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2019 Armed Forces Cycling Classic
The 21st Armed Forces Cycling Classic held in Clarendon and Crystal City in 2018 (courtesy Douglas Graham/WLP)

Hundreds of cyclists will descend on Crystal City and Clarendon this weekend for the 25th annual Armed Forces Cycling Classic.

There will be several races over the course of the weekend. Spectators can watch participants race through Arlington on three separate routes: one in Crystal City, another in Clarendon, and a third spanning Crystal City to Rosslyn. A schedule lists the start times for every race.

From 7 a.m. on Saturday, spectators can watch the Crystal City Challenge Ride, which starts and finishes on 12th Street S. east of S. Eads Street, according to a route map.

The route extends past the Pentagon and continues all the way to Rosslyn before circling back. Competitors must complete as many laps as possible before the race ends at 10 a.m.

Attendees may also observe the competitive pro races through Crystal City, along a rectangular route that starts and ends on 12th Street S., then loops onto S. East Street, 15th Street S. and Crystal Drive. The first heat takes off at 10:25 a.m.

Crystal Cup map 2023
The Crystal City Cup (via Armed Forces Cycling Classic)

Then, on Sunday, spectators can watch pro and amateur cyclists race through Clarendon from the start and finish line at the intersection of N. Herndon Street and Wilson Blvd, beginning at 10:05 a.m.

The course circles through Washington Blvd, N. Highland Street, and Clarendon Blvd.

Clarendon Cup Map 2023
The Clarendon Cup Race (via Armed Forces Cycling Classic)

In a traffic advisory, Arlington County Police Department suggests attendees and spectators ditch their cars when heading to the weekend’s races.

The Crystal City Metro station (Blue and Yellow lines) is located near the Challenge Ride/Crystal Cup racecourse at the corner of 18th Street and Clark Street and will be accessible on Saturday, June 3. The Clarendon Metro Station (Orange and Silver lines) is located within the Clarendon Cup racecourse at the corner of Wilson Boulevard and N. Highland Street. Vehicular traffic (to include buses) will not be able to access the Clarendon Metro Station after 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 4.

For those who are not able to watch in person, the races will be live-streamed on Saturday from 11 a.m.-2:15 p.m. and on Sunday from 9:45 a.m.-2:15 p.m.

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Ballston’s Quarterfest Crawl in 2022 (photo courtesy of Ballston BID)

The Quarterfest Crawl is coming back to Ballston early next month.

The now-annual free event is set for Saturday, June 3 this year with a full lineup of music, food, drinks, street performers and family-friendly activities. This will mark the event’s fourth year, which replaced “Taste of Arlington” in 2019. It’s organized by the Ballston Business Improvement District (Ballston BID).

The Quarterfest will follow the same crawl format that’s been the case the previous two years. Organizers told ARLnow that this was originally a “pandemic solution,” but it’s been deemed so successful that they are sticking with the format “for the foreseeable future.”

The event will again be centered along Wilson Blvd, though a number of businesses off the main drag will also be participating. The line-up includes:

  • Noon-7 p.m. –DJ Ricky at Ballston Quarter
  • Noon-2 p.m. — Family Activations at Ballston Quarter
  • 1-2:30 p.m. — Scott Kurt at the Filling Station
  • 1:30-3 p.m. — Melissa Quinn at Bronson Bierhall
  • 2-3:30 p.m. — David Thong Band at Ballston Local
  • 2:15-3:30 p.m. — Rook Richards at Ballston Quarter
  • 3-4:30 p.m. — The Crista Trio at SER
  • 5:15-6:45 p.m — Keeton at Ballston Quarter
  • 7-11 p.m. — Quarterfest Afterparty at WHINO

Several other bands and performances will be announced closer to the event date. A full list of participating restaurants will also be released as the event creeps closer.

As was the case last year, there are no planned Quarterfest-related road closures. Some 7,500 people attended the event in 2022 and organizers told ARLnow they expect similar attendance again this year.

Quarterfest debuted in 2019 as a replacement for the “Taste of Arlington” festival, which organizers said at the time didn’t adequately spotlight the then-new Ballston Quarter development.

The Netherlands Carillon in 2021, near the end of its restoration (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The Dutch ambassador, ballet dancers, a pair of expert bell ringers, and a princess.

All are among those set to be on hand for a special concert at the Netherlands Carillon near Rosslyn tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon. The “one-of-a-kind event that celebrates friendship and freedom” is set to take place from 4-6 p.m.

“The second annual Freedom Concert is organized by the National Park Service and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in recognition of the Netherlands’ Liberation Day (May 5),” the Dutch embassy said in a press release. “Princess Margriet will deliver a keynote speech on the importance of celebrating freedom. The event also features carillonneurs Edward Nassor (United States) and Rosemarie Seuntiëns (the Netherlands) and a special performance by the Washington School of Ballet.”

The Netherlands Carillon, which wrapped up a two-year restoration project in 2021, features 53 bells and “serves as a reminder of the strong bond between the United States and the Netherlands,” the embassy notes. It was a gift from the Dutch people after World War II.

Princess Margriet, born in exile in Canada in 1943, counts President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a godparent.

More on the free concert, below, from another embassy press release.

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the George Washington Memorial Parkway of the National Park Service present the 2nd annual Freedom Concert at 4 p.m. May 10 at the Netherlands Carillon.

The Netherlands Carillon is a 127-foot-tall musical monument and a symbol of peace and freedom. It was presented to President Truman in 1952 by Queen Juliana as a gift from the Dutch people to the American people as token of gratitude for their help during and after World War II.

The Freedom Concert is held in recognition of the Netherlands’ Liberation Day which is celebrated on May 5.

Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, the featured guest speaker, will give remarks on the importance of celebrating freedom. Her Royal Highness was born in 1943 in Canada during World War II. The Royal Family returned to the Netherlands once it was liberated by Allied Forces in 1945.

Carillonneurs Edward Nassor of the United States and Rosemarie Seuntiëns from the Netherlands will play a selection of modern and classical music, and students from the Washington School of Ballet will perform a dance choreographed by Mimmo Miccolis specifically for the concert.

At the event, the media will have the opportunity to interview Dutch Ambassador André Haspels, Christine Smith, Deputy Superintendent of the National Park Service – George Washington Memorial Parkway, and the carillonneurs and dancers from the Washington School of Ballet.

Armed Forces Cycling Classic (image via Armed Forces Cycling Classic)

The Armed Forces Cycling Classic is returning to speed around Clarendon and Crystal City for its 25th year early next month.

First beginning in 1998, the annual series of cycling races are set for Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4 this year. It features men’s and women’s pro-ams, a kids’ race, and the “Clarendon Cup”, a race that follows a one-kilometer course centered around the Clarendon Metro station.

There will also be the popular “challenge ride” on Saturday morning, where “cycling enthusiasts of all abilities” are invited to bike in what’s thought to be the area’s largest non-competitive ride. The 10-kilometer, closed-to-vehicle-traffic course will take cyclists around the Pentagon, Crystal City, and Rosslyn.

There’s a three-hour time limit and everyone who finishes at least one lap gets at least a bronze medal. Those who finish 6 to 8 laps or more in the three hours will get a silver medal, while those who finish 9 or more will get a gold.

Registration remains open for the challenge race, but organizers told ARLnow they are expecting to sell out this year, with attendance capped at 3,000 riders.

If the race does sell out, that would be about a 25% increase in participation from last year, organizers said.

The pro-am races are “by invite only” with the Clarendon Cup pulling from those races. That’s a 100-kilometer race following a one-kilometer course that loops around the Clarendon Metro station.

“The Clarendon Cup is known as one of the most difficult races of its kind in the U.S. due to the technical demands of the course and the quality of the participants,” the event’s website notes.

Some 140 riders are expected to participate in that race.

“I am very proud to have the Classic stand the test of time, with our 25th Edition”, Armed Forces Cycling Classic founder Rob Laybourn said in a statement. “Cycling as a sport or for leisure continues to grow and evolve in so many ways. We are committed to evolving this event by exposing more folks to cycling as a whole, while contributing positive value to the community as well as the sport.”

The full schedule of the weekend’s events is below.

Armed Forces Cycling Classic weekend schedule of events (image via Armed Forces Cycling Classic)

A number of road closures are planned for the races

While specifics have yet to be released, organizers said the closures are set to be similar to what’s been done over the past 24 years. Course maps show that a large swath of Route 110 will be closed to vehicle traffic from Rosslyn to Pentagon City, in addition to the closure of portions of 12th Street S. and Crystal Drive in Crystal City.

2023 Challenge Ride course at the Armed Forces Cycling Classic (image via Armed Forces Cycling Classic)

As has been the case in recent years, the Armed Forces Cycling Classic will provide support to Tragedy Assistance for Survivors. The Arlington-based organization provides care and resources for those grieving the death of a military or veteran loved one.

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Columbia Pike Movie Nights is back at Penrose Square and Arlington Mill (photo courtesy of Columbia Pike Partnership)

Summer movie nights are coming back to Penrose Square and Arlington Mill for a 12th year.

Columbia Pike Movie Nights is a free outdoor summer movie series taking place on Friday nights at the Arlington Mill Community Center Outdoor Plaza (909 S. Dinwiddie Street) and Saturday nights at Penrose Square Outdoor Plaza (2503 9th Road S.).

It’s scheduled to begin July 7 and run for 8 weeks through August 26. The movies will begin at sunset, generally between 8 and 8:30 p.m.

The series is organized by the Columbia Pike Partnership. It returned to the outdoor plazas last year after being drive-in only in 2020 and 2021.

Movies set to be shown are a mix of old and new classics intended to be relatively family-friendly, including Back to the Future, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Top Gun: Maverick, and Till.

The full schedule for each location is below:

Arlington Mill 

  • July 7 — Spirit Untamed
  • July 14 — Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
  • July 21 — Dog
  • July 28 — Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank
  • August 4 — Lady and the Tramp
  • August 11 — Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • August 18 — Lightyear
  • August 25 — The Goonies

Penrose Square

  • July 8 — Cave Rescue
  • July 15 — Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope
  • July 22 — Back to the Future
  • July 29 — A Man Called Otto
  • August 5 — Till
  • August 12 — Top Gun: Maverick
  • August 19 — The Woman King
  • August 26 — Jurassic World Dominion

The movies will be shown in English with Spanish subtitles. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own blankets and chairs. Leashed pets are welcome, organizers note, and alcohol is not permitted at either site.

Free parking will be available, though bus and bike travel is encouraged. There will be restroom access inside of Arlington Mill Community Center and at the businesses around Penrose Square.

In case of inclement weather, check the event’s webpage and social media channels for updates. Information will be “typically posted at 3:30 p.m. on the day of each screening.”

Arlington Festival Of The Arts crowd shot from 2016 (Courtesy Howard Alan Events)

The Arlington Festival of the Arts is back this weekend in Clarendon, bringing with it a number of road closures.

The annual, free outdoor local arts festival is set to take place this Saturday and Sunday, running from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. The event will occupy about three blocks in Clarendon, running along Washington Blvd from Clarendon Blvd to 10th Street N.

Arlington Festival of the Arts 2023 map (image via Howard Alan Events)

The festival will be a bit smaller this year in terms of street space, the festival director Elaine Laurent told ARLnow.

In previous years, the festival also took over a portion of N. Highland Street, including space in front of Trader Joe’s. That’s not happening this year, Laurent said, noting that overall attendance last year was somewhat lower compared to before the pandemic.

Part of N. Highland Street will still be closed to motor vehicle traffic, though.

The 9th edition of the festival will feature more than one hundred artists “selected by an independent panel of expert judges,” a press release says. Over a fifth of the artists at the festival this year are from around Northern Virginia, Laurent said.

To accommodate the festival, the Arlington County Police Department has announced a number of road closures that will be in effect for most of the weekend.

The following roads will be closed from about 3 a.m. on Saturday through 8 p.m. on Sunday:

  • Westbound Washington Blvd from 10th Street N. to Clarendon Blvd
  • The left lane of eastbound Washington Blvd, from Clarendon Blvd to N. Garfield Street (the right lane will be open to motor vehicle traffic)
  • N. Highland Street, from Clarendon Blvd to Washington Boulevard
  • 11th Street N., from N. Garfield Street to N. Highland Street

Local traffic will be able to access the parking garage for 3100 Clarendon Boulevard from 11th Street N.

Road closures for Arlington Festival of the Arts (image via ACPD)

Additional closures may be implemented “at police discretion in the interest of public safety,” says the traffic alert.

ACPD is encouraging festival goers to use the Metro. Residents should expect to see an “increased police presence” in the area over the weekend, the police department said.

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17th Annual Columbia Pike Blues Festival (photo courtesy Columbia Pike Documentary Project)

The Columbia Pike Blues Festival is returning this summer for its 26th edition.

The annual summer music festival is set to take place on June 17 this year and will span several Columbia Pike blocks. It will feature a collection of performances, local food, beer, and family-friendly activities, as it usually does.

This year’s headliner is Judith Hill, a singer and songwriter featured in the Oscar-winning documentary “20 Feet from Stardom.” She’s performed and worked with John Legend, Josh Groban, Prince, and Michael Jackson and has self-produced several of her own albums.

Also playing at the festival are Annika Chambers and Paul DesLauriers, local blues guitarist Bobby Thompson, Gayle Harrod Band, and Spice Cake Blues.

A number of local restaurants will be providing food and drinks, including New District Brewing. As co-owner Mike Katrivanos told ARLnow last month, the Green Valley-based brewery will be serving beer at the festival again this year despite the fact they may be without a home come June.

Another now-shuttered business, Rincome Thai, is still set to curate the wine list for the Blues Festival.

There will also be a kids activity area, while 9th Rd. S. will be transformed into an “art alley” where the Arlington Art Truck is set to have interactive exhibits, activities, and an exhibit from the Columbia Pike Documentary Project.

More programming and activities are still expected to be added to the line-up this year, Arlington Arts marketing director Jim Byers told ARLnow. Those additions will be announced via social media as it gets closer to the festival.

Arlington Arts co-produces the event with the Columbia Pike Partnership.

About 7,000 people are expected to come to the festival this year, though that depends on the weather, Byers said. In 2022, it’s estimated about 8,000 people attended, as the festival returned to being fully in-person for the first time in three years. It was also the festival’s 25th anniversary.  

The Columbia Pike Blues Festival started in 1995 and, according to organizers, it is considered the largest music festival of its kind in the D.C. area.


This afternoon, Arlington County will officially debut its “renovated and reimagined” headquarters in Courthouse.

To celebrate the conclusion of the $4.8 million project, it is hosting an event and ribbon cutting ceremony today (Wednesday) from 3-6 p.m. at the Ellen M. Bozman County Government Center, located at 2100 Clarendon Blvd.

“As part of the celebration, Arlington will officially open the new full-service Courthouse Library, a new Arlington Welcome Center, and a new Permit Arlington Center, and the USS Arlington Community Alliance and the Arlington Historical Society will unveil a full model of the USS Arlington,” the county said in a press release.

Commissioned a decade ago, the USS Arlington honors the 184 people who died on 9/11 as well as the local and regional first responders who responded to the attack.

“Additionally, the open house will feature government services, an introduction to Rank Choice Voting, NARCAN training, public art projects, music, children’s story times, crafts, and more,” the release said.

Arlington County Board members, County Manager Mark Schwartz, Arlington Public Library Director Diane Kresh, a Ukrainian musician and the county’s poet laureate are set to be in attendance.

Interior renovations began in September 2021. The county also added conference rooms and renovated the lobby, second and third floors, the ninth-floor break-room and parking garage-level common areas.

Funding came from a $23.7 million tenant improvement allowance that was provided by property owner JBG Smith when the county renewed its lease in 2018. The county used part of its tenant allowance on a contract to design the interior changes.

Pink in the Park promotional image (photo courtesy National Landing BID)

A big event postponed due to the April 1 wind storm has been rescheduled.

Pink in the Park, organized by the National Landing Business Improvement District, will now be held from 4-8 p.m. on Sunday, April 30. Tickets, available for free online, are required.

“Located at the Long Bridge Park Aquatics & Fitness Center, Pink in the Park will feature an exciting musical lineup of DJ Chan Don, Crush Funk Brass, Umami House, Footwerk, Reesa Renee, and headliner Black Alley,” a BID spokesperson wrote. “With a cashless beverage garden, food trucks, immersive, cherry blossom-inspired art installations, Instagrammable moments and more, Pink in the Park is the can’t-miss finale to cherry blossom season!”

The event will be hosted by Orlando Jones of MADtv and 7Up spokesman fame.

More below, from a press release.

Pink isn’t just a color, it’s a vibe. Celebrate the end of cherry blossom season and pump up the pink at Pink in the Park, presented by Amazon and produced by the National Landing Business Improvement District at the Long Bridge Park Aquatics & Fitness Center in National Landing.

From 4 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, April 30, adults can enjoy unforgettable music and entertainment with special guest and celebrity host Orlando Jones, and performances by DJ Chan Don, Crush Funk Brass, Umami House, Footwerk, Reesa Renee, and headliner Black Alley. Enjoy a  spring-themed cashless beverage garden, food trucks, immersive, cherry blossom-inspired art installations, Instagrammable moments, and much more.

Full performance lineup includes:

Adult beverages, including beer and wine, will be provided by #FrayLife Bar, Crystal City Wine Shop, Beauty Champagne and Sugar Boutique, Drunk Fruit, Lost Boy Cider and more. Guests can also sample flavors of National Landing restaurants and food trucks including:

“We are excited to announce a new date for Pink in Park and to bring all the pink energy across the river in National Landing on Sunday, April 30 as we close out the National Cherry Blossom Festival,” said Tracy Sayegh Gabriel, President and Executive Director of the National Landing BID. “We’re proud to highlight the festival in our neighborhood’s signature park in collaboration with our sponsors and vibrant National Landing businesses and look forward to being part of our region’s storied cherry blossom celebration.”

“Amazon is thrilled to partner with the National Landing BID and the National Cherry Blossom Festival to bring the joy of the cherry blossoms to National Landing,” said Patrick Phillippi, Senior Manager of Community Engagement for Amazon. “Pink in the Park will be one of the largest National Cherry Blossom Festival events ever in Virginia and we are excited to celebrate spring with our community.”

Please stay tuned for updates and more community programming by visiting or following the BID on Instagram @nationallanding.

WHEN: Sunday, April 30 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: Long Bridge Park Aquatics & Fitness Center; 333 Long Bridge Drive, Arlington, Virginia

HOW: FREE festival tickets are available at Tickets are required.

Ice skaters and sun bathers at Westpost in Pentagon City (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The “Markers Market” is coming back to Pentagon City, planned for the first Sunday of every month starting this weekend.

The market featuring local artists, creators, food, and music is returning to Westpost (formerly Pentagon Row) this coming Sunday, April 2. It begins at 11 a.m. and runs until 4 p.m.

Like last year’s edition, it is free to attend with on-site parking available. Organizers are asking attendees to reserve tickets.

“Explore trendy and unique creations, enjoy ambient music from the live DJ, and take in all the plaza has to offer from tasty dining options to retail shops and services,” reads the event listing.

The market is expanding its schedule in 2023 and is now planned for the first Sunday of every month through October. Dates include:

  • April 2
  • May 7
  • June 4
  • July 2
  • August 6
  • September 3
  • October 1

“Each market will feature some new vendors and some returning vendors,” notes the event listing.

Among the vendors are small producers like Herndon Woodshed, Clay Creations by Liz, Smell of Love candles, Billy’s Hobby Shop, Fire in Hand Jewelry, A Hot Sauce Co, and Jarhead Leather.

The shopping center that was once called Pentagon Row just closed its popular skating rink for the season last week and is now getting set up for the spring and summer.

Several new restaurants are preparing to open in the coming weeks. Hangry Joe’s Hot Chicken plans to open early next month while Chase the Submarine remains docked at the former Bread and Water “cube.”

The sandwich shop’s revival from local chef Tim Ma was supposed to start serving earlier this year, but it has yet to open its doors.

Dumpling Week graphic (via ChiKo)

ChiKo in Shirlington (4040 Campbell Ave) will take part in the local chain’s Dumpling Week next week.

For Dumpling Week, co-owners Danny Lee and Scott Drewno are drawing inspiration from several cuisines to offer customers a different dining experience each day.

“The world needs dumplings,” Lee said.

The dumpling festivities will run from Monday, March 13 to Sunday, March 19, starting on Monday with a $58 tasting menu.

The tasting box hosts five pieces per flavor for a total of twenty-five dumplings — Chinese sausage and shrimp, chicken wonton, fried yachae mandu, shrimp and scallop siu mai, and classic pork and chive. Dipping sauces will be served with this dumpling smorgasbord at no extra cost.

On Tuesday — 3/14 — ChiKo plans to honor dumplings in dessert form with “Pie Day.” The restaurant’s second special includes fried apple dumpling hand pies with a vanilla glaze ($7).

China Chilcano’s head chef Will Fung has partnered with ChiKo to serve its customers handmade Hong Kong-style shrimp wontons with white pepper dashi on Wednesday.

The chef’s “Mama Fung” sauce is drawn from his mother’s culinary influence and included in the dish to accompany the wontons. The proceeds from Wednesday’s special will be donated to World Central Kitchen — restaurateur Jose Andres’s non-profit that works to serve international populations affected by humanitarian crises.

Fung’s feature precedes the week’s latter dishes: chicken dumplings with ghost pepper chili oil on Thursday ($12), St. Patrick’s Day-inspired Irish beef dumpling stew on Friday ($15) and Korean barbecue dumplings on Saturday ($13).

The celebration will close with Sunday’s crab rangoon special ($14).

ChiKo’s wide-ranging interpretations of the traditional dumpling parallel Lee and Drewno’s multifaceted culinary backgrounds. The owners use Dumpling Week to get creative and share their love of the doughy dish.

“Dumplings equal joy,” says Drewno.

All featured plates are exclusive to the annual event and are not included on the standard menu. Dumpling Week specials will be available during dinner hours; ChiKo will serve its regular lunch options throughout the week.


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