Newsletter
A plunger jumps into a pool in Merrifield’s Mosaic District (courtesy Special Olympics Virginia)

A fundraiser that was frozen last year by the coronavirus pandemic is coming back with a new location at the Mosaic District.

Special Olympics Virginia last held a polar plunge at Penny Lane Park in Merrifield in 2020 to help with its programming aimed at serving people with intellectual disabilities. Now, the event is slated to return this year on Jan. 15, with a costume contest at 1 p.m. and people jumping into the water at 1:15 p.m.

This time, though, the nonprofit’s event will have pools in the Mosaic District’s main park and pedestrian area, located by Target along Strawberry Lane.

The donations help individuals participate in the organization’s athletic training and compete at Olympic-like events, while providing school-based programming and health screenings for free to recipients.

“In early 2020 our polar plunges helped sustain us through the first year of the pandemic, and we hope [that] this year, our first year back to in person plunging, they will help continue to get us back on the playing field,” Ellen Head, senior director of development for Special Olympics Virginia, said in an email.

Special Olympics Virginia officials have been watching COVID-19 case numbers and discussing how they should proceed, given concerns over the worsening spread of the virus. Organizers have been reassured by the outside nature of the event — a lower risk environment for the spread of the virus — as well as a masking requirement for parts of the event.

Like other organizations, the nonprofit’s donations have declined amid the pandemic, but it has added virtual programming for participants that it plans to continue beyond the lifespan of the virus.

The organization has raised over $24,000 of a $30,000 goal. Head said it hopes to multiply that goal in coming years.

Photo courtesy Special Olympics Virginia

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Fireworks (via Jorgen Kesseler/Flickr)

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, Dec. 28

  • Open Mic — 6 p.m. at Settle Down Easy Brewing (2822 Fallfax Drive) — Grab some beer and hear from a mix of musicians.

Wednesday, Dec. 29

  • Outdoor Sharpie Tile Art for Kids — 5-6 p.m. at Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library (7584 Leesburg Pike) — Create a design with Sharpies in a program for kids ages 5 to 10.

Thursday, Dec. 30

  • ‘Make Me Happy’ — 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Falls Church Arts Gallery (700-B W. Broad St.) — Check out the works of three dozen artists, centered on works that make people smile. Free. Continues through Jan. 30.

Friday, Dec. 31

  • Countdown to None 5K — 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Old Red Caboose (204D Mill St. NE) — A fundraiser for type 1 diabetes research, the virtual 5K concludes with an in-person race and celebration in the Town of Vienna. There will be music, food, and more, with all proceeds going to the organization JDRF.
  • NYE ’80s Glow Party with DJ D — 8 p.m. at Jammin Java (227 Maple Ave. East) — Get your ’80s-inspired neon outfits out to win prizes and enjoy this retro dance environment. Tickets start at $35. Doors open at 7 p.m.
  • The 8th Annual Grandiose NYE Gala — 9 p.m.-2 a.m. at Hilton McLean Tysons Corner (7920 Jones Branch Drive) — Celebrate New Year’s Eve with three ballrooms of entertainment featuring complimentary lite fare, a champagne toast, and more. Cost starts at $80.

Saturday, Jan. 1

  • Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights — 5-10 p.m. at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens — Enjoy lights and holiday scenes in this annual transformation, which has its last day on Sunday (Jan. 2). Tickets for those ages 2 and over are $18 each.

Sunday, Jan. 2

  • The Gift of Language — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mosaic District (920 District Ave.) — A cultural immersion program shares stories in Spanish, games, and arts and crafts at FRESHFARM’s weekly farmers market.

Photo via Jorgen Kesseler/Flickr

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Morning Notes

Customers peruse the book store Bards Alley during Vienna’s Church Street Holiday Stroll (photo by Amy Woolsey)

(Updated at 9:05 a.m.) Inova Comes to McLean for Blood Drive — The McLean Volunteer Fire Department has teamed up with Inova Blood Donor Services for a blood drive in its lower parking lot at 1455 Laughlin Avenue. Staff will set up the bloodmobile before noon, and the drive will officially run from 1-5:30 p.m. [McLean VFD/Facebook]

FCPS Leads Public School Student Exodus — “For the second straight year, enrollment in Virginia public schools has dropped, with 46,000 fewer students enrolled since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data from the Virginia Department of Education, the largest school district in the commonwealth, Fairfax County, saw the largest enrollment dip — more than 10,000 students, or a 5.4% difference between fall 2019 and fall 2021.” [WTOP]

Merrifield Wendy’s to Give Away Free Food — “The first 100 customers at the newly remodeled Wendy’s restaurant in Gate House Plaza in Merrifield on Dec. 4 will get a chance to win free food for a year. Wend American Group…is in the final stages of completing the remodeling of its Wendy’s restaurant at 3040 Gate House Plaza, near the intersection of Gallows Road and Route 50.” [Patch]

FCPS Appoints New Chief Equity Officer — Dr. Nardos King will take over as Fairfax County Public Schools’ interim chief equity officer on Dec. 6, replacing Dr. Lisa Williams until a new superintendent makes a permanent hire. Williams, who has overseen the division’s equity and diversity work since July 2019, is leaving for personal reasons not related to work, FCPS told Tysons Reporter. [FCPS]

Vienna Police Doubles Fundraising Goal for Prostate Cancer Awareness — “The last picture of the no shave November! 30 days ago our officers put down their razors until we reach our $3K goal. Today we can happily report that their efforts generated $6,594 in donations for @ZEROCancer THANK YOU to everyone that donate! Time to shave!” [Vienna Police Department/Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Family of Man Killed in I-495 Crash Starts GoFundMe — “The family of a 24-year-old Washington, D.C., man who died last week in a crash on the Capital Beltway in Fairfax County is holding an online fundraiser to help pay for his funeral expenses. The man, Elson Turcios, died in an early morning crash last Thursday on I-495, according to the Virginia State Police.” [Patch]

Metro Works to Bring More Railcars into Service — Metro is still working to bring back some older trains as crowding and long wait times continue to plague the transit system two weeks after a railcar derailed in Arlington. Officials said they ran 31 trains yesterday (Monday) and hope to improve service next week, though a timeline for the return of the 7000-series cars removed for inspections is still unclear. [DCist]

County Reports Strong Turnout for Sunday Voting — “We had a huge turnout for #earlyvoting this weekend. More than 9,000 people voted on Sat (10/23). On the first ever Sunday (10/24) for early voting, 4,656 people cast ballots! This is the last week to #voteearly” [Fairfax County Office of Elections/Twitter]

Annual Coat Drive Helps Fairfax County Residents and Beyond — “Firefighters, police officers and others in Fairfax County, Virginia, teamed up Monday to bag up 3,000 new winter jackets so they can get them onto the backs and shoulders of kids who need them…Most of the coats went to Fairfax County residents, and in many cases, along the Route 1 corridor. But some were going to places like Prince William County, the city of Alexandria and even into Prince George’s County, Maryland.” [WTOP]

Police Collect Unused Prescription Drugs — Fairfax County police collected 1,406 pounds of unused and expired over-the-counter and prescription medication on Saturday (Oct. 23) as part of the 21st Annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The McLean District Station received 220 pounds, behind West Springfield and Reston Hospital Center. [FCPD]

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Morning Notes

Metro Service Cutbacks Continue — “Reduced Metrorail service is expected to continue until at least Sunday, October 24, as the investigation into the October 12 derailment continues. Beginning tomorrow, trains will operate every 15 minutes on the Red Line and will continue to operate every 30 minutes on all other lines. Silver Line trains will operate between Wiehle-Reston East and Federal Center SW only.” [WMATA]

What to Know About COVID-19 Boosters and Vaccines for Kids — More than 45,000 Fairfax Health District residents have gotten an additional or booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The Fairfax County Health Department says  it is “actively planning and preparing for the authorization of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster doses and vaccinations for children ages 5-11.” [FCHD]

Capital Bikeshare Changes Prices — The D.C. area bicycle-sharing system raised rental prices for non-members on Oct. 1, dropping a flat $2 fee for 30-minute rides in favor of charging 5 cents per minute and a $1 “unlocking fee.” Officials say the changes will help cover increasing operational and maintenance costs as well as future improvements and expansion plans. [The Washington Post]

Local Environmentalist Dies — “McLean resident Debra Ann Jacobson, a lawyer, investigator for Congress and ardent environmentalist, died Sept. 15 at her McLean home. She was 69 and died from complications of liver cancer, her family said. ‘Debra was a champion for the environment and someone who inspired those who were fortunate enough to know her,’ said Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville).” [Sun Gazette]

Vienna Family Raises Funds for Child After Stroke — Vienna residents Tom and Paige Shahryary will hold their second annual James’s Promise Run at Nottoway Park on Nov. 7 to raise money for their now-2-year-old son, James, who suffered a stroke after he was born in August 2019. The family also has a GoFundMe page to raise funds for medical treatments and therapies. [Patch]

Vienna to Give Away Native Tree Seedlings — “Fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs. Find out why and pick up a free native tree seedling this Saturday, Oct. 23 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Vienna Community Center. Town arborist Scott Diffenderfer will be on hand to answer your questions about trees.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

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Lake Street Dive (via Wolf Trap)

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 (Sept. 7)

  • Weird History for Kids — 4:30-5:15 p.m. at Dolley Madison Library (1244 Oak Ridge Avenue) — Learn about mummies through art, games, stories, and skill-building exercises in this month’s entry in the McLean-based library’s history series. Space is limited for the in-person event, which is geared toward kids aged 6-12.

Thursday (Sept. 9)

Friday (Sept. 10)

  • “Aspirations” Opening Night — 5-7 p.m. at Pars Place (2236-C Gallows Road) — Meet the local artists in an opening reception for their new art exhibit hosted by the Iranian-American Community Center in Dunn Loring. Face coverings or masks are required, and advanced registration is recommended.

Saturday (Sept. 11)

  • Sept. 11 Remembrance Ceremony — 9 a.m. at the Freeman Store and Museum (131 Church St. NE) — The American Legion Dyer-Gunnell Post 180 in Vienna is hosting a 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony, marking 20 years since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
  • 45th Annual Falls Church Festival — 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at City Hall (300 Park Ave.) — From children’s entertainment to a beer garden and booths for local crafters and others, the free admission festival will feature food, amusement rides, and entertainment. Visitors are encouraged to wear a mask while not eating or drinking and must wear one when entering the Falls Church Community Center (223 Little Falls St.).
  • Truck and Toss — 4 p.m. at Grace Christian Academy (3233 Annandale Road) — The food truck, craft beer, and cornhole festival benefits a tuition assistance program for the West Falls Church-based private school, which serves students up to eighth grade. General admission is $40.

Sunday (Sept. 12)

  • Congenital Heart Walk — 9:45 a.m. at Wolf Trap (1551 Trap Road) — The walk supports The Children’s Heart Foundation mission to fund congenital heart defect  research. In-person activities are being held throughout the day, before and after the walk, and there’s also a virtual option. Register online.
  • Tysons 5K — 9 a.m. race start at Tysons Corner Center (1961 Chain Bridge Road) — Through a partnership with Tysons Corner Center and Food for Others, the 3.1-mile race and fun run will raise money to provide rice and beans for dozens of families in need. Pre-registration is $35 for running in person or virtually, and walking is encouraged, too.
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Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews (via Steve Klamkin/Facebook)

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 (Aug. 24)

Wednesday (Aug. 25)

  • Tysons Summer Soiree — 6-8:30 p.m. at Tysons Plaza (1420 Spring Hill Road) — The Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce invites both members and non-members to its annual summer soiree, which celebrates local businesses and nonprofits making a difference in the community. There will be food, drinks, entertainment, an auction, and an AirStream tasting bar from Lost Whiskey. Tickets cost $40 for chamber members and $55 for non-members.

Thursday (Aug. 26)

  • The Princess Bride in Concert at Wolf Trap — 8 p.m. at Filene Center (1551 Trap Road) — The Academy Award-nominated movie “The Princess Bride” will screen at Wolf Trap with the National Symphony Orchestra playing the score. Wolf Trap says “missing this cinematic concert experience would be inconceivable!” Tickets start at $42, and gates will open at 6:30 p.m.
  • Summer Live Music Series: Rock Creek Revival — 5:30-8 p.m. on the Upper Promenade near Boro Park (8350 Broad St.) — This week’s live music performance at The Boro features the band Rock Creek RevivalRSVP for more information.
  • Films in the Park: Step Up — 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Strawberry Park (2910 District Ave.) — The Mosaic District’s movie series continues with “Step Up.” The film is rated PG-13 and will run for one hour and 44 minutes. Grab your picnic blanket and join your neighbors at Strawberry Park for a movie night!
  • Crafty Happy Hour — 5 – 6 p.m. at The Plaza at Tysons Corner Center — AR Workshop Alexandria and Barrel & Bushel are teaming up to host a happy hour and craft activity. AR Workshop will be there showing guests how to paint eco-friendly reusable tote bags or coaster sets. The crafts are complimentary for the first 50 guests to register, so sign up early to get your free craft!

Friday (Aug 27)

  • Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert at Wolf Trap — 8 p.m. at Filene Center (1551 Trap Road) — Episode four of the Star Wars Series, A New Hope, is ready for the Wolf Trap audience with the National Symphony Orchestra playing the score to the movie. Tickets start at $40 and gates open at 6:30 p.m.
  • Charmed Life — 8-9 p.m. at Boro Park (8350 Broad Street) — This autobiographical story written and performed by Lori Brown Mirabal is the next show in 1st Stage Theater’s Logan Festival of Solo Performance. It pays homage to famous opera singers, specifically Black women. Buy tickets online ahead of time to guarantee your seat.

Saturday (Aug 28)

  • Brandi Carlile at Wolf Trap — 8 p.m. at Filene Center (1551 Trap Road) — Six-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile comes to Wolf Trap. Carlile will perform with Amythyst Kiah, who fuses folk, blues and rock music in her latest album “Wary + Strange.” Tickets start at $47, and gates open at 6:30 p.m.
  • Over the Edge — 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at The Hyatt Regency (7901 Tysons One Place) — The Hyatt Regency teams up with the company Over the Edge to host an urban rappelling fundraiser that will benefit Helping Haitian Angels, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting orphaned and abandoned children in Haiti. Nearly 50 participants have already signed up to rappel down 14 stories of the hotel. No prior experience is required to register.
  • VietFest— 10 a.m.-10 p.m. in Bloomingdale’s Parking Lot (1961 Chain Bridge Road) — Enjoy Vietnamese culture, music, food, and activities at the annual VietFest. There is food, fun, and entertainment for all on Saturday and Sunday (11 a.m.-8 p.m.) Check the website for more details on the event.

Photo via Steve Klamkin/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Fairfax County Flies Flags at Half Mast for Pentagon Officer — Fairfax County flags will fly at half-mast today (Wednesday) after a Pentagon police officer was killed in a shooting incident that prompted a lockdown around the Department of Defense’s headquarters. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in a statement that there was no threat to the county and no county resources were deployed. [Jeff McKay/Twitter]

Walking Fundraiser Supports Local Black-Owned Businesses — The Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce is holding a virtual walk-or-run fundraiser called One Step Forward this August, which is National Black Business Month. Participants can pick their own distance to travel and will receive a T-shirt, finishing medal, and more along with possible prizes. [NVBCC]

Tysons Finds Silver Lining in Pandemic Disruption — Social distancing and the increase in remote work prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic has given Tysons an opportunity to rethink the use of public spaces and how to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists, local economic development leaders say. The real estate market, ongoing development, and the return of the area’s retail industry could position it to lead Fairfax County’s recovery. [Virginia Business]

Vienna Little League Teams Shine at State Tournament — “With two teams winning championships and another reaching the semifinals, Vienna Little League all-star baseball squads enjoyed a successful summer in state-tournament action. The two state-title teams were the Vienna American 8-10 age all-stars and the new Vienna Intermediate all-stars, a first-season team of 13-year-olds playing on a bigger diamond.” [Sun Gazette]

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Morning Notes

PIVOT Grant Application Deadline Today — This is the last day for hotels, restaurants, and other local businesses affected by the pandemic to apply for COVID-19 relief funding from Fairfax County’s PIVOT grant program. The application portal will close at 11:59 p.m. [Fairfax County Government]

COVID-19 Mostly Spreading Among Unvaccinated People Now — “From December 29 to June 25, 99.7 percent of new COVID-19 cases have occurred among unvaccinated or partially vaccinated Virginians, according to VDH. Those residents made up 99.3 percent of hospitalizations and 99.6 percent of deaths over the same time period.” [Virginia Mercury]

McLean Nonprofit to Raffle Off Nats Memorabilia — “The McLean area branch of the American Association of University Women’s (AAUW) used-book sale, its annual charitable fund-raiser, has been postponed again due to lingering effects of COVID-19. Instead, the group will hold a substitute fund-raiser featuring [Washington Nationals pitcher Max] Scherzer memorabilia, along with a request for contributions to support education and local scholarships for women.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Help Clean Up Nottoway Park This Weekend — “Join us at Nottoway Park on Saturday, July 10th, to celebrate Latinx Conservation Month, and help manage invasive plants, visit some sheep, and learn how to care for plants. Nottoway Park is located at 9537 Courthouse Road in Vienna, VA.” [Palchik Post]

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Morning Notes

Water Caffi Fields baseball diamond in Vienna (photo by Amy Woolsey)

New Laws Take Effect in Virginia — A host of new laws passed by the General Assembly take effect today, including the legalization of simple marijuana possession, the abolition of the death penalty, and a requirement that drivers change lanes when passing bicyclists. The fine for littering is now $500, up from $250, and it is now illegal to intentionally release a balloon outside. [Patch]

MPAartfest Returns In Person This Fall — The McLean Project of the Arts announced yesterday (Wednesday) that its annual, free art festival will officially be back in person at McLean Central Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 3. The event will feature a one-day juried fine art and craft show/sale, food vendors, and more. It will also stream online. [McLean Project for the Arts]

Jones Branch Connector Awarded — “The Jones Branch Connector, a joint effort by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Fairfax County to build a new crossing over the Capital Beltway in Tysons, has been named the 2021 National Project of the Year by the American Society of Highway Engineers.” [VDOT]

1st Stage Finds Success with Return to Live Theater — Almost 1,000 people attended 1st Stage’s Celebration at The Boro on Sunday (June 27), according to an email sent to supporters yesterday. The event, which centered on a concert reading of the musical “A New Brain,” was the Tysons theater’s first in-person production since February 2020 and raised $87,000 for the venue. [1st Stage]

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