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.
Volunteers at the Knights of Columbus in Arlington (5115 Little Falls Road) prepared Thanksgiving dinners for more than 2,500 needy people on Thursday.
About 250 volunteers worked to make the turkey, stuffing and fixings, which was served at the Knights’ north Arlington facility and also delivered to older residents who couldn’t make the trip.
TV station WJLA (ABC 7) covered the preparations.
ARLnow.com is taking a day off for the holiday, but we wanted to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.
Thanks in part to the status of “Black Friday” as the most prominent shopping day of the year, Thanksgiving seems to be getting ever more commercialized. At its heart, however the holiday is about recognizing and giving thanks for the blessings of our lives.
If you’re taking a break between cooking dinner, watching parades and football, and reminiscing with friends and family, tell us what you’re thankful for this year, in the comments.
The annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5K returns tomorrow at 8:00 a.m., and motorists hoping for an early Thanksgiving drive should avoid Lyon Park.
The race is organized by, and starts at, Christ Church of Arlington at 3020 N. Pershing Drive. The course takes runners west on Pershing Drive, turning around on 5th Street N. before heading back west on Pershing Drive. Runners will then turn left on N. Fillmore Street and right on 9th Street N. before turning on the southbound lanes of Washington Blvd.
The course goes along Washington Blvd until runners turn right at the intersection with Arlington Blvd. They will turn right on N. Bedford Street and continue until it turns into Brookside Drive and intersects again with Washington Blvd. Runners will turn off Washington on 3rd Street, turn right on Fillmore and end at the church on Pershing.
Roads are expected to close all morning in the area. There is no word from the Arlington County Police Department if the northbound lanes of Washington Blvd will be open to either one or both directions of traffic.
Michael Wardian, Arlington’s own champion distance runner, will both officiate and participate in the 5K, according to the race website.
More than 3,000 runners are expected to participate, and registration is full. Proceeds from the race will go to benefit the Arlington Food Assistance Center, Doorways for Women and Families and the Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless.
VDOT has about 400 trucks staged in Loudoun, Fairfax, Prince William and Arlington counties this morning, in preparation for a storm that’s bringing a combination of rain and snow to much of the the east coast.
The timing of the storm, on one of the busiest travel day of the year, could create major problems on local highways and byways.
VDOT urges drivers to “use extra caution, particularly on bridges, overpasses, curves, hills and ramps, which become slippery first,” as the snow starts falling later today. Crews are not pre-treating roads since the rain would just wash the treatment away.
The snow is expected to start falling in Arlington as the storm begins to taper off, between 3:00 and 7:00 p.m., according to the Capital Weather Gang. It’s expected to begin snowing this morning in northern and western parts of the region.
AAA Mid-Atlantic, meanwhile, is warning of the potential for “massive traffic woes and havoc on the treacherous roadways.”
“Wednesday can turn into a chaotic and frightening scene of events on the roadways along the East Coast,” said AAA Mid-Atlantic’s John Townsend. “With over one million travelers in Washington, D.C., another 1.1 in Virginia, and nearly 900,000 in Maryland taking to the roads this Thanksgiving, AAA is warning motorists to heed all travel warnings and stay home until road conditions improve.”
Some 24 percent of weather-related crashes happen due to snowy or icy pavement, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
For those who do have to travel today, WJLA meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts is advising that the best time to head north is before 10:00 a.m., while the best time to travel south is after 7:00 p.m. All major area highways are expected to see weather impacts, Ricketts said.
Arlington Public Schools students have a pre-scheduled off day today for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Arlington County government offices, courts and schools will be closed on Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving weekend.
Arlington Public Schools close Wednesday and remain closed until Monday, Dec. 1. Arlington’s Circuit Court, General District Court, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court will all close at noon Wednesday and reopen after the holiday break.
Arlington County Police Department won’t enforce parking meters on either day, but Saturday will be treated as a regular weekend day before parkers get another day off from meters on Sunday.
Park grounds will be open, but all parks and recreation classes, programs and indoor facilities, like community centers, will be closed on Thursday and Friday.
Trash, recycling and leaf pickup will continue on a normal schedule, the county says, as will brush, metal and electronics pickup. Leaf pickup is cancelled for Thursday, but if you live in Zone 5, your service will resume on Friday.
Forecasters say above-freezing temperatures should preclude more than an inch or so of accumulation locally. Still, the storm has the potential to have a major impact on Thanksgiving travel from Washington to Boston on Wednesday.
If you’re planning to travel for the holiday, is the storm affecting your travel plans?