website.

Reston Association

  • Dec. 24 – RA offices, Nature House closed at noon.
  • Dec. 25 – Closed.
  • Dec. 26 – Closed.
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Creating Lake Anne in Gingerbread and Gumdrops

Lake Anne in Gingerbread/Glenn Gore

Reston resident Glenn Gore has recreated Lake Anne Plaza — in gingerbread, lollipops and gumdrops.

Gore, a business consultant by day, says he is carrying on a tradition of elaborate gingerbread construction begun by his mother, Elizabeth Gore, in the 1970s. Elizabeth Gore announced two years ago she was ended the tradition. That’s when Glenn took over.

Said Glenn Gore:

“Last year, I picked up the tradition and built the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. I used techniques I learned over the years and a few techniques I learned along the way.”

I make the gingerbread using a family recipe, and royal icing holds everything together. Last year’s, as well as this year’s, houses are made of entirely edible ingredients and candy.

This year’s Lake Anne Village Center was constructed using 17  batches of dough (one batch will cover a typical cookie sheet). I build the gingerbread structure; my wife does the decorating.”

Gore even added a touch to show this is Lake Anne in 2014 — a gingerbread Santa paddleboarder.

Gore and his wife have worked with the Lake Anne Merchant’s Association, which is letting them display the project in the old Lakeside Pharmacy space through the holidays.

Photo courtesy of Glenn Gore

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Holiday Fun: Chanukah Extravaganza at Lake Anne

Reston founder Bob Simon lights the Menorah at previous Lake Anne Chanukah celebration/Photo courtesy of Chabad Reston-HerndonThe first night of Chanukah — the Jewish festival of lights — will be celebrated Reston-style at Lake Anne Plaza on Tuesday, Dec 16.

Chabad of Reston-Herndon is hosting its annual Chanukah Extravaganza, a free event for the whole family on the first night of Chanukah. The fun begins at 5:30 p.m.

Here is what you need to know:

Bring canned goods (Kosher, please) to the event and help build a giant Menorah of Kindness. The food will later be donated to help those in need.

There will be arts and crafts, Chanukah chocolate making, face painting, dreidel playing, and of course, menorah lighting.

Among the holiday treats: potato latkes, donuts and chocolate gelt.

There will also be a raffle to win a tablet computer.

More Chanukah fun nearby:

Sunday, Dec. 21 — Chanukah on the Green in Herndon at 5:30 p.m. Chabad’s Chanukah on the Green will take place at 730 Lynn St. in Old Town Herndon. The free event will also feature Chanukah food and fun.

Sunday, Dec. 21 — Light up the Night: Community Menorah Lighting at Mosaic District (2910 District Ave. in Fairfax, VA, outside the Angelika theater, 4:30 p.m.

Join the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia for a holiday celebration with a candle lightings, songs, entertainment, eating suganiyot (donuts) and gelt and spinning the dreidel! Free admission and free parking.

Photo: Reston founder Bob Simon lights the Menorah at previous Lake Anne Chanukah celebration/Photo courtesy of Chabad Reston-Herndon

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Pets Can Pay a Visit to Santa at Lake Anne on Saturday

Pets visiting Santa/Credit: Virginia Tech, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary MedicinePetMAC, the locally owned pet supply store opening this month at Lake Anne Plaza, is inviting all pet owners to bring their pets in on Saturday, Dec. 13, for a photo with Santa.

Santa will be at the store, located at 11412 Washington Plaza, from 2 to 4 p.m.

“Santa loves our pets as much as we do, so bring your dog or cat to sit with Santa for a photo and to let him know what your best friend wants for Christmas this year (hint, hint, PetMAC’s Christmas toys and treats make perfect stocking stuffers),” says PetMAC owner Cindy Williams.

Cats are welcome during the last half hour of the event, says Williams. She asks that they cats visit the store in a secure cat carrier.

Reservations are requested. To reserve a time with Santa, please call 703-908-7387. Walk-ins will be accepted, depending on availability.

The cost of the photo is a $15 donation (cash or check), which will be given to Homeward Trails to help rescue more cats and dogs in need of homes.

Photo Courtesy of Virginia Tech, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine

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Weekend Picks: Busy Holiday Lineup in Reston

Christmas at Reston Town Center

This weekend might be the busiest of the season for all things holiday-related around Reston. Here is a lineup of events, all happening over the next few days. Did we miss any? Add them in the comments.

Jingle on Lake Anne
Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 pm.
Lake Anne Plaza
Free

Outdoor festival with carols, a petting zoo, a holiday crafts market and Santa Claus arriving by barge at noon.

Gifts From the HeART
Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Reston Community Center Lake Anne
Free

Shop for gifts at this fair featuring local artists in a variety of mediums. Ten percent of proceeds will benefit Cornerstones.

Alternative Gift Fair 
Unitarian Universal Church in Reston, 1625 Wiehle Ave.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Free

Shop 30 booths with crafts and alternative gifts benefitting local and international nonprofits.

Reston Chorale’s “The Wonder of the Season”
Saturday, 4:40 and 7:30 p.m.
Reston Community Center Hunters Woods
Cost: $25, Adult (18-61); $20, Seniors (62+); Free,  17 and under with adult or senior ticket holder. (Tickets Required)

The Reston Chorale presents its annual holiday concert  featuring  Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Run With Santa 5K
Sunday, 8:30 a.m.
Reston Town Center
Cost: $40

Don a holiday-themed or your regular running gear for this race, which will also feature a kids’ fun run. Online registration closed. Registration available on race day.

Walker Nature Center Holiday Open House
Sunday, 1 to 3 p.m.
Walker Nature Education Center, 11450 Glade Dr.
Free

Bring the whole family for holiday music, refreshments and nature activities.

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Holiday Shopping? Here’s a Chance to Help Kids in Need

Christmas presents/Credit: Jennifer C., FlickrCornerstones has extended its Gifts for Kids drive through Monday, Dec. 8.

The Reston nonprofit is gathering gifts for kids of all ages whose families might not have the money for holiday gifts.

Cornerstones says they especially need gift cards for teens.

Gifts will be collected at Cornerstones’ main office, 11150 Sunset Hills Road, Suite 210, Reston, Friday, Dec. 5 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 6, from 9 a.m. to noon; and Monday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Questions regarding this program?  Please contact Alacia Earley or call 571.323.9568.

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Thoreau Homeowners Give Back With Holiday Lights

Holiday Lights/Credit: FlickrIf you drive by Lake Thoreau this holiday season, you will see lots of twinkling lights off the balconies, boats and homes surrounding the lake.

The Lake Thoreau Entertainment Association is sponsoring the second annual Festival of Winter Lights. Not only will it add a festive glow on the water, the group is also giving back to charity.

As a motivation to get maximum participation among the 550 or so condos, boats and houses, anonymous donors will donate the following for each condo, house, and boat that lights up the night:

  • $15 to art project on the spillway. The association is working Initiative For Public Art Reston (IPAR)/ South Lakes High School to help fund a project similar to this year’s Pyramid of Light, which stood on the lake all summer.
  • $10 contribution to Cornerstones.

The group is also inviting anybody who wants to become an additional donor to one of the above organizations or to another charity on a per house basis. If you are a participating Lake Thoreau resident who would rather choose their own charity, contact James Pan at [email protected].

Send photos of your Lake Thoreau light displays to us at [email protected] and we will create an album of the community’s best work.

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Run With Santa 5K Sunday at Reston Town Center

Run With Santa 5K 2013/Credit: Potomac River Running via Flickr

Here is a spot see Santa Claus around Reston: In running shoes this weekend.

Runners of all ages are welcome to take part in Run With Santa, Sunday at 8:30 a.m. at Reston Town Center.

The 5K course takes participants in and around Reston Town Center. If you are not racing, be aware that Town Center Parkway, Reston Parkway and Sunset Hills will be affected (lanes will be closed but the streets will be open to cars). See course map.

Online registration ($35) closes Thursday at 9 p.m. In-person registration ($40) is available at packet pickup Friday and Saturday and at the race on Sunday.

Runners are encouraged to race in Christmas-themed costumes. There will be a free Fun Run for kids on Market Street. Cash prizes will be awarded to age-group winners.

Proceeds will benefit local charities.

Photo of 2013 Run With Santa/Credit: Potomac River Running via Flickr

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Holiday Fun: Santa Arrives By Boat Saturday

Who needs a sleigh when you have Lake Anne and a barge?

Santa Claus makes his annual return to Lake Anne Plaza by boat on Saturday, Dec. 6 at noon.

St. Nick’s arrival is part of the Jingle on Lake Anne celebration, which runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Among the activities: strolling carolers; a petting zoo; music; wine tastings; merchant specials; children’s crafts; cookie and ornament decorating; holiday arts & crafts market, and more.

The holiday event, which is free and will be held rain or shine, is hosted by Lake Anne Merchants.

Also, stop by the Reston Community Center Lake Anne for the Gifts from the HeART Exhibition and shopping event, which will be open until 4 p.m.

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Your Photos: Holiday Fun at Reston Town Center

The 2014 holiday season began with chilly temps, bright tinsel and a running gingerbread man on Market Street at Reston Town Center Friday.

Kids gathered at 8 a.m. to run the Gingerbread Man Mile. The 24th annual Reston Holiday Parade then marched down Market Street at 11 a.m. as the crowd welcomed Santa and Mrs. Claus, as well as dozens of other bands, characters and entertainment.

The festivities continue Friday evening with the lighting of the tree at 6 p.m.

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Poll: Are You a Black Friday Shopper?

Holiday shoppers at Tysons Corner/file photo

It’s here! The holiday shopping season is upon us. There are deals to be had, but are they worth it? Take our poll and tell us where you stand on Black Friday.

Photo: Tysons Corner holiday shoppers/file photo

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Friday: Reston Parade Kicks Off Holiday Season

paradess1Get to Reston Town Center early Friday morning if you want to get a good viewing spot along Market Street for the 24th annual Holiday Parade.

The parade begins at 11 a.m., rain or shine. The theme for this year is “Home for the Holidays.”

Special guest parade emcees will be Angie Goff and Doug Kammerer of NBC4 Washington.

The Reston Holiday Parade features Macy’s-style character balloons, marching bands, dancers, antique cars, community groups, dignitaries and the Washington Nationals’ Racing Presidents. It culminates with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Honoring the “Home for the Holidays” this year, the parade will have an Americana theme, offering a big welcome to members of the military and their families. Before the parade starts, thousands of American flags and jingle bells will be handed out to spectators lining the route.

After the parade, Santa and Mrs. Claus will stay for visits and photos until 4:30 p.m. Any donation for a 5 x 7″ photo will benefit South Lakes High School.

Also on Friday:

8:00 a.m. — Stores at Reston Town Center open

12:30 to 4:30 p.m. — Mini-Train Rides. All donated proceeds will benefit a local charity.

5:00 p.m. — Frosty Follies. Music and dance performance by Metropolitan School of the Arts, on Market Street in front of the tree.

6:00 p.m. — The tree lighting attracts a gathering of approximately 5,000 people to Fountain Square for a half-hour Sing Along of traditional Christmas songs. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive in a horse-drawn carriage to magically light up the huge Christmas tree in Fountain Square, followed by traditional holiday songs led by The Reston Chorale and brass quintet.

6:30 p.m. — Horse-drawn carriage rides begin. Proceeds benefit local charities. Pick-up location is in front of Talbots on Market Street. $5 per person; children 5 and under ride free with adult.

Photo: 2013 Reston Holiday Parade/Credit: Mike Heffner

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Holiday Plans: Reston Town Center’s 24th Annual Parade

Friday, Nov. 28 marks the starts of the 2014 holiday shopping season, and Reston Town Center will usher in “the most wonderful time of the year” with a full day of activities.

Here’s the schedule of events:

8 a.m. — Reston Town Center stores and the ice skating pavilion both open early.

8 a.m.Gingerbread Man Mile, a one-mile kids fun run to benefit Children’s National Medical Center. Online registration closes Nov. 25 at 8 p.m.

11 a.m. — The 24th annual Reston Town Center holiday parade. This year’s theme is “Home for the Holidays.

The Reston Holiday Parade features 60 groups and thousands of spectators. There will be Macy’s-style balloons, musicians, dancers, antique cars, characters, community groups, dignitaries, Washington Nationals Racing Presidents, and the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus in a horse-drawn carriage.

Honoring the “Home for the Holidays” this year, the parade will have an Americana theme, offering a big welcome to members of the military and their families. Before the parade starts, thousands of American flags and jingle bells will be handed out to spectators lining the route.

The Grand Marshals for this year’s parade also honor our troops.

Grand Marshals: The Cowart Family. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Kris Cowart, his wife Nicole, and daughter Lizzie are from Baton Rouge, La., and reside in Springfield.

Junior Grand Marshal: South Lakes High School student Nathan Rulona, who is the Battalion Commander of the JROTC program, leading 151 students while maintaining a GPA of over 4.0 in the IB diploma program.

Special guest parade emcees will be Angie Goff and Doug Kammerer of NBC4 Washington.

After the parade, Santa and Mrs. Claus will stay for visits and photos until 4:30 p.m.  Any donation for a 5 x 7″ photo will benefit South Lakes High School.

12:30 to 4:30 p.m. — Mini-Train Rides. All donated proceeds will benefit a local charity.

5:00 p.m. — Frosty Follies. Music and dance performance by Metropolitan School of the Arts, on Market Street in front of the tree.

6:00 p.m. — The tree lighting attracts a gathering of approximately 5,000 people to Fountain Square for a half-hour Sing Along of traditional Christmas songs. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive in a horse-drawn carriage to magically light up the huge Christmas tree in Fountain Square, followed by traditional holiday songs led by The Reston Chorale and brass quintet.

6:30 p.m. — Horse-drawn carriage rides begin. Proceeds benefit local charities. Pick-up location is in front of Talbots on Market Street. $5 per person; children 5 and under ride free with adult.

Photo: 2013 Reston Town Center Holiday Parade/Credit: Mike Heffner

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Kicking Off the Holidays Right in Reston

Reston Real Estate column banner

This is a sponsored column by Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate

I love Thanksgiving weekend — there is so much to do and so much fun to be had. I wish it could last longer. If you’re new to Reston, or just want some new ideas about what to do this weekend, here are some of my favorites.

Donate Food to Those in Need

Before the weekend, consider donating food to Cornerstones — a fabulous Reston-based organization that makes a real difference in people’s lives.

The Reston Community Center, Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, and Cornerstones have joined to collect food for the needy. You can drop off non-perishable food and other items from Nov. 1 to 24 at the Reston Community Center’s Hunters Woods and Lake Anne facilities, the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, and a variety of other drop-off points throughout the community. Visit the web page for a list of items they really need and to see dropoff locations.

Dinner Out

If you don’t feel like cooking this Thanksgiving, I suggest visiting Vinifera at the Westin Reston Heights. They are offering a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday buffet for a reasonable price: $49 per adult; $20 per child ages 5-12; and $7 per child ages 5 and under. The restaurant is located at 11750 Sunrise Valley Dr, Call (703) 234-3550 for reservations. For other options, check out this list of Northern VA restaurants serving Thanksgiving dinner.

Reston Holiday Parade

An annual tradition on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the Reston Holiday Parade has grown in every way. Macy’s-style balloons, musicians and marching bands, dancers, antique cars, community groups, and more make up this one-of-a-kind, one-hour procession welcoming the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus for the season.

The 2014 Parade Theme — “Home for the Holidays” — invites adults and kids alike to join the fun to celebrate home, family, and freedom! Come early to get your free sleigh bells. The fun starts at 11:00 a.m. at Reston Town Center.

Tree Lighting and Sing Along

After you have warmed up from your morning at the Holiday Parade, come back to the Reston Town Center for the annual tree lighting and sing along at 6 p.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive in a horse-drawn carriage to magically light up the huge Christmas tree in Fountain Square. After that is a traditional holiday sing along led by The Reston Chorale and brass quintet.

From 6:30 until 10 pm, horse-drawn carriage rides are available, embarking from outside of Talbots on Market Street. All proceeds benefit local charities.

Shop for Gifts from the Heart

Shop at the annual “Gifts from the HeART” from Dec. 1 to Jan. 5 to benefit Cornerstones. Sales of original works of two- and three- dimensional art in many mediums including watercolor, oil, acrylic, clay, mixed media, photography, and fiber are available–and make great gifts. Come to the Reston Community Center at Lake Anne and find the perfect gift!

That should do it — after all, you need plenty of time to lounge around and visit with your family and friends!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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