Tysons, VA

Morning Notes

Vienna Police Announce Drug Take Back Day — The Vienna Police Department will host a collection site for old, expired, unused, and unwanted medications at its temporary facility (301 Center Street) on April 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The one-day event is part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Prescription Drug Take Back initiative. [Vienna Police Department]

Capital One Hall Season Two Applications Due May 1 — Tysons’ new performing arts venue won’t open until October, but the deadline is already approaching for community arts groups to apply for space in the second season, which will begin on Sept. 1, 2022. The nonprofit ArtsFairfax is managing the application process on Fairfax County’s behalf. [Fairfax County Government]

Tysons Media Company Launches Lifestyle TV Network — “Tysons, Virginia-based Tegna Inc., owner of 64 television stations including WUSA9 in D.C., has launched a 24-hour, women-oriented lifestyle and reality TV network called Twist — and watching it comes with a twist as well.” [WTOP]

Vienna to Bring Back In-Person “Walk on the Hill” Event — The Town of Vienna’s annual spring Walk on the Hill program will return on April 25 with self-guided garden tours and live entertainment. COVID-19 protocols mean that the event will be limited to 500 total attendees, and participants must sign up in advance for one of two shifts.” [Town of Vienna]

Fairfax County Police Coming to Mosaic District — “Join Fairfax County Police Department at Mom and Pop on April 13 from 10am-12pm. Please adhere to all social distancing guidelines: maintain a 6-foot distance and please wear a face covering.” [Mosaic District/Twitter]

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(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) In one month, the public will get its first taste of The Perch, a 1.2-acre sky park expected to open at the Capital One Center development in Tysons this summer.

Capital One Center opened registration this morning (Tuesday) for its upcoming “Pups & Pints” event, which will transform the McLean Metro station parking lot into a pop-up dog park with a beer garden, food trucks, and live music — amenities that will all be included in the sky park.

Pups & Pints will take place from noon to 7 p.m. on May 1, 2, 8, and 9. While the event is free, attendees are required to register in advance for two-hour time slots so organizers can control the site’s capacity, which will be limited based on Virginia’s COVID-19 public health guidelines.

Capital One Center Manager of Marketing and Community Affairs Meghan Trossen says the development decided to bring another pop-up event to the McLean Metro parking lot, which it owns, after the success of the drive-in movie series that it hosted last summer to support the nonprofit Second Story.

“I think a lot of people are looking at pop-ups or repurposing of parking lots as different ways to elevate and build a sense of place,” Trossen told Tysons Reporter. “I think Tysons has struggled with creating a brand and identity…and we really want to help with that mission and ensure that Tysons develops in a way that has a sense of community.”

According to Trossen, about 5,000 people attended the 12 drive-in movie screenings at Capital One Center. The development is expecting over 1,000 attendees over the four planned Pups & Pints days in May.

Capital One Center used the McLean Metro station parking lot to host drive-in movie nights last summer (Photo courtesy Capital One Center)

Like it did with the drive-in movies, Capital One Center is encouraging Pups & Pints visitors to donate to a nonprofit that it has partnered with for the event. In this case, proceeds will go to Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, a nonprofit based in Arlington that rescues abandoned and neglected pets and helps them find new homes.

The event will also showcase local businesses that offer dog-related products or services, such as training schools, dog daycares, and stores that make dog treats or toys. There will be between four and six vendors each day, Trossen says.

“We’re really trying to focus on local small businesses or local nonprofits to try to elevate those,” Capital One Center Managing Director Jonathan Griffith said.

The emphasis on the local community will extend to the three food trucks that will change each day as well as the musical acts, which will all come from the D.C. area.

Pups & Pints will also feature a “Mutt Strutt” contest where dogs will compete on stage in front of a panel of judges. The first panel will consist of Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay, former Chairman Sharon Bulova, and Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik.

“I am honored and excited to serve as one of the “Mutt Strutt” Judges for Capital One Center’s Pups & Pints Program,” Palchik said by email. “…This is a perfect opportunity to bring our community together safely, to create active spaces, and to highlight the work of a non-profit in the greater Tysons community.”

As for the “pints” aspect of the event, the beer garden will be run by the same brewery that will operate The Perch Biergarten when it opens in July, though Griffith told Tysons Reporter last week that Capital One Center is not yet ready to announce who that tenant will be.

While Pups & Pints was designed as a sneak peek of The Perch, Griffith says Capital One Center sees events like this and last summer’s drive-in movies as essential to Fairfax County’s long-term goal of turning Tysons into “America’s Next Great City,” a place where people will want to live, not just work or shop.

“The event alone won’t stand on its own and radically transform Tysons overnight,” Griffith said. “But it’s through these types of events, these types of activations that we can show that Tysons is a community, that there is more than those two definitions of the mall and of the office that have historically been defining Tysons.”

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Cherry blossom season is coming to The Boro.

The Tysons mixed-use development is hosting “Blossoms at the Boro” from March 22 to April 18 to celebrate the pink flowers and the coming of spring.

Starting today (Monday), life-sized cherry trees will pop up throughout the development. Visitors who take photos with the installations and share them on social media while tagging The Boro could win gift cards.

Other events in the series, which is separate from the official National Cherry Blossom Festival, include:

  • Doggie Playdate and Blossom Bandana Giveaway (March 27): Pet owners who visit Boro Park (8350 Broad Street) between 11 a.m. and noon will receive spring-themed bandanas and bags with dog treats. Visitors must register for the free event in advance to be eligible.
  • Outdoor Yoga Class with Flower Child (April 3): The health-food restaurant Flower Child is hosting an outdoor yoga class at Boro Park from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Tickets are $20, and participants will receive a $10 Flower Child gift card and a “blossom treat bag.”
  • Peak Blossom Doughnut Giveaway (April 8-11): The first 50 customers to stop by Curiosity Doughnuts in Whole Foods (1635 Boro Place) and ask for a “blossom doughnut” each day will get a free cherry blossom-themed treat and be entered into a $100 gift card giveaway. The winner will be announced at 5 p.m. on April 11.
  • Rooftop Wine and Paint Class (April 10): The Italian restaurant North Italia will provide wine, snacks, and supplies at an in-person painting class for people 21 and older on the Boro Tower rooftop (8350 Broad Street) from 5-7 p.m. There are limited spaces available, and tickets cost $20.

People who participate in any of the “Blossoms at The Boro” events will “have the chance to receive cherry blossom treat bags with yummy cookies and more,” according to a press release.

Half of each $20 ticket for the yoga and paint classes will be donated to Autism Speaks, a high-profile but controversial advocacy group and a regular partner of The Meridian Group, which owns The Boro.

“The proceeds from this event series are being donated in honor of April being autism awareness month,” a spokesperson for The Boro said in a statement. “The Boro is always looking to partner with organizations that give back to the community, and has a history of doing so with groups like The American Red Cross.”

The Autism Society of America, which launched the annual campaign with a National Autistic Children’s Week in 1972, joined other disability advocacy organizations this year in adopting Autism Acceptance Month to replace Autism Awareness Month.

“While we will always work to spread awareness, words matter as we strive for autistic individuals to live fully in all areas of life,” Autism Society President and CEO Christopher Banks said. “As many individuals and families affected by autism know, acceptance is often one of the biggest barriers to finding and developing a strong support system.”

The National Cherry Blossom Festival held a virtual opening ceremony this past Saturday (March 20), kicking off almost a month of events throughout the D.C. region, including Fairfax County. The festival will last through April 11.

Photo courtesy Hilde Kahn

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Monday (March 15)

  • Honoring Women Warriors (Online) — 7-8:30 p.m. — In celebration of March as Women’s History Month, the Fairfax County Commission for Women is hosting a virtual event to highlight the work of women who have helped lead the county’s pandemic response, including Health Director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu. The forum will stream on Facebook Live, and comments can be submitted before and during the event.

Tuesday (March 16)

  • Mystery Book Club (Online) — 7-8 p.m. — The mystery book group will be discussing The Last Detective by Peter Lovesey. New members are welcomed. Copies are available for curbside pickup at the Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library. Register for the Zoom link for the book club.
  • Bollywood Dance Fitness (Online) — 6-7 p.m. — Join fitness instructor Aparna Rao in a Bollywood dance fitness class. The class is virtual and free to join. No experience necessary. Register one day in advance to receive the Zoom link. This class is for adults.

Thursday (Mar. 18)

  • Vienna Metro Station Improvements Meeting (Online) — 7-8:30 p.m. — Fairfax County and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will host a meeting to present the ideas to improve bicyclist and pedestrian safety and accessibility to the Vienna Metro stations. Some proposed improvements include shared-use paths, sidewalks, and two-way cycle tracks according to the project’s website. To join the live webinar register on the VDOT website.
  • “We’ve Got Issues” Teen Forum (Online) — 7-8 p.m. — While it’s hard to see each other in person, join fellow teens virtually to talk about topics like stereotypes, relationships, and more. Program kits are available while supplies last at your local Fairfax County regional library. Register online by Tuesday (March 16) to get the Zoom link.
  • Let’s Talk: Human Trafficking in the Age of COVID (Online) — 7:30 p.m. — The McLean-based nonprofit Anti-Trafficking International is hosting a discussion on how the pandemic has heightened the risk of trafficking, especially for young people. The talk will be led by ATI founder and Department of Justice Director of Human Trafficking Programs Bill Woolf. Contact [email protected] for more information on the webinar.

 Friday (Mar. 19)

  • Virtual Glow Party (Online) — 7-9 p.m. — McLean Community Center is hosting a free virtual dance party. Join online and request your favorite songs. The night will include music, games and other surprises! Open to all ages.

Saturday (Mar. 20)

  • Fairfax County Teen Job Fair (Online) — 11-2 p.m. — Fairfax County will host its annual teen job fair this Saturday. Normally spread across multiple high schools, this year’s fair will take place online over two days due to the pandemic. This is the second of the two-day event. The fair is open to all teens in Fairfax County looking for work, volunteer, and internship opportunities. Businesses and organizations can register for free “booth space” to advertise their available positions. Teens must register online to get a link for the event.
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Registration Information Session (Online) — 2-4 p.m. — McLean Community Center instructor Quentin Levin will teach a class on how to register to get the COVID-19 vaccine for those who are eligible. The class has no affiliation with any vaccine providers. The class will focus on navigating technical issues but does not guarantee an appointment. Check the McLean Community Center website for more registration and to register for this class.
  • Vienna Photo Show — 10 a.m. at Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street) — The Vienna Photo Show will be open Mar. 20 through Apr. 17. The exhibit will be open for visitors during business hours, except between 12 and 1 p.m. every day, when it will be closed for cleaning. Ribbons for various categories will be awarded.
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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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Fairfax County Creates Tool to Get Off Vaccine Waitlist — People who registered for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the Fairfax County Health Department but ended up getting doses from another provider can now go online to take themselves off the waitlist. The county says canceling unnecessary registrations will speed up the queue and provide a more accurate picture of who’s waiting for an appointment. [Fairfax County Health Department]

Tysons Tech Company to Go Public With Merger — “Tysons analytics firm Qomplx Inc. is gearing up to go public through a merger with a blank-check company tied to the CEO of mattress juggernaut Casper Sleep Inc. (NYSE: CSPR). The local company, which provides an artificial intelligence-enabled risk management platform, among other products, has agreed to combine with Tailwind Acquisition Corp. in a deal that values Qomplx at $1.4 billion at $10 per share, the companies said Monday…The deal is expected to close in mid-2021.” [Washington Business Journal]

Garden Club of Fairfax Schedules 2021 Home and Garden Tour — “After last year’s cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Garden Club of Fairfax will hold its 2021 Home and Garden Tour in McLean. The tour is planned between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 20. Due to the pandemic, the tour will emphasize outdoor gardens to allow for social distancing. Masks will be required, and interiors of homes will not be available due to COVID-19 restrictions.” [Patch]

McLean High School Wins Press Freedom Award — “Two Fairfax County public schools — Chantilly High School and McLean High School — are among 14 schools nationwide selected as recipients of the 2021 First Amendment Press Freedom Award. This is the seventh consecutive award for Chantilly High, and the fourth award for McLean High. The award recognizes private and public high schools that actively support, teach, and protect First Amendment rights and responsibilities of students and teachers, with an emphasis on student-run media where students make all final decisions of content.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

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The Women’s Center is taking its annual leadership conference online for the second year in a row.

The Vienna-based nonprofit (133 Park St. NE), which provides mental health services and education, announced yesterday (Thursday) that its 35th annual Leadership Conference will be held virtually from 1-5 p.m. on Apr. 9.

In the past, the conference took place at the Hilton McLean hotel in Tysons, drawing over 700 attendees, but last year’s event had to be rescheduled and reorganized for an online setting after the COVID-19 pandemic put large, in-person gatherings on hold, according to a press release.

The 2021 conference has been titled “Learn, Pivot, Grow” and will focus on the mental health challenges that many people are experiencing in their professional and personal lives during the pandemic.

“This isn’t just an economic crisis. It’s a mental health crisis, too,” The Women’s Center CEO and Executive Director Rachna Singal Krishnan said. “That’s why we felt the theme ‘Learn, Pivot, Grow’ was so timely. It gives us an opportunity to explore the issues of the times and forge our best path forward.”

Krishnan notes that the pandemic has been particularly disruptive for women, who tend to work in the industries hit hardest by the public health crisis and have been more likely to take time off work or leave their jobs altogether to shoulder childcare responsibilities.

Founded in 1974, The Women’s Center aims to provide accessible and affordable mental health care through offices in Vienna and D.C. On top of offering counseling services that are funded in part by Fairfax County, the nonprofit runs a training program for mental health professionals.

In addition to speakers and panels, the leadership conference will feature an auction and luxury vendors that will donate a portion of their proceeds to the center.

An initial lineup of speakers can be found on the conference website. Tickets will be available for sale starting on Mar. 9.

Photo via Google Maps

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11 finalists have emerged from the 45 teams that joined Fairfax County’s inaugural Smart City Challenge, a virtual “hackathon” where participants developed projects that utilize technology to address societal issues.

However, the advancing teams will have to wait a little longer than expected to vie for the competition’s top prizes, which include more than $350,000 in cash and in-kind prizes as well as the chance to work on a pilot project for Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax.

Shortly after releasing the list of finalists, organizers Smart City Works and the McLean-based Refraction announced yesterday (Wednesday) that the concluding event — where the finalists will pitch their ideas live to a panel of judges — and subsequent awards ceremony have been postponed by a week to Feb. 25 due to weather concerns.

“The National Weather Service is forecasting a winter storm in the greater Washington, DC region tomorrow with power outages ‘likely.’  If even one team is unable to pitch due to a power outage, it would be unfair,” the Smart City Challenge team said in a message to participants.

The organizers say they decided to delay the finale, which was scheduled to take place today from 6-8:30 p.m., after consulting with their partners on the challenge, a group that includes the utility Dominion Energy and Fairfax County.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay are among the speakers scheduled for the event, which remains open for registration.

The Smart City Challenge kicked off on Jan. 23. In addition to the competition, it featured different virtual panels on topics like sustainability and housing that were open to the general public.

“The Smart City Challenge is the perfect opportunity to tap bright minds to improve the lives of everyone in the Washington, DC area through technology, innovation, and problem-solving,” Refraction CEO Esther Lee said. “We are excited to bring together forward-thinking businesses, entrepreneurs, universities, government, and nonprofits to showcase collaboration and thought leadership.”

The competition finalists will be evaluated based on innovation, impact, practicality, and equity by a panel of six judges, including Lee, Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, and Smart City Works Venture Labs CEO David Heyman.

The finalist teams are listed below, along with their proposed projects: Read More

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tuesday (Feb. 16)

  • Mystery Book Group (Online) — 7-8 p.m. — The Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library’s mystery book group will discuss Cara Black’s “Murder in Bel-Air” for its February meeting. Register with Fairfax County Public Library for a link to the event.

Wednesday (Feb. 17)

  • Harlem Renaissance and Black Arts Movement (Online) — 7-7:30 p.m. — The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Lambda Kappa Omega Chapter is sponsoring a discussion about the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s and the Black Arts Movement that was active during the 1960s and 1970s. Register for the online event through Fairfax County Public Library.

Thursday (Feb. 18)

  • Middle School Book Club (Online) — 4-5 p.m. — The Mary Riley Styles Public Library’s book club for sixth to eighth-grade kids will discuss the young adult novel “Tangerine” by Edward Bloor for its February meeting. Email Laura Miller at [email protected] for the Zoom link.
  • Vision Board Workshop (Online) — 6 p.m. — The Boro in Tysons is holding a virtual workshop with the art studio CraftJam on vision boarding, which involves creating a collage of images or objects that reflect your goals for the future. Participants should register in advance to reserve a spot and receive a list of suggested materials.

Friday (Feb. 19)

  • Mayor’s Walk — 9:30 a.m. at Vienna Town Hall (127 Center St. S) — Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert will take her monthly stroll from town hall to give community members an opportunity to chat or ask a question.
  • Virtual Black History Program (Online) — 7-8 p.m. — Fairfax County is celebrating February as Black History Month with a night of discussion and music. Speakers will include Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay, County Executive Bryan Hill, Health Director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu, and George Mason University Director of African and African-American Studies Mark Hopson. The event will also feature hip-hop artist Dumi RIGHT and musical selections from actor Amber Iman, The Hamilton Brothers, and more. The event will stream live on TV and online through Channel 16, and it will be available to view on demand afterwards.
  • Virtual Family Bingo Night (Online) — 7-9 p.m. — Preregistration is recommended for the McLean Community Center Old Firehouse’s virtual bingo night, which will feature games and prizes. The event costs $5 per person for five bingo cards.

Saturday (Feb. 20)

  • McLean CBC Virtual Open House (Online) — 9-11 a.m. — Fairfax County is holding a virtual community open house to discuss the latest draft of its revised comprehensive plan for the McLean Community Business District. The meeting can be attended through WebEx.
  • Fairfax COVID-19 Vaccine Information Session (Online) — 10-11 a.m. — AARP is hosting a talk about the COVID-19 vaccine with Fairfax County Health Director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu, who can answer questions about how the vaccine works, how much it costs, and the process for getting vaccinated. Register for the virtual event through AARP’s website.
  • Freedom and Dance for All (Online) — 1-2 p.m. — Educator and author Clarence McFerren II will talk about dance as a freeing outlet for Black communities in the face of social injustice. Vienna’s Patrick Henry Public Library is organizing the event, and participants must register in advance to receive a link.

Photo via Dr. Wendy Longo/Flickr

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After a year off, ViVa Vienna will look quite different in 2021 — if it gets held at all.

Planning for the Town of Vienna’s annual Memorial Day festival has commenced, but with the COVID-19 pandemic still an unavoidable threat to any public gathering, many details remain up in the air, from exactly when and where it will be held to how to control attendance at the typically bustling event.

The Rotary Club of Vienna, which sponsors the festival, told the Vienna Town Council on Monday (Feb. 8) that it would like to hold ViVa Vienna around Memorial Day as usual. This year’s Memorial Day weekend falls on May 29-31.

However, organizers say it will not be feasible to move forward with the event if Virginia is still limiting fairs and other entertainment businesses to 250 people at that time.

“We’re still working through a lot of this,” Rotary Club of Vienna ViVa Vienna Committee Chair AJ Oskuie said. “If we have the number [at] 250, it just won’t work from an economic standpoint.”

As an alternative, the rotary club has proposed pushing ViVa Vienna back to the weekend of Oct. 16. Oskuie says that is the earliest possible date if Memorial Day weekend does not pan out, because the festival’s usual ride vendor, Cole Amusement Company, is booked until then.

Town officials noted that, while it would leave more time for the pandemic to get under control and restrictions on crowds to potentially lift, an October date would present its own challenges, both from a health standpoint with the cooler weather and a logistical one.

Vienna already hosts a Halloween parade and Oktoberfest that month, and if the 2022 ViVa Vienna returns to the normal May date, it would mean having the same event twice in one fiscal year, something the town has never done before.

“Those are big events,” Vienna Town Manager Mercury Payton said. “That’s the part that makes me wonder how it would affect staff. We can make that work, but that to me is a higher concern than the monetary piece.”

The Town of Vienna co-sponsors ViVa Vienna and provides staffing support for security, road closures, trash removal, and setting up the facilities. Vienna Finance Director Marion Serfass says the town spent about $43,000 to pay staff overtime for the last ViVa Vienna in 2019, though a two-day event would cost closer to $28,000.

Councilmember Nisha Patel noted that the festival has the advantage of being outdoors, which poses less of a risk for spreading COVID-19, but organizers will have to implement safety measures, like a mask requirement, regardless of when the event takes place.

Oskuie confirmed that enclosed amusements like a funhouse will not be included, and the festival might use food truck vendors instead of stalls so they can spread out, rather than stay confined to one location.

Vienna Parks and Recreation Director Leslie Herman recommended preventing crowds by moving the festivities to an area that can be fenced in with entrances and exits, and by requiring attendees to register for time slots.

An event plan has to be approved by the Fairfax County Health Department and Fire Marshal’s Office, along with the Vienna Parks and Recreation Department. Oskuie told the town council that the Rotary Club will deliver a status update on Mar. 1, with Apr. 5 as the deadline for making a final decision on how to handle the festival this year.

Despite the obstacles, Vienna officials expressed hope that ViVa Vienna will go on. In addition to drawing as many as 30,000 to 40,000 people every year, the festival typically generates about $175,000 in proceeds that the Rotary Club gives to local charities and community organizations.

“We just need to be cautiously optimistic. There are so many unknowns out there right now,” Councilmember Steve Potter said. “…Just take it one week at a time and see where we go, but we need it. The town needs the uplift. Everybody needs it right now, and I don’t think we should drop it.”

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