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
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.
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.
Photo courtesy Jason Dixson Photography
Pending good weather, floats, bands, horses and “critters in costumes” will march down Wilson Blvd during the 17th Annual Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras Parade, scheduled for early February.
This year’s parade is planned for Fat Tuesday, which falls on Feb. 9. It will start at 7 p.m., traveling along Wilson from N. Barton Street to N. Irving Street. The deadline to register to participate is Feb. 1, and bead orders must be submitted by Jan. 25.
Snow has forced the family-friendly parade to be postponed to mid-March the last two years in a row, but this year the organizers — the non-profit Clarendon Alliance — have planned an additional event that’s not weather-dependent on the evening of the parade.
The first-ever Clarendon Mardi Gras Ball will be held from 7-11 p.m. at the Clarendon Ballroom at 3185 Wilson Blvd. The ball will have live performances from jazz ensembles the Yamomanem Jazz Band and the 8 Ohms Jazz Band. A ball king and queen will be announced between the bands’ sets.
Traditional Louisiana food will be served alongside wine, beer and punch. Ticket holders will get one free ticket upon entry. All other food and beverage sales will be cash only or from additionally purchased food and drink tickets.
Ball guests under the age of 21 are welcome to attend but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Tickets to the ball are now for sale online for $20 per person, and parade participants can get their tickets at a discounted rate. Proceeds from the tickets — beyond parade expenses — will benefit St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church.
The parade is scheduled to start at 8:00 p.m. on N. Barton Street. About 30 floats and assorted groups are currently expected take part in the roughly half-hour-long event, which will run up Wilson Blvd to N. Irving Street.
Last year the parade was postponed due to a snowstorm, before being cancelled altogether due to another snowstorm. This year the parade was originally scheduled for Feb. 17, but was again postponed due to snow.
Matt Hussmann, executive director of the Clarendon Alliance, which organizes the parade, said that he’d rather march in some rain than chance another parade-less year.
“It’s not raining hard,” he said. “What are the odds that if we postpone it again that it’s going to be any better?”
Hussmann said the parade has received a handful of cancellations from scheduled participants, including the beloved Ballou High School Marching Band. Still, Hussmann was optimistic for a good turnout and said the cancellations wouldn’t rain on his parade.
“It’s going to be a good crowd and we’re hoping as many people come out as [possible],” he said. “It should be fun.”
Arlington County Police say they’re planning the following parade-related road closures tonight:
- Wilson Boulevard from Veitch Street to Barton Street will be closed from 6:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
- Adams Street and Wayne Street, between Clarendon Boulevard and Wilson Boulevard, will be closed from 6:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
- Wilson Boulevard from Barton Street to Irving Street will be closed from 7:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Parade Now Scheduled for March 10 — The Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade has a new make-up date. After being postponed due to snow last month, the parade was originally rescheduled for St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. However, “the Arlington County Special Events Committee determined that ACPD resources would be over-stretched were the parade to be held on that date,” according to a press release. “A poll of the Parade Participants led to the decision to reschedule for March 10.” [Clarendon Alliance]
Urban Chicken Issue May Be Clucked — Those who want to raise chickens in their backyards in Arlington are losing their last ally on the County Board. It was Chris Zimmerman, who left the Board early last year, and Walter Tejada, who’s retiring at the end of this year, who were the primary supporters of urban hen raising in Arlington. As for those seeking the two available County Board seats this year, per County Board member John Vihstadt: “Any attempt to introduce poultry into the 2015 campaign would quickly lay an egg.” [InsideNova]
Christian Dorsey Officially Announces Candidacy — Christian Dorsey has officially announced his candidacy for County Board. In doing so, he also announced endorsements from Del. Patrick Hope, Schools Board member Abby Raphael and Commissioner of Revenue Ingrid Morroy. “We must become an engine of innovation to provide maximum value for the resources our taxpayers provide,” Dorsey said in his announcement. “Many of our taxpayers are facing stagnating wages… We must attract investment so that our growth is sustainable and includes opportunities for all.” [Christian Dorsey]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
The Clarendon Alliance, which organizes the parade, announced this morning that it will not be held tomorrow night, on Fat Tuesday, as scheduled. Instead, the parade is being rescheduled for St. Patrick’s Day (March 17).
Six to ten inches of snow are expected to fall overnight.
The annual Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras parade is back this year after a snow-induced hiatus in 2014.
The parade is scheduled to start at 8:00 p.m. on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 17, on N. Barton Street. About 40 floats and parade participants have already signed up to take part in the hourlong event, which will run up Wilson Blvd to N. Irving Street.
A snowstorm on Mardi Gras forced the Clarendon Alliance — which organizes the event — to push it back to St. Patrick’s Day. Yet another storm that March forced the 16th annual parade to be canceled altogether.
“Normally it’s a rain or shine type deal,” Clarendon Alliance Executive Director Matt Hussmann said. “But the snow banks were so big on the sidewalks, nobody could watch the parade.”
This year, if the weather cooperates, Hussmann said the “family-friendly” parade should continue to be the biggest and best-attended Mardi Gras parade in the D.C. area. The Ballou High School marching band is back, the Louisiana State University alumni group will again have a big presence, and beads and candy will again be flying around.
“The parade’s got a great feel to it,” Hussmann said. “It’s really a local event. The people in the parade are businesses people go to. Everybody’s yelling and waving and dressed up and they’ve got costumes. The floats are really creative. There’s a lot of music, they’re throwing beads and candy. It’s just home-grown fun.”
Before the parade, Courthouse’s Bayou Bakery will be hosting a “Bayou Gras Block Party.” The New Orleans-themed bakery, at 1515 N. Courthouse Road, is offering $30 tickets for three cajun dishes — like jambalaya and chicken and sausage gumbo — $20 tickets for Mardi Gras-themed cocktails and $15 tickets for three pours of Abita Amber Ale. Children under 12 years old will get a free mac and cheese.
The block party will run from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Tickets can be bought online or at Bayou Bakery.
An Arlington County police officer has become a viral sensation after he was photographed, in uniform, kissing his boyfriend in front of Westboro Baptist Church protesters at the Capital Pride Parade earlier this month.
Officer D.J. Stalter was one of three Arlington officers participating in the parade when he was snapped holding a rainbow flag and smooching boyfriend Mark Raimondo along the parade route. That alone was not overly remarkable, but it was the background of the photo that helped it gain international attention: Westboro Baptist Church members can be seen behind Stalter and Raimondo, holding offensive signs decrying gay marriage and homosexuality.
Headlines on Buzzfeed, the Daily Mail (U.K.) and elsewhere applauded Stalter for appearing to stand up to intolerance. “A Cop At D.C. Pride Kissed His Boyfriend to Piss Off the Westboro Baptist Church,” “A Defiant Police Officer Kissed His Boyfriend in Front of a Westboro Baptist Church Protest,” and “A Brave Cop Turned the Westboro Baptist Church’s Hate Into an Inspiring Kodak Moment,” were some of the headlines.
ACPD Lt. Kip Malcolm, who was walking the parade route with Stalter, said the kiss, which took place near the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and R Street NW, wasn’t necessarily meant to provoke the protesters.
“A lot of people in the LGBT community thought it was defiance, but my thought it was more about affection and celebrating the moment,” he said. “The crowd cheered and they were excited to see that ability to display that affection. The fact that we’re in a day and age where a uniformed officer can walk in the parade hand and hand with his partner is a big step.”
Arlington County Police officials declined to say whether Stalter faced any reprimand or disciplinary action for the photo seen ’round the world, saying that it does not comment on personnel matters. But the department currently has no formal policy regarding public displays of affection.
“There hasn’t been any negative feedback for the department that I know of,” Malcolm said, of the photo. “Common sense would say be tactful and mindful, but I don’t think a kiss among two gay officers at a gay pride parade is too shocking. Just like a heterosexual couple out at dinner kissing is not something we’d frown upon.
Arlington Police Chief Doug Scott said he supports the department’s participation in the parade — it’s part of a larger LGBT outreach effort — but in the future he might seek to avoid photos of uniformed officers engaged in public displays of affection.
“Unequivocally, I have supported our participation… in the parade,” Scott told ARLnow.com. “I applaud the officers in our agency that want to participate in that way. The issue of the photo did raise some concerns…. do we need a policy of public displays of affection for officers in uniform?”
Scott said such photos “could affect the professional image of law enforcement” and there’s been “kind of an unwritten rule for some time” against PDA while in uniform. He said a review will be conducted to see if the department should codify that rule.
Regardless, Scott said he will continue to support the involvement of uniformed Arlington officers and police vehicles in the pride parade.
“I would just like to reemphasize the point that our agency is very progressive,” said Scott. “Our participation is one that I personally support, that the community supports and that our County Board supports.”
Dump Truck Driver Found Guilty in Woman’s Death — The driver of a dump truck that struck and killed a 39-year-old mother of three in February has been found guilty of “failing to pay full time and attention.” Marvin Valladares, 33, was sentenced to 10 days in jail with four suspended. [WTOP, WJLA]
Pentagon Centre Redevelopment Plans Change — A plan to redevelop the Pentagon Centre shopping center is being changed. Owner Kimco Realty Corp. now wants to build two residential buildings on the site before building two office buildings and a hotel. Pentagon Centre is currently home to Best Buy, Costco and other big box retailers. If the plan is approved, it and other Pentagon City development projects could result in “a deluge of roughly 4,000 new residential units in a decade.” [Washington Business Journal]
Lane Closures Planned for Parade — A number of lanes will be closed in the area of Four Mile Run on Saturday for the Corso de Santa Cruz Parade. [Arlington County]
Advice for Vihstadt — Dave Foster, a Republican elected to two full terms on the Arlington School Board starting in 1999, has some advice for the newly-elected County Board member John Vihstadt. In order for Vihstadt to win re-election and a full term in November, he will need to practice “thoughtful and independent decision-making, hard work and constant community outreach,” Foster said. [InsideNoVa]
‘Brave’ Moran Loses Two Votes — Retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D) is taking some bold but symbolic stances in his last term. Moran was one of “two brave Democrats” who voted for a doomed interpretation of President Obama’s budget, as floated by House Republicans for the express purpose of getting Democrats to vote against it. Moran also lost his bid to raise pay for members of Congress; the proposal died in committee. [Washington Times, Associated Press]
Road Closures for Parade — Parts of Walter Reed Drive, Four Mile Run and George Mason Drive will be closed Sunday morning and afternoon for the Carnival de Oruro Parade. [Arlington County]
Library Extends DVD Renewals — Arlington Public Library is now letting patrons renew DVDs twice, meaning the maximum rental period is now 21 days. [Arlington Public Library]
Del. Brink Finds 13 to Be Unlucky — Was it a coincidence? Arlington’s Del. Bob Brink (D) was 13th in seniority in the Virginia House of Delegates this year. And as he was putting his “13” specialty license plate on his car (such plates are issued to lawmakers annually by the state), his pliers slipped and gouged a deep cut in his finger. One fellow lawmaker, however, opined that the bad luck was actually because Brink had just, by virtue of timing, introduced House Bill 666. [InsideNoVa]
Several streets will be closed near Shirlington on Sunday for the Carnaval de Oruro parade.
The parade is scheduled to kick off at 10:30 a.m. on S. Four Mile Run, between George Mason Drive and Walter Reed Drive. Based on a 2,000+ year-old religious and cultural tradition in Bolivia, the parade will feature music and folk dancers.
Police are planning the following road closures on Sunday:
- Right lane of southbound Walter Reed Drive near S. Four Mile Run Drive will be closed from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Westbound lanes of S. Four Mile Run Drive will be closed from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Westbound traffic will be directed onto the Four Mile Run Drive access road.
- Right lane of northbound S. George Mason Drive near Four Mile Run Drive will be closed from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Temporary “no parking” signs will also be posted along the parade route.
The Clarendon Alliance, which organizes the annual parade, made the announcement via Twitter. “What are the odds?” the organization asked rhetorically.
No word yet on whether the parade will be rescheduled again.
The parade has been rescheduled for 8:00 p.m. on Monday, March 17. It will still run along Wilson Blvd from N. Barton Street to N. Irving Street in Clarendon.
“Approximately 90% of the original Mardi Gras entries are able to participate on the rescheduled date,” according to the Clarendon Alliance, the parade’s organizer. “The Mardi Gras Parade registration period is being extended, to allow additional entrants to participate in the parade. New registrations will be accepted by the CA through 5pm on Wednesday March 12.”
In 2010, when snow forced the cancellation of the Mardi Gras parade, it was transformed into a St. Patrick’s Day parade, complete with Irish dancers, a leprechaun and green beads. For now, the 2014 version is still being called a “Mardi Gras parade.”
Update on 3/3/14 — The parade has been postponed indefinitely due to snow.
The annual Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras Parade will take place next Tuesday, March 4.
The free, family-friendly parade will start at 8:00 p.m. at N. Barton Street and will make its way up Wilson Blvd to N. Irving Street in Clarendon. The parade features decorated vehicles, marching bands, parade floats, groups with animals, historic fire trucks, school groups and more.
According to Matt Hussman, executive director of the Clarendon Alliance, the parade this year will be the biggest ever in terms of entries. Among the groups that are expected to march in the parade:
- Ballou High School Marching Knights
- Batala Washington Drummers group
- Cherrydale VFD
- US Park Police Horse Mounted Unit
- DC LSU Alumni Chapter
- Krewe of Xenia
- Kensington Street Builders
- “The Band” Marching Unit
- Washington Nationals
- Corozon de America
- Sangre Boliviana
- Morenada Transpeco USA
- Tinkus Tiatacao USA
Before the parade, at 5:00 p.m., New Orleans native chef David Guas, of Bayou Bakery (1515 N. Courthouse Road), will hold his annual Bayou Gras Block Party in front of the restaurant in Courthouse.
The event will feature Abita on draft, bourbon cocktails, oysters, king cake, jambalaya, and gumbo under a large party tent. Tickets range from $15-30.
Disclosure: Clarendon Alliance is an ARLnow.com advertiser
Arlington Boy Drowns in Shenandoah — A 3-year-old Arlington boy drowned in a Shenandoah County creek over the weekend. The boy had been seen playing with other children about 200 yards downstream from where his body was found by a search and rescue team. His death has been ruled accidental. [NV Daily]
Jail Hosts Mother’s and Father’s Day Visits — Earlier this month, the Arlington County Detention Facility held a special event for the children of female inmates, in honor of Mother’s Day. Next month, the jail will host a similar event for the children of men for Father’s Day. [Sun Gazette]
Road Closures for Parade Near Shirlington — The westbound lanes of S. Four Mile Run Drive will be closed between Shirlington Road and Walter Reed Drive on Saturday for the Corso de Santa Cruz Parade. The closure is expected to be in place from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. [Arlington County]
Grand Opening for Bluemont Fitness Facility — Though it has been open for several months, Bluemont-based Phoenix Fitness (5130 Wilson Blvd) will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday with free food, classes and giveaways. [Phoenix Fitness]
Flickr pool photo by Alex