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Taste of Arlington is One Month Away

by Ethan Rothstein | April 18, 2014 at 9:30 am | 1,667 views | No Comments

Taste of Arlington 2012Taste of Arlington, the annual street festival in Ballston, returns on May 18.

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

Alleged iPhone Thief Picks Wrong Day to Run Through Ballston

by ARLnow.com | May 20, 2013 at 3:45 pm | 4,245 views | No Comments

Arlington County police car (file photo)A man accused of stealing an iPhone in the Buckingham neighborhood on Sunday is probably regretting his decision to flee toward Ballston.

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.

File photo

Photos: Taste of Arlington 2013

by ARLnow.com | May 20, 2013 at 2:50 pm | 1,844 views | No Comments

(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.

Other event attractions included live bandsvirtual statues and activity areas for dogs and children.

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

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | May 17, 2013 at 9:15 am | 1,719 views | No Comments

Bike to Work Day (5/17/13) in Ballston (photo via @BallstonBID)

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 @BallstonBIDDisclosure: Ballston BID and Rosslyn BID are ARLnow.com advertisers.

Photos: Ovechkin’s ‘Virtual Statue’ Shoot

by ARLnow.com | April 25, 2013 at 11:25 am | 702 views | No Comments

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

“Virtual Statues” to Highlight New Ballston BID App

by Katie Pyzyk | April 12, 2013 at 3:15 pm | 1,313 views | No Comments

Rendering of John Wall "virtual statue" (courtesy Ballston BID)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

Taste of Arlington May Expand Next Year

by ARLnow.com | May 21, 2012 at 10:45 am | 4,145 views | 87 Comments

(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.

Sunday Road Closures Planned for Taste of Arlington

by ARLnow.com | May 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm | 2,326 views | 61 Comments

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

Half Off Tickets to Taste of Arlington

by ARLnow.com | March 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm | 3,759 views | 50 Comments

Like last year, early birds are getting a steep discount on tickets to Taste of Arlington.

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.

Photos from Taste of Arlington

by ARLnow.com | May 23, 2011 at 10:05 am | 3,504 views | 38 Comments

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 Street Closures

by ARLnow.com | May 18, 2011 at 11:40 am | 1,867 views | 1 Comment

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.

Discount on Taste of Arlington Tickets

by ARLnow.com | April 18, 2011 at 9:26 am | 1,200 views | 10 Comments

Taste of Arlington tickets are being offered at a discount this week.

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 Adds Craft Beers to the Menu

by ARLnow.com | April 6, 2011 at 11:52 am | 1,240 views | 30 Comments

Arlington’s largest food festival is adding a selection of craft beers to its menu.

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.

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Taste of Arlington Tickets Go on Sale Today

by ARLnow.com | February 1, 2011 at 8:45 am | 1,532 views | 10 Comments

Tickets go on sale today for the 24th annual Taste of Arlington.

The ever-popular event will be little-changed from years prior. It will be held on Wilson Boulevard, in front of Ballston Common Mall. There will be food from 40 Arlington restaurants, beer and wine, arts and crafts, children’s activities and live entertainment.

About 12,000 people are expected to attend.

The event 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.

Eight advance tickets purchased online cost $20, versus $25 on the day of the event. Food samples cost one ticket, while beer and wine cost two.

Proceeds from the event will benefit several local charities and non-profits.

Thousands Enjoy Good Food, Nice Weather at Taste of Arlington

by ARLnow.com | May 17, 2010 at 7:46 am | 669 views | 6 Comments

With reporting and photography by Lauren Rosenberg.

Thousands of people took advantage of Sunday’s comfortably warm weather at the 23rd annual Taste of Arlington in front of Ballston Common Mall.

Attendees had about 40 restaurants to choose from on the one-block stretch of Wilson Boulevard. Popular items included Carlyle’s crab cakes, Busboys & Poets’ pomegranate lemonade and gazpacho, Whole Foods’ couscous and chicken kabobs, Northside Social’s mini bratwurst, Jaleo’s paella, The Melting Pot’s plate of chocolate-dipped treats and the ice cream from Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream.

Some complained about the length of the lines at the more in-demand stands, but others credited the queues as serving as a sort of food speed bump that prevented them from stuffing themselves silly.

Beer and wine was available, but from a limited number of stations. The two food tickets for one beer conversion rate may help explain why many people refrained from indulging.

There were fewer entertainment acts this year, but those who did perform — including Marcus Johnson, the Virginia Big Band and the U.S. Army Band Downrange — were able to stay on stage longer. An arts and crafts show, a face painting station and an USDA-sponsored food safety exhibit were among the other festival activities that did not directly involve eating or drinking.

First-time attendees Kayla Knilans of Chapel Hill, N.C. and Angus Wan of Centreville said they were impressed by the variety of foods offered. Knilans said she though the price of attending the event was fair compared to other food tasting events she’s attended in Chicago and Madison, Wis. Their favorite “tastes” of the day included mussels from Argia’s and flatbread pizza from Whitlows.

The event usually attracts about 15,000 people, but Ballston Partnership executive director Pamela Kahn predicted a bump in attendance due to the upswing in the economy and robust online sales — up 300 percent this year.

More photos, after the jump.

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