(Updated at 6:15 p.m.) ARLnow.com wishes you and yours a happy Thanksgiving weekend.
Except for regularly-scheduled features and breaking news, we will be not be publishing for the remainder of the weekend.
For those who are staying in town and participating in the traditional post-Thanksgiving shopping bonanza, the Pentagon City mall has announced its extended holiday weekend hours:
- Thanksgiving: 6-11 p.m.
- Black Friday: 7 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
- Saturday: 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
- Sunday: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Don’t forget that Saturday is Small Business Saturday — which reminds us to support local, independent retailers this holiday season.
Speaking of mixing holiday cheer and altruism with commerce, the charity-oriented Christmas tree sales around Arlington start this weekend, and on Tuesday Shirlington shopping center is holding its annual Light Up the Village event.
With that, feel free to use the comment section of this post to discuss any issue or news item of local interest this holiday weekend.
Racist Group Has Offices in Arlington — The National Policy Institute, a fringe white nationalist group that has gotten national media attention recently for a conference that culminated with Tila Tequila giving a Heil Hitler at a D.C. restaurant, has offices in Arlington. Asked about it, County Board members condemned the group but said “we have no standing to tell people who can and can’t be here.” [WTOP]
Remembering Arlington’s Racist Past — Arlington has not always been the welcoming, diverse community it is today. In 1968, for instance, Yorktown High School students protested outside of Washington Golf and Country Club in north Arlington, after the club refused to participate in interclub tennis matches with a black woman. Arlington was also once home to the headquarters of the American Nazi Party. [Falls Church News-Press]
Thanksgiving Bell Concert — The Netherlands Carillon near Rosslyn will play two special songs for Thanksgiving at noon and 6 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday). The Carillon plays automated concerts throughout the year but there are special performances for Dutch Liberation Day, V-J Day, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. [National Park Service, Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Eric
If you were planning to drive out of town for Thanksgiving this evening and haven’t left yet — good luck.
Highways are already crowding with heavy traffic around the D.C. area, particularly on some of the main routes leaving town: I-95, I-270 and I-66.
In fact, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving from 5 to 6 p.m. has “the lowest average travel speed on the interstates and other prime travel routes” in the D.C. area, according to the regional Transportation Planning Board.
VDOT, meanwhile, says that drivers should expect some of the heaviest Thanksgiving traffic between mid-morning and the evening on Wednesday.
County government offices, courts, libraries, schools, recreation centers and other facilities will be closed both days. Parking meters will not be enforced.
Among the things that will be open and running on Thanksgiving and Black Friday:
- Trash, recycling and vacuum leaf collection, on its normal schedule
- ART buses, on a Saturday schedule
- The county jail’s visiting hours, from 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
Judging by the multiple Washington Post articles about it this year (and another from last year), it seems that some sizable percentage of the population is dreading their Thanksgiving dinner conversation following Donald Trump’s election.
Especially when the family is divided politically, such conversations can apparently go downhill fast.
Are you among those who cringe at the idea of Uncle Bob passing along his political views with the gravy and stuffing? Or is that not a concern for you?
Thanksgiving Travel in D.C. Area — More than 1 million D.C. area residents are expected to leave town for Thanksgiving, and 9 out of 10 of them will be traveling by car. The worst day and time for traffic in the region is expected to be next Tuesday afternoon. [Washington Post]
Arlingtonians Spend Big for the Holidays — The average Arlington household is expected to spend $1,741 celebrating the holidays, according to a new survey. That’s the highest expected holiday spending in the region and the 13th highest in the U.S. [InsideNova]
GMU Renames Building in Arlington — George Mason University’s Metropolitan Building in Virginia Square has been renamed for one of the school’s Nobel Prize laureates. The building will be renamed Vernon Smith Hall in a ceremony tomorrow (Friday). The university-owned building, at 3434 Washington Blvd, also houses the new Virginia DMV office. [George Mason University]
Beer Coming to Donut Shop — It’s a combination that would make Homer Simpson drool. Sugar Shack Donuts on Columbia Pike has applied for a Virginia ABC permit to serve beer. The application was filed Nov. 7. No word yet on how soon the store may be offering cold brews to pair with its donuts.
Good Stuff Eatery Opening at DCA — Burger restaurant Good Stuff Eatery is opening a new location today in Arlington: specifically, at Terminal B of Reagan National Airport. [Good Stuff Eatery]
Students Win Video Contest — “A team of students from the Arlington Career Center has won the fifth annual student video challenge sponsored by the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA), taking home the top prize for the fourth year in a row.” [Arlington Public Schools]
In actuality, the Saturday before Christmas is usually the biggest shopping day of the year. And with Cyber Monday and e-commerce encouraging online shopping, and Small Business Saturday encouraging shoppers to support local businesses, Black Friday may be losing its luster.
We wanted to check with those who are actually heading out to the malls and shopping centers today: how big are the crowds?
Alternatively, if you had to head into work today instead of shopping — like us — there’s an option for you.
We’ll be back on Friday with local news coverage that you can perhaps read while standing in giant checkout lines at the mall.
In the meantime, get ready to enjoy a couple of days of free parking: metered parking and residential zone restrictions will not be enforced in Arlington on Thursday or Friday, according to the county’s list of holiday closures.
County offices, schools and courts will remain closed until Monday. Recreation centers will be closed Thursday and Friday, and will resume normal hours on Saturday.
ART buses will operate on a holiday schedule. Trash and recycling collection will not take a day off — it will go on as normal and cart off scores of turkey carcasses and other Thanksgiving dinner detritus as you sleep off your food coma.
Thanksgiving festivities will begin bright and early tomorrow when more than 4,000 runners, joggers and walkers hit the streets for the 10th Annual Turkey Trot 5K.
This also means the holiday will begin with road closures around the course.
The race begins at 8 a.m. at the Christ Church of Arlington at 3020 N. Pershing Drive. Police are working with race directors to divert traffic and ensure the course is safe.
According to the Arlington County Police Department, the following road closures will be in effect from 7-10 a.m. tomorrow:
- Pershing Drive from Washington Boulevard to N. Oxford Street
- N. Oxford Street from Pershing Drive to 5th Street N
- 5th Street N from N. Nelson Street to N. Oxford Street
- N. Nelson Street from Pershing Drive to 5th Street N
- Washington Blvd from 9th Street N to Arlington Blvd, eastbound lanes only
- N. Fillmore Street from 9th Street N to 3rd Street N
- 3rd Street N from N. Fillmore Street to Washington Blvd
- N. Bedford Street from Arlington Blvd to N. Brookside Drive
- N. Brookside Drive from N. Bedford Street to Washington Blvd
All roads west of N. Highland Street will close and reopen before those east, due to the direction participants will travel along the course. A detailed course map is available online.
Street parking will also be restricted in certain areas that morning, marked with temporary “No Parking” signs.
Photo courtesy of Arlington Turkey Trot
Cheap Gas in Arlington — Just in time for your Thanksgiving vacation, there are a number of gas stations in Arlington at which you can fill up for less than $2.00 per gallon. At $1.97 per gallon, the BP station at the corner of S. Four Mile Run Drive and Walter Reed Drive, pictured above, isn’t the lowest in the county: that honor belongs to Arlington Auto Service on Columbia Pike, with its $1.87 per gallon gas. [Gas Buddy]
County Warns of Sewer Backup Risk — One thing that could ruin your Thanksgiving feast would be a sewer backup. Arlington County is warning residents that that could happen if they’re not careful about disposing of fats, oils and greases (FOG). The proper ways to dispose of FOG is to empty it into a container, like an empty can, and throw it in the trash — not rinsing it down the drain, where it could cling to and clog pipes. [Arlington County]
Suspicious Package Calls Up Since Paris Attacks — Calls for suspicious packages and suspicious circumstances are up in Arlington since the Paris terror attacks. That’s according to Arlington County Police Chief Jay Farr, who spoke to reporter Pete Williams during a segment on last night’s NBC Nightly News broadcast. The county has set up an online form for reporting possible terrorism-related activity, in addition to receiving such calls via the police non-emergency line: 703-558-2222.
Airport Workers Rally for Higher Wages — As hordes of passengers head to Reagan National Airport for holiday travel, airport workers are going on a hunger strike, pushing for a living wage. Tipped workers at the airport, like baggage handlers and wheelchair attendants, make as little as $3.77 an hour. [WUSA 9]
Lopez Named House Minority Whip — Arlington’s Del. Alfonso Lopez has been named the new Minority Whip of the Virginia House of Delegates Democratic Caucus. In a statement, Lopez said we will continue to work for “our vision of a Commonwealth that prioritizes public education, invests in transit and transportation infrastructure, protects our environment, preserves our social safety net, and grows a new Virginia economy to expand opportunity for all Virginians.” [Patch]
Van Doren Running for Reelection — Arlington School Board member Nancy Van Doren has announced that she will be running for reelection in 2016. Van Doren replaced Noah Simon on the School Board after a special election last year. She will be seeking her first full term. [InsideNova]
State police say 652 lives have been lost on Virginia’s roads and highways this year, compared to 633 at this time last year.
“State police are very concerned about the safety of the Commonwealth’s highways,” VSP said in a press release (below, after the jump). “To counter the increase in traffic crashes and fatalities caused by speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints, state police will once again be participating in the Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.).”
VSP says motorists can expect to see an increase in troopers on the road between today and Sunday night.
During last year’s Thanksgiving holiday, state police cited 9,856 speeders, 2,315 reckless drivers, 706 seat belt law violators, and 91 DUI drivers.
According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, holiday travel will be virtually unchanged this year, down 0.2 percent compared to 2014.
That’s despite lower gas prices and better weather — it’s supposed to be mostly sunny and cool this week, compared to the snowstorm that was predicted around this time last year.
About 90.5 percent of all D.C. area travelers will travel by car, compared to 7.3 percent traveling via air and 2.2 percent via other modes of transportation.
Will you be among those traveling outside of D.C. this year?
The “no-excuses, zero-tolerance crackdown” is timed to coincide with the busy Thanksgiving travel period.
From an ACPD press release:
Every year, the Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest travel times. Millions of Americans hit the roads to spend time with family and friends. Unfortunately, more vehicles on the road means the potential for more dangerous roads, and it’s as important as ever that everyone is buckled up.
The Arlington County Police Department will be joining other state and local law enforcement agencies to participate in the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) high-visibility seat belt enforcement campaign Click It or Ticket. The no-excuses, zero-tolerance crackdown combines powerful messages about seat belt safety, with increased patrols day and night, targeting all unbuckled motorists.
NHTSA research indicates that proper seat belt use reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury by 50 percent. In 2013, seat belts saved the lives of 12,584 passenger vehicle occupants. If seat belt use had been at 100 percent, an additional 2,800 people would still be alive this Thanksgiving.
Nationwide, the seat belt use rate is at an all-time high of 87 percent, but the Click It or Ticket campaign aims to reach that remaining 13 percent. In 2013, for example, there were 9,580 unbuckled occupants killed in crashes–49 percent of all passenger vehicle occupants killed that year. At night, the numbers are even more disturbing. During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2013, law enforcement noted that 64 percent of the passenger vehicle occupants killed at night were unrestrained, as compared to 48 percent during the day.
It only takes a second to buckle up, and isn’t that easier than getting pulled over and ticketed? With the help of highway safety advocates and local law enforcement officers across the country, we can increase seat belt use and save lives on our roadways this Thanksgiving.
Remember: Click It or Ticket. You have a lot to lose otherwise.
For more information on the Click It or Ticket mobilization, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/ciot.
The local Knights of Columbus chapter is continuing its 29-year history of serving Thanksgiving meals to those in the Arlington community who need them most.
The organization needs 90 volunteers for its annual Thanksgiving Day Dinner for the Needy, which falls on Nov. 26 this year. Volunteers will prepare, deliver and serve holiday meals to as many as 3,000 community members.
Over the last 29 years, the Knights have served more than 25,000 Thanksgiving meals to the poor, needy, elderly and homebound.
According to event co-coordinator David Nassar, volunteers are needed in three shifts between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., lasting three or four hours. All the preparation and serving will take place at the chapter’s headquarters, located at 5115 Little Falls Road.
One of the shifts is for morning deliveries, suitable for volunteers with a valid driver’s license and a car. They will make bulk deliveries of individually boxed meals to locations throughout the county.
Nassar added volunteers do not need any cooking experience or other specific skills to help out, just a “positive attitude and a desire to help others.”
Photo via Facebook/Knights of Columbus Edward Douglass White Council 2473
The Tenth Anniversary of the Arlington Turkey Trot will be returning to town this Thanksgiving morning, giving everyone a reason to get moving before they sit down with family in the afternoon.
But it’s not all about the run– the event, which drew 4,000 runners last year, is also a huge charity event. This year, the beneficiaries are AFAC, A-SPAN, Bridges to Independence, Doorways for Women and Families and Linden Resources.
For those who want to trot it out for five kilometers, registration is now open. Volunteer opportunities are also available if running isn’t your thing, and volunteers should email [email protected] or go to the website to sign up.
This year is also special because the Trot has a new partnership with the Arlington Small Business Alliance and YOPP, whereby small business owners and employees will run and sponsor while registrants will be encouraged to patronize these businesses on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday with online discounts and goodies compliments of YOPP. The Trot welcomes donations and sponsors, whether individual or team donations or regular or special sponsorship opportunities.
Now’s the time to get involved with the 2015 Arlington Turkey Trot, a race that the race coordinators think will be the biggest and best yet.
The preceding post was written by ARLnow.com and sponsored by The Arlington Turkey Trot.