Newsletter
Now-closed Container Store at 8508 Leesburg Pike (photo by Michelle Goldchain)

After this weekend, the former Container Store in Tysons will no longer be known as just “the former Container Store.”

The county-owned, 19,260-square-foot site with 95 parking spaces at 8508 Leesburg Pike is being transformed into a community hub and venue for local events through a collaborative effort between Fairfax County, Tysons Partnership, and Celebrate Fairfax Inc.

Tomorrow (Friday), Celebrate Fairfax and participating vendors will host another Tysons Block Party from 4 to 8 p.m., during which a new name will be announced for the venue. The name was chosen based on an online poll that Celebrate Fairfax conducted across its social media accounts.

“Activating this site is part of a multifaceted community building process in Tysons that recognizes the importance of placemaking,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said. “Having spaces like the one at 8508 Leesburg Pike in Tysons allows us to build social infrastructure, in addition to the built infrastructure that continues to grow.”

Singer Caz Gardiner is scheduled to perform at the event with a collections of vendors such as Settle Down Easy Brewing Co., Zainy’s Flyin’ Grill and Hangry Panda present.

In addition to a new name, the site will get a facelift in the near future with a mural by artist Rodrigo Pradel. Before work begins on the mural, however, Tysons Partnership is soliciting the community for input on the design with an online survey.

“The upcoming events in this space, including the Tysons Block Party and the mural live painting event, are just two of many opportunities for the Tysons community to share experiences, and make new connections, right here in Tysons,” Palchik said.

“This site can be a leader in facilitating in-person experiences, and a model for placemaking around our county,” she added.

After the Container Store relocated to 8459 Leesburg Pike in 2018, the county acquired the site in 2019 for $16.6 million with an eye toward utilizing it to support community innovation and entrepreneurship.

The county received a variety of proposals for the use of the site prior to the pandemic, including a suggestion from development officials to use it for community events.

However, during the pandemic, the building was adapted for emergency use. Over the past year, it has been used as a storage site for personal protective equipment, and it was designated as a hypothermia shelter from Dec. 1 through April 1.

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The “(Not) Strictly Painting” exhibition will feature painting-related work, such as Julie Wills’s “Midheaven” (courtesy McLean Project for the Arts)

Work by dozens of artists from across the mid-Atlantic region will soon be on display at the McLean Community Center, courtesy of McLean Project for the Arts.

The local visual arts-focused nonprofit announced on Wednesday (Sept. 8) that it will introduce its latest exhibition “(Not) Strictly Painting” to the community center’s Emerson Gallery (1234 Ingleside Avenue) next Saturday (Sept. 18).

This will be the 13th iteration of the juried, biennial exhibition, which will include paintings and other kinds of art that’s somehow related to painting from 37 different artists. MPA says it is “one of the region’s most important painting exhibitions.”

“(Not) Strictly Painting will exhibit works by some of the most interesting and innovative artists currently active in the Mid-Atlantic region,” MPA Director of Exhibitions and Curator Nancy Sausser said in a statement. “The exhibit was expertly juried by Virginia Treanor and Foon Sham, a curator and an artist, respectively. Their choices will be displayed separately online and blended together in the gallery.”

A Virginia-based artist, Foon Sham also teaches art at the University of Maryland at College Park, while Virginia Treanor serves as an associate curator at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in D.C.

Once the exhibition launches, the MPA Emerson Gallery will be open for viewing from 1-4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays, though it will be limited to six visitors at a time to allow for social distancing.

MCC currently requires all visitors to wear masks that fully cover their mouth and nose while attending programs at its facilities in accordance with federal and local COVID-19 health guidelines. Fairfax County has been requiring masks for visitors and employees in county government facilities since Aug. 9.

“In addition, patrons are requested to do their best to observe six feet of social distance from other patrons as often as possible and to wash their hands often,” MPA said in its news release.

MPA will host a virtual opening reception for “(Not) Strictly Painting” from 7-8 p.m. on Sept. 23. A full list of the artists featured in the exhibition, which will run through Nov. 13, can be found on the nonprofit’s website.

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Steelpan musician Josanne Francis will close out the 2021 MPAartfest on Oct. 3 (courtesy McLean Project for the Arts)

After shifting to a virtual format last year, the McLean Project for the Arts will be back in person at McLean Central Park for its 15th annual MPAartfest, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 3

In addition to showcasing the for-sale work of visual artists with mini galleries and a juried contest, the free festival will feature food from local restaurants, a children’s art walk, and a full day of live music.

Announced on Wednesday (Sept. 1), the musical program curated by Veronneau guitarist Ken Avis will kick off at 10 a.m. with the Blues Alley Youth Jazz Orchestra and close with Caribbean steelpan musician Josanne Francis, whose set will start at 3 p.m.

The full lineup from MPA’s press release is below:

Blues Alley Youth Jazz Orchestra will kick off MPAartfest at 10:00 am*. Comprised of accomplished student musicians and directed by legendary jazz bassist Michael Bowie, this award-winning, 15-piece youth swing big band seeks to preserve and promote the big band jazz art form. Now in its third decade, the Orchestra has performed at DC’s leading venues.

Vocalist, pianist and guitarist Sheyda Do’a will perform with her band at 11:00 am. Blending sounds from across the globe into what she calls “melodies for the soul,” Do’a draws on her multicultural heritage and her upbringing in Albania to create music that inspires across cultures and generations. Do’a was selected in 2020 to the prestigious Strathmore Artist in Residence program.

Nataly Merezhuk’s Hot Band takes the stage at 12:00 noon. Originally from Russia, Nataly has made her way from the Moscow Conservatory all the way to the United States’ Peabody Conservatory. Influenced by the sounds of Stéphane Grappelliand Svend Asmussen, Merezhuk brings her beautiful, classical tone to the world of hot jazz and swing.

At 1:00 pm, Project Locrea brings international harmonies to the MPAartfest Music Stage. Project Locrea is an all-star international collective featuring musicians from China, Argentina, Ethiopia, Bulgaria, Peru… and even the USA. With vocals and traditional instruments, the band weaves an intriguing, multicultural tapestry of music with impact and appeal to all and a joyous onstage presence. Led by Bulgarian flute player Yana Nikol, the music reflects not only the band’s ethnic diversity but their backgrounds in multiple music genres. Locrea is a word invented to reflect their ethos of Love and Creation.

Italian vocalist and loop artist Irene Jalenti kicks off the 2:00 pm hour. A dynamic, soulful and passionate performer and composer, Jalenti delves deeply into the meaning of each song and brings drama and conviction to her performance with her naturally deep tone and an impressive wide range. Adept at scat singing and able to sing in five different languages, Jalenti connects with and delights a range of audiences.

Steelpan musician Josanne Francis will close out the MPAartfest Music Stage at 3:00 pm. Born and raised in the twin-island Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, Francis’s music blends together and draws influence from traditional Calypso music, jazz, Indian, funk, rock and classical music.

MPA says on its website that it is working with state and local officials to ensure the festival follows all COVID-19 health guidelines.

“The health and safety of our community, artists, and staff is our highest priority as we plan for the return to McLean Central Park for our 15th annual MPAartfest,” the nonprofit says. “We are working with state and local authorities, as well as following CDC guidelines, to ensure that we are in compliance with official policies as we develop COVID-19 protocols and procedures.”

MPA, which operates out of the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Avenue), uses the funds raised by MPAartfest through sponsorships and donations to support the exhibitions, classes, and other programming it provides throughout the rest of the year.

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Morning Notes

Help Name Former Container StoreCelebrate Fairfax is turning the former Container Store at 8505 Leesburg Pike in Tysons into a community event venue whose name will be determined by a social media poll. The options are Tysons Commons, Tysons Collective, Social District at Tysons, and The PARC (People, Art, Recreation, and Community) at Tysons. [Celebrate Fairfax Festival/Twitter]

Inova-Tested Drug Helps COVID Patients — “A drug tested at Inova Health System has shown to improve clinical outcomes in hospitalized COVID-19 patients who required supplemental oxygen. The Phase 2 clinical trial evaluating the safety of fostamatinib was conducted on behalf of Rigel Pharmaceuticals Inc…Results were published Wednesday in Clinical Infectious Diseases, an official publication of the Infectious Disease Society of America.” [Inside NoVA]

Falls Church to Get First Electric School Buses — “FCCPS is one of 19 Virginia school divisions receiving a grant to replace diesel school buses with new electric buses. The grant announcement came last Thursday, in a news release from the governor’s office. FCCPS will receive $530,000 for two electric buses from the Volkswagen (VW) Environmental Mitigation Trust.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Local Nonprofit Names New Leader — “Vienna-based Langley Residential Support Services, a nonprofit serving adults with developmental disabilities, has named a new executive director. Langley Residential’s board hired Maureen K. Gum as executive director after she served as interim executive director.” [Patch]

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Morning Notes

Local Woman Gets First Haircut in 17 Years — “There is the slightest chance that as the scissors close in on Zahab Kamal Khan’s hair Thursday morning at the McLean Community Center, she will break from the crowd and the TV news crews and make a run for it. After all, Zahab’s hair — all 6 feet, 3 inches of it — is one of her most prized possessions. She’s been growing it for 17 years, since she was 13.” [The Washington Post]

Vienna Church Celebrates 150th Anniversary — “Vienna Presbyterian Church began in 1871 with nine people — seven female members and two male elders — and in the decades since has ministered to people both in the local area and around the world. The church celebrated its 150th anniversary Aug. 22 with sermons, testimonials, song and fellowship.” [Sun Gazette]

Enjoy Tysons Boulevard Lane Closure — “Looking for a family friendly activity this weekend? Come be #activeintysons because we are hosting a Back-to-School Meetup this Saturday from 10AM-12PM, in Tysons #openstreet along Tysons Blvd. We hope to see you rain or shine for story time with Tysons School Board Representive, Karl Frisch, light refreshments, fun and games!” [Tysons Partnership/Twitter]

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The Perch (courtesy Capital One Center)

(Updated at 9:30 a.m. on 8/24/2021) The Perch is ready for its close-up.

Capital One Center will formally introduce its 2.5-acre urban park in the sky with a three-day family friendly music festival next month that will serve as a grand opening event.

Perchfest, which will run from Sept. 17-19, will feature local bands, activities, games, a sneak peek at The Watermark Hotel, and a new beer release from Starr Hill Biergarten, which officially opened to the public on Saturday (Aug. 21).

The free event is limited to guests, who must register online to reserve a ticket. Located at 1803 Capital One Drive in Tysons, the event runs from 4-10 p.m. on Sept. 17 (Friday), noon to 11 p.m. on Sept. 18 (Saturday), and 12-5 p.m. on Sept. 19 (Sunday).

The festival will benefit Northern Virginia and D.C. chapters of Best Buddies, an international nonprofit that works to improve the lives of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Organizers are encouraging people to donate directly to the organization through its website.

“Capital One Center is excited to present Perchfest, the first of many diverse and dynamic events planned for ‘The Perch,’ a rooftop experience like no other,” Capital One Center managing director Jonathan Griffith said in a news release.

Construction work is continuing for the mixed-use development by the Capital Beltway in Tysons, but The Perch is complete. It sits atop Capital One Hall and features a Sky Bark dog park, an 18-hole mini golf course, a sculpture garden, an amphitheater, and more.

“To mark the occasion and celebrate the grand opening of the newest community gathering place, Starr Hill Biergarten will release a bespoke beer, Perchfest Session IPA,” a news release said. “The distinctly versatile brew features a refreshing citrus hop combined with grapefruit zest.”

The biergarten is currently open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday, 10 a.m. to midnight on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.

Kids-centric offerings will include face painting, superheroes, and games. My Gym Vienna/Tysons will also facilitate a children’s music and movement program throughout Sept. 18 (Saturday) on the half-hour from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The boutique nail salon and spa Nothing in Between, the newest business to open at Capital One Center, will offer complimentary chair massages for guests from 4-7 p.m. on Sept. 17.

When fully built out, Capital One Center will encompass 6 million square feet of development. The Watermark is scheduled to open on Sept. 21, followed by Capital One Hall — a new performing arts venue — on Oct. 2.

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Morning Notes

Expanded SACC Program Returns in August — “As students prepare to get back to class in the fall, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Jeffrey McKay and Fairfax County School Board Chair Stella Pekarsky held a press conference to announce that SACC will be providing before and after school services in 142 locations this year, including two new centers located at Clearview Elementary and McNair Upper Elementary.” [WUSA9]

Metro Pushes Vote on Arrest Ban to September — “Metro’s board on Thursday postponed a vote on a plan that would let transit police ban someone arrested on suspicion of a sex crime or an offense involving a dangerous weapon. The delay came after civil liberties groups and activists voiced opposition to the measure and asked the transit agency to reconsider.” [The Washington Post]

Merrifield Business Association President Lauded — “Fairfax County supervisors on July 27 honored former Greater Merrifield Business Association (GMBA) president Billy Thompson for his decades of community service. Thompson joined GMBA in 1995 and served as its president for seven years. Supervisors credited him with providing support and mentorship to many business owners in Merrifield and Fairfax.” [Sun Gazette]

Vienna to Bring Back Church Street Block Parties — “The Town of Vienna will host the Chillin’ on Church block parties along historic Church Street near the Town Green on Aug. 20 and Sept. 17. The events will run from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. with food, beer and wine, and entertainment. Admission is free.” [Patch]

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Morning Notes

Pedestrian Killed in McLean Crash — “Crash Reconstruction detectives are responding to Chain Bridge Road and International Drive in McLean to investigate a fatal crash where an adult male pedestrian was hit by a car. The driver remained at the scene.” [FCPD/Twitter]

Man Arrested for Falls Church Stabbing — According to Fairfax County police, a man was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after being stabbed during an assault by four men in the 3000 block of Graham Road on July 19. A Maryland man who attempted to run when officers arrived on the scene has been arrested and charged with assault by mob. [FCPD]

FCPS Student Data Breach Reported — Fairfax County Public Schools released confidential student information, including email addresses and identification numbers, as part of a Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act records request. An FCPS spokesperson says the school system is “in the process of tightening its processes and increasing training opportunities in the handling of data to ensure this cannot happen again.” [Fairfax County Times]

Traffic Calming Changes Coming to McLean — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to approve a series of traffic calming measures in the McLean area when it meets tomorrow (Tuesday). With a total cost of $65,000, the changes include the installation of speed humps, removal of a speed table, and placement of edge-line striping on Kimberwicke Road. [Sun Gazette]

Registration Opens for McLean 5K — The McLean 5K Run will back in person on Oct. 2 for its 13th year, and online registration is now open through 8 p.m. on Sept. 30. The annual event is hosted by the McLean Community Center and will benefit the McLean Community Foundation. [Supervisor John Foust/Twitter]

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A mayor, a governor, and four Racing Presidents stepped onto a baseball diamond, and thus began the 2021 Virginia State Little League Majors Tournament.

Hundreds of young athletes and their families from across the Commonwealth descended on Yeonas Park in Vienna yesterday (Thursday) to kick off the five-day competition to crown a state champion, who will advance to a regional tournament for the chance to potentially play in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on Aug. 19.

The day mostly consisted of formalities, from a recitation of the Little League pledge to ceremonial first pitches thrown by Gov. Ralph Northam, Town of Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert, and a representative from tournament sponsor Dominion Energy.

But for the players, it was an occasion for socializing and celebrating, a welcome return to normalcy after the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a cancellation of the 2020 Little League season. There was nary a mask in sight, aside from those donned by the catchers behind the plate for the first pitches.

“It’s exciting, especially [since] we get to play here at our home field,” said Tommy Weithman, a third baseman and occasional pitcher for Vienna National, which won the District 4 title last week.

The proceedings began with the 16 teams competing in the tournament lining up in numerical order by district behind the refurbished Cedar Park Shopping Center for a Parade of Champions.

Led by the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department’s antique fire engine, the parade pulled out of the strip mall at 5:40 p.m. and headed down Patrick Street straight to the park, where the teams were greeted by cheering parents as well as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt — the Washington Nationals’ four Racing Presidents mascots.

Once the teams were assembled on the Fred Crabtree Field outfield grass, District 4 Administrator Ellen Witherow introduced Northam, Colbert, and other dignitaries in the audience and acknowledged the many volunteers making the event possible, including the crew of umpires.

A color guard from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, took the field to set the stage for singer DC Washington, who belted “The Star-Spangled Banner” with the same commitment that has made him a mainstay at Nationals Park.

Northam and Colbert’s first pitches both went high, though the mayor got hers close enough to the strike zone for the catcher to snag it.

While cases have started to climb again in Virginia and the U.S. as a whole, Northam described the Little League tournament as a heartening milestone in the state’s efforts to curb the novel coronavirus’ spread and vaccinate residents. It is easily the largest event to come to the Town of Vienna since the pandemic hit in March 2020.

“People have done the right thing in Virginia,” Northam said. “We’re getting people vaccinated and getting people out and about, so it’s really an exciting night, and I know it’s exciting for these players and their families.”

Vienna National center fielder Credan Reasons, who also does some pitching and first base, says not being able to play last year was “a real big bummer,” so it has been a joy to reunite with his teammates, many of whom carried over from the team that won the District 4 championship in 2019.

He attributes Vienna National’s continued success to the fact that all of the players get along with each other, adding that “it’s an honor” to be able to host the tournament, something Vienna last did in 2004.

“It’s going to be really fun playing in front of a lot of people and playing in my town, just like I said,” Credan said. “…I love baseball, and I love playing, especially here in front of this many people. It’s just going to be fun.”

Now that the ceremonial portion of the tournament is over, Vienna National pitcher Andreas Millradt is eager to take the mound and show off the skills that he has been honing since he was 6. He struck out 12 in a 59-pitch perfect game for this year’s District 4 semifinals, the Sun Gazette reported.

“[My approach is] really just do my best and rally my teammates, because together, we can do anything,” Andreas said.

The tournment’s first game started today (Friday) at 9 a.m., and the final game for the state championship will begin at 10 a.m. on Tuesday (July 27). The full game schedule can be found on the District 4 Little League website.

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Morning Notes

Vienna ambulance behind Cedar Park at start of Virginia State Little League Majors Tournament Parade of Champions (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

McLean Drivers: Expect Delays on Georgetown Pike Starting Monday — “Georgetown Pike (Route 193) between Swinks Mill Road and I-495 (Capital Beltway) will have one lane of alternating traffic in each direction via flagging, weather permitting, Monday, July 26 through Wednesday, July 28 between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. each day to replace a stormwater pipe at the Saigon Road intersection, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.” [VDOT]

Founders Row II Proposal Modified — Developer Mill Creek presented revised plans for a second phase of its Founders Row project to the Falls Church City Council on Monday (July 19). Changes since it was first proposed in March include reductions of the height and number of rental residential units and the addition of “more street-level retail and amenities to please its neighbors.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Former Container Store to Host Tysons Block Party — The Celebrate Fairfax! Festival has been canceled for a second consecutive year, but the nonprofit that organizes it is returning next Friday (July 30) with a block party to kick off its 40th Anniversary Series. The event will go from 3-7 p.m. outside the former Container Store at 8508 Leesburg Pike with live entertainment, refreshments from Caboose Brewing Company, and more. [Celebrate Fairfax/Facebook]

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