Tuesday, September 28
- Health and Wellness Fair (5:30-7:30 p.m.) — The YMCA Fairfax County Reston is hosting this Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce Network Night that features healthy snacks, alcohol and wellness resources.
Wednesday, September 29
- BEER RUN pre-Ragnar Q&A (6:30-8:30 p.m.) — While registration has closed for Ragnar Sunset NoVA‘s Saturday race, you can still learn more about it, run some laps and have some beers while asking questions with the race director at Lake Anne Brew Plaza.
Thursday, September 30
- Herndon Farmers Market (8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) — Stop by for some fresh produce from local vendors. Recurs weekly.
Friday, October 1
- “A Familiar Melody” (8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday as well as 2 p.m. on Sunday) — A NextStop Theatre Company show brings together a selection of Broadway hits. Tickets are $30.
Saturday, October 2
- Reston Farm Garden Market Fall Fest (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.) — Enjoy bounce houses, games, a maze and petting zoo, train rides and more. This recurring weekend event takes place on Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 31. Cost is $28 per child, $6 for adults and free for children age 2 and under.
- Reston Farmers Market (8 a.m. to noon) — After taking a break last week due to the Reston Multicultural Festival, this staple returns with local vendors.
- The Seldom Scene (8 p.m.) — American bluegrass band The Seldom Scene performs at the CenterStage at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods. Cost is $25 for Reston residents.
- Movies in the Park (7 p.m.) — Enjoy a showing of “Tom and Jerry” at Lake Newport Soccer Field and bring a picnic dinner or buy popcorn, candy and drinks there. Free for kids 3 and under.
Sunday, October 3
- GWTCS 5K Run — (8:30 a.m. to noon) — The Greater Washington Telugu Cultural Sangam is bringing people to Lake Fairfax Park and recognizing participants with medals. Event includes breakfast. Tickets for kids are $10 and adults are $15. Registration deadline is Saturday, Oct. 2.
- Putting the Animals to Bed (6:30 p.m.) — Learn how Frying Pan Farm Park staff put the animals to bed. Bring a flashlight or lantern for this twilight tour. The cost is $10 per person.
- Mushrooms of Reston (2-3:30 p.m.) — Learn about the area’s natural resources in this adult nature program. Tickets start at $5.
Monday, September 20
- Technology Help (4-6 p.m.) — Volunteers at Reston Regional Library are available to answer questions about technology. Half-hour slots are open for reservations.
Tuesday, September 21
- (un)disclosed — It’s the last day to enjoy this exhibit, which features the work of Judith Pratt. Visitors can drop by until 5 p.m. at the Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art.
Thursday, September 23
- Putting the Animals to Bed (6:30 p.m.) — Learn how Frying Pan Farm Park staff put the animals to bed. Bring a flashlight or lantern for this twilight tour. The cost is $10 per person.
- Girl Power Book Club (7-8 p.m.) — The book club is celebrating its third anniversary this month by returning to in-person meetings. Middle-grade and young adult readers are invited. This month’s book is The Dire Days of Willoweep Manor.
Friday, September 24
- Friday Night Live! (6:30 p.m.) — This free outdoor concert series returns this Friday. This week’s show features Screaming Monkeys.
Saturday, September 25
- Reston Multicultural Festival — The annual festival is back at Lake Anne Plaza after a hiatus last year. The festival will include entertainment, shopping, and food.
- Storytime (11 a.m.) –Laura Renauld reads from her Woodland Friends series at Scrawl Books in Reston Town Center.
Sunday, September 26
- NatureFest (1-5 p.m.) — This family friend event features animals, plans and insects that live in Runnymede Park. Attendees can move between different natural stations. Free parking is available at the Herndon Police Department.
- Talladega Nights (7 p.m.) — Enjoy a free screening and popcorn at Reston Metro Plaza. The movie starts at sundown.
Northam Advocates for Vaccine Requirements — Gov. Ralph Northam urged business leaders to follow the public sector in setting COVID-19 vaccination mandates at a Capital Region Business Forum in D.C. yesterday (Thursday). His comments came hours before President Joe Biden announced that all businesses with more than 100 workers must require the vaccine, among other new rules. [Inside NoVA]
Feds Use Reston Company’s Data Against Facebook — The Federal Trade Commission revealed user data on Wednesday (Sept. 8) that officials said supports their antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, which argues that the social media company has a monopoly. The FTC cited data from Reston-based market research firm Comscore that it says Facebook uses to prepare materials for CEO Mark Zuckerberg. [Bloomberg]
Tephra Sculpture Celebration Kicks off Art Festival — The Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival starts today (Friday) with a long-awaited celebration of artist Sue Wrbican’s surrealist-inspired Buoyant Force sculpture in Reston Town Square Park. Now in its 30th year, the festival will continue through the weekend with live performances and more than 200 artists present to share and sell their work. [Tephra ICA]
Smithsonian Creates Archive of 9/11 Memories — “The Smithsonian National Museum of American History is gathering written and recorded memories of 9/11 for the 20th anniversary of the attacks. You can submit your written memories, photos, or a video to the Smithsonian’s ‘9-11: An Evolving Legacy’ website. You can also read what has been submitted so far.” [DCist]
To the world, Mykle Lyons was an accomplished jazz musician, a student of the late Ellis Marsalis who played in venues like Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center and counted former Vice President Al Gore among his fans.
To residents of Reston, his long-time home, Lyons was also a neighbor, a regular sight at the now-closed Market Street Bar and Grill in Reston Town Center and at local schools where he sometimes volunteered to perform.
Now, in the wake of Lyons’s death in May, Lake Anne Plaza hopes to keep alive his legacy as a musician and valued community member by launching the first annual Mykle Lyons Food and Music Festival on Sept. 18.
“The cultural impact of Reston ripples far beyond its boundaries, and nowhere is this better exemplified than by the contributions of our own Mykle Lyons, an accomplished musician, an educator, a philosopher, and a generous and compassionate soul,” the Lake Anne & Washington Plaza Merchant Association said yesterday (Tuesday) in a news release announcing the festival’s musical lineup.
Organized by the association in conjunction with Roxplosion and Kalypso’s Sports Tavern, the free festival will take place at the plaza waterfront (1609 Washington Plaza) from 5 to 8 p.m. The Chris Timbers Band and Sam Gunderson & The Cactus Groove will perform.
Born in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, Lyons became immersed in jazz through trips with his father to nearby New Orleans. He and his family moved to Reston when he entered middle school, where he joined his first band, Amethyst, according to Kalypso’s owner Vicky Hadjikyriakou.
He later studied with Marsalis while attending Virginia Commonwealth University and formed the Mykle Lyons Quartet, which appeared as the featured act at the 1992 and 1996 Presidential Inaugural Galas at the National Gallery of Art.
Lyons released four professional recordings, including an album called “Heritage” that featured all original music and arrangements, but his primary passion was for live music.
An archived Washington Post feature on pianist Loston Harris II describes Lyons’s bass solo during a sold-out concert that they played at The Lyceum in Old Town Alexandria in the late 1990s, saying that “the instrument seems to be alive, bucking and rolling.”
Other collaborators included the Marsalis family, Don Braden, Lew Tabacken, Ralph Bowen, Vincent Herring, Wes Anderson, Eric Alexander, and Victor Goines.
“Through his travels and gigs, Lake Anne remained his home and the Plaza his neighborhood,” Hadjikyriakou said by email.
In addition to putting on weekly shows at the Market Street Bar and Grill until it closed, Lyons performed at a range of venues throughout Reston, from weddings to the United Christian Parish preschool. He even once coordinated a volunteer performance by Lady Gaga’s cellist at Buzz Aldrin Elementary School.
Lyons also left his mark in Reston by creating the Lake Anne Jazz and Blues Festival, which celebrated its 14th year of existence on Saturday (Sept. 4). His band, which expanded into a sextet, had performed at the annual festival in the past.
“Kalypso’s, Roxplosion, and Lake Anne & Washington Plaza Merchant Association all look forward to honoring Mykle’s contributions by providing an event to celebrate and share the gift of music with our community, just as he would have wanted- in his neighborhood,” Hadjikyriakou said.
Four years ago, Family Counseling Center of Greater Washington volunteer Cindy Han had an idea for how to improve awareness and support of mental health, particularly among Asians and other minority groups.
She shared it with Fairfax County Health Director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu, who voiced her support and suggested that Han’s organization — a Vienna-based nonprofit focused on serving the local Korean community — spearhead it.
Her proposal will become a reality tomorrow (Saturday) when the first Fight Suicide Walkathon kicks off at 8:30 a.m. at Lake Fairfax Park (1400 Lake Fairfax Drive) at Shelter J. People are encouraged to preregister at the center’s website.
“Many people shy away [from] seeking the help that they need at the onset,” Han, who now chairs the center’s board, said, adding that she hopes the walkathon will help normalize getting assistance.
Suicide remains a leading cause of death in the U.S., taking the lives of 44,834 people last year, 47,511 people in 2019, and 48,344 people in 2018, according to a recent report by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers.
It was the 10th leading cause of death until last year, when it declined by 5.6 percent, as COVID-19 killed 345,323 people across the country.
The walkathon was slated to occur last summer but was postponed due to the pandemic.
Anthem HealthKeepers Plus of Virginia, a health plan that facilitates services for Medicaid recipients, is sponsoring the walkathon.
Anthem Director of Marketing Thomas Rayner says its members, who range from low-income families to pregnant women and older adults, were particularly affected by the coronavirus in nursing homes and service industries.
As hotels and restaurants faced state-mandated closures, their workers’ lives were thrown into upheaval by lost income and jobs.
“So, they were impacted not only financially, but mentally,” Rayner said.
To supplement its 24-hour NurseLine (1-800-901-0020) and other national suicide resources, HealthKeepers expanded its telehealth capabilities and also contracted with more medical providers for mental health services.
Han, whose husband retired from practicing medicine, says mental health is unlike other ailments, where medical providers can use temperature checks, an MRI, or other tools to help diagnose an individual’s condition.
Communication is a key component of addressing mental health experiences, she says, and so, residents who might not speak English fluently might not get the help they need if a provider doesn’t have any multilingual capabilities.
The Family Counseling Center of Greater Washington, which has bilingual staff, catering to Koreans and other Asian Americans, has seen a threefold increase in the number of people seeking its services during the pandemic, Han says.
The nonprofit has expanded into telehealth and provided around 1,900 health sessions and counseling services in 2020, according to its website.
Because of stigma associated with mental health, people can avoid getting help, which can only worsen situations. The American Psychiatric Association says talking about issues and connecting with others with similar experiences can help overturn harmful narratives.
“This kind of stigma is truly…the thing that I’m hoping and our organization is hoping to eradicate,” Han said. “[I] hope the American public would seek help from mental health service providers just like when they have a tummy ache or the flu.”
Editor’s note: If you or someone you know is considering harming yourself, help is available. The free, 24/7 call center network National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can provide assistance at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Photo via spurekar/Flickr
Now in its 38th iteration, this year’s Century Ride offers 33, 60, 80, and 100-mile routes. There are over 800 participants registered, and the organization is expecting 200 more.
With attendance capped at 1,200 riders this year, spots are limited, but the last-minute registration period will remain open until the morning of the event. The cost is now $85, which includes a t-shirt, a post-ride lunch and after-party as well as route support and photography.
Proceeds will “fund local and regional cycling-related projects such as trail building, bike racks, an after-school bike shop, and helmets for kids,” according to Reston Bike Club, a volunteer nonprofit that formed in 1982 to promote cycling in the area.
“We provide donations to our partners including the towns of Purcellville, Lovettsville, the W&OD trail, Ashburn & Hamilton Volunteer rescue squads,” said Laura Robinson, a member of the Century Ride organization team. “Last year, while not directly bike-related, we donated $1,000 to Cornerstones to support feeding our community.”
Reston Bike Club accepts donations on its ongoing basis through its website.
It also has a grant application that bicycle-related organizations and nonprofits can fill out to apply for funding. The club provides up to $1,000 for each approved grant request.
The promotional materials and t-shirt for this year’s Century Ride were designed by local artist Tracie Griffith Tso. She aimed to capture Reston in 2021, incorporating Brood-X cicadas and lotus flowers from the pond by Fannie Mae’s Reston Technology Center offices into the design.
“By engaging local artists, we believe we can celebrate where we live and ride,” Robinson said.
Reston Bike Club is still seeking a few volunteers for those who want to help but not ride. Volunteers do not get free entry into the ride. They will receive a T-shirt to be worn at the event during their volunteer time slot.
COVID-19 protocols will be followed in accordance with Virginia and Fairfax County guidelines due to the recent uptick in coronavirus cases. Volunteers will be required to wear masks and gloves, and social distancing will be required for both riders and volunteers. Hand sanitizer will be available for all.
The first bicyclists will start at 6:30 a.m., but the ride is a “show and go” event, meaning riders can begin whenever they arrive and show their wristband.
T-shirts and wristbands can be picked up ahead of time at The Bike Lane from 6-9 p.m. tonight (Thursday) or at House 6 Brewing from 6-9 p.m. tomorrow. Wristbands can also be picked up the day of the ride from 6:30-10 a.m. T-shirts are not guaranteed for last-minute registrations.
The ride will start and end at the Reston Town Center pavilion (1818 Discovery Street). After the riders have finished, there will be an after-party with boxed lunches from noon to 4:30 p.m.
Fairfax County Sees Uptick in Unemployment — “Unemployment rates across Fairfax County and Northern Virginia ticked back up above 4 percent in June…which likely is a return to more seasonal ups and downs than a retreat from gains made in the post-COVID era. With 595,420 county residents in the civilian workforce and 25,225 on the hunt for jobs, Fairfax County’s unemployment rate for June stood at 4.1 percent, according to figures reported July 28 by the Virginia Employment Commission.” [Sun Gazette]
Reports of Sick Birds in Virginia Declining — “After Virginia and other states began receiving reports of a mysterious illness sickening or killing birds in late May, reports are starting to go down. However, the cause of the birds’ illness and deaths remains unknown…From May 23 to June 30, the most reports have occurred in Fairfax and Arlington Counties, according to a map of reports.” [Patch]
Thousands of Job Seekers Used County Website — “Just over one year after the official launch of its workinnorthernvirginia.com website and accompanying talent initiative funded by the Fairfax County government, the site created by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) has logged more than 483,000 visitors and 72,000 job views. The website connects a new and diverse talent pool — in Northern Virginia and in key target markets such as the Bay Area and New York City — with companies in the region.” [FCEDA]
Dog Paddle Events Coming to Reston Pools — Reston Association’s annual Dog Paddle will return in August, giving pups a chance to play in its swimming pools. There will be three events in August and one in September. Registration is now open with a $12 fee for RA members and a $20 fee for non-members. [RA/Twitter]
Michael Delaney Found Dead in Sugarland Run — The remains of Reston resident Michael Delaney were found in the Sugarland Run area on Wednesday (July 21), 14 months after he went missing from Reston Hospital in May 2020. His step-daughter says the family is “heartbroken but feel relieved” to have closure on his disappearance. [Courtney Park-Jamborsky/Facebook]
Matchbox Pizza Opens at Reston Station Today — After a few delays, Matchbox will officially open its new restaurant at 1900 Reston Metro Plaza Drive today (Friday), as promised last month. Some opening activities have been planned, and the venue will serve happy hour specials during the work week with bottomless brunch on the weekends. [Matchbox]
Pickleball Tournament Coming to Reston — “We are excited to announce that the first annual Reston Paddle Battle Pickleball Tournament, on September 18 & 19. See the attached flyer for more info. Register today at pickleballtournaments.com, space is limited!” [Reston Association/Twitter]
After the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out last year’s festivities, the Reston Pride Festival is back and as committed as ever to both celebrating and advocating for the local LGBTQ community.
This year’s event has been divided into two days, starting this Saturday (June 5) with a virtual festival and marketplace that will go from 2 to 6 p.m. An in-person festival with a free public concert will follow two weeks later at Lake Anne Plaza on June 19.
Nathan Hagen, who serves as treasurer for Reston Pride, an independent nonprofit under the CORE Foundation, says the board decided in December to plan virtual events for the festival to guarantee it would take place in some form, regardless of the state of the pandemic.
That certainty felt important after the experience of putting together the 2020 festival, which had been almost entirely booked and planned out when it was put on hold last spring. Organizers initially hoped to push it back to October, but it ultimately had to be canceled.
“COVID wasn’t gone, you know, in October. It was still taking the life of many, many people in our community and around the world, as it still is today,” Hagen said. “…If someone isn’t vaccinated or even if they are and they just don’t feel comfortable being in a public space, we wanted to create a virtual festival that would give them the ability to still feel a sense of community and, more importantly, celebrate Pride.”
Hagen promises that Reston Pride will still be “very much a party,” but the virtual element also enabled organizers to broaden their approach to programming with the addition of panel discussions on issues that LGBTQ individuals continue to face.
One panel will discuss aging in the LGBTQ community, including discrimination in elder care facilities, and another will deal with issues relevant to families, including families with LGBTQ children and queer couples who are interested in starting a family.
“Both of those panels are going to have some dialogue and perspectives from members of our community and from experts in the area, which we’re really looking forward to hear from them,” Hagen said.
The virtual festival will be headlined by actor and The Trevor Project advocate BD Wong, who will also hold an in-person talk at 8 p.m. that day at Reston Community Center’s CenterStage. For Reston Pride, he provided a video about the importance of supporting marginalized groups from his perspective as an openly gay, Asian American individual.
While the in-person festival will primarily focus on entertainment, led by the D.C. band Wicked Jezabel, it will also acknowledge Juneteenth, which falls on the same day, with a dance performance by Yauri Dalencour and opening remarks from Washington Plaza Baptist Church Rev. Michelle Nickens.
According to Hagen, the in-person festival will not have a cap on attendees after Virginia lifted COVID-19 capacity limits starting last Friday (May 28), but activities and vendors will be spread out to minimize crowding, and masks will be strongly encouraged in accordance with county and state guidance.
Because of the spacing limitations, Reston Pride cut off the number of vendors included this year to 45 organizations, including 10 nonprofits. Hagen says the board of directors offered free space for LGBTQ-oriented nonprofits to share their message and drum up support for their causes in recognition of the challenges that many groups encountered over the past year.
Proceeds from this year’s festival will go to future Reston Pride events and programs along with the nonprofit Rainbow Families, which provides education and support to LGBTQ families and prospective parents.
As the only Pride festival in Northern Virginia, Reston Pride’s organizers make an effort to maintain a focus on the local community and the grassroots spirit with which the festival launched in 2018.
“There’s no ‘brought to you by some major, multi-international company’ at Reston Pride,” Hagen said. “Instead at Reston Pride, it’s brought to you by local small businesses, many queer-owned businesses, and we focus on putting the spotlight on community organizations that support and help queer people in our area.”
A full list of festival events can be found on the Reston Pride website. Anyone interested in volunteering to assist with the in-person festival can fill out a sign-up form or email the organizers at [email protected]
Photo via Chip McCrea Photography
Reston Community Center is bringing back its free summer concert programming next month after a truncated season last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
RCC announced last week that, starting in June, it will host more than 50 performances in six different concert series, including a brand-new Family Picnic Day series in August.
With Fairfax County seeing a decline in COVID-19 cases and Virginia set to lift capacity and social distancing requirements on May 28, RCC says patrons will be able to expect “a more typical run of performances at Reston Town Square Park, Lake Anne Plaza and Reston Station” than what was available last year.
“The more people are vaccinated, the safer the community is,” RCC Executive Director Leila Gordon said. “Measures we have all taken to stop the spread have worked, and we see the public health metrics responding accordingly. We will monitor the COVID-19 data, government guidance and vaccination rates carefully to be sure we provide environments that are consistent with public health best practices.”
All of the events are free and designed to be appropriate for all ages.
Shows may be canceled due to inclement weather. RCC says decisions about cancellations will made up to 30 minutes before show time, and updates will be shared through the center’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. RCC can also be contacted at 703-476-4500.
Here is the full lineup of concerts in store for this summer:
Lunchtime with the Arts at Mason (12:30-1:30 p.m., Reston Town Square Park)
This series features student and faculty performers from George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. Presented by RCC and Reston Town Center Association in cooperation with GMU, the lineup includes:
- June 3: Mason Steel Pan Ensemble with Director Victor Provost
- June 10: GMU Faculty Brass Ensemble
- June 17: Mason Cabaret
- June 24: Mason Tuba and Euphonium Ensemble
Take a Break (7-9 p.m., Lake Anne Plaza)
These concerts will take place every Thursday night starting on June 3 with the Latin pop and rock band Ocho de Bastos and concluding on Sept. 2 with the David Bach Consort, a contemporary jazz group. Presented in cooperation with MSE Productions Inc. with Lake Anne Plaza hosting, the full schedule can be found on the RCC website.
Summerbration Fab Fridays (7-9 p.m., Reston Station)
The Fab Fridays series returns on June 4 with musical performances at the plaza atop the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. Patrons can get three hours of free parking with validation in the ParkX garage. The full concert schedule, from acoustic and world jazz musician Veronneau to funk band Aztec Sun, is on the Fab Fridays webpage.
Family Fun Entertainment Series (10-10:45 a.m., Reston Town Square Park)
Running weekly from June 19 through Aug. 7, the Family Fun Entertainment Series features everything from music and comedy shows to puppets, magic, and a Unicycle Lady. Garage parking is free at the Reston Town Center garage on Saturdays. The schedule includes:
- June 19: Classic Comedy by Mark Lohr
- June 26: Guava Jelly
- July 3: Rocknoceros
- July 10: DPT Music!
- July 17: Unicycle Lady
- July 24: The Uncle Devin Show
- July 31: Turley the Magician
Sunday Art in the Park (7-8 p.m., Reston Town Square Park)
Faculty and students from Shenandoah University’s music conservatory will kick off this concert series on June 13 with a tribute to Duke Ellington by the Ellington Caravan. A full schedule of performances, which will continue every Sunday through Aug. 29, can be found on the series webpage.
Family Picnic Day (4-6 p.m., various locations)
Family Picnic Day takes place on Saturdays in August and features family-friendly lawn games as well as live entertainment. A partnership with Reston Association and MSE Productions, the series will move between three different locations:
Monday, March 22
- Get a Book, Return a Book (10 a.m.) – For the first time in a year, all Fairfax County libraries are reopening for express service. All visits will be limited to 30 minutes and capacity is reduced. Users can pick up a book, drop one off, and use the computer. Masks, of course, are required.
Tuesday March 23
- Astronomy Webinar (7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.) – Have you ever wondered what’s out there among the stars? Take this astronomy webinar through Colvin Run Mill Park in Great Falls and maybe you could get closer to some answers.
Wednesday, March 24
- Forest Bathing (12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m) – Take a bath in the forest, no water needed. Join Smithsonian Associates and certified forest therapy guide Melanie Choukas-Bradley to learn about the meditative, Japanese practice that will re-connect you to nature.
Thursday, March 25
- Women in History(7:00 p.m.) – Celebrate Women’s History month with best-selling nonfiction author Marie Benedict, the writer behind The Mystery of Mrs. Christie about the mysterious disappearance of the famed author. Buy a signed copy of the book from One More Page Books in Arlington and check out the online talk through Fairfax County Public Libraries.
Friday, March 26
- Animal Sleepover (5 p.m.) – Drop off your best stuffed friends to Scrawl Books at Reston Town Center for stuffie sleepover where they’ll dance, snack, and play games. Then, at 7:30 p.m., join all the furry pals for a reading of That’s Not a Dog Toy.
Saturday, March 27
- Peter and the Wolf (7:30 p.m.) – Start streaming Manassas Ballet Theater’s newest production. Peter and the Wolf was first composed in 1936 as a way to introduce children to orchestral instruments.
- Underwater Egg Hunt (12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.) – The Easter Bunny has lost hundreds of eggs, but somehow they’ve been found… floating in Reston Community Center’s pool. Kids from six months to nine years old are invited to take a dip and find those eggs.
Sunday, March 28
The weather is getting warmer and the sun is shining longer, but spring really arrives in D.C. when the thousands of cherry trees around the Tidal Basin start to bloom.
Organizers announced on March 1 that this year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival will take place from March 20 through April 11. The National Park Service currently predicts that the flowers will be in peak bloom sometime between April 2 and 5.
With COVID-19 still posing health risks after mostly shutting down last year’s showcase, the 2021 festival has been reimagined in a less concentrated format with a combination of in-person and virtual activities that will encompass the entire D.C. area, including Fairfax County.
In addition to promoting regionwide events, such as the “Art in Bloom” sculptures and “Petal Porch Parade,” Fairfax County will host events of its own in coordination with the larger festival, many of them designed to showcase local gardens and parks or celebrate the coming of spring.
- Festival Central (March 20-April 11): The Fairfax County Visitor Center at Tysons Corner Center will provide free cherry blossom-themed souvenirs and information about the festival. It will also host its annual National Cherry Blossom Festival Day from 1-3 p.m. on March 27, which will feature a calligraphy demonstration.
- The Science Behind Flowers (March 20-April 11): A program on botanical chemistry, invasive and native plants, ecological restoration, and other flower-related topics will stream online throughout the festival, courtesy of the Children’s Science Center.
- Spring Fling Tour (March 27): Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon will have “special stations” throughout its nature trail “to build a fairy house” and provide Japanese tea at its meeting house.
- Wabi-Sabi: Embracing Imperfection (March 28): Alexandria’s Green Spring Gardens will host a program on wabi-sabi, a Japanese philosophy focused on finding beauty in an imperfect natural world. Attendees will get tea samples and traditional sweets in an optional tea box. The event costs $12-24 and requires advance online registration.
- Spring-Themed Drive-in Movies (April 3-4): Mosaic District is resuming its drive-in movie screenings with a pair of double features, starting with “Mary Poppins” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” followed by “Hop” and “42.” Tickets cost $28 per car and can be purchased online.
- Community Market and Workshops (April 10): The Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton will feature cherry blossom-inspired artwork, a marketplace, and various workshops, including origami crafts, haiku contests, and Japanese drumming.
- Plants & Design (April 10): Led by horticulturalist Bevan Shimizu, Green Spring Gardens will offer a virtual, hour-long program about Japanese-style garden design. The program costs $18 and requires advance registration.
Visit Fairfax also advises residents and visitors to take the opportunity provided by the festival to tour the county’s parks, including Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, which has a lake surrounded by more than 100 cherry trees.
Though the format is different this year, Visit Fairfax president and CEO Barry Biggar says the influx of tourism that typically accompanies the annual cherry blossom festival has long benefitted not just the nation’s capital, but also the D.C. region as a whole.
“The National Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the nation’s greatest celebrations of spring and Visit Fairfax has been a proud supporter for many, many years,” Biggar said. “…People may come because they are familiar with the blossoms along the Tidal Basin, but we encourage visitors and residents to also explore some of the wonderful cultural events and attractions, spacious gardens and parks, and beautiful cherry trees that exist beyond the city.”
The festival will kick off at 6 p.m. on March 20 with a virtual opening ceremony. A full programming guide can be found on the National Cherry Blossom Festival website.
Photo courtesy Visit Fairfax
The venue may be different, but there was no stopping this year’s Broadway Night.
The South Lakes High School Chorus and Parents for the Choral Arts are putting on the 16th anniversary of Broadway Night at 7 p.m. on Feb. 27. For the first time, the show will be produced and presented virtually.
The theme of the show will be Screen and Stage, and will feature songs that went from screen to stage or stage to screen. The show will also feature performances from students in fifth through 12th grades from the South Lakes High School pyramid schools.
“Community and love are at the center of the South Lakes choral program, and this feeling is always especially palpable in our annual Broadway Night,” South Lakes High School choral director Rita Gigliotti said.
“The success of this annual show is in the synergy of our extraordinary professional creative team combined with our talented, dedicated students and the love and support of our SLHS community, our Parents for Choral Arts Booster organization, the Reston Community Center, and local community business sponsors.”
The show will feature special appearances from Frank Abagnale, the primary subject of the movie, autobiography and musical “Catch Me If You Can,” and more than a dozen Broadway and film actors.
Broadway Night offers the school’s chorus and performing arts students an opportunity to work with professional choreographers and directors. Given the inability to rehearse and produce the show in person, student performers have worked with directors and choreographers virtually.
Prices are grouped in four categories. A family, group or household virtual stream is $60 and an individual viewer stream is $20. A VIP supporter price is $125 and a student, senior or choral supporter ticket is $10. Broadway Night is supported by ticket sales.
Tickets are available for purchase on the chorus’ site. It is recommended to purchase tickets by 5 p.m. on Feb. 27. If you are unable to watch the performance live, a recording will be uploaded and available for viewing for 60 days after the show.
“Music is a universal language. Its ability to tap into our hearts and souls is widely recognized by the way we feel when we engage in it,” Gigliotti said.
“Music’s ability to synchronize our energy creates community. You are going to feel the community and love of individuals near and far in this year’s show, all coming together to support our performing arts students.”
The performance will also support The Actors Fund, a charitable organization that helps the entertainment industry. Gigliotti also said the performance will be dedicated to front-line workers and those who have been impacted by COVID-19.
Image via South Lakes High School
Monday, Feb. 22
- Undefeated (2:30-3:15 p.m.) – Meet Kwame Alexander, one of the hottest young adult book authors writing today. The New York Times best selling and Caldecott Medal-winning author (for his 2019 book “The Undefeated“) will talk about his writing process and give a short reading.
- Brothers Gupta (6:30-7:30 p.m.) – After being rejected many times, Suneel Gupta dives into the question of if “charisma”can be learned. He gets into a conversation with his brother Sanjay Gupta, and famed CNN medical correspondent, about his new book focusing on this topic. This virtual event is hosted by Politics and Prose.
Tuesday Feb. 23
- Burn (6-7 p.m.) – In October 1933, George Armwood of Princess Anne, Maryland was lynched. It was the last known lynching in a state with a horrific history of the crime. Join filmmaker Will Schwarz – and founder of the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project – as he virtually screens and discusses his documentary film, “Burn: The Lynching of George Armwood.” This event is for adults.
Wednesday, Feb. 24
- Backyard Bats (7-8 p.m.) – Learn about the enchanting life of the world’s only flying mammal from Leslie Sturges, President of the Save Lucy Campaign. She’s teaching participants about the seven bat species that call this region home and how to spot the animals in your own backyard. This event is virtual.
Thursday, Feb. 25
- A Reckoning (Noon to 1 p.m.) – This virtual event from Woodlawn & Pope-Leighey House in Alexandria features four poets giving voices to the erased lives of those who were enslaved at Woodlawn. Readings are accompanied by music from harmonica player Cliff Bernier.
Friday, Feb. 26
- Asteroid (3 p.m.) – Last October, a NASA spacecraft touched down on Bennu, an asteroid, and collected samples of the rock. Hear from Dr. Ben Ashman, a member of the mission’s navigation team, about how they did it.
Saturday, Feb. 27
- Geocaching (2 p.m.) – Go on a Global Positioning System-led treasure hunt at Lake Fairfax. Geocaching continues a much-beloved activity, especially during the pandemic since it’s almost entirely done outdoors. Bring your own GPS and learn how to find your own treasure.
Photo via alobenda/Pixabay
The Herndon High School marching band is reaching out to the community as it renews its annual fundraising effort.
The band, dubbed the “Pride of Herndon,” has launched its Tag Day campaign to help fund music instruction, uniforms, sheet music, instruments and instrument repair.
The fundraising effort is typically done in-person as band students go door-to-door handing out flyers about the band and tags for the concert schedule while asking for donations. Tag Day is the largest fundraising event for the band.
Due to the pandemic, the band is hosting its fundraising effort virtually through the end of February. The band’s target is to raise $25,000.
As of Friday morning, the fundraising site shows the Pride of Herndon has raised just over a quarter of its goal.
Contributions to the band may be made directly on the band’s site via PayPal, on the fundraising site for this year’s Tag Day, or checks may be mailed to PO Box 1293, Herndon, VA 20172-1293.
“With all the learning being virtual this year due to COVID, we are trying creative ways to keep our students engaged and excited to continue making music together,” Kathleen Jacoby, Director of Herndon High School bands, said in a video promoting the fundraiser.
“To perform at the high level we do, we need instruments and other equipment, plus instrument specialist to come help out, and that costs money. Instead of knocking at your doors this year, we have created this online Tag Day site. Your contributions mean a lot to us, for the band means a lot to our students.”
Image courtesy Herndon High School