Tysons, VA

Inova Blood Donor Services and the Washington Nationals teamed up to host a blood drive in Tysons Corner Center tomorrow (Saturday).

Since the event is taking place on Virginia’s Tax-Free Weekend, donors will receive discounts to stores at the mall, along with snacks and an exclusive Washington Nationals t-shirt and mask, according to a press release about the event. Kelly Collis from “The Tommy Show!” will be at the event to cheer donors on.

Inova says that every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. Blood banks across the U.S. are scrambling to find donors after blood drives were canceled earlier this year because of the pandemic.

People interested in donating blood must make appointments online or by calling 1-866-BLOODSAVES. People can sign up to donate whole blood, double red cells or platelets.

The blood drive will take place from 7 a.m.-4 p/m. at the former Lord and Taylor spot (1961 Chain Bridge Road) in the mall. People must wear face coverings, and Inova will provide masks if donors need one.

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The Food for Others 5k and Fun Run in Tysons in September won’t resemble the race in previous years.

Instead of happening in-person on a set date, the event will now take place virtually during a weekend in late September. Just like the previous races, the registration fee will benefit food-insecure people in Fairfax County.

Located in the Merrifield area, Food for Others notes on its website that more than 70,000 people in Fairfax County live in poverty. The organization distributes food to more than 2,600 families weekly.

“Between March and July, Food for Others has served food to a total of 72,223 households, a 35 percent increase over the number of families we served between March and July of 2019,” the organization recently announced.

Participants will have the weekend of Sept. 25-Sept. 27 to complete the distance and can complete the 5k on a trail, treadmill or anywhere they can walk.

The cost to join the event is $30 per person, which will go toward giving rice and beans to 25 families. People who register before Sept. 10 can get a race t-shirt mailed to them. The race is also accepting sponsorships.

The event description asks that participants record their time and share photos on social media using #Foodforothers5K.

Some of the prizes will include awards for people with the best race costume, most creative route and best pet photo. The full list of prizes will be announced by Sept. 10 so that participants can prepare.

Photo by Bruno Nascimento/Unsplash

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A local artist will teach people over Zoom how to turn cardboard toilet paper tubes into mini works of art.

The upcoming class is a part of the recent offerings from Falls Church Arts, a nonprofit arts organization based in Falls Church. The Zoom class will take place from 7-8:30 p.m. on Thursday (Aug. 6). It costs $30 and is open to teens and adults.

“They are just so adorable,” Ruth Altheim, who is a board member for Falls Church Arts, told Tysons Reporter about the toilet paper roll art. “It’s hard to communicate how much fun this is.”

Altheim noted that the upcoming workshop will focus on collage.

Altheim said she suggested the idea for the workshop, which will be taught by local artist Molly McCracken.

To participate, people will need either a toilet paper or paper towel cardboard core, scissors, glue, different types of paper and either crayons or markers.

A flyer for the class says that construction paper, wrapping paper, magazines, newsprint, colored paper or photographs will work. People who need paper can pick up a “basic supply” from the instructor for $5.

Photo courtesy Ruth Altheim

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(Updated 9:30 a.m.) The Vienna Business Association’s Oktoberfest and several Town of Vienna events are no longer happening due to the pandemic.

The town announced today (Tuesday) that events through Oct. 3 are canceled and alternative Halloween celebrations are under consideration.

The canceled events include:

Kathy Georgen, who chairs the Oktoberfest planning committee, said in the town’s announcement that Oktoberfest had to get axed because it depends on hundreds of vendors and thousands of attendees.

“We could not in good conscience move forward in this current climate,” Georgen said.

Instead, the VBA plans to promote Distanz Oktoberfest, which is described in a press release as “an initiative that encourages VBA-member and other Town businesses to host in early October German-themed events and promotions at their own location.”

Nearby, the City of Falls Church took similar precautions, canceling its Falls Church Festival in September and Farm Day in October. The rest of the city’s events for 2020 “will take place if a safe event format can be created.”

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Fairfax County NAACP announced a new virtual town hall to discuss system racism in public schools with Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand.

Brabrand was originally going to co-host a town hall on the topic with Fairfax NAACP on July 21. He dropped out of the event, which took place the same night the county’s school board reconsidered reopening plans for schools.

Fairfax NAACP pivoted and used the town hall on July 21 to unveil the organization’s priorities for combatting racism in schools. Fairfax NAACP President Sean Perryman said during the event that the organization would work to reschedule the discussion with Brabrand.

Now, Brabrand and Fairfax NAACP are scheduled to host a town hall from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 5. People can watch the event on Facebook Live.

“One topic that will be discussed is the School-to-Prison Pipeline,” Fairfax NAACP posted on Facebook, sharing a YouTube video by The Root, a Black-oriented online magazine, that explains how the School-to-Prison Pipeline works.

Here’s the event description:

From academic achievement, enrollment at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, to the School Resource Officer program and the school-to-prison pipeline, systemic racism effects our children’s lives every day. This will be a civil discourse where we can openly talk about our and our kids’ experiences, ask questions, and talk about what change looks like.

Photo via Sam Balye/Unsplash

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Due to COVID-19 precautions, the annual Falls Church Festival and Farm Day events are canceled.

The City of Falls Church announced the change of plans today, saying that public health concerns prompted the decisions.

The 45th Falls Church Festival was originally set to offer live entertainment, amusement rides, food from local eateries and pony rides on Sept. 12. Last year’s event attracted roughly 12,000 visitors, according to the city’s website.

Meanwhile, the 27th annual Farm Day would have featured horsedrawn hay-rides, pumpkin painting, scarecrow making and other fall activities in October.

“We are committed to helping our resident, visitor, and business community stay safe,” Danny Schlitt, the city’s recreation and parks director, said. “We don’t see a way to safely hold large crowd events like the Falls Church Festival and Farm Day.”

The announcement said that the rest of the city’s events for 2020, including Sunset Cinema, Halloween Carnival and Holiday Craft Show, “will take place if a safe event format can be created.”

“We are looking into ways to create a safe Sunset Cinema, Halloween Carnival, and Holiday Craft Show,” Schlitt said. “We also want to build on the success of the wildly popular Springtime Bunny car parade and the Independence Day Scavenger Hunt — we are continuously looking for ways to bring fun and togetherness (if socially distant) to the community!”

People looking for virtual events can check out the Virtual Community Center newsletter.

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The Mary Riley Styles Public Library in Falls Church is looking to move forward discussions about police reform in the community.

The City of Falls Church announced today that the library will host an online forum next Wednesday (Aug. 5).

The panelists for the event include the city’s police chief, the president of the Fairfax County NAACP and the city’s HR director. Jennifer Carroll, the library’s director, will moderate the event.

“Learn more about the national Mayor’s Pledge (which was signed by Mayor [David] Tarter in June); the City’s Use of Force Review Committee; the principles of 21st century policing; and what issues lie behind the ‘defund police’ movement,” according to the event description.

The event is set to start at 7 p.m. People can register for the Zoom event by emailing [email protected]

File photo

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For the second year in a row, a local student wants people to support a 50-mile walk fundraising for World Vision International, a global Christian humanitarian organization.

Last year, Alex Covell and a group of James Madison High School students organized the first 50-mile walk, which raised $9,000 — almost double the $5,000 goal to benefit World Vision’s efforts to provide clean to people in developing communities, Covell said.

The World Health Organization estimates that 800,000 kids die each year due to diarrhea, which can be caused by unclean water.

“We were inspired to do this walk because of the staggering number of people who lack access to clean water, a resource us in the developed world don’t think twice about,” Covell said. “We are walking 50 miles because it takes on average $50 to get one more person lifelong access to clean water.”

Covell, who now attends Northern Virginia Community College, said that he came up with the idea for last year’s walk after he broke his wrist and was looking for something to do. “I probably had not walked more than 10 miles,” Covell noted.

So he decided to walk 50 miles from his family’s house to Baltimore, but no one wanted to join him.

Things changed when he saw the Vienna Presbyterian Church was hosting a 6K to support World Vision. “I really liked the cause,” Covell said. Working with the church’s missions team, Covell was able to find walkers for his 50-mile walk.

“We’ve shown that we can do it,” Covell said. “It’s been a little bit easier this year to get excited about it.”

This year’s walk will start at 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 1. Walkers can expect six rest stops along the route.

Initially, Covell said he was aiming for 100 walkers, but cut his goal back to 20 due to safety precautions because of the pandemic. The roughly 20 students and young adults will walk 50 miles from the W&OD Trailhead in Purcellville to the National Mall in D.C. Covell said he expects they will reach D.C. around 9 p.m.

For people wondering what walking 50 miles is like, Covell said the joints start to ache and blisters pop up on the feet. “It was a really cool experience — a little bit painful,” Covell said.

While there wasn’t any group training last year, Covell said the team had two 20-mile walks recently to prepare.

As of today, the event has raised $9,700 of the $50,000 goal. “The reaction has been very positive,” Covell said. “As people are donating, oftentimes they leave messages that are encouraging.”

Like last year, the donations will support World Vision. “By walking, we are trying to help World Vision elevate this suffering,” Covell said. To date, World Vision has helped 3.2 million people get access to clean water, according to its website.

People who want to support the cause can donate, sign up to walk or volunteer to help on the day of the walk.

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Parents in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties plan to hold a rally tomorrow to call for Fairfax County Public Schools to offer in-person learning this fall.

Earlier this week, the Fairfax County School Board approved a fully virtual start, reversing plans to offer parents the option to pick either fully online or a hybrid of in-person and online learning.

According to posts in the public Facebook group behind the event, the rally is scheduled to take place outside FCPS’s administrative office at 8115 Gatehouse Road from 10 a.m.-noon.

People are asked to wear masks and social distance at the event, according to the posts.

The posts also say that the event is not political. “We come from all different beliefs but when it comes to our children, we want schools to be open and safely!” one commenter wrote in the group.

While the event page for the rally does not specify what the supporters want in-person learning to look like in the fall, the Facebook group has a message saying: “This is a group for those interested in kids going to school five days a week. Not interested? Prob [Probably] not your group.”

The school system has faced pressure from the Trump administration. A few weeks ago, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and President Donald Trump said that schools must open in the fall, with Devos singling out FCPS as a “disaster” in early July. Yesterday, Trump said that schools may need to delay opening due to another surge of cases.

As a surge of coronavirus cases continues in Virginia and teachers’ unions raised safety concerns over in-person learning, FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand said that he was worried about staff feeling comfortable returning for instruction in the classroom.

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Wednesday (July 22) is National Hot Dog Day, and the Vienna Inn is ready.

Known for its hot dogs, the Vienna eatery (120 Maple Avenue E.) will offer $1.99 hot dogs and turn them into chili dogs for an additional $0.20, according to a press release.

Diners can choose from contact-free curbside pick-up, limited indoor seating and outdoor seating under a tent in the parking lot.

“Our younger customers like them plain or with just ketchup, but the majority come in for the famous Chili Cheese Dog complete with cheese, chili, mustard, and onion otherwise known as ‘loaded,'” owner Marty Volk said in the press release.

The Vienna Inn was selling more than 10,000 hot dogs a month before the pandemic hit, but then pivoted to offering kits for people to make their own chili dogs, the press release said.

“They have been very popular with our regulars and include everything you need to create your own Chili Dog at home,” Volk said.

Photo via Vienna Inn/Twitter

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