Musician and activist Daryl Davis will speak and perform for the McLean Community Center’s 2022 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration (courtesy MCC)

The McLean Community Center is bringing back in-person festivities for its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration.

After limiting last year’s celebration to online activities, MCC will expand it this year across two separate days with a pair of events led by musician and activist Daryl Davis, who is known for befriending members of the Ku Klux Klan and convincing them to leave the hate group.

“Our anchor staff members have been instrumental in celebrating the legacy of Dr. King for over 15 years at our center,” MCC Director Daniel Singh said in a statement. “In many ways, their pioneering work anticipated the trajectory of awareness and need for dialogue around our country’s troubled founding and current systemic disparities around race. Our MLK celebrations also closely align with our board of directors’ commitment to diversity in the McLean community.”

The weekend will start with the Daryl Davis Band performing at 7 p.m. on Jan. 14. Concert tickets will cost $20 for MCC district residents and $30 for other community members.

Davis will then return to MCC’s Alden Theatre at 2 p.m. on Jan. 16 to discuss his experiences talking to KKK members as a Black man. Tickets for the speech are $5 for district residents and $10 for the rest of the public.

Here is more on Davis from the community center’s news release:

Davis is a boogie-woogie pianist who has played with the likes of B. B. King, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis. On Friday, he and his band will kick off MCC’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. weekend with an evening of R&B and blues. This is the music that opened the door for Klansmen to befriend Davis, a Black man, and eventually, hang up their robes.

“Davis’ piano work impresses with his winning combination of technique and abandon, and his vocals are strong and assured – black rock’n’roll lives!” — Living Blues Magazine

On Sunday, Davis will share his captivating journey to untangle racism, one civil conversation at a time. He was playing in a country band when he met and became friends with a Ku Klux Klan member. Over the last 30 years, he has continued to befriend Klansmen and collect their robes after they leave the organization. He is the author of “Klan-Destine Relationships,” a book that details his encounters.

Like other Fairfax County government facilities, MCC still requires face masks for everyone inside its building at 1234 Ingleside Avenue.

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Morning Notes

Health Department Adapts to Omicron Surge — With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise, the Fairfax County Health Department is changing its contact-tracing process to focus staff and resources on “higher-risk scenarios,” such as congregate settings, schools and childcare facilities, and outbreaks. Other individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will be notified by text message. [FCHD]

Robb Family Comments on McLean House Fire — Children of former Virginia governor Chuck Robb and his wife, Lynda Johnson Robb, confirmed that their parents had no life-threatening injuries after a fire destroyed the McLean mansion where they have lived for nearly 50 years. The Robb family thanked the firefighters and medical professionals who responded to the incident. [Office of the Governor]

Rare Owl Spotted in Oakton — “Animal Protection Police officers in Fairfax County, Virginia, helped a rare owl get out of a tough spot last month. The Fairfax County Police Department posted about the rescue on its Facebook page Tuesday. APP officers were called to the Oakton area Nov. 17 for a report of an owl that had flown into a home under construction.” [WTOP]

Tysons Corner and Galleria Close Early Tomorrow — “Between Christmas Eve for late shoppers and post-Christmas shopping, the two malls in Tysons have adjusted hours on upcoming days. Santa photos will continue at malls through Christmas Eve. Malls and surrounding stores are generally closed on Christmas Day, Dec. 25.” [Patch]

McLean Holiday Lights Contest Voting Underway — McLean residents can now vote online for their favorite neighborhood holiday decorations as part of the Light Up McLean contest. The McLean Community Center will announce winners in three categories — best overall, most creative, and best holiday theme — on Jan. 3. [Old Firehouse Center/Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Omicron Variant of COVID-19 Found in Virginia — Yesterday (Thursday), the Virginia Department of Health confirmed the state’s first case of the omicron variant that was first identified in Botswana and South Africa in November. The sample came from an adult in the northwest region who had no history of international travel, but did travel domestically during the exposure period. [VDH]

Tysons Event Company Is Now Public — “Event management company Cvent has once again become a public traded company. As of Thursday morning, the firm began trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker CVT following the close of a merger deal with special purpose acquisition company Dragoneer Growth Opportunities Corp. II.” [Technicl.ly]

Local Startup Raises $7 Million — “Tysons tech startup Datasembly, which gives grocers and other retailers real-time product pricing data, has raised millions in new funding to hire aggressively and get its analytics platform to more customers in a period of pandemic-fueled demand.” [DC Inno]

Washington Post Reviews Local Selfie Wrld — “I have feelings about Selfie Wrld, an Instagram selfie studio tucked away in the Tysons Corner Center mall; feelings I considered while attempting to make a sultry, thoughtful face while uncomfortably posed on a hard red plastic couch shaped like a pair of lips, in a red room, beneath a red neon sign that said ‘Feelings,’ because nothing about this place is subtle.” [The Washington Post]

Voting Starts for Vienna Holiday Lights Contest — “As homes and businesses get decorated for the holiday season in Vienna, it’s time to vote for the best displays in town. The annual Vienna Holiday Decorating Contest is now open for voting through Dec. 16.” [Patch]

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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, Nov. 29

  • Church Street Holiday Stroll — 6-8:30 p.m. at Historic Church Street in Vienna — Check out local businesses in this annual event, which will feature live music and a tree lighting led by Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert.
  • Celebrate the Lighting of the Trees — 6-7 p.m. at Mr. Brown’s Park (100 block of West Broad Street) in Falls Church — The City of Falls Church kicks off the holiday season with this annual tradition.

Tuesday, Nov. 30

  • Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights — 5:30-10 p.m. at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens (9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court) in Wolf Trap — Enjoy lights and holiday scenes in this annual transformation, which will stick around through Jan. 2. For those ages 2 and over, cost starts at $16.

Wednesday, Dec. 1

  • “Joy to the World: A Christmas Musical Journey” — 7 p.m. at The Alden at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — Enjoy twists on Christmas favorites with composer Damien Sneed, who has worked with late Aretha Franklin, Wynton Marsalis, Stevie Wonder, and more. Tickets are $30 and discounted to $20 for MCC district residents.

Thursday, Dec. 2

  • An Acoustic Christmas with Over the Rhine — 8 p.m. at The Barns (1635 Trap Road) at Wolf Trap — Married duo Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist come together for Americana and holiday tunes. Tickets start at $27, and availability is expected to be limited. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 3

  • McLean Holiday Art & Crafts Festival — 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — Dozens of artisans participate in this juried show with items ranging from pottery to artisanal foods and more. Cost is $5 for the the entire three-day event.
  • “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” — 7-8:30 p.m. at the Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry St. Southeast) with performances throughout December — Based on the story by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, this musical from the Vienna Theatre Company will prepare you for the holiday season. Cost is $15, but shortened, kids-friendly matinees on Saturdays and Sundays are $10.

Saturday, Dec. 4

  • ReinDog Parade — 8-9:30 a.m. at the Langley Shopping Center (1378 Chain Bridge Road) in McLean — Compete in and observe a quirky parade showcasing dogs dressed as reindeer. The annual event also features food and entertainment.
  • Holiday Gift and Craft Show — 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday at the Falls Church Community Center (223 Little Falls St.) — Over 50 crafters and merchants will sell baked goods, handmade items, and more. Entertainment and raffles will occur on both days, with a Children’s Holiday Shoppe on Saturday. Admission is $1, covering both days.
  • Holiday Gifting Event — 1-4 p.m. at Neiman Marcus in Tysons Galleria (2255 International Dr.) — The clothing department store kicks off its in-store holiday gifting season with a live DJ, a hot chocolate bar, an ornament and gift painter, and “passed bites” from its Epicure holiday sections.

Sunday, Dec. 5

  • Journey from Afghanistan — 4-5:30 p.m. on Zoom — Tysons Interfaith continues its “Oneness” series with three Afghani women who advocate for peace, development, and women’s rights. They will discuss their journey to the U.S. and their work. Free.
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Morning Notes

FCPS Settles Lawsuit Over Treatment of Students with Disabilities — “Three disability rights organizations…and the families of six students with disabilities had sued in 2019, alleging that students with disabilities in Fairfax schools experienced discrimination, trauma and physical harm through the excessive and improper use of seclusion and physical restraint. As part of the agreement reached Tuesday [Nov. 23], Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) will ban all seclusion practices and curtail its use of physical restraint by the next academic year.” [The Washington Post]

Black Friday Shoppers Return to Tysons Corner — Traffic and sales at Tysons Corner Center were roughly on par with 2019 for Black Friday, according to a senior marketing manager for the mall. She said the return of pre-pandemic crowds wasn’t surprising, since the shopping center has seen a steady increase in traffic over the past three weeks. [WTOP]

Fire and Rescue Department Offers Hanukkah Safety Tips — “Hanukkah starts this evening [Sunday] and runs through December 6. It is a joyous time, so please ensure you and your loved ones stay safe as the holiday season is the peak time of year for home candle fires. Get in S.T.E.P. (Safety Takes Every Person) With FCFRD This Holiday Season and candle with care!” [FCFRD]

McLean Rotary Club Recognizes Front-Line Service Workers — “Under the leadership of president John McEvilly, the Rotary Club of McLean has initiated a new program — ‘Dignity of Work’ Award. According to former McLean Rotary President Lynn Heinrichs, who chairs the initiative, the award ‘is designed to recognize and promote the great people working in the McLean community.'” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Retirement Puts Vienna Tree Assessments on Hold — “Due to staffing shortages stemming from a retirement, the Town is temporarily unable to conduct tree assessments on private property.  Tree assessments on private property are expected to resume in March 2022 after appropriate staffing levels have been restored.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Virginia Hospital Center Expands into Tysons — “The Arlington health system has purchased a building at 1760 Old Meadow Road where it’s setting up an orthopedic outpatient surgery center, according to VHC CEO Jim Cole. The hospital is now renovating a 14,900-square-foot area of existing building in a project expected to cost $6.4 million including construction and equipment…The facility is slated to open in mid-2022.” [Washington Business Journal]

County Releases FY 2023 Budget Forecast — Fairfax County anticipates a 5.7% revenue increase of approximately $279.6 million for fiscal year 2023, which starts July 1, 2022. However, the gains will be offset by continued declines in real estate values for office buildings and senior care facilities due to the pandemic. [Fairfax County Government]

County Police Focus on Recruitment and Violent Crimes — “While monitoring disturbing trends such as domestic homicides and increasingly violent vehicle thieves, Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis hopes to hire more officers and implement changes to modernize the police department. The county’s overall crime rate now is down by slightly more than 12%, or about 3,500 fewer victims compared with the previous year.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Town of Vienna Offices Closed Tomorrow — “Town offices and the Community Center will be closed Nov. 25 for Thanksgiving. There will be no trash collection on Nov. 25, crews will pick up along that route the next day. The Community Center will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 26, while Town offices will be closed.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

Visit Fairfax Launches Holiday Gift Guide — “Ali Morris at Visit Fairfax, the county’s official tourism and hospitality promotion group, created the Fairfax County 2021 Holiday Gift Guide to showcase gift-worthy products created right here and the artisans behind the creations. You can shop by these categories: art and designs; body; chocolate; coffee; food; kids; pets; stocking stuffers; textiles; wine, beer and spirits.” [FCEDA]

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Thanksgiving is still around the corner, but at Tysons Corner Center, it’s starting to feel a little like Christmas.

The mall kicked off its 2021 winter holiday season on Friday (Nov. 19) with a tree lighting ceremony that included live music and theater performances, complimentary s’mores and hot chocolate stations, and a pop-up market featuring some of its retailers.

Despite the chilly weather, the mood on the Plaza — where the tree lighting festivities took place — was relaxed, even cheery, as loud speakers blasted winter staples from Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”

“Look at all the faces out here!” a man dressed as Santa Claus said when taking the stage just after 6:20 p.m. for the lighting of the approximately 50-foot-tall pine tree.

For Marvin Ramos and Catherine Romero, this was an opportunity to resume a cherished tradition after Tysons Corner canceled the tree lighting last year due to the pandemic, though the mall still hosted a few other holiday events.

Ramos has attended every year for as long as he can remember, thanks to his parents’ avid listening to the radio station 97.1 WASH FM, which partners with Tysons Corner Center on the event. Host Toby Knapp served as emcee for this year’s ceremony.

Now 25 years old, Ramos has carried on the tradition with Romero, braving Capital Beltway traffic annually to get to the mall from their home in Rockville, Maryland.

“Just seeing everybody here together, getting ready for the holiday season, seeing the joy in everybody, the music, all that stuff,” Ramos said when asked what makes the Tysons tree lighting special.

Though she quips that she comes “to support him,” Romero says she has enjoyed turning the tree lighting into a routine since Ramos introduced her to it. She especially likes the pop-up market, which included booths for Northern Virginia Orthodontics, Sheepskin Gifts and Alpaca Too, and other local businesses.

“It’s a good way to know what’s in the area and get to meet new shop and business owners…support small businesses, meanwhile celebrating the holidays,” she said. “It’s great. It’s fun.”

On the other end of the spectrum is Luda, a Fairfax resident who declined to give her last name.

Accompanied by her partner and their two children, she was attending the Tysons Corner tree lighting for the first time. She says they have been going out more as a family than they were at this time last year.

“I like to see [the] decoration and light,” Luda said. “I’m very much enjoying bringing my baby to events, free events like this, and to get together with people, to share the holidays, I love it.”

In addition to the tree lighting, Tysons Corner Center has been hosting photos with Santa since Nov. 12, and he will be around through Dec. 24. Reservations are recommended but not required.

The mall’s upcoming holiday events are similarly Santa-centric:

  • Breakfast with Santa — Dec. 4, 9-10 a.m., at the food court — Reservations are not required for this first-come, first-served complimentary catered breakfast with kid entertainment and other family-friendly activities.
  • Pet Nights with Santa — Dec. 6, 13, and 20, 6-8 p.m., at the Fashion Court on Level 1 — Santa poses with visitors’ pets in this returning event. Reservations encouraged.
  • Storytime with Santa — Dec. 11, 9-10 a.m., at the Fashion Court — Santa reads classic holiday stories for children. Reservations are not required.
  • Sensory Santa — Dec. 12, 9:30-10:30 a.m., at the Fashion Court — In a partnership with Cherry Hill photography and the nonprofit Autism Speaks, Tysons Corner Center will open exclusively to families who have children with special needs. Reservations are not required.
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The historic farmhouse at Cherry Hill Farm (via City of Falls Church)

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, Nov. 22

  • Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights— 5:30-10 p.m. at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens (9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court) in Wolf Trap — Enjoy lights and holiday scenes in this annual transformation, which will stick around through Jan. 2. For those ages 2 and over, cost is $16 plus fees or $20 for an onsite ticket.

Tuesday, Nov. 23

  • “Let’s Get Loud” — 7:30 p.m. at Jammin Java (227 Maple Ave. East) in Vienna — Up-and-coming guitarist and singer Zach Person shows off his unique brand of bluesy rock after an opening by D.C. experimental band Tired All The Time. Tickets start at $12 plus fees. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test from the previous 72 hours is required.

Wednesday, Nov. 24

  • History of Broadway — 1 p.m. at the McLean Community Center’s Alden Theatre (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — A six-part documentary continues with an episode about the history of the Broadway musical. Registration required.

Thursday, Nov. 25

  • Virtual Thanksgiving Family Storytime (Online) — 11-11:30 a.m. — Public facilities and most businesses will be closed for the holiday, but for families with young kids in need of entertainment, the Kingstowne Library staff is here to help, with half an hour of books and songs. Register a day in advance to receive the Zoom link.

Friday, Nov. 26

  • Holiday Tree Lighting + Santa Firetruck Parade — 7-9 p.m. at Strawberry Park at the Mosaic District (2910 District Ave.) — Santa and firetrucks come to the Mosaic shopping area for a tree lighting. Kris Kringle will also meet with visitors at the Target lobby afterward, and a showing of “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” will start at 7:30 p.m. at the park.
  • “Secret Things” — 8 p.m. at 1st Stage Theatre (1524 Spring Hill Road) — A journalist investigates mysterious tips in her hometown involving Mexican-Americans and Judaism. Tickets are $50 with steep discounts available. Following the debut performance, the show runs through Dec. 12.

Saturday, Nov. 27

  • A Very Victorian Christmas Open House — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Cherry Hill Farmhouse (312 Park Ave.) in Falls Church — Enjoy period decorations with costume-wearing reenactors and learn how former owners of the property, the Blaisdell family, celebrated the holiday in the 1860s. Free.

Sunday, Nov. 28

  • “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Musical” — 3 p.m. at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) in Tysons — From original songs to choreographed dancing, start the Christmas season with this heartfelt two-act musical. Tickets start at $32.95 plus fees.
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Singer Joan Osborne (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!

Monday, Nov. 15

  • Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights — 5:30-10 p.m. at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens (9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court) in Wolf Trap — Enjoy lights and holiday scenes in this annual transformation, which will stick around through Jan. 2. For those ages 2 and over, cost is $16 plus fees or $20 for an onsite ticket.

Tuesday, Nov. 16

  • American Red Cross Blood Drive — 1-6 p.m. at Boro Station (1775 Greensboro Station Place) in Tysons — Donate your blood as The Boro partners with the American Red Cross, taking place at the Boro Station’s Conference Room.

Wednesday, Nov. 17

  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ Artmobile — 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. by Capital One Hall’s box office (7750 Capital One Tower Road) in Tysons — Check out a free traveling exhibit, “A View of Home: Landscapes of Virginia,” which features paintings, photographs, and prints of landscapes from the mid-1800s through 2017. Event also repeats on Thursday (Nov. 18) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • MCC in Conversation with…Mason Young — 7 p.m. at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — Hear from Capital One executive Mason Young, who is part of the company’s corporate development team. Free, but preregistration is required.

Thursday, Nov. 18

  • Celebrate Tysons 2021 — High PointPub in Whole Foods (1635 Boro Place) in Tysons — Meet Tysons residents, business leaders, and community organizations at this open house hosted by the Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required by 5 p.m. today (Monday).
  • “Secret Things” — 7 p.m. at 1st Stage Theatre (1524 Spring Hill Road) — A journalist investigates mysterious tips in her hometown involving Mexican-Americans and Judaism. Tickets are $50 with steep discounts available. Following the debut performance, the show runs through Dec. 12.

Friday, Nov. 19

  • Holiday Tree Lighting — 6-8 p.m. at The Plaza at Tysons Corner Center (1961 Chain Bridge Road) — From Santa lighting the tree to community performances as well as free s’mores and hot chocolate, the mall has a number of festivities planned to kick off the holiday season.

Saturday, Nov. 20

  • Joan Osborne at Wolf Trap — 8 p.m. on Saturday and 7 p.m. on Sunday at The Barns (1635 Trap Road) — The 59-year-old “One of Us” hit singer gives performances this weekend with a career spanning decades that first captured the world’s attention with her 1995 debut album.

Sunday, Nov. 21

  • Spend Yourself 5K Run/3K Walk — 7:30 a.m. start at Falls Church City Hall (300 Park Ave.) — Columbia Baptist Church of Falls Church, in partnership with its nonprofit social needs organization Columbia Foundation, holds its 10th annual run and walk with a new route through the city. Cost is $40 plus fees for individuals age 12 and older and $20 plus fees for those younger than 12. Proceeds benefit the church’s World Hunger ministry and Bailey’s Crossroads food pantry.
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Morning Notes

Woman Dies After Seven Corners Crash — Alexandria resident Maria Pascoe died on Oct. 15 from injuries sustained in a two-vehicle crash that occurred in Seven Corners at 9:27 a.m. on Sept. 29. Fairfax County has seen 14 non-pedestrian deaths from traffic incidents so far this year, compared to 10 over the same time period in 2020. [FCPD]

How to Celebrate Diwali Safely — The Fairfax County Health Department encourages people who celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, by gathering virtually, with members of their household, or outdoors. While festivities last for five days, Diwali itself takes place today (Thursday), with participants performing a Lakshmi Puja ritual to bring good health and fortune in the new year. [FCHD]

Spring Hill Apartment Building Sold — “Greystar sold the 404-unit Ascent apartment building in McLean for $150.5 million in a transaction that closed Oct. 1, according to Fairfax County records. An affiliate of Brookfield Properties was the buyer…Brookfield has begun marketing the property by its address, 8421 Broad, with rents that start at $1,900 a month.” [Washington Business Journal]

County to Hold Town Halls on Parking Changes — Fairfax County will hold four virtual town hall meetings starting on Monday (Nov. 8) to discuss its “Parking Reimagined” initiative, the first full review of the county’s rates and regulations for off-street parking in more than 30 years. The review will include an “extensive analysis” of parking supply and demand as well as local, regional, and even national trends. [Fairfax County Government]

Vienna Police Awarded for Saving Life — “About this time last year, George Hunt went into cardiac arrest and collapsed on Maple Ave. following a traffic accident, and these Vienna Police officers immediately provided CPR. With gratitude for their life-saving actions, Mr. Hunt presented certificates of appreciation to officers Kenny Smith and Chip McElhattan at last night’s Vienna Town Council meeting. Because of them, he says he was able to celebrate his 60th birthday.” [Town of Vienna/Facebook]

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