The Arlington Firefly Festival is returning to Fort C.F. Smith Park next month.
On Sunday, June 19, the festival celebrating insects that light up summer nights is back for the first time since 2019. Last year, a smaller firefly “prowl” (essentially, a nature walk) was held due to the pandemic.
This year there will be firefly arts and crafts, bug bingo, storytelling, a nature walk, and flashlight games. All are encouraged to go on a firefly hunt, catching and releasing the twinkling bugs.
Naturalists will also be on hand to explain how to best attract fireflies and ways to maintain backyard habitats to encourage insect visitors.
“Fireflies are fascinating and inspire a sense of nostalgia for many adults,” saud the press release. “The festival is an opportunity to introduce the next generation of citizens to the wonders of the night sky and the value of natural spaces.”
The event is sponsored by the Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation. Registration began last week.
In general, fireflies are not lighting up the night sky as they used to.
“There are fewer, like a lot of insects,” says Rita Peralta, Outreach Manager at the Long Branch Nature Center and in charge of putting on the festival. “It’s largely referred to as an insect apocalypse. Like a lot of animals, it’s due to, mostly, habitat loss.”
But on warm Arlington summer nights, fireflies can be found across the county. The best place to see their nightly light show is near undistributed mature trees, in areas that have little light pollution.
That’s why Fort C.F. Smith Park in the Woodmont neighborhood is a great spot for the festival, says Peralta, because of its tree canopy and open meadows.
There are about 2,000 different firefly species in the world, with anywhere from 24 to 36 species calling our region home. Their ability to light up is part of their mating process, but one local species uses the light as a way to attract a meal.
“One local firefly species — the Femme Fatale or Photuris genus — is predatory,” noted the release. “The female will send a false signal to a male of another species to attract him and will then eat him when he arrives to mate.”
The festival starts at 7:30 p.m. and runs for two hours. Admission is $7 and tickets can also be purchased at the event, in addition to online. Heavy rains will cancel the event and there’s no rain date.
As of today, more than 100 people have already registered online, according to the county’s website.
Photo by Bruce Marlin via Wikimedia Commons
Major Metro Cuts Proposed — “With sharply reduced ridership and lacking fresh federal relief, Metro is proposing a new operating budget with a nearly $500 million deficit. Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said Monday the proposed 2021 budget includes closing Metro rail at 9 p.m., ending weekend service, closing 19 stations and reducing the number of trains, which would result in longer wait times.” Among the stations that would close under the proposal are the Arlington Cemetery, Clarendon, East Falls Church and Virginia Square stations. [WTOP, Washington Post]
County Working on New Payment System — “Arlington officials continue to work on developing a one-stop online presence so the public can pay for a wide array of local-government services from their computers or smartphones. The initiative, being worked on by the treasurer’s office and Department of Technology Services, would go beyond the current CAPP [Customer Assessment and Payment Portal], which allows local residents to pay certain taxes, utility bills and parking tickets online.” [InsideNova]
Renovations for Mostly Vacant Building — “Wheelock Street Capital is seeking to renovate a long-vacant Arlington office building with the hope of attracting companies to the same corridor as Virginia Tech’s planned innovation campus and Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters… All of 3550 S. Clark St.’s office space thus far remains vacant. Small portions of the building’s retail space are leased to LA Fitness and child care center operator Bright Horizons.” [Washington Business Journal]
New Charitable Giving Portal — “New Looking for a way to add more charitable giving to the season of giving while supporting your neighbors in need? Arlington Community Foundation is launching its first ever Nonprofit Wish Catalog featuring grant ideas of 24 local nonprofits with wishes of up to $5,000 each this Giving Tuesday.” [Arlington Community Foundation]
Art Event Still On This Weekend — “The Arlington Artists Alliance presents its 18th annual Artful Weekend at Fort C.F. Smith Park. The show, featuring 30 top local Arlington-based artists and held in historic Hendry House at Fort C.F. Smith Park in Arlington, will be held December 4 to 6 this year. The show will feature paintings, ceramics, sculpture and cards, in addition to bins of unframed works.” [Event Calendar]
New Top Doc at VHC — “David Lee, MD, a member of the medical staff of Virginia Hospital Center for 30 years, has been tapped as the hospital’s senior vice president and chief medical officer.” [InsideNova]
It’s December — Today is Dec. 1. After today, there are only 30 days left in 2020.
Families looking to enjoy the spectacle of bioluminescent beetles can check out the Firefly Festival next month at Fort C.F. Smith Park (2411 24th Street N.) in Arlington.
The annual event is being held Sunday, June 30 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. and will include games, bug hunts, crafts, nature walks and talks about fireflies.
Families with children ages 3 and up are encouraged to bring a blanket and dinner, as they wait for the fireflies to make their appearance at sunset. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
Registration is required and a $7 fee will be collected upon registration, according to the county’s website. Interested residents can contact Long Branch Nature Center or call 703-228-6535 for more information.
Photo by Bruce Marlin, via Wikimedia Commons
Tomorrow morning (Aug. 11), Arlington residents can participate in an “Extreme Champion Trees Bike Ride,” put on by the Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation.
This ride will be more challenging than other Champion Trees Bike Rides, taking participants through “some of the hilliest, most calorie-burning, bike-safe roads of North Arlington,” per an event description.
Riders should bring their own bike, water, snacks and repair kit and plan to meet in Fort C.F. Smith Park‘s parking lot for a 9 a.m. start. The ride will go until noon.
Those interested can register for this free event online or by calling 703-228-4747. The bike ride is open to adults or teenagers 16 and up if they come with a registered adult.
Photo via Arlington County
A new visitor center is celebrating its grand opening Saturday (March 31) at Woodmont’s Fort C.F. Smith with free activities.
The center will focus on “Civil War life at Fort C.F. Smith and across Arlington County,” according to an county event page.
During the event, park staff will take community members through fort tours and Civil War museum exhibits. Union Army historic reenactors will perform demonstrations and drilling activities.
Activities will run from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Fort C.F. Smith Park (2411 24th Street N.) Kids can don Civil War era uniforms, learn about camp life, and check out archaeological artifacts on display.
The fort is home to the Hendry House event venue, as well as preserved ruins, and ornamental peace garden, wildlife observation points and garden trails.
Photo via Arlington County
Firefly Festival on Sunday — All attention will be on the critters that light up the night at the 5th Annual Firefly Festival at Fort C.F. Smith Park (2411 24th Street N.) this Sunday, June 30. Activities include bug hunts, games, crafts, walks and talks about fireflies. There is a $7 charge per participant and children two and under are free. Attendees can bring a picnic to enjoy while waiting for the events at sundown. [Arlington County Dept. of Parks and Recreation]
Ducklings Rescued — Earlier this month, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington got some help from the Arlington County Fire Department with an animal rescue mission. Together they removed five ducklings that had become stuck in a storm drain. [Washington Post]
Tejada Re-elected to Position on National Association of Regional Councils — Arlington County Board Chair Walter Tejada has been re-elected as the Board of Directors Region III Director on the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC). NARC advocates for regional cooperation as a means of effectively addressing community planning opportunities and issues. It represents more than 230 regional councils and planning organizations across the country. Tejada has served in the position since 2011.
Lightning bugs will take center stage at this weekend’s Firefly Festival.
On Sunday, July 15, people of all ages are welcome to join representatives from Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation for a celebration of the bugs that light up the night. There will be bug walks, games, crafts, educational talks and scavenger hunts.
Attendees are welcome to bring a blanket and a picnic to enjoy while the sun goes down and the fireflies emerge.
This event takes place from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Fort C.F. Smith Park (2411 N. 24th Street) and costs $5 per person, or $20 per family. It will be cancelled there is rain.
For more information about the event, call 703-228-6535.
Photo by Bruce Marlin via Wikipedia
Former Delaware U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell joined the Northern Virginia Tea Party organization for a small rally at Fort C.F. Smith’s Hendry House in Arlington this afternoon.
O’Donnell, promoting her new book “Trouble Maker,” told the audience that the Tea Party movement should not “take the bait and respond respond in anger” to attacks by the “not-so-nice liberal media.” If they can “rise above it,” O’Donnell said, the Tea Party can bolster its image as “a middle class movement” instead of “the angry extremists that they’re accusing us of.”
The advice comes less than 24 hours after O’Donnell walked off the set of CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight for what has been portrayed in the press as frustration over a line of questioning about gay marriage.
Joking that the interview is now “infamous,” O’Donnell explained that she was late for another appearance and that Morgan’s questioning before the gay marriage question was “rude.”
“It was very sexist, the line of questioning,” she said. “I think I was a good sport leading up to his questions. He took a decidedly creepy turn… He asked question after question after question about sex. Then he threw a question about gay marriage in there… He wouldn’t let up, and I was well over a half hour late for a Republican women’s event covered by C-SPAN.”
“I think Piers Morgan exaggerated what happened,” O’Donnell added.
In addition to taking digs at the media and talking about her book, O’Donnell repeatedly implored audience members to stand up for “the power of our principles.”
“These principles are nothing to be embarrassed about,” she said.
O’Donnell also discussed the need for the Republican Party’s “D.C. cocktail crowd” to unite with the Tea Party to better pursue the goal of smaller government.
“Just like America is at a crossroads, the Tea Party is at a crossroads… Right now we need leadership, we need stability,” she said. “If the Republicans as a party can unite and stop shooting within the tent… then we can make sure Barack Obama is a one-term president.”
“We crave freedom, and when you articulate that to people they get it,” O’Donnell added.