Restonians Band Together to ‘Light Up Reston’

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

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Annual Jingle on the Lake Returns to Lake Anne Plaza Next Month

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

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Friday Morning Notes

Britepaths Seeks Volunteers — The Fairfax-based nonprofit organization is seeking volunteers to sponsor families in need throughout the county. Sponsors are matched with families and may opt to provide a December holiday meal and gifts for children under 18. [Britepaths]

First African American Appointed as State Fire Marshal — “Governor Ralph Northam today announced the selection of Virginia’s new State Fire Marshal, Garrett Dyer. Garrett Dyer will oversee the law and code enforcement branch of the Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP), and lead more than 28 inspectors and administrative support staff. The Virginia State Fire Marshal’s role is to implement and enforce the fire code.[Office of the Governor]

Toy Drive in Reston Town Center Kicks Off This Month — RTC’s “Toys for Tots” drive will run from the last week of November through the first week of December. The program is held in partnership with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Toys will be collected in building lobbies. [Reston Town Center]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Veterans Day Celebrations and Closures Around Reston, Herndon

Monday is Veterans Day — a chance to celebrate the servicemen and women who currently or previously served in the United States Armed Forces.

Across Herndon and Reston, certain businesses or offices are altering hours in remembrance or even offering perks for veterans.

The Town of Herndon will host a remembrance ceremony on the Town Green at 11 a.m. in coordination with the American Legion Post 184.

Founding Farmers (1904 Reston Metro Plaza) is offering a 50% discount on brunch, lunch and dinner for those who bring along a military ID or wear their uniform. The Department of Veterans Affairs compiled a list of other chain locations offering discounts or free things for servicewomen and men.

The Herndon Community Center will operate from 6 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. and also offer free admission for retired veterans and active military personnel with military ID.  The Reston Community Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., according to its website.

The Fairfax County government offices and Fairfax County Public Libraries will be closed in remembrance, according to their website.

Fairfax County Public Schools will be open and teachers are encouraged to lead students in Veterans Day oriented activities.

Across the county, all neighborhood and community service centers will be closed.

Trash collection from the county will run on a normal schedule, although the offices will be closed, according to the website. Locals are advised to put their trash and recycling out by 6 a.m. for timely collection.

Fairfax County animal shelters are closed on Mondays, the website said.

Some Fairfax Connector routes will operate regular weekday service, while others won’t run at all.

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Columbus Day: What’s Open, What’s Closed

Columbus Day, a federal holiday that is also a workday for some, is on Monday. Here’s a look at what is open and what is closed for the holiday.

Fairfax County government offices and public schools are closed. Local libraries will also be closed on Monday. No in-person absentee voting will be offered at the Fairfax County Government Center. Reston Association offices, including the Walker Nature Center and Central Services Facility, will also be closed in observance of the holiday.

Reston Community Center Hunters Woods and Lake Anne are open, but check if your individual class or event is scheduled. Fairfax County parks and RECenter are also open.

Meanwhile, Metro will run on a Saturday schedule and Metrobus will operate on a modified Saturday schedule. MetroAccess and paratransit services will operate on a regular schedule.

File photo

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Here’s Where to Celebrate New Year’s Around Reston

From 5Ks to champagne toasts, there are plenty of events around Reston on New Year’s Eve if you’re still scrambling to put together plans for this Monday.

Monday (New Year’s Eve)

Kalypso’s New Year’s Eve Party
Kalypso’s Sports Tavern (1617 Washington Plaza N)
Time: 4 p.m.-2 a.m.

Kalypso’s is hosting a cover-free New Year’s party with free party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. Four-course meals are available at the restaurant for $39.95, with advance reservation suggested.

New Year’s Eve at Jimmy’s
Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern (697 Spring St)
Time: 5 p.m.-2 a.m.

The New Year’s celebration at Jimmy’s features a five-course meal for $39 for early seating or $49 for those who want to stay all night. DJ and dancing start at 10 p.m.

Field Shaman’s New Year’s Eve Bash
Red’s Table (11150 S Lakes Dr)
Time: 9 p.m.-12:30 a.m.

Red’s Table will host a New Year’s celebration will feature a selection of classic and indie rock with the bands Field Shaman Trio and Good for Sunday.

New Year’s Eve Party
PassionFish (11960 Democracy Dr)
Time: 10 p.m.-1 a.m.

The lounge area of PassionFish will be transformed into a party spot with an open bar, a variety of seafood and a DJ. Tickets for all-night partiers are $125 or $50 for those who just want to stay for dinner.

Tuesday (New Year’s Day)

New Year’s Day Pajama Brunch
Mon Ami Gabi (11950 Democracy Drive)
Time: 9 a.m.-10 p.m.

For the early risers, this New Year’s Day brunch will feature French cuisine classics like Crème Brûlée French Toast and Classic Quiche Lorraine.

PR Series: New Year’s Day 5k
Reston Town Center (11900 Market St)
Time: 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

If you’re looking to start 2019 a little healthier, a 5k around the Reston Town Center will be held on Tuesday morning with music and food available after the race. Tickets are $35 until Dec. 31.

Photo courtesy PR Running

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Friday Morning Notes

Holiday movie time at the library — Christmas and Hanukkah might be over, but locals can still enjoy the Disney holiday movie “Frozen” starting at 10:30 a.m. today at the Herndon Fortnightly Library. [Herndon Fortnightly Library]

Dulles Toll Road hikes start next week — Starting Jan. 1, prices are scheduled to increase from $2.50 to $3.25 at the main toll plaza and from $1 to $1.50 on ramps, according to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. [Tysons Reporter]

Beware of burglaries — Fairfax County Police are reminding residents to lock their doors after a wave of burglaries hit the McLean, Reston and Fair Oaks Districts. [Tysons Reporter]

Vote for Reston, Herndon theatre — The Reston Community Players and NextStop Theatre Company have several nominations for the BroadwayWorld Washington, D.C. Awards, including “Best Actor ina Community Theatre Production.” Voters have until Dec. 31 to pick the winners. [BroadwayWorld]

Last day to apply for the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival 2019 — Applicants can submit up to two applications by midnight tonight consisting of “original, well-conceived and expertly executed” works made within the last five years for the festival, which will be held in Reston. Art categories include ceramics, digital & multimedia art, furniture and more. The late fee is $60. [Zapplication]

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Reston Holiday Parade Ranks Fifth in USA Today Contest

The votes are in.

The annual Reston Holiday Parade nabbed fifth-place nationwide in a USA Today holiday parade contest, according to results released today.

Reston’s slot put it ahead of the Scottish Christmas Walk Parade in Alexandria, Va. and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.

Last year, the parade in Reston ranked sixth place. In 2016, it came in fourth overall.

Top honors went to America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit. The city has been hosting the parade since 1924, according to USA Today. 

The complete rankings are as follows:

  1. America’s Thanksgiving Parade – Detroit
  2. Sparks Hometowne Christmas — Sparks, Nev.
  3. Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade — Gatlinburg, Tenn.
  4. Ford Holiday River Parade — San Antonio
  5. Reston Holiday Parade — Reston, Va.
  6. Scottish Christmas Walk Parade — Alexandria, Va.
  7. Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade — Newport Beach, Calif.
  8. Mayor’s Annual Christmas Parade — Baltimore
  9. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — New York
  10. San Diego Bay Parade of Lights — San Diego

USA Today said a panel of experts whittled down a long list of nationwide events to come up with the initial top 20, which were put up to readers’ votes to determine the top 10 holiday parades in the country.

Photo via Lesnick Photo

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Reston Farm Market to Sell Trees Until Christmas Eve

Do you need a holiday tree?

The Christmas Tree Market at the Reston Farm Market (10800 Baron Cameron Ave) will sell trees until 5 p.m. on Dec. 24.

Locals can also purchase ornaments, holiday gift baskets and treats.

Last week, Reston Farm Market announced it would donate 20 trees to the Next Steps Family Program, an 18-unit emergency shelter for families experiencing homelessness, managed by FACETS.

The trees were delivered last Thursday (Dec. 13) to the three community centers that FACETS operates.

The Reston Farm Market provides fresh, locally-sourced produce, dairy and other farm-fresh goods. It will close for the season from Dec. 25 to March 15, but customers can still order firewood products online for delivery.

Photo via Reston Farm Market 

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Starting Friday: Free Holiday Lyft Rides to Combat Drunk Driving

Local nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) and ridesharing app Lyft are again partnering to offer free rides during the holiday season.

As part of an effort to combat drunk driving, WRAP will be sponsoring free Lyft rides starting this Friday (Dec. 14).

From 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., rides up to $15 are free with the use of a promo code. The user is responsible for any costs over $15. The offer will continue until Jan. 1.

Weekly codes will be posted at the Sober Rides website at noon on Dec. 14, 22, and 31. The weekly code is only valid for one ride.

According to the Virginia Highway Safety Office, there were 621 alcohol-related crashes in Fairfax in 2017, resulting in 331 injuries and 12 fatalities.

As the program is aimed at preventing alcohol related crashes, Lyft riders must be at least 21 years old to claim the offer. The code is valid for any rides inside the D.C. coverage area, which includes all of Fairfax County.

The SoberRide program operates during the December/January holiday season, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Independence Day and Halloween.

Image via Washington Regional Alcohol Program

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Santa Bar Crawl and More This Weekend in Reston

In addition to the Holiday events we covered earlier, there’s plenty to do around Reston this weekend. This weekend should be especially busy for the more artistically inclined readers, with dancing, music, and photography events tomorrow and Sunday.

Tomorrow (Dec. 8)

Cookies with Santa (9 a.m.-12 p.m.) — Hot chocolate and cookies will be available for children and adults at an arts and crafts event hosted by the Reston Association at Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Ave). The program is geared towards children ages 2-12. Admission is $15 for Reston Association members of $20 for non-members.

Irish Dance (12-1 p.m.) — The Foley Academy of Irish Dance will offer a dance performance and lesson at the Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Dr).

Singer Songwriter Crys Matthews (6:30-9:30) — The alternative rock singer-songwriter will be performing at the Lake Anne Coffee House & Wine Bar (1612 Washington Plaza) tomorrow night. Matthew is also scheduled to perform in January at a three-day event for Reston’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration.

National Parks Photography Exhibit Reception (7-9 p.m.) — Artspace Herndon (750 Center St) will host a reception for Jim Schlett’s gallery of national park photography. Most of the work was photographed during long walks through the parks around dawn or dusk. The exhibit will run until Jan. 5.

2018 Reston Santa Bar Crawl (8 p.m.-1 a.m.) — The rules for a Santa Bar Crawl are simple: wear a Santa suit, or some other holiday costume, and hit up a series of Santa-friendly bars across Reston. A full list of participating bars is available at the event page.

Sunday (Dec. 9)

Christmas at the Farm — The Frying Pan Farm Park (2739 West Ox Rd) will offer cookie decorating, Sant-driven dractor rides, and more for $10 per person. Sessions at the farm are held throughout the day. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Sunday Afternoon Dance (2:30-4:30 p.m.) — The Reston Community Center (2310 Colts Neck Rd) is hosting a dance for all skill levels, with music ranging from waltz and swing to modern dance selections. Partners are not required. The cost is $5 for Reston residents or $10 for non-Restonians. The event is followed by a County Western Dance from 5:30-8 p.m.

Photo via Facebook

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Reston in the Running for USA Today’s ‘Best Holiday Parade’

Locals have one week left to vote Reston’s holiday parade to the top of USA Today’s nationwide ranking.

The contest has Reston competing against other parades in towns and cities across the country, including Sparks, Nev.; Gatlinburg, Tenn.; San Antonio; and Detroit.

USA Today’s 10Best Editors and Local Experts nominated 20 places that “bring holiday cheer in the form of festive floats, dancing elves, Santa and his sleigh and millions of twinkling lights,” according to the website.

The annual event in Reston Town Center is known for its Macy’s-style parade of balloons, musicians, dancers and more. This year’s parade took place on Nov. 23.

Last year, Reston landed in sixth place on USA Today’s list. Philadelphia claimed the top spot, followed by Detroit; Baltimore; Annapolis, Md.; and Charlotte, N.C.

In 2016, Reston held the fourth-place slot, putting it one spot ahead of the nationally-televised Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.

Voters can cast one ballot per day until voting ends on Monday (Dec. 10) at noon.

USA Today will announce the top 10 winning events, determined by the votes, on Dec. 21.

Photo via Reston Town Center

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Reston Historic Trust & Museum Kicks Off Commemorative Bricks Sale

Reston Historic Trust & Museum has started up sales during the holiday season for commemorative bricks.

Locals have until Jan. 20 to place their orders for installation in 2019. The annual brick sales support the museum.

Up to three inscribed lines with a maximum of 15 characters each cost $100, while up to six lines cost $250. The inscription has white text level with the surface of the brick.

The inscription guidelines do not allow for the phrase “In Memory Of” and dates commemorative a person’s lifespan. The inscription also cannot contain profanity, offensive language, logos, taglines, telephone numbers or advertising. Religious or political content or symbols are also banned.

Bricks are ordered and installed once a year, according to the museum’s website. It takes up to two months to finish the bricks after they are bought each February.

Usually, the bricks get displayed at the Reston Museum during the Founder’s Day celebrations in April and are then installed in Lake Anne Plaza.

Photo via Reston Museum/Facebook

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Reston Holiday Events Throughout December

Several holiday events are planned around Reston throughout December.

Every Saturday evening in December, from 4-9 p.m., horse-drawn carriage rides will take visitors on a tour around the Reston Town Center. The carriage rides start in front of Talbots (11900 Market Street).

On Sundays, from noon to 4 p.m., train rides will be available for smaller children. Donations benefiting local charities are requested. The train departs in front of Clyde’s.

On Dec. 2 and 9, the Frying Pan Farm Park will also be hosting Christmas at the Farm. A variety of Christmas-themed activities, including cookie decorating and writing letters to Santa, will be held in sessions throughout the day at the park. Tickets are $10 per person, and children must be accompanied by an adult registered in the program.

  • Dec. 1: Gifts from the HeART Exhibit — Artists from Jo Ann Rose Gallery will display and sell original works of art.
  • Dec. 1: The Wonder of the Season — The Reston Chorale presents sounds of the season with guest artists Tim King and the Washington Symphonic Brass Quintet. Tickets are available through Reston Chorale.
  • Dec. 1: Alternative Gift Market — The Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston will create a market with more than 30 local, national and international nonprofit organizations.  All of the proceeds will go to the participating groups.
  • Dec. 1: Jingle on Lake Anne — An ornament and cookie decorating event on Lake Anne, with Santa and his elves arriving by boat and paddle board at noon.
  • Dec. 2: Run with Santa 5k — A race around the Reston Town Center starting and ending on Market Street. The race starts at 8:30 a.m. and participants are encouraged to wear ugly Christmas sweaters or Christmas elf costumes.
  • Dec. 4: Reston Sings: Handel’s Messiah! — The Reston Chorale will be performing George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah.” General admission tickets are $15, or $10 with the donation of a new or gently used coat or other winter apparel.
  • Dec. 9: Chanukah on Ice & Outdoor Menorah Lighting — An ice skating party is planned to celebrate Chanukah at the Reston Town Center Pavilion. A lighting ceremony is open to all, with a $12 fee to skate. Latkes and donuts will be served.
  • Dec. 15: Reston Town Center Winterfest — Treats and activities are planned for the festival running from 12-5 p.m., including a carousel at the ice skating rink.

Photo via Facebook

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Reston and Fairfax County Thanksgiving Closures

In case you were hoping to spend your Thanksgiving hanging out at government facilities around Fairfax, you may be out of luck. But on the bright side, all parking will be free at Metro facilities tomorrow.

The Metro will be running a Sunday schedule on Thanksgiving day, opening at 7 a.m. and closing at midnight. Off-peak fares will be in effect all day and parking will be free at Metro facilities. Metrobus will also be operating on a Sunday schedule.

The Fairfax Connector will be running on a Sunday schedule for Thanksgiving Day. A full list of routes being run in the Reston area is available online. The day after Thanksgiving, the bus will run a holiday weekend schedule.

The Fairfax County Government offices will be closed tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday for Thanksgiving. Schools are closed today (Wednesday) through Friday.

The Reston Community Center will be open tomorrow from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and open on Friday from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. The Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center will be open from 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. tomorrow and 6 a.m.-9p.m. on Friday. The Reston Community Center Lake Anne will be closed both days.

Fairfax Libraries and Courts will also be closed tomorrow and Friday. The Frying Pan Farm Park Visitor Center and Colvin Run Mill Historic Site will also be closed.

The Recycling and Disposal Centers will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, but both locations will be open on Friday if you have a substantial amount of post-holiday disposal to go through.

Photo via Flickr/Olin Gilbert

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