Tysons, VA

For the ninth year in a row, people can taste chocolate from local chocolatiers at an annual festival in McLean.

The McLean Chocolate Festival is a fundraiser for the Rotary Club of McLean — proceeds go to local organizations.

Last year, the festival raised more than $21,000 people and had more than 3,100 attendees, according to the website.

The festival is set to take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 26 at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Avenue).

Attendees can expect a children’s game room and live entertainment. Admission is $2, but kids ages 3 and under can attend for free.

Photo via Burke & Herbert Bank/Facebook

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In a few weeks, people can cannonball into an icy poll for a fundraiser in Merrifield.

The Polar Plunge Festival returns to the Mosaic District to raise money for Special Olympics Virginia to provide year-round sports training, competition, leadership opportunities and health services to athletes, according to the event’s website.

It costs $100 to take the plunge. So far, the upcoming event has raised just over $7,000, with a goal of $45,000.

A contest will award the “best-dressed plunger,” according to the Mosaic District website.

The event is set to take place on Saturday (Jan. 25) from 1-4 p.m.

Photo via Plunge Virginia/Facebook

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With the launch of Second Story’s Together, We Do More campaign, the local organization hopes to maintain its purpose as a resource for kids and young adults facing hardships and abuse.

By the end of the three-year campaign, the organization plans to raise at least $4 million, according to its website.

Due to a lack of government funding and rising costs of services Jade Leedham, the vice president of development for Second Story, said that support from the community is key for the organization’s success.

“What we are trying to do is basically close the gap with rising cost,” she said.

The campaign officially launched in July at Second Story’s “Beacon of Hope Breakfast,” which Leedham said is the organization’s largest event of the year.

Within the first fiscal quarter of the fundraiser, Second Story managed to hit its initial goal of $430,000, according to Leedham.

Leedham came up with the idea for the campaign alongside Second Story’s CEO while discussing the future of the organization. They wanted to find the most efficient way to communicate with the public.

“From there it just kind of snowballed,” she said. 

Though the organization receives donations and requests for assistance throughout the year, Leedham said the holidays are a busy time for Second Story.

Anyone interested in donating and supporting the campaign can do so online.

Second Story also published a series of videos and testimonials, which the community can watch if they are curious about the organization’s impact.

Image via Second Story/Facebook

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Now that Thanksgiving is over, many people are beginning to put up holiday decorations — including Christmas trees.

There are several places around the Tysons area that carry a variety of tree types to fit the needs of decorators.

McLean

Saint John’s Academy is hosting a Christmas tree sale for people who want their purchase to benefit a good cause. Until Dec. 22, Saint John the Beloved Catholic Church (6420 Linway Terrace) will be selling trees Wednesday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Tree prices start at $50. Garland and wreaths will also be available.  All proceeds will benefit students at the church’s school, according to the website.

The Trinity United Methodist Church (1205 Dolley Madison Blvd) will also be selling trees. Hours of operation are Thursdays and Fridays from 5 to 7:30 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Sundays from 12 until 6 p.m. Proceeds from this sale will benefit the church’s youth group and Boy Scout Troop 869.

Merrifield 

The Merrifield Garden Center (8132 Lee Hwy) offers shoppers eight different types of Christmas trees, including Scotch Pine, White Pine, Blue Spruce, Douglas Fir, Nobile Spruce, Turkish Fir and Fraiser Fir as well as artificial trees.

The center is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. The store also has locations in Fair Oaks and Gainsville, according to the website.

The Home Depot in Merrifield (2815 Merrilee Drive) has a selection of fake trees that customers can pick up at the store or order online for home delivery. Though they do not have live trees available at individual stores, they will ship them for free from a storage warehouse for free, according to the website.

Photo via Annie Spratt/Unsplash

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This November, Wolf Trap returns with new concerts and events.

On Wednesday (Nov.11), D.C. pianist John Eaton will perform songs and stories for the audience, according to the event page. Tickets start at $27 and the event will begin at 11:30 a.m. at The Barns (1635 Trap Road).

Folk singer and guitarist Trace Bundy will take the stage for a performance a few days later on Thursday, Nov. 14, at 6:30 p.m. He is known for his harmonics, looping and multiple caps, according to the event website. Tickets start at $27.

The season will wrap up with three events of performances by Sutton Foster, a Tony Award-winning singer, on Nov. 23-24. Tickets to her performance start at $67 and doors open at 6:30 p.m.

The list of Wolf Trap events in November:

Photo via Wolf Trap

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Taco Bamba is celebrating National Taco Day by challenging patrons to a contest raising money for Hurricane Dorian survivors.

This Friday (Oct. 4), each Taco Bamba location will host its second annual “Bambathon” competition to see which of the five locations in the D.C. and Northern Virginia areas will be able to sell the most tacos.

Anyone interested in participating can visit the two nearby Taco Bamba locations at Falls Church (2190 Pimmit Drive) and Vienna (164 W. Maple Avenue). Both locations are open from 8:30 a.m. until 10 p.m.

Each location that serves 1,500 or more tacos will donate $1,000 to World Central Kitchen’s mission in the Bahamas, according to a press release.

Wold Central Kitchen aims to ease the effect of poverty and hunger. They have served more than 250,000 meals to Hurricane Dorian survivers so far, according to the website. “Meals are being delivered to community centers, clinics, churches, and into local neighborhoods that have been isolated by the storm.”

Restaurant patrons can track the progress of each location on Taco Bamba’s Instagram.

Photo via Taco Bamba/Facebook

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A teddy bear-themed run and walk this weekend in Falls Church will raise funds for the Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center.

The seventh annual Teddy Bear 5K and 1K Walk and Run will begin in front of Lemon Road Elementary School (7230 Idylwood Road) on Sunday (Sept. 29). The race call time is at 9 a.m. for the 5k participants and 10 a.m. for the 1k participants.

Registration for 5K runners costs $35 and $20 for 1k participants. Proceeds from the event will go toward helping low-income families with the center tuition and maintain the children center’s affordability.

All age groups are welcome to attend but organizers ask that children under 12 are accompanied by an adult.

There will be prizes for participants, including a teddy bear for those who finish the course. Parents with strollers are encouraged to participate as well and will be placed in their own league.

Photo via Facebook/Falls Church- McLean Children’s Center

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A local organization is hosting a charity tailgate to help people who are experiencing homelessness and struggling youths.

The Tysons Partnership event will have live music from the Decades Band, beer and wine tents, a pop-up playground, arcade games, raffles and a speech from Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, according to the event page.

The event aims to raise funds for Second Story, a non-profit founded in Vienna that works to improve the lives of struggling young adults and people experiencing homelessness.

Tickets are on sale for $30 and include two complimentary drinks. The event will be held outside regardless of the weather.

Drew Sunderland, a spokesperson for Tysons Partnership, said that the organization tries to work with local nonprofits in the regional Tysons area or surrounding communities.

“Second Story was identified as a great partner that was in need,” Sunderland said, adding that their work has a real impact on the Tysons community.

The tailgate is part of the Tysons Partnership’s larger Season of Giving, which raised money for similar organizations, like Food for Others. This year’s other events included a 5k and a happy hour event. In years past, the event has attracted over 1,000 attendees, according to the website.

Second Story supports a variety of people including homeless teens, survivors of domestic abuse and young mothers in northern Virginia, according to their website. The organization matches at-risk youth with counseling, shelter, food or other forms of assistance based on their needs, free of charge.

Teens between the ages of 13 to 17 and young mothers can text TEENHELP to 855-11 if they would like assistance from the program.

The party will last from 5-8 p.m. in Valo park next Wednesday (Sept. 25).

Photo via Valo Park

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School is back in session, and a local McDonald’s is hosting a fundraiser for public education.

The McDonald’s at 3009 Galls Road is donating 5% of their profits to charity now until Friday (Sept. 13). Each day — with the exception of the weekend and Monday — the proceeds will benefit a different school in the area.

The store will also offer students free ice cream cones from 3-5 p.m.

Community members can come to support specific schools on the days shown below.

  • Wednesday (Sept. 4) — Camelot Elementary School
  • Thursday (Sept. 5) — Stenwood Elementary School
  • Friday (Sept. 6) — Fairhill Elementary School
  • Tuesday (Sept. 10) — Pine Spring Elementary School
  • Wednesday (Sept. 11) — Woodburn Elementary School
  • Thursday (Sept. 12) — Jackson Middle School
  • Friday (Sept. 13) — Falls Church High School

“As owners of the restaurant and members of the community, we wish to honor the schools in our market area to celebrate,” a press release said, adding that the owner wants to use this event as an opportunity to celebrate the location’s recently remodeled building.

Photo via Moving Merrifield Forward

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The Food for Others annual 5K is set to take place this upcoming Saturday (Sept. 7).

The race will feature a fun run and prizes for participants while also benefiting local community members who cannot afford basic groceries, Alison Padget, a Food for Others spokesperson, said.

The race registration will begin at 8 a.m. at the Tysons Corner Center, just outside the L.L.Bean outlet. Tickets can be purchased online for $35 through Sept. 5 or $40 on the day of the event. 

Special guests will speak at the event, including Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, Padget said.

“People think of it as being wealthy areas,” she said. “But, there is something like 50,00 people [who] are food insecure.” 

As the sixth annual event, Padget added that she typically sees around 400 participants manage to raise around a $45,000 net profit for donation. For comparison, $35 will supply 15 families with eggs and milk.

According to the Food for Others website, the organization is part of Northern Virginia’s “safety net” for low-income families. They work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, local grocers and food drives to supply extra food for those in need.

Photo via Food for Others

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