Fireworks (via Timothy Wolff/Unsplash)

The Fourth of July is coming up this weekend, and with Monday (July 5) as a designated federal holiday, many public facilities and services will be shaking up their schedules.

The Fairfax County Health Department announced today (Friday) that all of its COVID-19 vaccination clinics will be closed on Independence Day, but walk-in services will be available at the Fairfax County Government Center and the former Safeway at Mount Vernon Square in Alexandria on Saturday.

A vaccine site at Springfield Town Center will also be open for walk-ins on Monday.

Here are some other closures that county residents should keep in mind this holiday weekend:

Fairfax County Government

Fairfax County Courts

Town of Vienna

  • Town offices will be closed all day.
  • The Vienna Community Center will be closed.
  • The holiday will not affect waste collection. Residents scheduled for pick-up on Mondays can place their waste by the curb as normal, but no brush, bulk, or yard waste will be collected.

City of Falls Church

  • All city offices and services, including City Hall, the Mary Riley Styles Public Library, and the Falls Church Community Center, will be closed.

Public Schools

County Libraries, Recreation Centers, Parks

Public Transit

  • Fairfax Connector buses will operate on a Saturday service schedule on Monday. Check the Connector website for details on specific routes.
  • WMATA Metrorail service will operate from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday. Details on routes and closed stations can be found on the Metro website.
  • WMATA Metrobus will operate on a Saturday service schedule on Monday.

County Trash and Recycling

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Stanley Stewart wasn’t the only one wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt among the crowd of people at the Juneteenth event outside the First Baptist Church of Vienna on Saturday (June 19).

But this gathering was more celebration than protest, serving as a kick-off for the Town of Vienna’s inaugural Liberty Amendments Month.

Officially recognized by Congress as a federal holiday for the first time this year,  Juneteenth — a portmanteau of June 19 — serves as a symbolic commemoration of the U.S.’s abolition of slavery. It comes on the anniversary of the day in 1865 when a major general for the Union informed Texas that all enslaved people were now free.

“This wasn’t in no history book I read,” Stewart said.

The Juneteenth recognition represents the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983 to celebrate the civil rights leader’s birthday, following his assassination in 1968.

The Lone Star State became the first state to recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday, starting in 1980, and other states followed. More informal commemorations, though, began as early as 1866.

Wrapping around the church parking lot, Vienna’s Juneteenth Celebration featured informational booths, vendors, music, and more in addition to providing a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in the church.

Signs at the event looked at past historical figures and events, with one noting that slave labor helped build the White House and U.S. Capitol. Others highlighted U.S. senators who stood up for abolition.

An outdoor stage set up by the church hosted a variety of musical performances, including a gospel singer who sprinkled in references to Juneteenth and invited listeners to clap their hands if they’re free.

“It’s a start,” said Wes Cherry, a field underwriter with Foresters Financial operating with the group Focus on Community. The company is a fraternal benefit society that gives money back to communities.

For Cherry, the federal holiday recognition is much appreciated, but he also noted the move came at the same time that many state legislatures, including in Texas, are working to limit teachers’ ability to discuss racism in their classrooms.

The additional federal holiday also comes a year after last summer’s widespread protests for racial justice in the wake of several killings, including George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville at the hands of police as well as jogger Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot and killed by three white men in Georgia.

“America, while we love it, [has] to acknowledge our past and history,” said Vernon Walton, senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Vienna.

Last year, the church held a rally for Juneteenth following the “lynching of George Floyd,” Walton said.  This year, he said he’s overjoyed that people can celebrate the federal government recognizing the holiday.

Despite the somber and painful legacy of the past that continues to shape the present, Walton and other attendees this year noted how the event drew diverse members of the community.

“People are here from all walks of life,” he said. “We really are blessed.”

The event’s kickoff ceremony remains to watch on social media. It launched the Town of Vienna’s weeklong celebration of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery, which will be followed by events commemorating the 14th, 15th, and 19th Amendments.

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Morning Notes

Police Investigate Offensive KKK Flyers — Bigotry-filled flyers aimed at the Fairfax County School Board were found earlier this week in the Springfield and Sully Districts, apparently distributed by the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. School board members and local leaders, including Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay and the president of the county’s NAACP chapter, denounced the flyers, which are under investigation by county police and the FBI. [Patch]

County Government Observes Juneteenth — Fairfax County government offices are closed today in recognition of Juneteenth, which falls on Saturday (June 19). Fairfax County Public Library branches are closed, as is the McLean Community Center, but many park facilities are open, and the county’s trash collection services will proceed as normal. [Fairfax County Government]

Athletic Training Facility Opens in Falls ChurchCapital City Sports Academy will hold a grand opening ceremony from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday) for its new, 4,500 square-foot sports training facility at 3431 Carlin Springs Road. Attendees can meet the owners and coaching staff, take a tour of the facility, and win two months of free classes. [Capital City Sports Academy/Instagram]

Volunteers Clean Up Vienna Park — “As Vienna Little League prepares to host Virginia’s Little League Major Baseball State Tournament in July, George C. Yeonas Park is getting a facelift with the help of two dozen sweaty and hard-working volunteers. On Thursday, around 25 volunteers who work for Dominion Energy showed up at Yeonas Park to tackle projects to improve the fields and other facilities.” [Patch]

Great Falls and North West Street Sidewalks Extended — “After much effort by @fairfaxcounty and @FallsChurchGov staff, and local residents, today we celebrated completion of the NW Street and GF Street sidewalk extensions. It was a beautiful day and I am so glad we were able to gather together in person!” [Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust/Twitter]

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The Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park is set to welcome back guests this week (Courtesy of Emerging Arts Leaders DC)

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 (June 14)

Tuesday (June 15)

  • Duck Harbor (Online) — 8 p.m. — A heartwarming web series about a bi-coastal love story written by E.M. Lewis and Bob Bartlett, this online, live theatrical performance from 1st Stage airs for free every Tuesday at 8 p.m. All aired episodes and bonus content will also be available through Duck Harbor ALL ACCESS for $15.
  • Walking Meditation (Online) — 3 p.m. — Join health & wellness coach Gretchen Robbins on an afternoon walking meditation session. All you need is your phone, a pair of headphones and an hour to rest and refresh. Register now for more information.
  • Herndon Teen Book Club — 6:30-7:30 p.m. — This week, the Herndon Teen Book Club will be discussing “Wilder Girls” by Rory Power. There are books set aside for book club members at the Herndon Fortnightly Library (768 Center St.). For this week’s meeting, participants can join either in the library conference room or on Zoom. Registration is required one day in advance.

Thursday (June 17)

  • Wolf Trap Salon Series (Online) — 7 p.m. — A series of online opera recitals curated by the artists in the show. The virtual performance gives “an intimate look into artistry…providing a unique glimpse into how they interpret art, songs and the world around them.”
  • Summer Live Music: Jeff Herbert — 5-7:30 p.m. at the Upper Promenade near Boro Park (8350 Broad St.) — This week’s live music series at The Boro features local artist Jeff Herbert. His music ranges from pop and rock to celtic and folk. He’s been performing for over 30 years. RSVP to receive more information.
  • Concerts in the Park — 7-9 p.m. at Cherry Hill Park (312 Park Ave.) — The Little City’s Concerts in the Park return for an 28th year after being canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, the Falls Church Concert Band will perform. Guests are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets, and a picnic dinner to enjoy with the music. In case of inclement weather, the concert will be held inside the Falls Church Community Center at 223 Little Falls Street.

Friday (June 18)

  • The Anonymous Lover in Concert — 8 p.m. at the Filene Center (1551 Trap Rd.) — Live music returns to Wolf Trap National Park with a 90-minute rendition of “The Anonymous Lover” from Wolf Trap Opera and the National Symphony Orchestra. There is a pre-show lecture for those interested in learning more about the show. Tickets start at $32, and gates will open at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday (June 19)

  • Juneteenth Celebration — 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Vienna (450 Orchard St. NW) — The Town of Vienna will kick off its Liberty Amendments Month festivities with an opening ceremony that will feature live music, a book giveaway, vendors, and a COVID-19 vaccination clinic. The ceremony will be live-streamed on the town’s Facebook and YouTube pages, and it is part of a series of activities planned throughout the week to commemorate the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery.

Sunday (June 20)

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Vienna’s inaugural, month-long celebration of constitutional changes known as Liberty Amendments Month will take place from June 19 to July 19, featuring live entertainment, history-based talks, and much, much more.

The Town of Vienna announced the events schedule for its inaugural Liberty Amendments Month last Thursday (June 3). The municipality officially adopted the new celebration in December.

Also supported by the Virginia General Assembly, Liberty Amendments Month celebrates the 13th14th15th, and 19th amendments, which collectively abolished slavery, granted citizenship to anyone born or naturalized in the U.S., and extended voting rights to all citizens regardless of race or gender.

With each week bringing activities centered on a particular amendment, programming ranges from themed restaurant specials to art exhibits, films, shows, classes, walks, and other activities.

A full schedule can be found on the Town of Vienna’s website, but here is an overview of the month’s signature events:

13th Amendment (June 19-25)

Marking the anniversary of when the last enslaved people in the U.S. learned about the Emancipation Proclamation, a Juneteenth Celebration will be held at the First Baptist Church of Vienna (450 Orchard St. NW) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 19.

Following a ceremony at 11 a.m., the kickoff will feature live music, kids’ performers, a book giveaway for kids, and vendors with an emphasis on Black-owned businesses, including crafts, civic organizations, and food trucks. The event will stream live on the town and church’s social media.

The First Baptist Church will also hold a COVID-19 vaccination clinic during the event.

14th Amendment (June 26-July 2)

Vienna’s celebration of the 14th Amendment, which granted U.S. citizenship to anyone born or naturalized in the country, will kick off on June 26 with a discussion of the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court case at the Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry St. NE).

Scheduled to go from 1-3 p.m., the event will stream live online via Facebook and YouTube. Philip Hirschkop — one of the attorneys who represented Mildred and Richard Loving in the monumental 1967 decision that invalidated Virginia’s ban on interracial marriages — will be part of a Q&A, and community members directly affected by the case will give first-person testimonials.

15th Amendment (July 3-9)

The 15th Amendment kickoff celebration will take the form of a Justice for All Concert and Festival at the Vienna Town Green (144 Maple Ave. E) from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on July 3.

Highlighting the amendment that prohibited the denial of voting rights based on race, community musicians will perform songs with a theme of justice. The event will also feature food vendors, civic organizations, voter registration, and more.

19th Amendment (July 10-16)

The celebration of the 19th Amendment, which extended voting rights to women, will begin at 2 p.m. on July 10 at the Vienna Community Center.

Cheryl Johnson, clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, will deliver a speech live online via Facebook and YouTube titled “But for the 19th Amendment.” Her speech will be followed by a question-and-answer session, and a performance of the reader’s theater play “Failure Is Impossible” by the American Association of University Women.

Liberty Amendments Month will close on July 17 with a Multicultural Festival that will take place from 2-7 p.m. at Church Street and the Vienna Town Green, featuring performers, interactive activities, crafts, and food as well as vendors celebrating diverse cultures and communities across the region.

Town offices will be closed on July 19 for Liberty Amendments Day.

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Memorial Day is just around the corner on Monday (May 31), and the federal holiday will bring a few closures of public buildings in the Tysons area.

Fairfax County Government:

Fairfax County Courts:

Town of Vienna

City of Falls Church:

Public Schools:

County Libraries, Recreation Centers, Parks:

  • All Fairfax County library branches will be closed.
  • All Fairfax County RECenters will operate at their regular hours.
  • Colvin Run Mill and Sully Historic Site grounds will be open from noon to 4 p.m. for strolling, but all the buildings will be closed.
  • The E.C. Lawrence, Hidden Oaks, Hidden Pond, and Huntley Meadows nature centers  will be open from noon until 5 p.m. on May 31.
  • The Riverbend Park visitor center will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • The McLean Community Center will be closed for Memorial Day.

Public Transit:

County Trash and Recycling:

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Morning Notes

Fairfax County Records Third Pedestrian Death of 2021 — Police reported on Friday (April 9) that Falls Church resident Ramakant Bhusal, 36, was struck by a car while crossing Arlington Boulevard near the Graham Road intersection. Speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors for the driver. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Construction to Begin on Marco Polo Development — Starting today (April 12), the sidewalk in front of 245 Maple Avenue W. in Vienna will be closed for approximately five months “to allow for safety and proper right-of-way during construction.” The mixed-use Vienna Market development was approved to take over the former Marco Polo site in 2019. [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

Inova Seeks Volunteers for COVID-19 Vaccine Site — “Fairfax County has received a request to recruit volunteers to help provide assistance to the Inova Stonebridge COVID-19 Vaccination Center in Alexandria, which provides COVID-19 vaccines predominately for individuals who reside and/or work in Fairfax County.” [Fairfax County Government]

Fairfax County Holds Virtual Budget Public Hearings This Week — Community members can weigh in on the county’s proposed FY 2022 budget and capital improvement program on Tuesday through Thursday (April 13-15). The Town of Vienna and City of Falls Church are also holding budget meetings this week. [Fairfax County Government]

Ramadan Begins Today — Agora Tysons (7911 Westpark Dr.) is one of several restaurants in the D.C. area offering halal-friendly options for carry-out and delivery in lieu of extended holiday hours during the Muslim holy month. [Dine After Dark]

Mosaic District Displays COVID-19 PSA — “Many thanks to @mosaicdistrict for showing our #COVID19 Spanish language PSA on the big screen reminding folks on the importance of wearing a mask, washing your hands & employing physical distancing.” [Northern Virginia Regional Commission/Twitter]

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The Town of Vienna is leading the way in Virginia with a newly conceived celebration of four amendments to the U.S. Constitution that enshrined the rights of people of color and women.

The town announced on Friday (March 12) that planning for the inaugural Liberty Amendments Month celebration is officially underway, and community organizations, businesses and individuals are encouraged to help shape the four weeks of festivities.

Liberty Amendments Month is the brainchild of Vienna Town Manager Mercury Payton, and the Vienna Town Council adopted a resolution on Dec. 7 to officially recognize the occasion. It has since been ratified by the Virginia General Assembly as well.

“We all can celebrate these amendments that ensure rights and liberties for each of us,” Payton said.

Patrons of the now-passed bill included Del. Mark Keam (D-Vienna) and state Sen. Mamie Locke (D-Hampton), who was one of Payton’s professors at Hampton University, Inside NOVA reports.

“I’m so proud that the Town of Vienna is leading the way in initiating this holiday and month-long commemoration of these fundamental rights that we all cherish,” Mayor Linda Colbert said. “I’m especially proud that Town Manager Mercury Payton came up with the idea and has worked hard to see it become a reality.”

In the wake of last summer’s racial justice protests, Payton conceived of Liberty Amendments Month as a celebration of the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th Constitutional amendments, which abolished slavery, granted citizenship to anyone born or naturalized in the U.S., and extended voting rights to all citizens regardless of race and gender.

Liberty Amendments Month will begin on June 19 — also known as Juneteenth — with an educational event that will “offer a thoughtful reflection on the liberties assured by these four amendments to the U.S. Constitution,” according to the town.

Each of the next four weeks will be dedicated to one of the four liberty amendments with contests, lectures, classes, themed restaurant specials, walks, art exhibits, films, and performances.

The celebration will culminate on July 19 with a multicultural festival featuring food, drinks, crafts, and entertainment from around the world. The Vienna Town Council has designated that day as Liberty Amendments Day, replacing Columbus Day on its list of official holidays.

“There’s lots to celebrate here,” Councilmember Chuck Anderson said. “This is going to be a people’s event just as the Constitution is the people’s document.”

Groups interested in sponsoring, participating in, or hosting events can apply online by April 1.

The town is advising planners to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions and social-distancing guidelines, which could still be in place this summer.

Planning meetings will be held at 5 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Interested organizations can contact [email protected] for a Zoom link to the meetings or more details.

Photo via Town of Vienna

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Inundated with messages from staff and community members on proposed changes to the 2021-22 calendar, Fairfax County School Board members directed Superintendent Scott Brabrand to redraft it.

During a work session on Tuesday (Mar. 2), the board told staff to consider ways to add flexibility through floating holidays. They said the calendar should take into account legal considerations, instruction, student wellness and pay for support staff, as well as survey preferences, absenteeism data, transparency and equity.

The school board will vote on a final calendar on Mar. 18.

FCPS announced last June that the school board will consider two ways to add in four religious holidays: Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 7, 2021), Yom Kippur (Sept. 16, 2021), Diwali (Nov. 4, 2021), and Eid al Fitr (May 3, 2022).

FCPS drafted a third proposal without those holidays in February, as some board members expressed reservations about the potential disruptions they would create.

“Support staff have been very vocal in terms of what the impact on their work will be,” School Board Chair Ricardy Anderson, who represents the Mason District, said on Tuesday. “I’m very mindful of what this means for our families who rely on schools for breakfast and lunch. We also know that we’re coming out of the pandemic, and we have had a lot of impact in terms of continuity of learning.”

Anderson reported receiving 269 messages from support staff, estimating at least 100 more. Member-at-large Karen Keys-Gamarra also said she received more than 700 written responses on the calendar.

Meanwhile, 286 students have signed a petition, and 76 clergy and faith organizations have signed a letter initiated by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC) urging the board to add the holidays.

Responding to the news that FCPS would be developing a new calendar, the Pozez Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia said in a statement that it was heartened to see the board reject the calendar that did not include the new holidays.

“We are optimistic that the next option proposed will be one that is forward-thinking — acknowledging and respecting the cultural and religious diversity of the staff and students of faith in the county, as well as the community at large,” Pozez JCC Executive Director Jeff Dannick and President Susan Kristol said.

Member organizations of a Religious Observances Task Force, which FCPS formed to advise the school system on supporting religious minorities, had “strenuously” objected to the third calendar draft, saying its proposal lacked transparency.

“Given where the community has been at, where the process is so far, what data has revealed, it goes without saying that we need to give this a deliberate look,” member-at-large Abrar Omeish said. Read More

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Approving a new calendar for the coming school year is typically one of the more routine duties administered by the Fairfax County School Board, but this time, it has become another decision complicated by competing priorities and added stakes.

The board will hold a work session at 11 a.m. today (Tuesday) to discuss proposals for the 2021-2022 school year calendar that would add four religious observance holidays not included in the current school calendar: Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 7, 2021), Yom Kippur (Sept. 16, 2021), Diwali (Nov. 4, 2021), and Eid al Fitr (May 3, 2022).

Faith organizations representing Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, and Sikh communities in the D.C. area have been advocating for Fairfax County Public Schools to recognize those holidays for years, an effort that began gaining traction in 2019 when the school board first convened a Religious Observance Task Force to advise the district on how it could better serve students of different faiths.

With input from the task force, a committee charged with developing the school year calendar released two drafts last June that both incorporated the proposed new holidays.

However, when the school board met on Feb. 2 to discuss the issue, FCPS presented a third draft that did not include the holidays, as some school board members expressed reservations about having more school closures after a year of the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting learning or making it more difficult for many students, among other concerns.

The religious groups involved in the task force — including the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS), the Durga Temple of Virginia, Hindu American Foundation, McLean Islamic Center, Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation, Sikh Foundation of Virginia, and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC) — expressed “deep disappointment” in the new turn of events in a letter sent to the school board on Feb. 9.

Disputing the idea that closing schools on four extra days would significantly affect FCPS’ ability to address learning losses, the task force criticized the board for not notifying them or the public about the new proposed draft calendar. They also noted that other jurisidictions in Northern Virginia, including Arlington, Prince William, and Loudoun counties, already recognize some or all of the holidays in question.

“We are troubled that FCPS’ natural progression to a more inclusive understanding of equity and diversity now stands to be thwarted,” the groups said. “We urge you not to obstruct or delay progress, but rather to move forward with confidence and conviction.”

As of Mar. 1, 269 current FCPS students had signed a petition from JCRC calling for the school board to add the religious holidays.

The school board will vote to officially adopt a calendar for the next school year on Mar. 16.

Photo via Sandeep Kr Yadav on Unsplash

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