Arlington, VA

(Updated 10:10 a.m.) The annual Arlington County Fair is back in action.

The fair opened yesterday (Wednesday) and will run through Sunday (Aug. 18). The fair fills a lot next to the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street S.).

The usual fair attractions like carousels and Ferris wheels have made a return, while carnival barkers are enticing visitors to try their games and kabobs are sizzling on the grill.

New attractions this year’s fair include a butterfly garden — where visitors can hand-feed native butterflies — goat yoga, and a beer garden.

A row of food vendors are also set up near the community center, featuring doughnuts from the local Good Company Doughnuts and Cafe.

There’s no parking at the fairgrounds, but a shuttle runs from the fair to the Arlington Career Center — where there is visitor parking — as well as Wakefield High School, the county’s I-66 parking garage, and the Virginia Square Metro station. Shuttles cost $2 round-trip.

The fair is free to enter, with tickets available to purchase for rides and carnival games.

Ashley Hopko contributed to this story

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The Arlington County Fair has a new head honcho: Matt Hussmann, the recently retired head of the Clarendon Alliance.

The fair’s Board of Directors announced yesterday (Wednesday) that it has tabbed Hussmann as the new fair manager, effective Jan. 13.

Hussmann spent seven years as executive director for the Clarendon Alliance before stepping down in September, advocating on behalf of Clarendon businesses and managing a variety of events in the neighborhood, like the annual Clarendon Day Festival and Mardi Gras Parade and Ball. He currently works as a principal for EventPro DC, an event production and equipment rental company.

In his new role as fair manager, Hussmann will work alongside the fair board to focus on subjects including “sponsorships, marketing, entertainment, competitive exhibits, volunteer recruitment and fair logistics,” according to a news release.

“Matt has a wealth of experience in building and strengthening events in Arlington County, and we’re delighted that he’ll be bringing his talents to the Arlington County Fair,” Arlington County Fair Board Chair Kyle Thornhill said in a statement.

The fair manager is an employee of the nonprofit that manages the annual event, working in tandem with county officials.

The fair found itself in a bit of hot water last year when a drawing on one vendor’s truck prompted accusations of racism. The fair manager position last grabbed headlines in 2011, when then-manager Denise Marshall Roller was accused of embezzling money from the fair, and she ultimately pleaded guilty to a slew of charges in 2012.

In general, the fair has seen healthy attendance numbers since that spot of trouble, according to Fair Board Vice Chair Barbi Broadus. Attendance statistics for the fair’s last 10 years are as follows, per Broadus:

2008: 54,580
2009: 46,632
2010: 51,723
2011: 47,000
2012: 53,763
2013: 58,799
2014: 71,664
2015: 74,884
2016: 59,520
2017: 72,802
2018: 84,666

This year’s fair will run from August 14-18 at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center.

File photo

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When disaster strikes, roads are often one of the first necessities hit. Gridlock or damage to streets can make them impassible for cars.

And on Sept. 29, the county will host “Disaster Relief Trials” to simulate just such an emergency in Arlington. Participants will need to climb onto their bikes and travel across the county carrying food, water, medical supplies and messages to those in need. To do so, they will need to navigate without a GPS and traverse simulated dangerous terrain.

The challenge starts and ends at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center, from which participants will ride out to various checkpoints and be forced to overcome an obstacle. This could be a physical barrier like a downed tree or something like high water at least 15 cm deep.

Additional challenges include delivery of a message, successfully using a fire extinguisher, and wound packing. Points are awarded based on weight of supplies transported and emergency preparedness challenges completed. The top three finalists in each category will be awarded prizes.

Registration costs for the event varies based on category.

  • Responder I (Individuals, traditional bicycles) – Single Adult on standard bike, including bike racks, panniers, body packs, etc. Registration costs $40.
  • Responder II (Individuals, cargo bicycle, and/or trailer) – Single Adult on cargo bike (front bucket or longtail), or standard bike with trailer. Registration costs $40.
  • Family Responders (1-2 Adults, 1-4 children under age 14, any style of bikes) – Up to 2 adults and between 1-4 children under the age of 14, any style of bikes. Registration costs $75.
  • Team Responders (2-3 Adults, any/all bike types) – Teams of 2-3 adults, any/all bike types. Registration costs $75.
  • Citizen (Individual) – Single Adult with no cargo or checkpoint requirement; complete as many Emergency Preparedness Challenges as you want; non-competitive. Registration costs $10.

With a focus on bicycling through disaster zones, GPS systems and electronic assist bicycles are not allowed (or batteries for e-bikes removed). Registration is available online.

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Live music, parades and racing piglets — it’s county fair season in Arlington.

Today (Aug. 15), the 42nd annual Arlington County Fair officially opens at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (125 S. Old Glebe Road).

Admission to the fair is free, though some outdoor activities require tickets that can be purchased on-site. There is no parking on the fairgrounds, but a shuttle runs to the fair from the Arlington Career Center, the I-66 parking garage, and from the Pentagon City and Virginia Square Metro stations.

The outdoor portion of the fair runs until 10 p.m. on Sunday (Aug. 19). The indoor portion opens at 4 p.m. on Friday (Aug. 17).

The field outside of the community center includes pig races, pony rides, a various amusement park style attractions. Inside the community center are various international dance acts and shows, like Saturday evening’s comedy hypnosis show.

Outdoor entertainment consists of a daily lineup of musicians, from jazz and soul to country-bluegrass.

Thursday, August 16:

5 p.m.: Nardo Lilly (Acoustic Singer/Songwriter)
6:15 p.m.: Round About (Pop/Rock)
7:30 p.m.: Honey Butter Biscuit (Alternative Rock)

Friday, August 17:

5 p.m.: 40 Miles Homes (Bluegrass/Indie)
6:15 p.m.: Raven Tree (Rock)
7:30 p.m.: Danny and Jimmy (Latin Urban Duo)
8:45 p.m.: The Groove Factor (R&B/Neo-Soul)

Saturday, August 18:

Noon: Sunshine Gang (50s-80s)
1:15 p.m.: Gabrielle Zwi (Singer/Songwriter)
2:30 p.m.: Plastic Sky (Indie Acoustic)
3:45 p.m.: The Sprinting Turtles (80s-2000s Rock)
5 p.m.: Soul Stew (Motown Classics)
6:15 p.m.: Crush Funk Brass (Modern Brass Funk/Pop)
7:30 p.m.: N2N Band (R&B)
8:45 p.m.: The Restless (Pop/Rock)

Sunday, August 19:

11:45 a.m.: Calista Garcia (Singer/Songwriter)
1 p.m.: Silver City (Bluegrass/Country)
2:15 p.m.: Look Out Lincoln (1990-2000s Rock)
3:30 p.m.: Atoms Apart (Pop/Electronic)
4:45 p.m.: DEMZ (60s-80s Classic Rock)
6 p.m.: CBRadio (Rock/Pop/Country)
7:15 p.m.: First Road North (Rock/Jazz)

Activities at the fair are family friendly, and a kids’ court set up outside the community center has all-day face painting, moon bounces, and a monster mural on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There are also magic and puppet shows throughout the weekend.

The fair features a variety of competitive exhibits focused around a theme of “Small County, Big Fun”. There are seven categories of competition:

  • 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

Competition guidelines and applications to volunteer or judge are available at the county fair website.

Photo via Arlington County Fair

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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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Morning Notes

New Elementary School Approved — After a years-long process that included neighborhood opposition and lots of community discussion, the Arlington County Board has approved a use permit and ground lease for a new elementary school on the Thomas Jefferson middle school and community center site. [Arlington County]

Rosslyn Farmers Market Approved — Also at its Saturday meeting, the County Board gave the go-ahead to a new FreshFarm Markets-operated farmers market that will be held at the new Central Place public plaza in Rosslyn. The market will be open on Wednesday evenings from April to November. [Arlington County]

Bebe Closing at Pentagon City Mall — The Bebe store at the Pentagon City mall will close by the end of May. It’s part of a larger restructuring for the struggling young women’s clothing retailer. [Patch]

County Board to Honor Trees — “Arlington has about 755,400 trees of at least 122 species that provide $6.89 million in environmental benefits to the County annually in pollution removal, carbon storage, energy savings and avoided stormwater runoff. The Arlington County Board will honor 10 of these trees as Notable Trees at the April 25 County Board Meeting.” [Arlington County]

Blue Virginia’s School Board Endorsement — Local Democratic blog Blue Virginia has endorsed Monique O’Grady in the race for the Democratic endorsement for Arlington School Board. The endorsement cites incumbent James Lander’s recent controversial remarks about a murder victim as a reason for not endorsing him. [Blue Virginia]

Flickr pool photo by Ameschen

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Image via Twitter/Arlington County Fair

The 40th Arlington County Fair is coming to town with pig races, rides, concerts and chicken teriyaki on a stick in roughly two weeks.

The fair, billed as “Groovy Since 1977,” is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 17, to Sunday, Aug. 21, at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street S.)

Locals can grab their chicken teriyaki sticks from Yummy Food Corner and Grill, milkshakes from Royal Creamery and Coffee or food from more than a dozen other vendors as they check out the indoor and outdoor attractions.

The entertainment includes a parade, the Hollywood Hogs All-Star Racing Team, pony rides and live music. The fair’s outdoor stage will host DJ Funkhouse (Thursday, Aug. 18), rock group Sub-Radio Standard (Friday, Aug. 19), country singer Wesley Spangler (Saturday, Aug. 20) and R&B group The 5-1-2 Experience (Sunday, Aug. 21), among others.

The Zipper, Heart Flip and more spinning and flipping rides are are slated to return to the midway, too.

The fair will have cooking, art and vegetable-growing contests — and other competitions as well.

In celebration of the groovy theme, fairgoers can hunt for a disco ball hidden in the indoor vendor area each day and win free ride tickets if they’re the first to find it.

The fair also will have T-shirts and ride tickets for the best photograph of the festivities each day.

The grounds are open from 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.

Public parking isn’t available at the fair, but shuttle buses will run from the Arlington Career Center (816 S. Walter Reed Drive) and I-66 parking garage (N. Quincy and 15th Street N.), as well as the Ballston and Pentagon City Metro stations.

Image via Twitter/Arlington County Fair

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Major League Quidditch screenshot (via mlquidditch.com)

Update at 4:30 p.m. on June 9 — The match has been moved to Fairfax County. It will now be taking place Saturday, June 11 from 3-6 p.m. at Phillips Programs (7010 Braddock Road) in Annandale, according to the league.

Update at 1 p.m. on June 9 — It seems that Major League Quidditch may need a magic wand to make its Arlington match happen this weekend. Originally set to take place at Tuckahoe Park, organizers then switched the venue to Thomas Jefferson Middle School. But that location is also in doubt.

From an Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman:

Not sure about how they thought they’d play in Tuckahoe Park, which is under construction. But we got a request to use the public field at Thomas Jefferson Monday night. We let them know that field is for drop play and can’t be reserved. And with this short notice (and with all the makeup games dues to the rain last month), we don’t have a field for them. They didn’t respond back to us so I’m not clear what their plans are. I guess they will work some magic?

From Major League Quidditch’s Amanda Dallas:

We’re working on securing a field at a school in Annandale… We’re just double-checking the field is the right size. Usually our scheduling isn’t this chaotic.

(Updated at 1:15 p.m. on June 8) An athletic competition, inspired by novels about a young wizard, is coming to Arlington this weekend.

The Washington Admirals, the D.C. area’s local quidditch team, will play the Ottawa Black Bears on Saturday, June 11 at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street S.). Tickets are free and all ages are encouraged to attend.

According to the team roster, the Admirals consist of 28 players and a head coach. The team competes in Major League Quidditch, a national league with a regular season that runs from June 1 to August 30. Sixteen teams are divided up in four geographic divisions — North, South, East and West.

Quidditch, for those who are unfamiliar with the sport invented by author J.K. Rowling and featured in her Harry Potter novels (and movies), is described as a competitive, co-ed and semi-contact sport that’s a mixture of dodgeball, rugby and tag. Major League Quidditch rules call for teams of a half dozen players running around a field with brooms between their legs, trying to score points on a field utilizing a series of balls and hoops.

Quidditch is played by “thousands of athletes all over the world,” according to a CBS News profile of the sport that aired in April.

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(Updated at 5:55 p.m.) The working group charged by the county to help decide the fate of the green space next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School says it was unable reach a final consensus.

Arlington Public Schools is eyeing land surrounding the middle school as the site for a new $50 million, 725-seat elementary school for south Arlington. Those funds were adopted by the School Board as part of the 2015-2024 Capital Improvement Plan last June, and approved as part of the schools bond referendum by Arlington voters in November.

The 20-member Thomas Jefferson Working Group was formed by the Arlington County Board last year, after APS announced the middle school’s surrounding area was its “preferred” location for a new elementary school. The group has met 10 times over the last five months but still couldn’t reach an agreement on how best to proceed.

“While the group could not reach full consensus within tight constraints, we do agree on strong guidelines under which a new school, if approved, could be fitted into this important site without harming TJ Park or the many community activities there,” working group chair Carrie Johnson said in a press release.

An advocacy group, Friends of Thomas Jefferson Park, formed soon after APS announced it was considering the TJ site, and the Friends group has been expressing vocal opposition to the placement of a new school on existing parkland at the 27-acre site.

“Building adjacent to the middle school ignores the county’s future recreation needs by permanently converting parkland and valuable open space to non-park and recreation uses,” Friends group President Jim Presswood said in a December press release. “We agree that Arlington needs more seats for students, but we should not have to choose between schools and parks.”

The group now leaves the decision of whether to build on the site up to the County Board. If the Board elects not to build on the site, the elementary school seats the school could have provided to South Arlington would come from additions at Barcroft and Randolph Elementary Schools, an alternative plan the School Board has already approved but is more expensive than building a new school.

Johnson will present the working group’s recommendations to the County Board at its Saturday meeting, and the Board is expected to respond during its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 27. During its deliberations, the working group engaged the community with open meetings, surveys and involving local civic associations in the discussion.

Any plan to build a school at the site needs County Board approval because part of the land is owned by the county, not Arlington Public Schools.

The complete working group report is available online. The group found that it’s feasible to build an elementary school site to the west of the existing middle school and it would have a relatively minor impact on current recreational uses. However, the group says building on the site removes it from consideration for future parkland — for which it’s currently slated — and it would pre-empt the comprehensive study the County Board is launching this year of all county- and school-owned properties for future use.

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County Fair Begins Tonight

Arlington County Fair 2013It’s time to get ready to scream on the big slide and listen to squeals from the racing piglets. The Arlington County Fair starts at 5:00 tonight and runs through Sunday, August 10.

The free event takes place at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street South). Tonight and Thursday, activities are outdoors, including rides, racing piglets, pony rides, the Cows-N-Corn milking demo and lots of fair food vendors. Additional indoor activities, such as bingo and clog dancing, begin on Friday. Spots are still open for the 5K run/walk on Saturday. The full schedule of events can be found online.

Fair goers have access to a new shuttle stop in Pentagon City this year. A shuttle bus will pick up passengers at the Pentagon City Metro and take them directly to the fair. Shuttles will also run from the three other locations at Arlington Career Center, Ballston Metro and the I-66 parking garage. Parking is free at shuttle locations and shuttles cost $2 round trip.

File photo

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Arlington County Fair 2013The Arlington County Fair will kick off its 38th year in two weeks, starting Wednesday, Aug. 6 until Sunday, Aug. 10.

The fair will again be held on the grounds of the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street S.). The fair starts at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday and at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday. As always, the fair is free to attend.

Just like last year, the fair will have a 5k run/walk, for which registration is still open, at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 9. There will be multiple piglet races every day — including five on Friday — making sure no visitor will be in the park for more than a few hours without getting a chance to see one of the fair’s most popular attractions.

There will be “Cows-N-Corn milking demonstrations,” more than a dozen live bands, exhibitions by the Harlem Wizards basketball troupe, pony rides, an outdoor showing of “Frozen” and plenty of other outdoor activities. There will be rides, face painting and a Miss Virginia Senior America pageant.

No county fair would be complete without a full agenda of exhibition competitions, with categories ranging from extracted honey and preserves, baked goods (there are 14 categories just for cakes), needlework and textiles, ceramics and fine arts, photography, and herb, fruit and vegetable growing.

There are 13 food vendors signed up already and dozens of crafts and art vendors will be plying their wares next to booths from Arlington businesses and nonprofits.

File photo

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