Newsletter
A map of The Boro proposed extension in Tysons from the development plan. Silverstone Senior Living is planned for Building J (via Fairfax County)

The Fairfax County Planning Commission voted on Wednesday (Oct. 13) to advance the proposed Silverstone Senior Living facility at The Boro in Tysons.

Plans for the senior housing call for the construction of a 16-story building with 275,000 square feet of gross floor area and up to 210 beds with 198 rooms. Of those rooms, 118 will be designated for independent living, 56 for assisted living and 24 for memory care. The facility is not anticipated to have skilled nursing care.

The facility — which is expected to be finished in late 2023 — is one of four parcels planned as part of an expansion of The Boro by developer The Meridian Group.

The other parcels include two workforce and market-rate residential buildings with approximately 34,000 square feet of retail, with one block offering 122 residences and the other 421 residences. The two buildings could be complete in 2024.

The final block is planned for town homes or a health club to supplement a park at the corner of Clover and Broad streets.

The planning commission’s approval of the plans and rezoning application for the senior living facility comes on the heels of an Oct. 6 public hearing, where citizens shared comments about accessibility, stormwater management, the design of streetlights, and more.

In terms of stormwater management, county staff explained the inclusion of bioretention tree pits in the project to treat storm water from adjacent roadways.

“On this particular application, it’s treating more than 30% of the storm water generated on this site,” Katie Quinn, from the county’s department of planning and development, said.

“I think, more broadly, staff acknowledges and appreciates the concern of having these next to parking lanes, and we’ll be doing some more research internally to see if there’s something differently we can do going forward to address that concern.”

Quinn also noted that landscaping amenity panels planned next to on-street parking will have an 18-inch step off between the curb and tree pits, but there will be breaks in the panels “so that someone can kind of cut through the landscape amenity panels to get to the sidewalk.”

Elizabeth Baker, a land-use lawyer with Walsh Colucci who represented The Meridian Group, gave the commission a commitment to provide the same kind of lighting on this new portion of The Boro as originally provided, while keeping with the Tysons Urban Design Guidelines.

In response to a query about providing an alternative to dog parks, Baker said the project will include multiple parks and proposed an additional proffer to provide pet waste stations in each park and on Clover Street.

Lynne Strobel, an attorney representing Silverstone, responded to concerns about emergency access for residents at the facility by saying that the drop-off area provided on Boro Place will allow easy access to the building for emergency responders, and that the garage will also have an area designed for non-emergency pickups.

Before Wednesday’s voting concluded, however, multiple members of the commission emphasized the need for conscious thought and planning for accessibility to be implemented in The Boro going forward.

“I think that we need — and I mean both applicants and the county staff — to think more carefully and creatively about accessibility issues throughout Tysons,” said John Ulfelder, who serves as the planning commission’s vice chairman and represents Dranesville District.

“The fact is, this is a new city, highly diverse, something for everyone, and we’re trying to make certain that everybody with accessibility issues are fully accounted for and included in the new urban community.”

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(Updated at 10:30 a.m.) Step aside, Starbucks: Tysons has a new option for residents looking for a cup of coffee to start their day.

Bluestone Lane officially opened the doors of its cafe at The Boro yesterday (Wednesday), marking the first foray into Virginia for the New York-based but Australia-inspired company.

Located at 1671 Silver Hill Drive, Bluestone Lane Tysons operates from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, according to its website and Instagram announcement. In addition to coffee, the cafe serves tea, juice, and other beverages as well as lunch wraps, bowls, and burgers and all-day brunch — or “brekkie,” as it’s called on the menu.

“Bluestone Lane is a perfect fit for mixed use spaces, like The Boro’s local dining and entertainment district, because we provide business professionals, residents and visitors with delicious coffee and healthy meals in a vibrant, relaxed setting unlike anywhere else,” founder and CEO Nick Stone said by email. “We are expanding into Tysons Corner and other metropolitan suburbs to serve the droves of people moving into these lively, diverse communities.”

Bluestone Lane announces that its cafe at The Boro in Tysons is now open (via Bluestone Lane/Instagram)

Bluestone Lane is the brainchild of Stone, a former American Football League player who moved to New York City from Melbourne, Australia, in 2010, and Andrew Cook, who worked as an occupational therapist in Perth before becoming Stone’s business partner, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Fueled by a desire to introduce Americans to Australia’s coffee culture, Stone and Cook opened their first Bluestone cafe in the Big Apple in 2013.

They now have 51 coffee shops and cafes across the country, including the Tysons cafe and seven spots in downtown D.C., along with a site in the Cayman Islands.

According to Stone, the company is best known for introducing the U.S. to flat white coffee and avocado smash, two staples of Australian cuisine.

“Bluestone Lane is leading the charge to modernize US coffee culture with an emphasis on the quality of our coffee, fresh healthy food and a hyperfocus on creating an optimal customer experience where we have ‘locals’ not customers,” Stone said. “We have enjoyed rapid adoption from Gen Z and millennials looking for superior coffee, an elevated experience and healthier menu options.”

DC Eater first reported the company’s plans to move into The Boro, which was still under construction, back in December 2018. The cafe anticipated opening in late 2019 or early 2020, but a prolonged permitting process and, later, the COVID-19 pandemic appear to have upended that timeline.

According to Fairfax County’s inspections database, Bluestone filed for a commercial interior alteration permit to construct a standalone building at the heart of The Boro in January 2019, but the permit wasn’t finalized until Nov. 30, 2020.

Construction brought its share of challenges as well, as a backlog of projects built up during the initial months of the pandemic limited the availability of workers and supplies when everything restarted at the same time, a contractor told Tysons Reporter in August.

Bluestone Lane declined to comment on the development process and delays.

However, The Boro believes residents will find the extended wait worthwhile.

“We’re excited to welcome Bluestone Lane to The Boro,” a spokesperson for the mixed-use development said. “We have been working with the Bluestone team to bring their Australian-inspired coffees, juices, meals, and more to our neighborhood, and we are sure they’ll be a fast favorite of our residents, tenants and guests.”

The Boro still has Circa Bistro, the Mexican restaurant El Bebe, and Caliburger on deck for next year. Circa and El Bebe respectively, are currently scheduled to open on March 1, 2022, according to the development’s site plan.

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Singer-songwriter Damien Jurado (via Abby Gillardi/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!

Monday (Sept 27)

  • Free Movie Mondays — ShowPlace ICON Theatre (1667 Silver Hill Drive) — The movie theater at The Boro continues to offer free movie passes every Monday. Tickets must be reserved in person day of show and are available one hour before showtime.

Tuesday (Sept. 28)

  • 123 Andrés — 6-6:50 p.m. at Alden Theatre at McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Avenue) — The Spanish-speaking duo will give a free performance and teach children about rhythm and musical instruments. Registration is required.
  • “I Love You More Than Coffee: Essays on Parenthood” — 7-8:30 p.m. at Patrick Henry Library (101 Maple Ave. East) in Vienna — Author Melissa Face describes the rollercoaster of emotions that parents face in her debut collection of essays. Books available for sale and signing.

Friday (Oct. 1)

  • Sean McConnell at Wolf Trap — 8 p.m. at The Barns (1635 Trap Road) — He’s crafted songs for Brad Paisley, Christina Aguilera and more, but now, the Nashville insider has some new songs of his own after releasing another album last month that showcased his signature folk and country music. Proof of a vaccination or negative test for COVID-19 is required. Gates open at 6:30 p.m., and tickets start at $27 plus fees.
  • An Intimate Evening with Josh Groban at Capital One Hall — 8 p.m. at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) — Tysons’ newest performance venue, tied to Capital One’s headquarters, hosts the Tony-nominated singer as its first performer. Tickets start at $89 plus fees.
  • Sunset Cinema — 7:45-10 p.m. at Cherry Hill Park (312 Park Ave.) — Falls Church City’s outdoor movie series finishes its one-month fall run with “A League of Their Own.” Visitors are encouraged to grab blankets, bring picnics, and/or enjoy snacks, drinks, and popcorn for sale.

Saturday (Oct. 2)

  • McLean 5K Run — 8 a.m. start at McLean Square (6627 Old Dominion Drive)– The annual race for runners of all abilities will span parts of Old Dominion Drive, Chain Bridge Road, and other local streets. Pre-registration is currently $45. Proceeds benefit the nonprofit McLean Community Foundation. Packet pickup is at 1440 Chain Bridge Road.
  • Vienna Oktoberfest — 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Church Street — The Town of Vienna’s annual celebration returns after a year off with beer, entertainment, vendors, and kids activities. Free admission.
  • Damien Jurado with Okkervil River opening at Wolf Trap — 8 p.m. at The Barns (1635 Trap Road) — The two songwriters make their debut at this intimate venue, giving audiences a taste of their different indie folk styles. Proof of a vaccination or negative test for COVID-19 is required. Gates open at 6:30 p.m., and tickets start at $27 plus fees.

Sunday (Oct. 3)

  • MPAartfest — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at McLean Central Park (1468 Dolley Madison Boulevard) — Artists, musicians, and food vendors come together for the McLean Project for the Arts’ 15th annual showcase for visual artists from across the mid-Atlantic region.

Photo via Abby Gillardi/Flickr

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Demolition work is underway at the former NADA headquarters at Westpark Drive in Tysons (staff photo by David Taube)

The McLean Citizens Association has thrown its support behind a planned expansion of The Boro after working with the developer to make adjustments to the project, which will replace the former NADA headquarters site in Tysons.

The volunteer group’s board of directors passed a resolution during a virtual meeting on Wednesday (Sept. 1), noting that developer The Meridian Group made changes to its plans that would appease the association as well as neighbors at The Rotonda Condominiums.

“Meridian has been very forthcoming with working with us,” Rotonda Condominium Unit Owners Association President Doug Doolittle told Tysons Reporter. “We’re pleased with our relationship with Meridian.”

The project calls for demolishing the former National Automobile Dealers Association building at 8400 Westpark Drive and introducing mixed-use development at the complex, including a residential and assisted living building for older adults, extensive retail space, new streets, park space, and more.

Doolittle said his association has been impressed with Meridian making adjustments to concerns they’ve shared.

The Rotonda Condo association hired a traffic consultant and land-use attorney and has met with the developer some eight or 10 times over the last year to address issues ranging from construction to visual impacts.

For example, a building slated to become a pharmacy won’t have windows in a rear area, so the developer arranged to have vegetation and a mural on the wall, Doolittle said.

When crews began tearing down the NADA building last week, the association sent an email to Meridian Vice President Tom Boylan, and the next day, the company had water sprayers on the site to address dust issues.

MCA board member Bob Perito reported that the citizens’ group, which bills itself as the “unofficial town hall” of the greater McLean area, had a similar experience with the developer regarding interactions with its Planning and Zoning Committee.

“The applicants…responded to detailed, written questions from the P&Z, and they modified the projects in response to some of the committee’s suggestions,” said Perito, who represents The Hamptons of McLean Townhome Association.

Meridian is scheduled to deliver a presentation to The Rotunda residents on Sept. 9. While the condo association has given regular progress updates, the meeting will give residents a chance to learn about the project firsthand. It will also be available to Rotunda residents via Zoom.

“This would be the residents’ first chance to really talk with Meridian,” Doolittle said.

Doolittle said he thinks making these requests during the planning process is a more effective way to push for meaningful change than waiting for a Fairfax County Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors public hearing.

The project builds off The Boro, which debuted in 2019 with luxury high rises, an office-and-retail building called Boro Tower, restaurants, and a 70,000-square-foot Whole Foods. The grocery store alone is the size of just over 1.2 football fields.

MCA’s resolution highlights the money for schools and a recreational field in Tysons that are included in the project’s proffers, though at-large board member Martin Smith noted that a developer contribution rate for multifamily residential units assumes there’s one kindergarten through 12th grade student per nine households.

According to the resolution, Meridian’s school contribution would amount to “$12,262 per expected student” based on varying ratios for the different kinds of residential units in the new buildings.

“That really seems low,” Smith said of the proposed rate of 0.112 students per unit for multifamily residences, wondering more about how the methodology of such contributions work.

The project will head before the Planning Commission on Oct. 6 and before the Board of Supervisors on Oct. 19.

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Morning Notes

Rainbows appear over Tysons after a recent storm (photo by ERTRIPP9/Twitter)

FCPS Looks to Tighten COVID-19 Protocols — Missed emails have led some Fairfax County Public School students to show up for class when they’re supposed to stay home after coming into close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. The school system is working with county health officials to speed up the complicated contact-tracing process. [Reston Now]

Abortion and Taxes Take Center Stage at Tysons Forum — Nearly 300 people gathered at the Ritz-Carlton in Tysons to hear all six major-party candidates for statewide offices. Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe warned that the abortion restrictions approved in Texas on Wednesday (Sept. 1) could come to Virginia if his opponent is elected, while Republican Glenn Youngkin detailed his recently announced tax cuts plan. [Associated Press]

Falls Church Sets Opening Date for Renovated Library — The Mary Riley Styles Public Library will reopen next Friday (Sept. 10) after a year-long renovation that expanded the facility by 6,000 square feet, reconfigured the layout, and updated its amenities and infrastructure. City officials and library staff will mark the opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, with a public grand opening celebration to come later in the fall. [City of Falls Church]

Caliburger Food Truck Coming to The Boro — “Southern California burger joint @caliburgerdc is coming to #TheBoroTysons next year! In the meantime, get a preview of their sunny SoCal style from the CaliBurger Food Truck on Sat evenings from 6:30-8:30pm (beginning 9/4), & lunch on Wednesdays from 11:30am-2pm (starting 9/8).” [The Boro/Twitter]

Photo by ERTRIPP9/Twitter

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Morning Notes

Third COVID-19 Vaccine Dose Now Available — Fairfax County Health Department clinics can provide a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine to people who are fully vaccinated but whose immune systems have been compromised by certain medical conditions or treatments. The third dose is thought to boost the immune response and can be administered at least 28 days after the individual gets their second dose. [FCHD]

Law Firm Moves into Boro Tower — The law firm Williams Mullen announced yesterday (Monday) that it has moved about 30 attorneys and staff members into its new Tysons office at Boro Tower (8350 Broad Street, Suite 1600). The Boro’s developers said in May that the firm had leased 14,950 square feet on the office building’s 16th floor. [Williams Mullen]

McLean Project for the Arts Announces Fall Classes — “Registration is currently underway for fall art classes at McLean Project for the Arts (MPA). Autumn offerings include the return of many popular classes, as well as the debut of exciting new options. MPA will be holding fall classes both online and in-studio.” [MPA]

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A rendering of the proposed residential-retail expansion of The Boro (courtesy The Meridian Group)

(Updated on 9/2/2021) The former National Automobile Dealers Association headquarters building will be demolished this month to make way for a planned expansion of The Boro, the developer behind the Tysons mixed-use neighborhood announced today (Monday).

Extending The Boro to the north side of Westpark Drive, the vacated office complex will ultimately be replaced by approximately 40,000 square feet of retail space, more than an acre of public park and active recreational space, and more than 800 residential units, The Meridian Group says.

“This next phase will continue to deliver on the goals and objects of the Tysons Comprehensive Plan, including increased connectivity, walkability, balanced housing, vibrant streetscapes with active storefronts, and exceptional public amenities like the first installation of a Tysons-wide cultural and recreational trail,” The Meridian Group Senior Vice President Tom Boylan said in a statement.

The project will involve development on four parcels:

  • Block J: the 16-story Silverstone Senior Living building, which will have 197 units, 79 of them dedicated to assisted living and memory care, and ground-floor retail. Construction could start by the end of this year, and the Dallas-headquartered senior living provider expects to finish the project in late 2023.
  • Blocks I and K: workforce and market-rate residential buildings with approximately 34,000 square feet of retail. Co-developed by Meridian and the real estate firm Akridge, Block I will consist of 122 residences, and Block K will offer 421 residences. The two buildings could be complete in 2024.
  • Block L: townhomes or a health club to supplement a park at the corner of Clover and Broad Streets

In a news release, Meridian says its Boro expansion will introduce a new grid of streets with a signalized, pedestrian-only crossing at the Whole Foods entrance and “pedestrian connections” at Westpark Drive’s intersections with Greensboro Drive and a new road called Broad Street.

A map of the buildings in The Boro extension from the proposed development plan (via Fairfax County)

In a rezoning application submitted to Fairfax County in May, the developer says Broad Street will be a private road that will eventually stretch past The Boro’s northern property line to Spring Hill Road.

Meridian also proposes adding a new public street called Clover Street to connect Broad and Greensboro and extending Boro Place as a private road across Westpark, which is currently divided into six lanes by a median with Greensboro and Route 7 as the closest traffic lights.

A five-story-high glass corridor bridge will be constructed over Boro Place to link Blocks I and K.

In addition, an on-road bicycle lane will be added to Broad Street, but the application says one along Westpark Drive “is not possible due to existing right-of-way constraints.”

According to Meridian’s press release, its expansion of The Boro will further fulfill the county’s Tysons Comprehensive Plan by adding bicycle share locations, new dedicated bicycle lanes, two new bus stops, a dedicated Tysons Circulator travel lane, and three blocks of an “active recreation amenity” that it calls the Tysons Circuit.

“The Tysons Circuit will include interpretative signage, benches, landscaping, and specialty paving, which together will form a distinct and unique pathway along Westpark Drive down to Leesburg Pike,” the press release said.

The plan also calls for a linear ribbon park system dubbed Allsboro Park that will feature garden and seating areas, public art, and a pickleball court.

Opened in 2019, The Boro turned the government contractor SAIC’s former campus into a mixed-use space with luxury high-rise apartments, the office-oriented Boro Tower, restaurants, and the mid-Atlantic region’s largest Whole Foods.

Meridian purchased the NADA building for $33.7 million in 2018 in anticipation of the development’s expansion.

Earlier this summer, a massive mural was unveiled at The Boro, accompanied by a new pop-up bar from The Sandlot. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (1669 C Silver Hill Drive) also opened there this spring, and the Australian coffee shop Bluestone Lane could open this month.

Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik’s office declined to comment on specifics of the application, because it is pending with county hearings scheduled in October. Spokesperson Caroline Coscia said the applicant also intends to re-submit the application on Friday (Aug. 13).

The Fairfax County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the project at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 6, and the Board of Supervisors is slated to hold its hearing at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 19.

Map via Fairfax County

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Bluestone Lane is still brewing at The Boro in Tysons.

A tipster alerted Tysons Reporter that signs for the Australian company’s first Virginia coffee shop went up last week, and a visit to the squat, standalone building in front of Boro Tower on Silver Hill Drive on Tuesday (Aug. 3) found workers touching up the roof and interior space.

A Bluestone Lane spokesperson told Tysons Reporter last month that they are looking to open in mid-August after previously aiming for July 15, which is still listed as the coffee shop’s opening date on a site plan for The Boro.

An employee with the construction contractor attributed the delays to a widespread demand for trade workers and resources, with a lot of projects restarting at once after many developers hit pause during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bluestone Lane’s goal now is “hopefully” opening in the third week of August, according to the contractor, who said he anticipates doing a walk-through of the site with the owner on Aug. 13.

Bluestone Lane has been eyeing The Boro as its entry into the Northern Virginia market since December 2018, before the mixed-use development had even opened its first building. The shop was expected to be ready sometime between fall 2019 and spring 2020.

The company currently has a combined six cafes and coffee shops in D.C., along with locations in New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and other major U.S. cities.

In other Boro restaurant news, Metropolitan Hospitality Group has swapped in Circa Bistro for Open Road, an Americana restaurant that already has a location in Merrifield.

The group is also still planning to bring the Mexican eatery El Bebe to the Tysons development, as announced in November 2019.

According to the Washington Business Journal, the restaurant group decided to make the Circa/Open Road switch after consulting with the Meridian Group, the property developer behind The Boro, in light of the pandemic.

The Boro confirmed WBJ’s report that Circa and El Bebe plan to open in Boro Tower in early 2022.

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The Sandlot is coming to Tysons.

The Boro announced on Thursday (June 24) that the space in front of its new mural will soon be occupied by the outdoor bar concept that currently has two locations in D.C.

Ian Callender, co-creator of The Sandlot and owner of Suite Nation, describes the pop-up amenity as “a cultural arts facility with intersecting industries of commerce derived from community engagement.”

“It’s the ideal environment to bridge the gap between culture and community authentically,” Callender told Tysons Reporter.

The focus of The Sandlot is to give a space for the community to interact. There are tables and chairs for guests to come have a drink and chat with neighbors.

“The retailers and restaurants at The Boro will be the highlighting culinary and cocktail component,” Callender said. “We’re just bringing the vibes.”

The Sandlot operates booths out of shipping containers, similar to the plans for ShipGarten, the restaurant/beer garden that’s supposed to open in Scotts Run any day now.

The offerings are tailored to the specific neighborhood where each site is located. For example, Sandlot Southeast has a designer shoe booth, and Sandlot Georgetown has cold-pressed juice cocktails.

The Sandlot started as an idea of Kevin Hallums, Callender’s childhood friend of 30-plus years. The idea was to create a pop-up to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the movie “The Sandlot” down on Half Street near Nationals Park.

Hallums has said that the movie is about more than baseball, it’s about a space for friends to hang out, and that’s the space they were trying to create. The first location, Sandlot Southwest, opened in March 2019 but closed in June 2020.

All Sandlot locations are temporary and contingent on the weather. Once the development where The Sandlot is located decides they want that space back, the containers have to pack up and move on.

The Boro has said the development in front of the mural is years down the road, so Sandlot Tysons will occupy the space for the foreseeable future.

The Sandlot Tysons will open July 9 with a grand opening celebration on July 11 that will include a free concert from the D.C.-based band Black Alley.

Along with their kick-off event, The Sandlot has announced a lineup of weekly programs:

  • Car wash and cocktails with Xact Detail (Fridays)
  • Free outdoor fitness and workout sessions, courtesy of the gym Sweat DC (Saturday mornings)
  • Live regional DJs from Rock Creek Social Club, Joy Club, Adobo DMV, and more (Saturdays)
  • Sunset Sip & Paint sessions with renowned artist Lex Marie (Sundays)

“This Sandlot concept will be different from other existing locations with the specific programming for the community and its collaboration with existing Boro restaurants and retailers,” a spokesperson from The Boro said.

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Tysons is now home to the largest mural in the D.C. region — at least according to the development that commissioned it.

While its size and vivid coloring makes the mural difficult for any passersby to miss, The Boro will officially unveil the artwork with a party this Saturday (June 26).

The afternoon celebration will take place at Boro Park (8350 Broad St.) right in front of the mural, which graces the Leesburg Pike side of The Loft.

Baltimore artists Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn started working on the mural in May. The finished product is over 4oo feet long and 70 feet tall, making it one of the largest pieces of public art in the D.C. area, according to The Boro.

“The mural brings a feeling of joy and excitement to the neighborhood,” a spokesperson for The Boro said. “The Boro values community and we love bringing people together, so we’re proud to offer this new piece of public art that people can enjoy from down below with a coffee, or while passing by on the highway.”

The celebration will feature interactive color walls, lawn games, and giveaways as well as an “Art Hut” where guests can pick up art supplies to create their own mini-murals.

There will also be cocktails for the adults from local restaurants and family-friendly events. A DJ will perform throughout the event, which will last from noon to 4 p.m.

The event is free to attend, but guests are asked to register in advance on Eventbrite or through The Boro’s website.

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