Arlington, VA

The pandemic has claimed another victim: the 2020 Arlington County Fair.

The in-person fair, scheduled from Aug. 12-16, has been canceled and replaced with a “virtual format” that will run from Aug. 14-16.

“Given the current social distancing guidance and the uncertainty of the trajectory of the virus, it is unfeasible for the in-person Fair to move forward as scheduled,” organizer said late Thursday afternoon.

The exact format of the virtual fair was not immediately made clear. Organizers say it will “showcase the best of Arlington and share the spirit of the Fair.” Additional information is expected to be posted online.

The fair — a summer staple for generations of Arlingtonians — is expected to return in its full glory in 2021.

More from a press release:

Due to the current restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Arlington County Fair, scheduled for August 12-16, has been moved to a virtual format, to be held August 14-16.

The decision to cancel the in-person 2020 Arlington County Fair and move online was a very difficult one. A beloved community tradition, the Fair brings five days of pure joy to Arlington each August. However, given the current social distancing guidance and the uncertainty of the trajectory of the virus, it is unfeasible for the in-person Fair to move forward as scheduled.

The Fair Board is in the process of contacting our sponsors, entertainers, vendors, and community groups that are impacted to ensure all parties are aware of the change.

While we are disappointed that we cannot hold the in-person 2020 Fair, it also brings a new opportunity for the Fair to come to you! We have planned three days of virtual programming August 14-16 so we can still showcase the best of Arlington and share the spirit of the Fair. Check the Fair’s Facebook page in July for details and schedule.

The Fair is operated by an all-volunteer non-profit organization, Arlington County Fair, Inc. We rely on income generated by ride ticket sales, vendor fees and sponsorships to hold the Fair each year. While we understand that there are many pressing issues at the moment, we do accept donations year-round and would be grateful for any contributions you may be willing to make to ensure that the Fair remains a mainstay of the Arlington community. Additionally, we are actively recruiting Fair Board Members to assist with the planning of future Fairs. To apply, submit an online application.

We appreciate the continued support of the Arlington community and look forward to the return of the Fair as we know it in 2021.

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Morning Notes

Death of WeLive? — “WeWork is exploring ending its push into communal living, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The New York-based office-sharing company is working with an adviser and holding talks about handing over operations of its WeLive location in Crystal City, near Washington D.C.” [Bloomberg]

No Fair This Summer? — “Whether the Arlington County Fair will be held as scheduled in August, and how it might change due to the impacts of COVID-19, remain an open question. ‘We continue to closely monitor the evolving situation and are committed to following the facts and recommendations provided by public-health officials,’ organizers of the fair said.” [InsideNova]

School Decision Expected by July 4 — “Arlington students, parents and teachers should know by the 4th of July what the county school system’s plan is for re-starting classes in the fall. In-person classroom instruction ‘is the goal we want to get to,’ new Superintendent Francisco Durán told School Board members on June 4, but he was not ready to commit to having students back in class when the school year begins Aug. 31.” [InsideNova]

Gyms CrossFit Weigh in on Founder’s Comments — Since the founder of CrossFit posted a controversial tweet, CrossFit gyms across the country — including in Arlington — have been posting statements to distance themselves from him. Greg Glassman has since resigned as the CEO of CrossFit. [Instagram, Instagram]

Local Nordstrom Stores Reopening Tomorrow — “Arlington residents hoping for a little retail therapy will soon have their desires granted, at least as far as one local clothing chain is concerned. The Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack stores in Pentagon City will reopen for customers on Thursday, according to a company release.” [Patch]

Axios Covering Fees for Protesting Employees — “Arlington County-based digital media company Axios distributed a companywide email stating that it would cover bail or medical bills for employees who have participated in recent protests associated with the police killing of George Floyd, The New York Times first reported Tuesday.” [Virginia Business]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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(Updated at 5 p.m.) A police officer was punched in a face by a man upset at being bumped at the Arlington County Fair, according to a crime report.

The alleged incident happened Sunday night around 8:30 p.m., during the waning hours of the fair, which is held at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center.

“An officer was on patrol at the fair when he and the suspect bumped shoulders,” according to the Arlington County Police Department. “The suspect became angry and struck the officer in the face with a closed fist.”

“Jaylen Gibson, 20, of Forestville, MD was arrested and charged with assault and battery on police officer,” the report continues. “He was held on no bond.”

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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(Updated 10:10 a.m.) The annual Arlington County Fair is back in action.

The fair opened yesterday (Wednesday) and will run through Sunday (Aug. 18). The fair fills a lot next to the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street S.).

The usual fair attractions like carousels and Ferris wheels have made a return, while carnival barkers are enticing visitors to try their games and kabobs are sizzling on the grill.

New attractions this year’s fair include a butterfly garden — where visitors can hand-feed native butterflies — goat yoga, and a beer garden.

A row of food vendors are also set up near the community center, featuring doughnuts from the local Good Company Doughnuts and Cafe.

There’s no parking at the fairgrounds, but a shuttle runs from the fair to the Arlington Career Center — where there is visitor parking — as well as Wakefield High School, the county’s I-66 parking garage, and the Virginia Square Metro station. Shuttles cost $2 round-trip.

The fair is free to enter, with tickets available to purchase for rides and carnival games.

Ashley Hopko contributed to this story

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Morning Notes

Storms Expected Today — “Strong to locally severe thunderstorms are in the forecast Tuesday afternoon and evening, and the potential exists for this to be a significant severe weather event.” [Capital Weather Gang]

ACPD: Expect Police at Fair — “As in years past, the [Arlington County Fair] will have dedicated police staffing and resources and fairgoers can expect to see a visible police presence… There are no known threats to Arlington County, however, the public is encouraged to remain aware of your surroundings at all times.” [Arlington County]

Local Volunteer Firefighting Legacy — “Tucked inside the Clarendon fire station on N. 10th St. is a special closed-off room. By long-standing arrangement with the county, it is dedicated to honoring the station’s decades of reliance on volunteer firefighters. Today’s professionally staffed Fire Station 4 deploys ‘no active volunteers, but retains a volunteer presence.'” [Falls Church News-Press]

Hotel Near HQ2 Sells For Big Bucks — “Host Hotels & Resorts sold the Residence Inn Arlington Pentagon City, a 299-room high-rise property at 550 Army Navy Drive, for $99.1M in a deal that closed July 1, according to Arlington County property records.” [Bisnow]

Deer Rescued from Fence — “Last week, Officer Solano and several neighbors were able to safely untangle this juvenile deer from a soccer net in a resident’s backyard. The deer immediately ran away, uninjured, back into the woods nearby.” [Twitter]

Man Brings Loaded Shotgun to Pentagon — “A Kentucky man taken into custody at the Pentagon last week had a shotgun, ammunition and a machete in his pickup truck, according to court documents… While speaking to the officers, [the man] made ‘incoherent statements about being in the area for ‘liberty business.”” [Fox 5]

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment.

The County Fair is only a few days away. Get excited!

Stop by and see us at the Rethink Energy booth. We’ll be there to answer your energy questions about saving energy at home, solar power, weatherization and more.

When you stop into the Thomas Jefferson gymnasium, take note; LED lights shine brightly from above. These LED lights save about $40,000 annually and have a payback of less than 4 years.

The use of LED lights isn’t the only way that the Fair is working to be more sustainable. Kudos to the Fair for all the small actions that continue to make a big difference. Here is what you can expect at the Fair to leave a lighter footprint on the environment:

The Arlington County Fair is working toward the goal of becoming a zero waste event!

  • Providing a water fill up station to encourage guests to use reusable water bottles.
  • Banning all single-use plastic straws and replacing them with compostable options or strawless cups.
  • Banning Styrofoam food service items such as cups and clamshell containers distributed at the fair.
  • Banning small condiment packets for mustard, ketchup and soy sauce, as well as small plastic Solo cups for sauces. Vendors will use bulk distribution in paper cups for these items.
  • Recycling all recyclable materials in a single-stream recycling system, including paper, cardboard, glass, aluminum and plastic materials.
  • Expanding our composting efforts to be available throughout the fair. This removes food waste, paper products and other biodegradable items out of the event waste stream, reducing greenhouse gas emissions resulting from waste generated at the fair.
  • Collecting food vendor grease that is taken to a plant for rendering. 40% of the processed grease is used to create bio fuel.
  • Collecting and distributing manure generated by livestock at the fair for use in neighborhood gardens.
  • Working with Arlington’s Car-Free Diet to promote transportation options to the fair, including biking and walking routes, nearby bike-share locations, bus and Metro options.
  • Providing valet parking for bicycles free of charge for guests who bike to the event.
  • Providing shuttle service for fair attendees from nearby parking facilities and Metro stops.
  • Using reusable signage throughout the fair to minimize printed signage waste.

We look forward to seeing you at the Fair. Please stop by with your energy questions!

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The Arlington County Fair is adding more events to its lineup this year, including a pie-eating contest and a butterfly exhibition.

Fair-goers can get up close to butterflies later this month thanks to a traveling enclosure for the creatures from Florida-based company The Butterfly Enclosure. Tickets are $3 a piece.

“Children and adults alike will enjoy the wonder of being surrounded by nature’s most delicate, beautiful creatures,” fair organizers wrote on the event page.

The exhibition will be open every day of the fair:

  • Wednesday, August 14, from 5-8 p.m.
  • Thursday, August 15 from 5-8 p.m.
  • Friday, August 16 from 2-8 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 17 from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Sunday, August 18 from 11 a.m.- 7 p.m.

The county fair itself will be open from Aug. 14-18 and will feature carnival games, food trucks, and live music, in addition to goat yoga and a new beer garden. The fair’s full schedule has not yet been published on its website.

This year the fair will also host a pie-eating contest. On Saturday, Aug. 17 participants will chow down on blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry pie, and everyone will receive a “Arlington County Fair Pie Eating Championship” t-shirt.

Pre-registration for the event, which is free, is sold out. However, fair organizers noted on the event page that there will be space for some same-day signups. The contest begins at 1:30 p.m. and participants are asked to stop by at 1 p.m. to register and check in.

Contestants will compete based on their age category:

  • Ages 2-4
  • Ages 5-8
  • Ages 9-12
  • Ages 13-16
  • Ages 17-109.5

The event is organized together with local bakery Living the Pie Life and young adult event organization Arlington Jaycees.

Several carnival ride favorites are set to return to the fair this year, including the Zipper, the Heart Flip, and the Rainbow from the Cole Shows Amusement Company.

The fair is free to attend but ticket prices for amusements range from $1 for a single ticket to $20 for 24 tickets.

Photos courtesy Dennis Dimick

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This year the Arlington County Fair is debuting two brand new features — a beer garden and yoga with baby goats.

The annual event will begin in two weeks and is set to welcome Arlington-based New District Brewing Company as well as a special “kid-friendly” goat yoga session to the fairgrounds at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street S.)

“For the first time in our 43-year history, the Arlington County Fair will host a beer garden,” organizers wrote on the fair’s website. “New District Brewing Company will feature hand-crafted, delectable beers to cool you off on a warm summer day.”

Fair-goers will be able to enter the beer garden for free during the three days it will serve up drinks during the festival. The garden will be open on:

  • Friday, August 16, from 3-6:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 17, from 12-6:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, August 18, from 12-6:30 p.m.

New District has not yet posted a draft menu for the fair as of today (Monday). The company is known for its golden ales and seasonal honeysuckle brew.

Fair organizers are also selling tickets for $40 for an hour-long goat yoga session on Saturday, August 17, from either 9-10 a.m. or 10:30-11:30 a.m. The baby goats are from Salem, Va.-based Walnut Creek Farm, and participants will be asked to bring their own mats.

“The goats are curious and interested in climbing and interacting with people,” organizers noted on the ticket sale page. “Children should be no younger than 10, comfortable with animals, and accompanied by an adult to attend.”

The fair will run from Aug. 14-18 and will feature rides, food, games, performer, exhibits and live music. The fair’s schedule has not yet been published on its website.

“Stay tuned for more updates as we get closer to the fair,” the website said as of Monday afternoon.

The county fair will also welcome back several carnival ride favorites, including the Zipper, the Heart Flip, and the Rainbow from the Cole Shows Amusement Company.

Prices range from $1 for a single ticket to $20 for 24 tickets.

Photos courtesy Dennis Dimick

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Morning Notes

Arlington Tech Company Acquired — Silicon Valley cybersecurity firm Imperva has acquired Arlington-based bot mitigation startup Distil Networks. [TechCrunch, Imperva]

Permits Filed for B&E’s on Lee — Bob and Edith’s Diner finally applied for construction permits last month for its planned but delayed Lee Highway location. [Arlington Economic Development]

Jail Holds Family Event for Inmates — “Some Arlington County children got a rare opportunity Tuesday night: a chance to visit with their fathers and mothers — who are in jail — without any barriers between them.” [WJLA]

Local Girl Scouts Help Seniors — “They came in need of help, smartphones in hand… Girl Scout Troop 60013 was on it. This week, the Arlington, Virginia-based scouts hosted ‘TechBridge,’ their first walk-in clinic to help local senior citizens learn how to use their cellphones.” [CNN]

County Fair Seeking Judges — “Organizers of the Arlington County Fair are seeking volunteers both to register and judge entries for the competitive-exhibit competition. Volunteers with expertise will serve as superintendents and judges in a host of categories, with judging taking place Thursday, Aug. 15 at 10 a.m. at Thomas Jefferson Community Center.” [InsideNova]

Campaign Ad Questioned — A TV ad placed by a political action committee on behalf of commonwealth’s attorney candidate Parisa Dehghani-Tafti is being questioned. The ad brings up recent anti-abortion laws in other states says incumbent Theo Stamos “would enforce anti-choice laws” in Virginia. The video cited in the ad shows Stamos saying she “takes an oath to uphold the law” but would not enforce an unconstitutional law. [Blue Virginia]

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The Arlington County Fair has a new head honcho: Matt Hussmann, the recently retired head of the Clarendon Alliance.

The fair’s Board of Directors announced yesterday (Wednesday) that it has tabbed Hussmann as the new fair manager, effective Jan. 13.

Hussmann spent seven years as executive director for the Clarendon Alliance before stepping down in September, advocating on behalf of Clarendon businesses and managing a variety of events in the neighborhood, like the annual Clarendon Day Festival and Mardi Gras Parade and Ball. He currently works as a principal for EventPro DC, an event production and equipment rental company.

In his new role as fair manager, Hussmann will work alongside the fair board to focus on subjects including “sponsorships, marketing, entertainment, competitive exhibits, volunteer recruitment and fair logistics,” according to a news release.

“Matt has a wealth of experience in building and strengthening events in Arlington County, and we’re delighted that he’ll be bringing his talents to the Arlington County Fair,” Arlington County Fair Board Chair Kyle Thornhill said in a statement.

The fair manager is an employee of the nonprofit that manages the annual event, working in tandem with county officials.

The fair found itself in a bit of hot water last year when a drawing on one vendor’s truck prompted accusations of racism. The fair manager position last grabbed headlines in 2011, when then-manager Denise Marshall Roller was accused of embezzling money from the fair, and she ultimately pleaded guilty to a slew of charges in 2012.

In general, the fair has seen healthy attendance numbers since that spot of trouble, according to Fair Board Vice Chair Barbi Broadus. Attendance statistics for the fair’s last 10 years are as follows, per Broadus:

2008: 54,580
2009: 46,632
2010: 51,723
2011: 47,000
2012: 53,763
2013: 58,799
2014: 71,664
2015: 74,884
2016: 59,520
2017: 72,802
2018: 84,666

This year’s fair will run from August 14-18 at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center.

File photo

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The Arlington County Fair says it will find a way to remove or cover an image that at least one fairgoer decried as “racist.”

The fairgoer tweeted an image painted on the “Monkey Maze” fun house that depicts a monkey with braids putting on lipstick.

“This is not OK at our county fair,” the man said in a tweet. “Racist caricatures don’t represent our values.”

Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol agreed.

“This is awful,” Cristol tweeted in response. “We’ll connect with the Arlington Fair Board about this vendor.”

Around 4:30 p.m. Thursday, the fair followed up with a pledge to take action.

“We appreciate you reaching out us,” the fair said via Twitter. “We are working with our ride vendor to ensure the image is no longer visible.”

Monkey Maze fun houses are used by other traveling carnival companies, though photos posted online show different illustrations on the front of the trailer. A Google search did not turn up any other references to the Monkey Maze and accusations of racism.

The fair runs through Sunday on the grounds of the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (125 S. Old Glebe Road).

Photos courtesy David Rosenblatt (photo illustration by ARLnow.com)

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