Arlington, VA

Mardi Gras is cancelled for Clarendon — again — and it seems increasingly likely that cancellation is permanent.

Elizabeth Crocker, executive director of the Clarendon Alliance, confirmed to ARLnow that there will be no Mardi Gras parade for Fat Tuesday (Feb. 25) this year.

The tempestuous February weather takes some of the blame. Crocker said the parade has been frequently cancelled or postponed because of bad weather, and the organization lost money it had spent. Given this year’s damp winter, unfavorable conditions seem likely to repeat.

The parade has gone on despite bad weather before, but has also recently faced competition from other Mardi Gras events around the area.

While the parade is cancelled, Green Pig Bistro in Clarendon (1025 N. Fillmore Street) is still planning a Fat Tuesday celebration at 5 p.m.

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Clarendon residents will go without any sort of local Mardi Gras celebration this year, but there are still plenty of ways to mark Fat Tuesday around Arlington.

The Clarendon Alliance, which normally puts on an annual parade and ball to celebrate the impending start of Lent, says it has no plans for the annual event this year.

The business booster group has gone through a bit of a transition recently, just tabbing a new executive director. Elizabeth Crocker is stepping in for Matt Husmann, the alliance’s longtime leader who retired from the post last year (and accepted a new position as the new manager of the Arlington County Fair).

Crocker urges residents to “stay tuned for information about new events and happenings, coming soon,” but apologized for not being able to put on the events this time around. The alliance even had trouble with Mardi Gras last year, cancelling the annual ball and “jester jaunt” in the face of stiff competition from events elsewhere in D.C.

However, Bayou Bakery will once again be offering its signature king cakes for sale on its website — the Courthouse eatery is also inviting Arlingtonians to a party at The Showroom on 14th Street in D.C.

According to StayArlington, the Heidelburg Pastry Shoppe on Lee Highway is also selling king cake, while Sugar Shack is offering up king cake donuts for a limited time.

The Chasin’ Tails Crawfish restaurant in East Falls Church (2200 N. Westmoreland Street) will also offer food and drink specials for Mardi Gras, including deals on raw oysters.

The Arlington Jaycees, an organization that organizes events for young people aiming for “personal and professional growth, community involvement and social engagement,” is also hosting a Mardi Gras happy hour at the G.O.A.T. in Clarendon.

File photo

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Morning Notes

Primary Voting Underway — It’s an election day in Virginia. On the ballot in Arlington is the Democratic race for County Board, between Chanda Choun and Matt de Ferranti, and the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, with candidates Corey Stewart, Nick Freitas and E. W. Jackson. Voting will continue through 7 p.m. [Twitter]

Post-Parade Party in Courthouse — Those heading to the Capitals Stanley Cup victory parade downtown today can head on back to Arlington for an afterparty at Arlington Rooftop Bar & Grill, hosted by the Caps blog Russian Machine Never Breaks. The event starts at 3 p.m. [RMNB]

Final Issue of ‘The Citizen’ — Arlington County’s “The Citizen” newsletter is publishing its last issue this week. The county-run publication is ceasing its print issues due to budget cuts. The move was lamented by the Sun Gazette, which wrote that The Citizen provided “information that, most likely, many local residents will now not get, despite the government’s plethora of online-centric public-relations efforts.” [InsideNova]

Clement: Strip Washington from W-L Too — Independent Arlington School Board candidate Audrey Clement says it is “hypocrisy in the extreme” for the “Lee” in “Washington-Lee High School” to be removed without also removing “Washington.” Wrote Clement: “Had not George Washington, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson — all Virginia native sons and all slave holders — greased the skids of institutionalized slavery by agreeing to write it into the U.S. Constitution, Lee would not have taken up arms against his own nation.” [Audrey Clement]

Apartment Building to Get Free Broadband — “Arlington’s Digital Inclusion Initiative, announced in December 2017, will leverage the County’s fiber-optic network, ConnectArlington, to bring free broadband Internet access to low- and moderate-income households in Arlington, including those with school-age children. Arlington Mill Residences, a low- and moderate-income residential development, will serve as the demonstration project for the initiative.” [Arlington County]

Paving on Lorcom Lane — Crews are paving Lorcom Lane between N. Fillmore and Daniel streets today. [Twitter]

Nearby: Second Northside Social Opens — The new Falls Church outpost of Clarendon cafe Northside Social has opened in the Little City. “The business itself will offer a menu similar to its Clarendon location, but a basement that allows for a commercial-sized bakery and chef Matt Hill’s creative inklings will provide new lunch and dinner options.” [Falls Church News-Press]

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Congressman Don Beyer (D-Va.) is raining pointed criticism on President Donald Trump’s parade.

Calling the president’s idea of a grand military parade in the nation’s capital “terrible” and “an embarrassing misuse of our military leaders’ time,” Beyer says he is also concerned about the impact of tanks and large military vehicles on local roads.

Beyer is particularly concerned that if the parade follows the same route as Trump’s inaugural parade, as suggested, it could take heavy equipment over the deteriorating Memorial Bridge, which is currently undergoing major repairs.

The congressman issued the following statement Wednesday afternoon.

Most of the reasons why Trump’s idea of huge military parade is a terrible one are immediately obvious. Our military is already strong without having to waste millions of dollars on a parade that could be better spent improving veterans’ services. In 2018 such displays are reminiscent of authoritarians than they are of healthy democracies. Planning this vanity project for President Trump is already an embarrassing misuse of our military leaders’ time, which should be focused on keeping Americans safe.

But there is also regional opposition to this idea because of its local impact. At least one Department of Defense official has already expressed concerns that running heavy military equipment of the kind Trump has asked for could damage local infrastructure. We are still waiting to see the details of Trump’s long-heralded national infrastructure plan, and I fear that my constituents may see their roads ‘chewed up’ before they see any progress toward rebuilding roads and bridges.

Tanks rumbled and troops marched over the Memorial Bridge in 1991 as part of the National Victory Day Parade celebrating the end of the Gulf War.

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Update on 2/6/18: The Clarendon Alliance has issued an update to their plans. Citing “a large Mardi Gras ball with major sponsors” in Union Market and a Mardi Gras parade planned for the same time at Washington’s District Wharf development, the Mardi Gras Ball and the Jester Jaunt have been cancelled. The parade will still go on as scheduled.

“They’ve got marketing dollars and fireworks,” said Matt Hussman, The Clarendon Alliance’s executive director. “It’s a different market than it used to be. But I wish the Wharf and Union Market the best of luck [with their own Mardi Gras activities].”

According to Hussman, approximately 60% of previous years’ Mardi Gras Ball tickets were sold either the day before or day of the event. He cited the difficulty in prepaying for beer and food expenses without knowing the exact number of participants as a major consideration in the decision. Another factor was the quantity of ball attendees: Hussman noted that the vast majority of ball ticket holders were Batalá Washington performers or Louisiana State University alumni. Both groups, he said, would be parading at the Wharf instead of in Clarendon.

Currently there are approximately 20 registered parade floats or groups, and registration is still open for additional marchers. 

Earlier: Clarendon’s annual Mardi Gras procession of dressed-up dogs, cyclists, floats, and revelers is quickly approaching, and registration for several events has opened.

The festivities will kick off on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. on Wilson Boulevard at N. Barton Street, following along Wilson Boulevard before ending at by The Liberty Tavern at N. Irving Street.

Parade registration fees range from $50 for a nonprofit or community organization to $250 for a business outside of the Clarendon-Courthouse corridor. Revelers can also preorder a box of 720 beaded necklaces for $75.

Though few want it to rain on their parade, last year’s Mardi Gras procession went on despite the downpour.

The following street closures have been reported for the parade and fun run:

  • Wilson Boulevard, from Veitch Street to Barton Street, will be closed from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • Adams Street and Wayne Street, between Clarendon Boulevard and Wilson Boulevard, will be closed from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • Wilson Boulevard, from Barton Street to Irving Street, will be closed from 6:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Photos (as marked) courtesy of Jason Dixson Photography

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The Animal Welfare League of Arlington will host its second annual “Pints 4 Paws” beer festival next month.

The festival, from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, October 15 at Courthouse Plaza (2040 15th Street N.) will have unlimited craft beer tastings, food trucks and vendors offering animal-related goods and services.

Also included: a costume contest for dogs, with prizes including a stay at the Healthy Hound Playground, dog clothing from Winthrop Clothing Co. and tickets to an Ale & Asana yoga class with Beth Wolfe. Attendees can also play with some adoptable AWLA dogs.

Tickets cost $35 online and $40 on the door, with admission costing $10 for designated drivers and non-drinkers. Children under 12 are admitted for free. An option is also available for those who cannot attend to donate online. All proceeds from the event will benefit AWLA.

“What better way to celebrate the glory of autumn (cool temps, clear skies, hint of wood smoke in the air) AND support homeless animals?” organizers wrote.

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The Arlington County Fair will kick off on Wednesday, August 16 at Thomas Jefferson Middle School (125 S. Old Glebe Road).

For the 41st year, the county will host a variety of events for the community, including live outdoor music, a parade, fairground rides and game, food, floral and craft competitions, pig races and more.

This year’s exhibit theme is “Let’s Play,” which organizers said celebrates the “child-like joy and fun that the Arlington County Fair brings out in all of us.”

The fair’s outdoor programming begins August 16, with indoor programming beginning on Friday, August 18. The event ends August 20, with outdoor activities concluding at 10 p.m. that day. More details about the indoor offerings will be available closer to the time.

The fair’s full opening hours are as follows:

The Kids’ Court, which has various activities including a moon bounce and face painting, will be open during the following hours:

  • Friday 2-6 p.m.
  • Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Competitive exhibits for participants to show off their abilities and compete for prizes include:

  • Honey, Beeswax and Food Preservation
  • Decorated Food Products and Baked Goods
  • Art Needlework
  • Crafts and Fine Arts
  • Photography
  • Herbs, Fruits, Nuts and Vegetables
  • Flowers, Arrangements and Potted Plants

Local organizations and business can sign up to participate in the fair’s parade, which is scheduled to start at the Career Center (816 S. Walter Reed Drive) on August 19 at 10 a.m. It will travel from the Career Center and end at the fairgrounds.

There is no on-site parking at the fair, and street parking is limited to residents with permits. There are several other transportation options, including shuttle buses from the Ballston and Pentagon City Metro stations, the Career Center and the I-66 parking garage at N. Quincy Street and 15th Street N.

The fair’s live outdoor music schedule is below, after the jump.

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(Updated at 9 a.m.) As feared, it was pouring rain during last night’s Clarendon Mardi Gras parade.

But the raindrops did not dampen the spirits of those in the parade, who made their way up Wilson Blvd to the delight of thin but enthusiastic crowds.

From a dancing monkey to a guy on a penny-farthing to a bunch of people pedaling on the Trolley Pub, the parade hearkened back to a bygone era when “Keep Clarendon Weird” was the neighborhood’s motto.

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Hourly forecast for 2017 Clarendon Mardi Gras parade (via Weather.com)

(Updated at 5:45 p.m.) Organizers are hoping for a Mardi Gras miracle, but it looks like tonight’s parade in Clarendon will be a soggy one.

The 18th annual Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras Parade is slated to kick off at 7 p.m., making its way up Wilson Boulevard from N. Barton Street to N. Irving Street.

2013 Clarendon Mardi Gras paradeAn hourly forecast suggests rain may begin shortly before the parade begins, but Matt Hussmann, executive director of the Clarendon Alliance, says it will go on rain or shine — unless there is lightning in the area.

“We’re going forward and hoping the weather holds off,” said Hussmann. “The Mardi Gras Ball will go on irrespective.”

The annual parade has not had the best luck with weather. It was postponed in 2010, postponed and then cancelled in 2014, and postponed again in 2015 — all due to snow. It rained during the rescheduled 2015 parade.

Screen capture (top) via Weather.com. Photo (bottom) courtesy Jason Dixson Photography.

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Hundreds of people will march through Clarendon to the tune of a live band this weekend as part of a massive wedding parade.

Alexandria couple Sarah Matheson and her fiance, Mike Mihalecz, are planning to hold a New Orleans-style parade after their wedding at the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 3:15 p.m. A procession of about 125 people, some wearing masks and carrying handkerchiefs, will travel from the church at 3304 North Washington Blvd to the nearby Clarendon Ballroom, where the couple’s reception is being held.

The parade is modeled after the “second line,” a jubilant and musical New Orleans tradition usually held after weddings or funerals. Matheson describes the idea as “a walking party that goes on forever.”

“We have a four-piece band that will be playing,” she added. “We’ll have a pedicab for some of the older folks who can’t walk so well.”

The parade also will have a motorcycle police escort to safely guide revelers through the streets.

Though Matheson said she’s a fan of New Orleans culture, the idea to plan such a big parade actually came from a desire to keep people from driving to the wedding.

“We were joking around, like, how can we get people not to drive to the wedding?” Matheson said. “This just kind of blossomed from something practical.”

The parade won’t be limited to wedding guests, either. In true second line tradition, people from off the street can join in if they’d like. They’ll have to part ways when they get to the Clarendon Ballroom, however, as the reception is only open to guests of the bride and groom.

Above all else, Matheson hopes the parade will inspire lots of warm memories that last for years to come.

“They’ll all enjoy the process,” Matheson said. “I think it will be definitely unique.”

Photos courtesy of Sarah Matheson

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2013 Clarendon Mardi Gras parade

Masked characters, dogs in costumes, marching bands and other Mardi Gras partiers are set to make their way through Clarendon tonight.

After dodging the threat of snow following two years of weather delays and cancellations, the 17th Annual Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras Parade is slated to kick off at 7 p.m. on Wilson Boulevard, making its way from N. Barton Street to N. Irving Street.

After the parade, revelers then can head to the first-ever Clarendon Mardi Gras Ball at the Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Blvd.) The party is scheduled to run from 7 to 11 p.m.

More than 30 groups are expected to march in the parade, which is organized by the Clarendon Alliance. The non-profit organization has billed the parade as a “family-friendly event” that is “big fun.”

“Participating in the parade is a great way to have fun — participants can wear masks, dress completely inappropriately, and throw stuff at people,” the Clarendon Alliance says on its website. “What’s not to like?”

Except maybe traffic.

Some roads will shut down starting at 4:30 p.m. due to the parade. According to the Arlington County Police Department, the street closures include:

  • Wilson Blvd from Veitch Street to Barton Street will be closed from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m.
  • Adams Street and Wayne Street, between Clarendon Blvd and Wilson Blvd, will be closed from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m.
  • Wilson Blvd from Barton Street to Irving Street will be closed from 6:45 to 9:30 p.m.

Clarendon Ballroom will host the Yamomanem Jazz Band and the 8 Ohms Jazz Band and serve traditional Louisiana food, with wine, beer and punch, as part of the Clarendon Mardi Gras Ball.

Ball guests under the age of 21 are welcome to attend, but must have a parent or guardian with them. Tickets to the party cost $20 online and $25 at the door.

Iota Club (2832 Wilson Blvd), meanwhile, will be hosting its own Mardi Gras celebration starting at 8:00 p.m. The free event features a rock-blues band and $3 gumbo shots.

Photo courtesy Jason Dixson Photography

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