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Ferris wheel at the county fair (staff photo)

The Arlington County Fair is set to kick off this Wednesday and run through Sunday, Aug. 21.

As usual (though it was not without some debate) the fair is being held at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center, at 3501 2nd Street S. It is free to attend and open to the whole family.

Apart from the usual food and craft vendors, competitive exhibits and amusement rides, we’ve compiled a list of some lesser-known fair features this year.

The poster for axe throwing and the escape room at the fair (via Arlington County Fair)

1. Axe throwing

Fairgoers can try their hands at axe throwing inside a mobile trailer operated by Odyssey Mobile Adventures. Coaches are set to be present. Those interested need to first buy tickets on site, which are priced at $10 for 10 throws.

2. Escape room

The same company that runs the axe throwing is also set to provide an escape room for those interested in testing their problem solving abilities. Tickets are priced at $20 per group of a maximum of five people. Both activities are scheduled to be open all week.

The poster for the sensory hour at the fair (via Arlington County Fair)

3. Sensory hour

A new feature this year, this hour is set to happen between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Saturday (Aug. 20). During the hour, the fair plans to eliminate loud noises and music so that patrons may enjoy the fair without feeling overwhelmed.

This is a collaboration effort with the county’s Therapeutic Recreation Office, which focuses on providing equal access in recreation programs, like the fair, to individuals of differing needs and abilities. Sensory break tent areas are also scheduled at different hours over the weekend, according to an Arlington County Fair Instagram post.

The poster for the beer garden at the fair (via Arlington County Fair)

4. Beer (and rosé) garden

This year’s beer garden is a partnership with Arlington-based New District Brewing Company. Beers on tap include an IPA, pilsner, kettle sour and hard seltzer. For wine drinkers, a Virginia winery is providing its 2021 La Grange rosé as well this year.

The garden is set to open throughout the week, with a special trivia night on Thursday. Packs of beer and wine tickets may be purchased in advance.

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Ruthie’s All-Day (courtesy photo)

The annual summer Restaurant Week is a week away.

The regional event will be held between Monday, Aug. 15, and Sunday, Aug. 21 and is currently set to feature nearly a dozen Arlington restaurants.

During the event, the participating restaurants are expected to offer lunches for $25 and dinners for either $40 or $55.

The participating Arlington restaurants include:

  • Big Buns Damn Good Burgers (Ballston and Shirlington) — serving burgers, burger bowls, cocktails, shakes and fries. Menu not yet released.
  • Epic Smokehouse (Pentagon City) — will offer a three-course meal, charging $25 for lunch and $55 for dinner.
  • La Cote d’Or Café (East Falls Church) — three-course menus of traditional French cuisine, priced at $25 for lunch and $40 or $55 for dinner.
  • McCormick & Schmick’s (Crystal City) — a seafood restaurant that offers a $55 dinner option. Menu not yet released.
  • Mussel Bar and Grill (Ballston) — a Belgian restaurant offering three-course menus at $25 for lunch and $40 for dinner.
  • Osteria da Nino (Shirlington) — three-course meals of Italian cuisine, priced at $40 for dinner.
  • Ruthie’s All-Day (Arlington Heights) — the award-winning restaurant that specializes in Southern cuisine will offer $40 and $55 dinner options. Menu not yet released.
  • SER Restaurant (Ballston) — three-course meals of Spanish cuisine, priced at $25 for lunch and $40 for dinner.
    The Freshman (Crystal City) – a café that serves bar food, sandwiches and pastas. Menu not yet released.
  • The Melting Pot (Ballston) — three-course menus of fondues, priced at $40 for dinner and $5 extra per person for a chocolate fondue.
  • Yume Sushi (East Falls Church) — five-course menu of Japanese cuisine for $55 per dinner.

Some of the restaurants listed above are pairing their meals with wine or cocktails. All the eateries, except The Melting Pot, offer delivery, takeout or outdoor spaces in addition to indoor dining.

Organized by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, which also hosted the RAMMY awards, the event is sponsored by public and private groups, such as the D.C. Mayor’s Office, the National Landing Business Improvement District and Airbnb, according to its website.

Over 200 restaurants from the D.C. metropolitan area are participating this year, according to a RAMW tweet.

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Morning Notes

The Italian Store and Westover after sunset (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

House Fire Near Columbia Pike — From ACFD last night: “Units are on the scene of a working structure fire in the 3100 BLK of 15th St S. Avoid the area.” [Twitter]

Will ‘NaLa’ Catch On?  — “At first, it showed up on freebie water bottles. Then it made its way onto rainbow shirts for Pride Month. In June, it popped up on Instagram as a hashtag, and in July, it was suddenly plastered on the surfboard and silver Airstream set up in a grassy patch of Arlington, declaring to the commuters, dog walkers and joggers strutting by that their neighborhood had earned a new nickname: NaLa.” [Washington Post]

Will Home Prices Fall? — “The real-estate industry’s equivalent of the ‘f-word’ – ‘falling,’ as in ‘falling prices’ – is beginning to be used across the nation even by some who earlier felt that the homes market would withstand economic pressures without seeing declines in sales prices. But in the local area, one expert believes that localities remain largely insulated from the prospect of dropping prices over the near term.” [Sun Gazette]

Latin Masses Curtailed — “Thirteen parishes in the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, must stop offering Traditional Latin Masses come Sept. 8 under new rules issued Friday by Bishop Michael J. Burbidge to conform with Pope Francis’ liturgical directives. Under the rules, eight other parishes may continue to offer Masses in what is called the Extraordinary Form, but five of those may only do so in other locations besides their churches, including school buildings and a former church.” [Catholic News Agency]

Arlington Man Wins Jeopardy! — Luigi de Guzman, an attorney from Arlington, won Friday’s episode of TV quiz show Jeopardy! with a final score of $23,401. [J! Archive]

Summer School Success — “There were the inevitable glitches, but it appears Arlington Public Schools’ soon-to-wrap-up summer-school program was a relatively smooth endeavor. ‘We’re really excited about all of the great learning,’ Superintendent Francisco Durán said in an update to School Board members on the effort, which attracted 3,152 students, ‘the vast majority’ in person, Durán said.” [Sun Gazette]

Monday Was Dark Star Park Day — From the Rosslyn BID: “While the clouds parted a little later than 9:32AM, we were glad to watch this year’s Dark Star Park Day alignment with all of you!” [Twitter]

It’s Tuesday — Humid throughout the day. High of 89 and low of 75. Sunrise at 6:12 am and sunset at 8:20 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Locals now have a chance to enjoy different coastal-inspired installations and outdoor activities in Crystal City this summer.

The National Landing Business Improvement District launched the NaLa Beach Club on Wednesday (July 27), opening several pop-up installations near Long Bridge Park to the public. The installations include two sandboxes, a cabana and an Airstream caravan.

It’s located at 101 12th Street S., a grassy area near Long Bridge Park known as Gateway Green that’s eventually set for redevelopment.

NaLa Beach Club will be hosting a series of dog- and family-friendly events over the next couple of months, including:

  • Aug. 10: a Yacht Rock dance party between 5-8 p.m. featuring performances by local music groups as well as food and mocktails
  • Aug. 17: Mermaid Landing, a mermaid-themed event between 2-6 p.m. featuring kid-friendly crafts, games and snow cones
  • Aug. 24: Latin Beach Party, a salsa class accompanied by live music, food and mocktails
  • Sep. 7: Bark at the Beach, an event geared towards dogs between 5-7 p.m.
  • Sep. 14: Sunset Hour, the last event of the NaLa Beach Club scheduled between 5-9 p.m., featuring live music, food and giveaways.

All the events are free to attend. However, because of limited space, those interested need to first register for the salsa class online.

The NaLa Beach Club follows the similar Summer House pop-up last year. Last year’s installation at Gateway Green was designed as a beach-themed outdoor work and social space, as well as a venue for weekly events.

The beach club aims to “bring the community together and engage with local and small businesses,” according to a press release.

“With the success of last year’s Summer House installation and events, we wanted to bring that same energy and excitement back to the community this summer,” said Tracy Sayegh Gabriel, president of the BID.

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Arlington’s summer days have always consisted of a sweltering combination of high humidity and temperatures. This month has been no exception.

Yet summer is also the season to venture out, try new things, and explore new places.

In the interest of remaining active while cooling down, here are eight tasty, cold goodies in Arlington you can try before summer ends.

1. Nutella ice cream from Nicecream

Nicecream in Clarendon (2831 Clarendon Blvd) uses the process of freezing ice cream with liquid nitrogen. Its selection of ice cream flavors rotates weekly and has flavors spanning from white chocolate peanut butter to grapefruit creamsicle. However, Nutella is a must-try.

2. Nutella açaí bowl from South Block

Similarly, did you know you can get some of that addictive chocolate hazelnut spread in your South Block açaí bowl? We did, so we figured you would want to try that to cool off. Topping off South Block’s Nutella açaí bowl are mixed granola, banana, strawberry, coconut and Nutella.

3. Peanut butter icebox pie from Bakeshop

Bakeshop in Clarendon (1025 N. Fillmore Street) is no ordinary bakery. Offering a slew of flavors of cupcakes, bread, cakes, cookies, pies and macarons, Bakeshop also offers vegan and gluten-free options. Its Peanut Butter Icebox Pie is the perfect pick-me-up for peanut butter lovers.

4. Ice cream cookiewich from Bakeshop

One of the most popular summer treats at Bakeshop that is a must-try is its ice cream Cookiewich. This Cookiewich consists of two mouth-watering chocolate chunk cookies enveloping vanilla ice cream. Bakeshop’s Cookiewich is, in the opinion of this reviewer, beyond any ice cream sandwich you have ever tried.

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Morning Notes

Ballston at twilight (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

It’s Officially Summer — “The 2022 summer solstice arrives at 5:14 a.m. Eastern time. At this precise moment the sun appears directly over the Tropic of Cancer — as far north as it appears in the sky all year. Around the solstice, the sun’s northward movement in the sky appears to pause briefly before reversing direction for the next six months.” [Capital Weather Gang]

Gulf Branch Project Meeting TomorrowUpdated at 9:00 a.m. — “Gulf Branch project engagement resumes with a June 2022 community meeting. The design phase for the Gulf Branch Stream Project began in 2019. It was put on hold in March 2020 due to budgetary uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic, but is moving forward again. We have some project updates to share and will hold a virtual community meeting on Wednesday, June 22 at 6:30 PM.” [Arlington County]

I-395 Drivers Still Not Taking the Hint — From Dave Statter: “The 8C barrels are much like Rodney Dangerfield — just not as funny. [Video taken] today just after 9:30 a.m.” [Twitter]

Local Swim League Update — “With a lopsided 270-150 victory over the visiting Langley Wildthings, the Overlee Flying Fish of Division 1 were the lone winning team from Arlington in the opening week of the Northern Virginia Swimming League’s 2022 outdoor summer season in June 18 action.” [Sun Gazette]

Amazon HQ2 Leader Retires — “Ardine Williams, the Amazon.com Inc. executive overseeing hiring for the company’s HQ2 operations, has retired. According to Virginia Business, Williams retired sometime in the past few weeks and a replacement has not been named.” [Washington Business Journal]

New Leader for Local Homeless Org — ‘Fraser Murdoch, who brings extensive social-safety-net and non-profit experience with him, has been tapped as new CEO of Arlington-based Bridges to Independence.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Tuesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 82 and low of 68. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:38 pm. [Weather.gov]

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The 12th annual Columbia Pike Movie Nights is set to begin on Friday, July 8.

The free summer outdoor movie series will run run through Saturday, August 27, according to its website. Similar to previous years, a film is scheduled to be shown on Friday and another on Saturday each week. All screenings are set to begin at sunset between 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., according to the Columbia Pike Partnership, formerly CPRO, which organizes the series.

The movies scheduled for Fridays are expected to be shown at next to Arlington Mill Community Center (909 S. Dinwiddie Street). Those set for Saturdays are expected to be shown at Penrose Square (2503 9th Road S.).

The movies scheduled are set to be shown in English with Spanish subtitles, according to a press release. All are rated at or below PG-13 and come from genres such as animation, musicals, documentary and others.

The full list of movie screenings is listed below.

  • Friday, July 8: Soul
  • Saturday, July 9: Ghostbusters: Afterlife
  • Friday, July 15: Mulan
  • Saturday, July 16: Summer of Soul
  • Friday, July 22: Jungle Cruise
  • Saturday, July 23: The Way I See It
  • Friday, July 29: The Secret Life of Pets
  • Saturday, July 30: Respect
  • Friday, August 5: In The Heights
  • Saturday, August 6: Spiderman: No Way Home
  • Friday, August 12: Encanto
  • Saturday, August 13: Minari
  • Friday, August 19: The Princess & The Frog
  • Saturday, August 20: Hercules
  • Friday, August 26: West Side Story
  • Saturday, August 27: Cruella

Amazon and the Washington Forrest Foundation are underwriting the series. The Columbia Pike Partnership is still looking for local businesses to sponsor individual movie screenings, according to its website.

Parking is free at both locations and audience members are welcome to bring their own chairs or blankets for seating. Leashed pets are also allowed, according to the event’s website. However, alcohol is prohibited.

In case of bad weather, the partnership is expected to post updates on its Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, as well as the event’s website. Such updates are set to be posted at 3:30 p.m. on the day of each screening.

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Morning Notes

Post-it Notes on the office building at 1600 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, congratulating a graduating H-B Woodlawn student who’s noted for her Post-It Note art (courtesy photo)

School’s Out for Summer — Today is the last day of high school for Arlington Public Schools students. Tomorrow is the last day of middle school and Friday is the last day of elementary school. [Arlington Public Schools]

Meetings Planned for Route 1 Changes — “Two upcoming online forums will look at Virginia Department of Transportation proposals for U.S. Route 1 through the Crystal City corridor. On June 15 at 7 p.m., the Livability 22202 Route 1 Working Group and VDOT proposals will be presented and feedback sought… On June 21 at 6:30 p.m., VDOT will host a public-information meeting on the proposal.” [Sun Gazette, VDOT]

Yorktown Girls Win State Soccer Tourney — “A season that began with a loss ended with no other setbacks and a state championship for the Yorktown Patriots. The girls soccer team won the Virginia High School League Class 6 state tournament by nipping the Kellam Knights, 1-0, in the June 11 title game.” [Sun Gazette, Washington Post]

DJO Softball Wins State Title — “The [Bishop O’Connell] Knights capped a dominant campaign with their 26th Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association state title over the past 28 seasons. Katie Kutz tossed 235 strikeouts and went 17-0 while batting .482 at the plate en route to Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and VISAA player of the year nods.” [Washington Post]

Groundbreaking for Bus Maintenance Yard — “Arlington County will host a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday morning for its new Arlington Transit (ART) operations and maintenance facility. The public is invited to attend. The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. at the site of the future facility at 2629 Shirlington Rd. in Arlington in the Green Valley neighborhood.” [Patch]

School Board Absences — “The board, whose schedule of meetings is approved at the start of each fiscal year, has had a tough time gathering all five members on the dais at one time in recent months. Goldstein frequently has been absent, and at the May 26 meeting Priddy was gone. (On May 26, Diaz-Torres was not attending in person but did participate remotely from Puerto Rico, Kanninen said at the start of that meeting.)” [Sun Gazette]

More Bad Driving on I-395 — From Dave Statter: “This is a new one. Driver just stops at the end of the gore partially blocking the left lane until they can figure out their next move.” [Twitter]

Gov. Proposes Three-Month Gas Tax Holiday — “In Arlington, Virginia, the cost of regular gas is around $5.29. As gas prices continue to climb, CG Green says he’s pumping the brakes on unnecessary trips. ‘Look at it, it’s crazy,’ said Green. ‘It’s $5.29 for gas. I have to rethink where I’m going.’ Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin says he is in favor of temporarily suspending the commonwealth’s gas tax.” [WUSA 9]

It’s Wednesday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 86 and low of 68. Sunrise at 5:44 am and sunset at 8:37 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Teenagers can experience the life of an Arlington firefighter for a week.

Camp Heat, which aims to give teenagers a firsthand experience of being a firefighter, is now open for applications until June 30. Organized by the Arlington County Fire Department, the is scheduled to be held from Monday, July 18 to Friday, July 22, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

The camp is free and open to those between 15 and 18 years old, regardless of gender, though the camp was originally intended as a way to get girls interested in a firefighting career.

A total of 26 applicants will be selected to join, according to the online application form. The application deadline was originally on May 30, but it was extended partly because the camp itself was delayed, said lead coordinator Kristin Pardiny.

“It was supposed to be held in June when we first started planning, and then down at our fire training academy, we have a whole lot going on,” Pardiny said. “We realized it was gonna be too much of a logistical concern in June, so we moved it to July.”

She also hoped that by extending the deadline, more people would have the opportunity to apply.

During the five days of the camp, participants are scheduled to meet with “dynamic female leaders” in the fire department, participate in physical trainings and emergency simulations, listen to a panel of women public employees, as well as “experiencing the everyday life of a firefighter/EMT,” according to the camp’s website. The campers are set to interact with other firefighters and perform tasks related to firefighting, according to the application form.

Those interested need to fill out the application and complete a medical and physical examination.

“We have them write a short answer question in our application and they are asked about why they are interested in the camp and what women’s empowerment means to them,” Pardiny said.

Although not compulsory, the fire department would also look at why applicants may want to become a firefighter in the future. Local and first-time applicants are prioritized, Pardiny noted.

The selected campers are expected to bring their own blue pants, black belt and safety boots as part of the uniform. Because of the pandemic, campers need to check their temperatures at 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day of the camp and wear masks during the activities.

The camp was founded in 2013 to spark teenage girls’ interest in becoming firefighters and was only open to girls originally. However, since 2021, the camp has been open to all genders.

This change happened because the fire department believed all genders “must be involved in [the] conversation” in fulfilling the camp’s mission to “encourage and empower young women,” said Pardiny.

“While we’re interested in recruiting and empowering more women to join the fire service, we also are interested in recruiting more progressive and open-minded men as well,” she said. “There are many ways in which people identify nowadays and we want to ensure that we’re not excluding anyone in the conversation.”

Since the founding of Camp Heat, around 100 teenagers have participated in it and Pardiny knows of two campers who applied to be Arlington firefighters as well as several who ultimately became EMTs.

Only around 8% of firefighters in the U.S. in 2019 were women, according to a National Fire Protection Association report. Currently, out of the 340 firefighting and other employees in ACFD, about 33 firefighters are women, said Pardiny.

“While we of course hope that some may consider a future career in the fire service and when they consider that career, if they consider that career, we want them to view Arlington County as a top choice,” she said. “A lot of young people in Arlington County haven’t quite been exposed to the fire service and some have just never considered it.”

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A series of outdoor summer concerts is starting tonight (Friday) in Crystal City.

NaLa Fridays at the Park, formerly known as Fridays at the Fountain, is set to be held at Long Bridge Park (475 Long Bridge Drive). The concert series is set to run through October, according to the event’s website. One concert is scheduled for each Friday between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

This year is set to be the first time the concert series is being held at Long Bridge Park instead of Crystal City Water Park, its usual location. The organizer, the National Landing Business Improvement District, changed the venue because the water park is currently under construction, BID spokesperson Ashley Forrester told ARLnow.

Construction on the water park is expected to be completed in 2023.

The concerts are set to feature local bands and musicians, according to the event’s website. It is free to attend. Reesa Renee, a neo-soul and funk singer, is scheduled to perform at tonight’s series kickoff.

Applications for bands and musicians to perform are still open online. Performers are asked to play for 2.5 hours, according to the application survey.

The current lineup is listed below.

Unlike in previous years, no alcohol will be allowed in the concerts, said Forrester. Alcohol is prohibited at Arlington County parks.

Food trucks are still set to serve the crowds, however. Fine Dining to Go, which provides various types of cuisine from around the world, is set to run the food trucks this Friday, said BID marketing manager Colleen Rasa. Participants are welcome to bring their own food to the venue, according to the event’s website.

There is some seating at the venue and organizers say they will be giving out a limited number of picnic blankets each week to audience members. Attendees are also welcome to bring their own chairs.

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Summer is here and the local news cycle is slowing down.

After a blistering pace of coverage for most of the year, we’ve reached a point where we need to dig a bit deeper to find worthwhile stories. And while next week’s County Board meeting will help to fill our story planning rundowns, beyond that things may get even slower.

So this is the perfect time to ask our readers: what should we consider covering?

This could be anything from…

  • A Press Club feature story like this one that just published today
  • Something utilitarian, like a list of potential summer activities in a given category
  • Or a news story or scoop that we have not yet reported

Post ideas as individual comments in the comment section below, and upvote the ideas you think have particular merit. We’ll consider those that seem to have traction in terms of upvotes and which are feasible in terms of what would be required to report on it.

Note that there are, naturally, some thus-far unreported stories that we are aware of and planning to cover in the coming days. If you want to know what we’re planning to cover ahead of time, consider joining the ARLnow Press Club for the Early Morning Notes newsletter.

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