Arlington, VA

(Updated at 12:05 p.m.) After being cancelled last year, Ballston’s Quarterfest is back on next month.

The Ballston Business Improvement District and its charity BallstonGives is hosting the second annual Ballston Quarterfest Crawl — the event that replaced Taste of Arlington in 2019 — from 12-7 p.m on Saturday, May 15.

Attendees to the free event are being invited to explore the neighborhood, rain or shine, while enjoying live outdoor music, grabbing food and drink specials from local restaurants, and playing giant-sized games.

Plus, there’s going to be a neighborhood-wide scavenger hunt that will require teams to answer questions, bounce around Ballston, and win prizes, including for best costume, sponsored by Homeward Trails Animal Rescue.

A number of local restaurants have signed on to offer specials including Bronson Bierhall, Ted’s Bulletin, Copa Kitchen & Bar, Sidekick Bakery, Union Kitchen, bartaco, Jimmy John’s, Hot Lola’s, We the Pizza, Good Company Doughnuts & Café, and Ballston Service Station, according to a press release.

There will also be live performances from local musicians in locations across Ballston. As of April 15, participating artists include Justin Trawick, Columbia Pike Blues Festival vet Bobby Thompson, Karen Jonas, Jenny Langer, and Janine Wilson.

As with everything these days, there will be a number of safety precautions in place including social distancing, masks required, and constant cleaning of high-touch areas.

“We wanted to provide a distanced, family-friendly, and socially-responsible opportunity for our community, neighbors, and visitors to enjoy Ballston,” Tina Leone, CEO of the Ballston BID, wrote in the press release. “We want everyone to feel safe and have fun while supporting our local businesses. We’re implementing social-distancing, sanitizing stations, and constant cleaning to ensure the safety of our attendees.”

“This year’s Quarterfest Crawl is open to the public, and is a free-flowing event across the neighborhood,” a BID spokesperson also noted. “It’s not concentrated in one particular location as it has been in the past.”

After a year of Arlington events being cancelled, some are looking to return as vaccine rates continue to rise through the spring and into the summer. The BID said locals should expect more Ballston events to return as the year goes on.

“We are excited to see our programs re-launch; we just opened our Farmer’s Market for the 2021 season and are looking forward to bringing back our Mega Markets beginning May 6,” the spokesperson said. “We’re actively collaborating with our neighborhood’s businesses, community partners, and Arlington County to create even more events and opportunities for people to safely visit and explore Ballston this year.”

Photo courtesy bartaco

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Programming for the 2021 National Cherry Blossom Festival is crossing the Potomac River into National Landing.

The festival, scheduled to run from March 20 through April 11, is springing back this year after it had to cancel or modify most of its events last year due to the coronavirus.

Dozens of cherry trees will be planted in National Landing this spring and the area will feature two “Art in Bloom” sculptures and pink pop-up installations. Some restaurants in the business district are included in the annual “Cherry Picks” restaurant program while residents and local businesses will participate in the “Porch Parade and Petal Procession” — a new addition to the festival.

The inclusion of Pentagon City, Crystal City and Potomac Yard is made possible through a new partnership among the festival, Amazon, the National Landing Business Improvement District and developer JBG Smith.

In November, Amazon was announced to be the new lead sponsor of the 2021 festival, supplanting Japanese airline ANA, which held the position for four years, Washington Business Journal reported. JBG Smith and the BID will be credited as Sakura Circle supporters.

Bringing parts of the festival to National Landing increases visibility for the growing urban center and positions it to be a signature partner of the festival for years to come, said Tracy Sayegh Gabriel, head of the National Landing BID.

“The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a perfect complement to our work to create a vibrant destination for generations to come that celebrates such rich culture, joy and history,” she said in a statement.

Executive Vice President of JBG Smith Andy Van Horn said he particularly looks forward to the installation of an “Art in Bloom” sculpture at the Crystal City Water Park (1601 Crystal Drive), where it can be enjoyed throughout the festival before planned improvements on the park begin. Working with Amazon and the BID to support the festival in 2021 was a natural fit, he added.

“The partnership highlights the hard work and progress underway to transform National Landing into a vibrant, 18-hour neighborhood brimming with culture, excitement, and unmatched potential,” he said. Another sculpture is planned along the Long Bridge Park Esplanade.

Brooke Oberwetter, Head of External Affairs for Amazon in Arlington, said the company — which is in the midst of building its permanent HQ2 in Pentagon City — looks forward to kicking off its partnership with the festival, JBG Smith and the BID this year, and “building on it in years to come.”

“We could not be more pleased to help bring some of the excitement of the National Cherry Blossom Festival to National Landing,” Oberwetter said in a statement.

This year, the National Parks Service is projecting the blossoms to peak in early April.

Due to the coronavirus, some experiences, including the Opening Ceremony, will be virtual or a hybrid of in-person and online.

File photo

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Over 8,000 books, CDs, DVDs, and vinyl records will be on sale this Saturday (Sept. 26) at the annual Rosslyn Reads Book Festival.

The festival is an annual fundraiser for Turning the Page, a non-profit that aids underserved students in the community. Carpe Librum, a non-profit used bookstore, will be partnering with Rosslyn BID this year to contribute to the fundraiser.

From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, attendees can buy “gently used” items at a price range of $2 to $6 in Central Place Plaza (1800 N. Lynn Street).

Several procedures will be in place to promote social-distancing:

  • Attendees must pre-register for a one-hour time slot to shop and provide confirmation of registering upon arrival
  • Review Rosslyn BID’s COVID-19 Safety Protocols before registering
  • Those who do not pre-register must sign a waiver before entering
  • A maximum of 50 people will be allowed inside the plaza to shop at a time
  • Masks will be required for all attendees
  • Hand-sanitizer stations will be available at the entrance
  • Attendees will be required to follow a one-way flow of foot traffic

Photo via Rosslyn BID/Facebook 

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The annual Rosslyn Jazz Fest is not being held as the usual large public event this year. But it is returning in a different form next week.

Now called the Jazz Supper Club, it has been transformed into a virtual and socially-distant event. On Wednesday, Sept. 23 and 30, there will be outdoor jazz in Rosslyn — albeit in smaller settings. Groups will play at two outdoor dining venues around dinner time, with the performances live-streamed online.

The scheduled artists, locations and times are:

Reservations for the first night are now available online.

More from the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, which organizes the annual jazz festival:

Mark your calendars for the first ever Rosslyn Jazz Supper Clubs! With these curated experiences at Rosslyn restaurants, we’re reinventing our usual Jazz Festival format to one that supports virtual streaming and limits in-person attendance. To promote the safety of all attendees, guests are asked to wear masks when not seated and to practice physical distancing in accordance with Arlington County’s and Virginia’s guidelines.

Please review the Rosslyn BID’s and each restaurant’s individual COVID-19 policies and expectations before making a reservation. By making a reservation, you are agreeing to abide by the COVID-19 policies and expectations of the Rosslyn BID and each individual restaurant.

If you’re uncomfortable attending the Supper Clubs, we’ll be livestreaming each experience so you can enjoy the evening from home.

Photo via Jens Thekkeveettil/Unsplash

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The Arlington Festival of the Arts will make an outdoor return over Labor Day weekend, despite the pandemic.

The annual festival, which was postponed in April after statewide bans on public gatherings, features fine art from local and national artists in forms like glass, paintings and jewelry.

The festival is taking place near the intersection of N. Highland Street and Washington Blvd in Clarendon. Exhibits will be open to the public between 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 5 and Sunday, Sept. 6.

Now in its 8th year, the festival typically packs Washington Blvd with visitors walking through rows of white display tents. This year, though, the event will have safety measures meant to prevent COVID-19’s spread.

All attendees above the age of 2 are asked to wear a mask, and social distancing is required between visitor groups and artists. Limits will also be set on how many visitors can attend at one time.

“This has been a trying time for artists around the world, and their appreciators, because nothing beats being able to see the creation in person,” festival producer Howard Alan said in a press release. “We have been able to craft creative solutions to bring art back to the people, without compromising safety.”

Artwork at the festival has been selected from hundreds of applications by an independent panel of expert judges, according to the press release.

Artists include Loretta Scott, a painter in Reston, and Carolyn Copper, a photographer in D.C.

The festival is free to attend and visitors are encouraged to reserve a time slot to avoid lines.

Picture courtesy Arlington Festival of the Arts 

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Morning Notes

Juneteenth Rally in Courthouse Today — “Please join the Arlington Black Employees Council for a 2020 Juneteenth Peace Rally on Friday, 11a-12p, outside at the Bozman Gov’t Center. The event will include a George Floyd tribute and recognition of victims of violence.” [Twitter]

Police Investigating Columbia Pike Robbery — “At approximately 1:24 a.m. on June 17, an officer was flagged down by the victim stating they had just been robbed. The investigation determined that the victim had exited a business when two unknown suspects approached him. One of the suspects struck the victim with an object appearing to be a firearm, causing him to fall to the ground. The suspects searched the victim’s person and fled the scene without taking anything from the victim.” [Arlington County]

ACPD Helps the Homeless During Pandemic — “In April, Arlington launched a homeless outreach coalition to help identify unsheltered individuals at high risk for COVID-19 and connect them with available resources and services. The coalition is comprised of stakeholders from the Police Department, Department of Human Services, and Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN). ” [Instagram]

Coronavirus Signage in Rosslyn — “The Rosslyn Business Improvement District decked out the neighborhood with a variety of light-hearted messages as part of an awareness campaign launched this week to encourage social distancing as the region loosens stay-at-home restrictions imposed to fight the spread of Covid-19. Through the messages — which are stamped to the sides of trash cans, in the windows of office buildings and on public benches — the BID hopes to remind people not to let their guard down.” [Washington Business Journal]

Backyard Blues Fest on Saturday — “CPRO is planning an alternative Backyard Blues Festival on June 20 from 5-7 p.m. Arlington community radio station WERA 96.7 FM will play a curated selection of blues while various local restaurants will offer special discounts on food and drinks, which can then be enjoyed in one’s backyard or patio with the radio cranked up.” [ARLnow]

Nearby: Falls Church Closes for Juneteenth — “In keeping with Governor Northam’s declaration designating Juneteenth as a state holiday, the City of Falls Church will also observe the holiday. City of Falls Church Government administrative offices will be closed. Employees who staff essential programs and services will work as scheduled.” [City of Falls Church]

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The annual Columbia Pike Blues Festival isn’t exactly canceled this year, but with lingering concerns about large crowds during the phased reopening of the region, the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization is radically rethinking the event while hoping to keep the spirit intact.

Officially, the 25th Pike Blues Festival will be held in 2021, but in the meantime, CPRO is planning an alternative Backyard Blues Festival on June 20 from 5-7 p.m.

Arlington community radio station WERA 96.7 FM will play a curated selection of blues while various local restaurants will offer special discounts on food and drinks, which can then be enjoyed in one’s backyard or patio with the radio cranked up.

“The Blues Festival has always been such a wonderful celebration of our community and, as it was necessary to postpone it this year, we really wanted to find an alternative celebration that could still bring the community ‘together,'” CROP Executive Director Kim Klingler said. “All of us at CPRO have been eagerly anticipating the 25th Annual Blues Festival and were quite disappointed at the prospect of cancelling the festival completely. But, through our partnership with Arlington Arts, we were able to connect with WERA and come up with a creative way to keep groovin’ and show that defiant, hopeful spirit that truly exemplifies Columbia Pike.”

CPRO isn’t the first local organization to try to encourage Arlingtonians to jam out to music outdoors at the same time. The Crystal City BID launched a similar Front Porch Friday series in April. Klingler said the idea of playing music over the radio outdoors is “very retro.”

“The Columbia Pike community really feels a strong sense of pride and ownership over the annual Blues Festival,” Klingler said. “It is hard to imagine summer on Columbia Pike without the blues.”

Klingler said the festival will include giveaways and social media contests. CPRO is still working through the details of the specials on food.

“We are still working out a few details with our vendors, but we’re hopeful all of the local restaurants who have participated in the festival for years will participate this year as well,” Klingler said. “Most of our vendors are brick and mortar restaurants located near Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Dr. where the festival typically takes place and we wanted to ensure we are supporting them through these difficult times in any way we can. Listeners can order their favorite festival foods and have their beer and wine delivered. New District Brewing Co. is even preparing a specialty ‘Blues Fest Brew’ for the occasion.”

In addition to New District, Sloppy Mama’s Barbeque and Rincome Thai Cuisine are listed as event participants.

“We hope everyone will drag their radios outside — or tune in online — and spend a couple hours filling backyards across Arlington with the best blues has to offer,” Klingler said. “I think we’ve all had the blues for a while now and a Backyard Blues Fest could be just what we need.”

Image via Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization

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Update at 10:05 a.m. — This event was cancelled Wednesday night. From the organizers:

Out of an abundance of caution to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus we have made the difficult decision to postpone the 23rd Street Festival. We hope to reschedule the event and are considering Saturday, August 15th or Saturday, August 29th as potential dates… We hope you’re as inspired as we are to keep this momentum. Thank you for your support, and we look forward building with you to make the first-ever 23rd Street Festival a successful production and experience for all when it is rescheduled later this year! Thank you, Amanda + Monica Amanda Rodrigues Smith Monica Rodrigues Smith

Earlier: A new open-air community art and food festival will soon make its debut in Crystal City.

The 23rd Street Festival is set to take place on Saturday, March 21, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. There will be performances from Synetic Theater and other artists and groups, according to the event’s website, plus food from Portofino, Top Thai, Fredrico, and other eateries along the 23rd Street S. restaurant row.

“The 23rd Street Festival invites the DMV’s unique creators and innovators across food, style, art, & music to come together in one interactive outdoor experience,” said an event description. “For one day, we will convert our store-lined Main Street into an open-air block party for you to experience some of Arlington’s oldest and most storied locally owned businesses. From fine cuisine to boutiques and curious shops around every corner, there’s a little something for everyone!”

Event co-producer Amanda Rodrigues Smith said the organizers were inspired by the “opportunity to bring people together.”

The festival will be take place on 23rd Street S. between Eads and Fern streets.

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This year’s Feel the Heritage Festival will celebrate African-American history on Saturday, Feb. 29.

The county-organized event, held annually for the past 27 years in Arlington, will take place at the Charles Drew Community Center (3500 23rd Street S.) from 1-6 p.m.

Entrance to the festival — which includes live music and dance, food vendors, and activities for children — is free. The event will also feature vendors selling a variety of goods, from jewelry to homemade hot sauce.

For the cooks in attendance, there will be a chance to show off their skills at the festival’s third annual soul food cook-off competition. The festival will also include a Hall of History, where photos and artifacts from Arlington’s historically African-American neighborhoods and organizations will be on display.

On-site parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The community center is accessible via Metrobus 10B and ART bus 77, according to the Arlington Parks and Recreation website.

Photo via Arlington County

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Morning Notes

Heavy Seas Alehouse to Close — “Heavy Seas Alehouse, the restaurant affiliated with the Baltimore-area brewery, will close its doors in Rosslyn by the end of October, one of its principals said Thursday. The restaurant plans to close Oct. 27, said Mike Morris, a partner in Monogram Hospitality, which operates Heavy Seas Alehouse.” [Washington Business Journal]

Real Estate Costs Going Down? — “In every major jurisdiction of the local area, the median per-square-foot price for housing for the January-through-September period declined, in many cases by double digits, according to new figures reported Oct. 11… Arlington led all local jurisdictions for the nine-month period, but its median per-square-foot cost of $436 was down 6.8 percent from $468.” [InsideNova]

Kaine to Talk Vaping at Arlington School — “On Friday, October 18, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine will hold a roundtable discussion on efforts to address the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use. The discussion at Montessori Public School of Arlington will include students, teachers, counselors, parents, health experts, and Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni.” [Press Release]

Road Closures for Festival in Shirlington — “The Shirlington Shucktoberfest, sponsored by the Copperwood Tavern, will take place on Saturday, October 19, 2019 from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.  Set up will begin at approximately 6:00 a.m. and cleanup should be completed by 7:00 p.m. The Arlington County Police Department will conduct the following road closures…” [Arlington County]

Arlington Woman’s Alleged Killer Charged — “The killer of Pamela Butler, a Washington, D.C., federal worker who disappeared before Valentine’s Day in 2009, has been charged in the 1989 death of his wife. Marta Haydee Rodriguez-Cruz disappeared from Arlington, Virginia, in 1989. Her remains were found along Interstate 95 in Stafford County in 1991 but weren’t positively identified until 2018. Her husband, Jose Angel Rodriguez-Cruz, also dated Butler for a time.” [NBC 4]

Arlington Man Convicted in Child Sex Sting — “An Arlington man is among more than 300 people arrested worldwide in connection with a website that authorities describe as the largest child sexual exploitation operation of its kind ever discovered in terms of the volume of content. Ammar Atef H. Alahdali, 22, pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Virginia to receipt of child pornography and was sentenced to serve five years in prison and ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution.” [Patch]

Nearby: Birding Store Near Fairlington Closing — “After 33 years, birding and nature store One Good Tern (1710 Fern Street) near Fairlington is closing as longtime owner Charles Studholme faces a grim kidney failure diagnosis.” [ALXnow]

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Following a successful debut last year, an oyster-focused Oktoberfest celebration is returning to Shirlington next week.

Shucktoberfest” will be hosted in and around Copperwood Tavern (4021 Campbell Avenue) on Saturday, October 19 from 11 a.m-5 p.m.

Co-sponsored by the Northern Neck’s Waverly Point Oyster Company, attendees can expect over forty craft beers and four oyster vendors. Local breweries expected to attend include Lost Boy Cider and Fair Winds Brewery.

“Last year we underestimated how serious the oyster enthusiasm was going to be, we couldn’t shuck them fast enough,” said a spokeswoman for the event. “So we’ve doubled the number of oysters we’re ordering to 20 to 25 thousand.”

A $35 ticket includes a 5 oz beer tasting mug and 10 tickets. One ticket is redeemable for either one beer sample or two oysters.

In addition to plenty of shellfish, at least twenty merchant and food tents expected as part of the festival.

The event is also dog-friendly and open to families, with a “massive kids zone” planned with face painting and a DJ. Outdoor games include corn hole and Connect Four.

Tickets are available for the event on its website.

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