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

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Tobago Bay performs at Summerbration in 2020. The Alexandria-based Caribbean band will return for the Fab Fridays concert series at Reston Station on August 27. (Photo by Erin Lesnick/RCC)

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:

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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

  • Art in Bloom (any time) -The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a mix of in-person and hybrid activities this year. Head to National Landing to gander at a series of five-foot-tall bloom statues created by a host of local artists, including a few from Northern Virginia.
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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.

Supported by Visit Fairfax, the county’s official tourism organization, the festivities include:

  • 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

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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

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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

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Herndon High band Tag Day (Image courtesy Herndon High School)

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

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Tuesday, Feb. 16

  • Bean-efit (4-6 p.m.) – On Mardi Gras, get a free meal from a local restaurant if you work in the hospitality industry. Organized by local restaurateurs (including Bayou Bakery’s David Guas), 25 restaurants across D.C. and Northern Virginia are providing a free bean dish to the first 100 restaurant workers to show up at each location. Among those participating is Taco Bamba in Vienna and Sonoma Wine Bar in Alexandria.

Wednesday, Feb. 17

  • The Black Arts Movement (7 p.m.) – Join Fairfax’s Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Lambda Kappa Omega Chapter for an online discussion of the Harlem Renaissance and Black Arts Movement. The event is sponsored by the Fairfax County Public Library.

Thursday, Feb. 18

  • Girl Power! (7 p.m.) – Celebrate the launch of author Jen Petro-Roy’s new book Life in the Balance along with Reston’s Scrawl Books. Then, on March 25, join Scrawl Books and Petro-Roy to ask questions and discuss the book after reading it.

Friday, Feb. 19

  • Animal Predators (6-7 p.m.) – Owls, coyotes, bears, oh my! Learn about all the animal predators stalking the local woods. Afterwards, sit around the campfire at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park in Chantilly and roast up some s’mores.
  • The Places We Forgot (Anytime) – Inhabit once-abandoned locations at this new virtual exhibit from Workman Art Center in Lorton. Photograph artist Brendan L. Smith has taken pictures of abandoned places across the country and the results are enchanting.

Saturday, Feb. 20

  • Raising Ivy (11 a.m. to noon) – Local author Greg Manora details a family’s true story of coming from poverty, slavery, and segregation to football field and the halls of the Ivy League. This event is part of the Fairfax County Library’s series of Black History Month events.

Sunday, Feb. 21

  • Virginia is for Comedy (9 p.m.) – Laugh at locals as the Comedy Roadshow, a 30-minute virtual stand-up show every Sunday, makes its way to Virginia. This Sunday will feature only VA-based comedians, including funny people from Sterling, Arlington, and Richmond.

Photo courtesy of Bayou Bakery

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On Friday, Girl Scouts troops will start selling cookies in-person at least eight locations between Herndon and Reston.

For those looking to stay home, Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital is also offering online cookie sales, which will be delivered through the Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital chapter. Online sales began on Monday.

Here are the locations for Reston and Herndon, according to the Girl Scouts’ cookie finder:

Reston

  • Ledo Pizza (2254 Hunter’s Woods Plaza)
  • Starbucks (11170 South Lakes Drive)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts (2280 Hunter’s Woods Plaza)
  • Flippin’ Pizza (11130 South Lakes Drive)
  • CVS (11680 Plaza America Drive)
  • Starbucks (1857 Fountain Drive)

Herndon 

  • Food Lion (3059 Centreville Road)
  • Lucia’s Italian Ristorante (2531 John Milton Drive)

Most of the booths will be out on weekends, with some also selling cookies on Fridays. The cookie finder lists dates next to all locations.

All cookie sales end March 14.

“This year we had a decrease [in in-person booths], but of course, Girl Scouts have found a way,” said Tygerian Burke, the marketing and communications manager for Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital.

Buying cookies online works like this:

  • Customers can type their zip code into the cookie finder and find local troops selling cookies virtually. Each time the page loads, it will feature a different virtual booth.
  • When customers click the link corresponding to the troop of their choice, the link will take them to a page with a description of what the sales will go toward and directions for buying the cookies.
  • The cookies can be shipped to the customer’s house or to someone else as a donation.

The Girl Scouts are also having cookies delivered via GrubHub, a promotion that started in the D.C. area on Thursday, Burke said. Drivers can deliver cookies to homes within a 25-minute radius of where a scout or troop is located, which in D.C. traffic, will mean varying distances, she added.

She advised checking social media for Facebook Live promotions of GrubHub deliveries throughout the month-and-a-half of sales.

Burke said some troops within the council are setting up drive-through locations as well as signs with QR codes linking to their personalized virtual booth pages.

Girl Scouts are selling Thin Mints, Samoas, Trefoils, Do-si-dos and Tagalongs — as well as a new cookie called Lemon-Ups — for $5 a box. Two specialty cookies, S’mores and Toffee-tastics, go for $6 a box.

Image via Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital

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Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and 25 other technology companies will be represented at a virtual career fair hosted by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority on Thursday (Jan. 28).

The Cyber and Cloud Virtual Career Fair will focus on the information technology, cyber, and cloud industries. Participation is free of charge for job seekers, and the FCEDA is encouraging professionals of all experience levels to attend. People with security clearances are especially in demand, though that is not a required qualification.

“Our region is a top cyber and cloud hub and there has never been a better time to land a job in this industry because of the thousands of open jobs here,” FCEDA President and CEO Victor Hoskins said in a press release. “We are proud to be working with such a diverse group of companies that are letting us help them cast a wide net to find the right talent to fill these jobs and keep our networks, businesses, agencies and people secure.”

This is the latest in a series of job fairs that the FCEDA has been organizing throughout the past year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous events included fairs focused on hiring and reskilling, and women in technology.

According to the FCEDA, the first three job fairs in the series “collectively attracted over 2,100 attendees and resulted in 3,100 completed conversations between job seekers and hiring reps from a wide range of employers.”

The tech industry is expected to grow rapidly in Fairfax County in the coming years. About half of the more than 86,000 open jobs on the FCEDA’s job board are in technology fields, and the D.C. area is projected to add more than 130,000 tech jobs within the next five years.

The FCEDA’s job fair series is part of an initiative funded by Fairfax County to attract, retain, and retrain workers.

“Cloud and cyber companies are an important and growing facet of the Fairfax County tech economy,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said. “I am delighted to see the talent initiative that the Board of Supervisors funded helping residents find jobs and emphasizing the importance of these sectors to Fairfax.”

Because the cyber and cloud career fair will be conducted virtually, candidates do not need to be currently located in Northern Virginia, and some companies are open to remote work options, the FCEDA says.

Interested job seekers can visit the FCEDA’s Work in Northern Virginia website to register and to see a full list of participating companies.

Photo via Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

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Tuesday, Jan 19

  • Mr (Fictional) President (6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.) – Hail to the fictional chief. A day before a real president gets inaugurated, participate in a virtual conversation with actor Martin Sheen who played President Bartlet in the NBC television drama West Wing. Journalist Ken Walsh will be asking questions about how fictional depictions of government have impacted the real thing and why we view our national leaders the way we do. This event is hosted by the Smithsonian Associates.

Wednesday, Jan. 20

  • Bull Run Festival of Lights  (5:30 p.m.) – While this annual show of glimmery holiday lights was extended well into January, this is the final day for the season. So, bring your family, talk a socially distant walk, and appreciate this extra little bit of joy.

Thursday, Jan. 21

  • Fiber Art  (9 a.m.) – At Reston Community Center in Lake Anne, five local fiber artists are displaying contemporary quilts. Each artist has a different approach, but uses fabric and thread as their medium. Located in the Jo Anne Rose Gallery and runs through the end of February.

Friday, Jan. 22

  • Date Night (5 p.m.) – The Winery at Bull Run has all the pieces for a perfect outdoor but warm date night. A package includes a pair of rocking chairs around a fire pit, two glasses of wine in logos that are yours to keep, and one cozy blanket to snuggle up in together.

Saturday, Jan. 23

  • Hunt for Dinosaurs (1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.) – There are dinosaurs on the loose at Claude Moore Park in Sterling! Join a park naturalist in the search. Afterward, warm up by a campfire and toast some marshmallows (provided, individually wrapped, and Halel available upon request).

Sunday, Jan. 24

  • Notes From the Field screening and Q&A (3 p.m.) – Playwright and actor Anna Deavere Smith (best known for her role as Dr. Nancy McNally in the tv show West Wing) screens her new film “Notes From the Field” about systemic racism in the American justice system. Afterwards, she will appear virtually for a question and answer session.

Photo from distelAPPArath/Pixabay

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Monday, Jan. 11

  • Winter Walk of Lights (5:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.) – Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights in Vienna is now extended a few extra weeks to January 20. Take a socially distant walk through the glittery, wondrous light display.

Tuesday, Jan. 12

  • Family Karaoke (6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) – If you ever held dreams of you and your family traveling around in a colorful bus together singing songs like the Partridge Family, here’s your chance… well, sort of. Grab the mic and join the Fairfax County Public Library for virtual family karaoke. All singing abilities and ages welcome. So, you know, pick an appropriate song.

Wednesday, Jan. 13

  • Virtual Yoga (10 a.m. to 11 a.m.) – Start the day with mindfulness and meditation. Join this virtual yoga session led by Jennifer Eubanks, who runs a local yoga studio, through the Fairfax County Public Library.

Thursday, Jan. 14 

  • Women Who Lead Speaker Series (7 p.m. to 8 p.m.) – Hosted by the Junior League of Northern Virginia, this month’s features Gwendolyn Bingham. She’s a retired US Army 3-star General and was the first woman to hold a number of roles in the Army, including Quartermaster General. There will be time for questions and answers.

Friday, Jan 15

  • Pomegranate-themed oil painting workshop (Noon to 3 p.m.) – Join local artist Suzanne Lago Arthur for a one-day, three-hour oil painting class. Hosted every other month, January’s is themed around the seeded fruit pomegranate. While welcome to work in any media one prefers, the lesson is about oil painting.

Sunday, Jan 17

  • Audubon Afternoon (3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.) – Hosted by the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia, learn about how birds stay warm.  Avian evolutionary ecologist Dr. Sahas Barve will lead this workshop which will perhaps provide some advice to us humans on how to stay warm on this winter’s afternoon.

Photo via Unsplash

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Virginia Polar Dip Goes Virtual — The annual event is going virtual this year due to the pandemic. Camp Sunshine is allowing participants to take patron several virtual events at any point between Feb. 6-14. [Camp Sunshine]

Microsoft Expands with New Lease — The company is expanding its presence in Northern Virginia by signing a lease in Rosslyn. [Bisnow]

Local Music Students to Perform in Virtual Concert — ‘Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) choral teachers have put together a virtual choral concert and presentation involving 350 middle and high school students from 37 secondary schools. The concert and presentation of student work will air at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 27.’ [FCPS]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Reston Community Center is moving forward with the 36th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration with a mix of online and in-person events with the theme “Are We Keeping the Promise?”

However, several pre-announced events are being canceled or rescheduled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

This includes the keynote address from Ibram X. Kendi, author of the book How to Be an Antiracist (which was very popular this summer at local bookstores). The event is being rescheduled for early 2022.

“We have planned meaningful events that will ask important questions and look toward the future as we as a community and nation reckon with this year’s revelations of the inequitable impact of the pandemic and the continuing systemic racism that is our national reality,” said RCC Board Chair Beverly Cosham in a press release. “At the same time, we are dealing with a rise in COVID-19 cases, so it is important to keep public health and safety in mind as we structure the opportunities for our community to tackle these critical issues.”

The celebration weekend is presented by the RCC along with a number of religious and civic organizations including the Martin Luther King Jr. Christian Church on North Shore Drive, Reston Community Orchestra and Reston Association.

The celebration commences this week with a toiletry drive to support local families with items being provided to the non-profit Cornerstones for distribution.

On Saturday, Jan. 16 and Monday, Jan. 18, there will be a small, socially distant community projects where volunteers can sort items from Herndon’s non-profit thrift shop The Closet, and make bag lunches for those at the Embry Rucker Community Shelter.

On Sunday, D.C.-native jazz vocalist Akua Allrich is paying tribute to musicians Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba with a performance at the CenterStage at Reston Community Center. Folks can attend, though capacity will be capped at 30% and masks are required.

For those who do not wish to attend events in person, the Reston Community Orchestra is debuting their performance of Lift Every Voice and Sing on RCC’s Youtube page  at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 16.

Also on the RCC’s YouTube page, there will be Akua Allrich presenting a performance specifically for Reston schools as well as a number of community leaders offering their reflections on Dr. King and his legacy.

Here’s the calendar of events, after the jump:

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Monday, Jan. 4

  • Equity Matters — Reston Community Center’s CenterStage will screen Harriet, a movie about Harriet Tubman. The show, which is free, begins at 10 a.m. Registration is required.

Tuesday, Jan. 5

  • Housing Discussion — The Herndon Town Council is hosting a discussion on housing policy tomorrow. The panel discussion, which begins at 10 a.m. online, will feature comments by a panel of three experts, including state Sen. Barbara Favola, state Sen. Jennifer Boysko, and Jeff Gore, a consultant who represents clients involved in housing issues. Anyone who wishes to participate can register online

Wednesday, Jan. 6

  • Reston Farmers Market — Enjoy fresh produce and farm favorites at the Reston Farmers Market, which is located at 11900 Lawyers Road.

Thursday, Jan. 7

  • Mathnasium Open House — The center’s directors will take part in an hour-long discussion on the program from 6-7 p.m. via Zoom.

Saturday, Jan. 9

  • Make a Bird Feeder — Learn how to make a bird feeder while learning about different kinds of birds at Lake Fairfax Park. The workshop takes place from 1-2 p.m.
  • Planning for a New Baby — Reston Hospital Center is hosting a virtual session from 10 a.m. to noon on how to prepare for your baby.

Sunday, Jan 10

  • Raptors Up Close — In this activity for all ages, residents will explore nature with naturalists at the Walker Nature Center from 2-3 p.m. Registration is required online.
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