(Updated at 4:45 p.m.) More than 40,000 attendees — a record — flooded the streets of Ballston Sunday afternoon for sunshine and lots of food and drink during Taste of Arlington, according to the event’s organizer.
Circa restaurant in Clarendon took home the day’s award for best appetizer with its Cobb lettuce wraps. The Green Spoon won the award for best entrée with its Kofte meatballs with tzatziki, spiced kale. and chickpeas. Kool Zone Ice & Treats took home the prize for best dessert.
The Ballston Business Improvement District, which organized the event, estimated that more than 25,000 ticket booklets were sold in advance. The tickets let attendees sample food from 46 restaurants, beer from a dozen breweries, and wine from Barefoot.
Festival-goers also got a chance to vote for the next restaurant that will be coming to Ballston as part of the Ballston Business Improvement District’s Restaurant Challenge. Eight chefs, competing for a year of free restaurant space in Ballston and a $275,000 interest-free loan, entered the competition as semifinalists.
Visitors voted for their favorite on their smartphones and Chef Victor Albisu and restaurateur Christina Campos were chosen as the winners. Albisu, who owns Del Campo in the District and Taco Bamba in Falls Church, served a variety of Mexican street-style food; Campos served Basque seafood stew. Albisu and Campos will compete head-to-head in June in a Top Chef-style cookoff to determine the winner of the Restaurant Challenge.
Disclosure: Ballston BID, Taste of Arlington’s organizer, is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
The annual event will be held from noon to 5:00 p.m. Packets of 10 food and beverage tickets for are still on sale for $35.
Responding to high demand in previous years, Taste of Arlington will have a larger beer and wine pavilion this year. Located on Wilson between N. Randolph and Quincy Streets, the pavilion is billed as having “seating and plenty of space to dance.”
Aside from eating and drinking, Taste of Arlington will feature a number of different activities and entertainment option.
Three bands well-known to many Arlington residents will be performing on the main stage: Jumpin’ Jupiter from noon to 1:00 p.m., Gonzo’s Nose from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m., and Burnt Sienna from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
A “KidZone” will feature a rock climbing wall, face-painting, carnival games, Washington Wizards and Capitals inflatable games, a teen band, a puppet show, a magic show and a dance performance. KidZone food, drink and game tickets are $20.
A “Bark Park” will provide a space for festival goers and their dogs, complete with pet supply vendors and a Corona beer station. For $10, dog owners can enter their pooch in a “World Pup tournament,” which features a 70-foot race track and a doggy-sized soccer goal.
Before the festival kicks off, organizers will be holding a Girls on the Run 5K race, described as “Northern Virginia’s most family friendly 5K.” A number of roads in the area will be closed from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. to accommodate the race.
There will be other traffic impacts in Ballston as a result of the festival. Wilson Blvd between N. Glebe Road and Quincy Street will be closed from midnight to 8:00 p.m. to accommodate the booths, as will N. Stuart Street between Wilson and 9th Street N. Parking will also be restricted in the area.
The full list of breweries and restaurants that will be serving at Taste of Arlington, after the jump. (more…)
The event, hosted by the Ballston Business Improvement District, will close down Wilson Blvd and part of N. Stuart Street to accommodate about 50 restaurant booths, two live music stages, a beer and wine garden, three golf putting holes and a rock climbing wall.
Among the restaurants being featured are Willow, the yet-to-open Kapnos, World of Beer, Big Buns, Pete’s Apizza, Circa and Red Rocks, among others. The restaurants will compete in competitions for best appetizer, best entrée and best dessert. The beer and wine garden will also feature national and local breweries like Port City in Alexandria, Devil’s Backbone, Flying Dog and Starr Hill, plus wine and sparkling wine from Barefoot.
The event will go from noon to 5:00 p.m., rain or shine. Tasting tickets can be bought online 10 for $30 before May 1, and 10 for $35 after that. Tickets for unlimited beer, wine and champagne, plus seats to watch the tasting up close can be had for $100, and $110 after May 1, in the VIP champagne tent. Starting April 23, Harris Teeter locations in Arlington will also be selling ticket packets at a discount.
Before the event, at 10:00 a.m., there will also be a 5k organized by Girls on the Run, open to runners of all ages.
Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser. File photo
Police say the suspect, 19-year-old Chauncey Myers of D.C., grabbed a victim’s iPhone on N. Glebe Road in the Buckingham neighborhood, then took off in the direction of Ballston. The alleged crime happened around 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, and the 22 officers who were providing security at the Taste of Arlington festival in Ballston were notified that the suspect was heading their way.
Numerous officers fanned out from the festival, and the suspect was arrested at the intersection of Fairfax Drive and N. Vermont Street, three blocks from the Ballston Metro station.
Myers was shirtless, out of breath and cursing at officers at the time of his apprehension, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. He was charged with robbery and “failure to ID.”
The officers working at Taste of Arlington were paid by festival organizers, Sternbeck said.
(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) Thousands flocked to Ballston Sunday afternoon for the 26th annual Taste of Arlington festival.
Lines to sample food at the more than 40 restaurant booths seemed generally shorter than in years past, perhaps helped by an effort to expand the footprint of the event in order to reduce congestion. Though cloudy weather and the closure of the Ballston Metro station might have played a role in keeping people away, Ballston Business Improvement District CEO Tina Leone tells ARLnow.com that about 20,000 people attended — which would be a record.
The most tightly-packed crowds could be found in the beer and wine garden, where the over-21 set sampled various brews, ciders and wines. Leone says the beer and wine area will likely be expanded next year as a result.
Three awards were handed out to participating restaurants. Rustico (4075 Wilson Blvd) won for best appetizer, Willow (4301 Fairfax Drive) won for best entree, and Mac’s Donuts, a food cart, won for best dessert.
Disclosure: Taste of Arlington organizer Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
Highest Percentage of Commuters in U.S. — At 76.6 percent of its total workforce, Arlington County has the highest percentage of commuters in the nation. Arlington is even ahead of D.C. (71 percent) and New York City (69.5 percent). Nearly 150,000 people commute into Arlington on a typical weekday, and most don’t pay any county taxes. [Governing]
Taste of Arlington Road Closures — A number of roads in Ballston, including a stretch of Wilson Blvd, will be closed for most of the day on Sunday for the annual Taste of Arlington festival. As a reminder, the Ballston and Virginia Square Metro stations will be closed throughout the weekend and additional shuttle buses will be provided for festival-goers at the East Falls Church and Clarendon Metro stations. [Arlington County]
Rosslyn Outdoor Movies Start Tonight — The annual Rosslyn outdoor summer film festival starts tonight. The theme of this year’s festival is “Summer School” — films that use high school as a backdrop. Tonight’s flick is the 1985 classic The Breakfast Club. This and every other Friday showing through Aug. 30 starts at dusk at Gateway Park. [Rosslyn BID]
Tight Inventory in Home Market — Arlington’s residential housing market is still afflicted by a dearth of inventory. There are more buyers in the market than there are homes to buy. [Sun Gazette]
Photo via @BallstonBID. Disclosure: Ballston BID and Rosslyn BID are ARLnow.com advertisers.
Attendees at the upcoming Taste of Arlington festival will be able to get cozy with Ovie.
Capitals star Alex Ovechkin posed in front of a green screen at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston yesterday for a “virtual statue” video shoot. The video will be be used to allow smart phone users to take a photo with a virtual Ovechkin at Taste of Arlington, which is scheduled for Sunday, May 19.
As reported earlier this month, Ovechkin is one of three “virtual statues” that will be set up around the festival. The other two are Washington Wizards point guard John Wall or D.C. United midfielder Chris Pontius.
Users will be able to walk up to a posted “Augmented Reality” (AR) marker at Taste of Arlington, scan a code with their phone, and see a brief video of a sports star. From a press release:
The AR marker is similar to a QR or “quick response” code. By targeting an AR marker with the camera on their phone or tablet, users will view a short video and have the opportunity to pose for a photo with the celebrity. After capturing their virtual photo op with the celebrity, guests may share the images to Facebook or Twitter, and are eligible to enter a contest sponsored by the Ballston BID to win a sports prize package including sporting event tickets and signed memorabilia.
The digital statue custom displays will be located throughout Taste of Arlington. Each display will have a backdrop, a statue base, and an event assistant to help facilitate the process or provide a tablet for those without a compatible mobile device.
The mobile app required to view the virtual statues will be available via the Google Play Market for Android and the Apple App Store, according to the Ballston Business Improvement District. Taste of Arlington will be held in Ballston on May 19th from noon to 5 p.m.
Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
The Ballston Business Improvement District (BID) will be showing off some “virtual statues” of local sports figures at Taste of Arlington to highlight the upcoming launch of its new mobile device app.
Users will be able to walk up to one of the posted markers, scan a code with their phone, and see a brief video of a sports star. The first three markers will be unveiled on Sunday, May 19, at Taste of Arlington. Each features one of three local sports stars: Washington Capitals team captain Alex Ovechkin, Washington Wizards point guard John Wall or D.C. United midfielder Chris Pontius.
Visitors do not have to bring a mobile device in order to try out the virtual statue markers. Volunteers will be on hand with iPads to demonstrate how the technology works, and to show users how to get a photo of themselves with the virtual statues (see rendering above).
“This is relatively new,” said Ballston BID Chief Executive Officer Tina Leone. “We don’t know of any other examples where this technology has been used before like this.”
The technology will be a small portion of a larger Ballston BID app. More markers with codes eventually will be installed throughout Ballston. Once users download the mobile app, they will be able to scan the markers and learn about the importance of that particular site, or even see a list of events that will take place there. For instance, a marker near Welburn Square could list upcoming dates of the Ballston Farmers Market.
“We want people to enjoy this and try the technology so they get used to seeing this around Ballston,” said Leone. “We’re employing this in stages over time, probably a one to two year period, because there are so many aspects we want to include and we want to do it right. Eventually there will be mobile WiFi hotspots throughout Ballston and there will be a map showing those. This will be a really robust mobile application.”
Although the full application is still in the planning stages, another idea is to have markers posted in the windows of restaurants and businesses.
“This is where everything is going. Everyone uses their mobile device, it’s the first thing that people do,” Leone said. “If you’re walking by a retailer and don’t know them, what do you do? Whip out your mobile device and research it. We want people to know what’s going on here.”
Leone said the virtual statues and the new app bring together some of the best parts of Ballston.
“We have these amazing minds behind the scenes that create this technology. We’re trying to bring this technology and personality to the streets,” she said. “We want to showcase the great minds in Ballston. This is a great marriage of bringing efforts together and bringing our brand to the public.”
Besides the virtual markers, visitors to Taste of Arlington will see a number of other changes. There will be more child-friendly activities at the Washington Capitals and Wizards KidZone, an expanded beer and wine tent and picnic tables. Booths will be repositioned, and some eliminated, to allow for more walking room. Visitors will pay the same price for tasting tickets as they did last year ($30), but will get more tasting tickets (10) for the money.
“We encourage people to come out because we’ve made some great improvements this year,” said Leone. “We’re really excited about it.”
Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
(Updated at 10:55 a.m.) The 25th annual Taste of Arlington was held on Sunday afternoon.
Thousands came out to enjoy the nice weather and to sample a wide variety of appetizers, entrees and desserts from local restaurants. There was also beer and wine for the over-21 set.
Of the 35+ restaurants that participated in this year’s event, three captured top marks, as determined by a contingent of roaming judges. P.F. Chang’s (901 N. Glebe Road) won for Best Appetizer, brgr:shack (4215 Fairfax Drive) won for Best Entree, and Bayou Bakery (1515 N. Courthouse Road) won for Best Dessert.
As before, the event was held in front of the Ballston Common Mall along Wilson Boulevard. Even though the footprint of the event was expanded up N. Stuart Street and into Welburn Square this year, it was still difficult at times to get around, especially in places where long lines had formed. New Ballston Business Improvement District Executive Director Tina Leone says organizers are working to fix that.
“We have some pretty big plans for next year,” she told ARLnow.com. “We would like to further expand the footprint of the event. Of course we want more people to come every year, but we need to accommodate them. We really want to make next year’s event even easier for people to get there, get tickets, get around, and just enjoy themselves.”
Other plans in the works for next year include more entertainment — perhaps an additional stage — along with an expanded “kid zone” and a new “dog zone” for those who bring their pups to the event.
The 25th annual Taste of Arlington will be held in Ballston this coming Sunday, May 20, from noon to 5:00 p.m.
Taste of Arlington is the county’s largest food festival, attracting some 15,000 attendees every year. More than 35 local restaurants — including newcomers — Memphis Barbeque, Zoe’s Kitchen, World of Beer and Cava Mezze — are expected to participate in this year’s event.
Taste of Arlington is held on Wilson Boulevard in front of Ballston Common Mall. Arlington County police will be closing some roads in the area to accommodate the event. The following streets are scheduled to be closed from 2:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Sunday.
- Wilson Boulevard eastbound at Glebe Road
- Wilson Boulevard westbound at N. Randolph Street
- N. Stuart Street between N. 9th Street and Wilson Boulevard
- N. 9th Street between N. Stafford Street and N. Stuart Street (open to Metrobus traffic only)
Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
This year the annual food festival, Arlington’s biggest, will take place between 12:00 and 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 20. More than 35 restaurants are expected to participate and serve about 15,000 attendees. As always, the event will be held on Wilson Boulevard in front of Ballston Common Mall.
KGB Deals is offering half off tickets to the event — $15 instead of $30 — through next Tuesday. As of 12:30 p.m., the website had sold just shy of 100 tickets.
Proceeds from Taste of Arlington will be donated to three nonprofits: the Arlington Community Foundation, Virginia Hospital Center and Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic.
You would have thought that gray skies and the threat of rain would have persuaded more people to stay at home but, alas, Sunday afternoon’s Taste of Arlington in Ballston was as crowded as ever.
Long lines snaked up and down the rows of food and drink vendors, at times making for human (and dog) traffic jams. The lines moved relatively fast, though, and most restaurants had enough food on hand to last well into the 4:00 hour. The award for longest line goes to Sangam Restaurant (1211 N. Glebe Road), which was practically offering an entire Indian dinner (complete with dessert) for two tickets.
There were numerous local ‘celebrity’ spottings, as presenting sponsor WJLA hauled out half of its news team and as local pols angled for votes. Among those spotted in the crowd were WJLA reporters Pamela Brown and Scott Thuman, as well as County Board reelection candidate Walter Tejada, Commonwealth’s Attorney candidate Theo Stamos and state Senate candidate Barbara Favola. We even spotted David Gaines, the host behind the classic Arlington County TV segment, “Know Your County Wastewater Plant.”
Here are a few photos from around the festival.
Taste of Arlington hits the streets of Ballston on Sunday and police are planning a series of street closures to accommodate the event.
Among the closures, as announced by Arlington County Police:
- Wilson Blvd will be closed eastbound at Glebe Rd. Eastbound traffic will be diverted south on Glebe Rd.
- Wilson Blvd will be closed westbound at N Randolph St (north and south bound Randolph will remain open)
- N. Stuart Street will be closed between N. 9th Street and Wilson Blvd. Buses will be allowed on N. Stuart St. between Fairfax Drive and N. 9th Street.
- North 9th Street will remain open to METRO BUS TRAFFIC only between North Stafford and North Stuart Street.
- All traffic coming southbound on N. Taylor St. from Fairfax Drive will be forced to go westbound at Wilson Blvd.
- Access to the Macy’s parking spaces at 4300 Wilson will be via N. Glebe Road only.
With warm and sunny weather in the forecast, organizers are expecting a crowd of more than 10,000 for the annual food festival — Arlington’s largest. Tickets are still on sale online for 20 percent off the walk-up price.
In addition to food from more than 30 Arlington restaurants and vendors, as well as a selection of craft beers, a number of local musical acts are scheduled to perform at the event, which will take place from noon to 5:00 p.m.
Tickets for Arlington’s biggest food festival are normally $20 in advance and $25 at the gate, but for the next 10 days they’re being sold for $15 through local deal-of-the-day web site What’s the Deal.
The ever-popular annual event will held from noon to 5:00 p.m. on May 22.
Now in its 24th year, Taste of Arlington will be held from noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 22. Admission is free but tickets are required to sample the food and drinks.
Disclosure: ARLnow.com has an affiliate relationship with What’s the Deal.
Taste of Arlington features dozens of local restaurants and draws a crowd of thousands to the stretch of Wilson Boulevard in front of Ballston Common Mall. In years past the beer selection at the event has been limited, but organizers say they’re now “trying to make the drink selection as diverse as the food selection.”
A craft beer distributor will be bringing ten different brews to the festival, including varieties of Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, Newcastle, Ommegang, Saranac, Franziskaner, Breckenridge, Gordon Biersch, Shiner and Magic Hat. As before, wine will also be available.
Now in its 24th year, Taste of Arlington will be held from noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 22. Admission is free but tickets are required to sample the food and drinks. Tickets are currently for sale online for $20. Tickets sold on the day of the event are $25.
See a list of participating restaurants, after the jump.