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A Lunar New Year celebration is coming to the Pentagon City mall this weekend.

On Saturday, Feb. 4, the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City is partnering with Asian American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) on an event to ring in the Year of the Rabbit.

The festivities, starting at 1 p.m. on the Metro level of the mall, are set to include music, dancing, and treats.

This is the seventh year the mall and the Tysons-based nonprofit have come together to celebrate the Lunar New Year, one of the most celebrated holidays in the world.

“We hope to bring joyful celebration to the community, uplift the spirit in these challenging times, preserve the cultural traditions and celebrate cultural diversity,” AACC president Cindy Shao said via email.

Shao said that attendees can expect traditional dragon and lion dances as well as cultural performances representing a number of Asian countries like Thailand, Indonesia, China, and India. There will also be magic and fashion shows as well as pastry samplings.

A number of the mall’s stores will be offering specials during the event as well.

“This year, we are excited to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit and usher in new beginnings, good luck, health and prosperity for 2023,” Shao said.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. (Photo via Arlington County)

(Updated on 1/13/23) Several community service events are taking place in the coming days across Arlington in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King.

County offices may be closed on Monday (Jan. 16), but the county and local organizations are holding events on and around the federal holiday recognizing the civil rights icon’s birthday.

On Sunday, the county is set to hold its annual MLK Tribute event from 5-6:30 p.m. in the Washington-Liberty High. School auditorium at 1301 N. Stafford Street. This is a change from Wakefield High School due to a maintenance issue. The event will also be live-streamed.

The tribute will feature live music, spoken word, and dance while being produced by Encore Stage & Studio in Cherrydale. The program will highlight MLK’s visit to Arlington prior to the 1963 March on Washington.

Arlington’s annual MLK Tribute has been going on for more than five decades and “was first organized by Arlington County staff and community members in 1969, the year after Dr. King was assassinated,” per the county’s website.

Then, on Monday, Volunteer Arlington is working with a number of different local organizations to host its sixth annual day of service.

For the first time in a few years the event will be held in-person, though there will be virtual options as well.

It will begin at Washington-Liberty High School with opening ceremonies and t-shirt distribution for the first 500 volunteers at 9 a.m.

At 9:30 a.m., volunteers will disperse to participate in one of more than the 20 projects being hosted county-wide. These opportunities include making snack bags for students, cleaning up Barcroft Park, and learning how to help Arlington’s older residents. It’s recommended to sign up for the preferred project in advance since a number are already filled.

Also on Monday, Walk Arlington is planning a clean-up of the W&OD Trail.

Organizers are asking volunteers to meet on the trail where it intersects with Columbia Pike. A WalkArlington tent is expected to be set up near that intersection with the goal of walking the trail about half a mile toward S. George Mason Drive. The plan is to pick up litter and debris on “a beautiful trail that’s enjoyed by cyclists and walkers alike.”

In 1984, Virginia started officially commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. on the third Monday in January. But MLK Day was paired with the uniquely-Virginian Lee-Jackson Day, creating a peculiar and controversial holiday that recognized two Confederate generals and a civil rights icon on one day.

The two days were separated in 2000, though Lee-Jackson Day remained on the books as a state-wide holiday for another two decades. In 2020, a bill was signed into law that officially removed it as an official holiday in Virginia.

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Digital art of a Clarendon crowd (generated via DALL-E 2)

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Northside Social New Year’s (file photo)

There are plenty of places to celebrate locally as the calendar flips to 2023.

After two years of subdued New Year’s Eve parties due to the pandemic, a number of Arlington restaurants are roaring back with events.

Below are some of the Arlington restaurants, bars and spaces where you can ring in the new year.

The decked halls of B Live (courtesy Albert Ting)

B Live’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve
2854 Wilson Blvd
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $25

Mike and Christal Bramson opened B Live, one of Clarendon’s newest entertainment venues, opened in May. A ticket to the party gets you a drink ticket, a champagne toast, an hors d’oeuvres station and access to a photo booth. Live entertainment is provided by Klepto Radio.

Interior dining space at Wilson Hardware in Clarendon (photo courtesy of Wilson Hardware)

Sixth Annual Wilson Wonderland New Year’s Eve
2915 Wilson Blvd
Time: 9 p.m.
Cost: Starting at $60

Taking place in the Wilson Hardware’s newly revamped million-dollar space, admission to the party includes “party favors” and two drink tickets. There will be a DJ, a light show and a ball drop as well.

Pamplona Prohibition New Year’s Eve
3100 Clarendon Blvd
Time: 8 p.m.
Cost: $45

Pamplona, another Bramson nightlife venture in Clarendon, is hosting its sixth annual “prohibition party.” A ticket gets you three drink tickets, appetizers, party favors, a champagne toast and dancing.

Exterior view of Renegade in Clarendon (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

New Year’s Eve with Tunnels End at the Renegade
3100 Clarendon Blvd
Time: 10 p.m.
Cost: TBA

This Clarendon hangout at the forefront of Arlington’s live music revival will host a local pop/punk cover band Tunnel’s End that will have you remembering the early aughts.

Lyon Hall’s New Year’s Eve 2022
3100 Washington Blvd
Time: 9 p.m.
Cost: No cover.

Clarendon mainstay Lyon Hall hosts local jazz band Vanessa Ralls and the Berries for a New Year’s Eve concert. There will also be a holiday menu and drink specials.

Punch Bowl Social in Ballston in October 2020

Punch Bowl Social New Year’s Eve Celebration
4238 Wilson Blvd
Time: 9 p.m.
Cost: Starting at $10

General admission to the Ballston bar and entertainment venue on New Year’s Eve gets you live music from DJ and access to a photo booth. A VIP ticket at $50 gets light bites, a sectioned-off space, a midnight toast and “free activities” as well.

Clarendon Ballroom entrance on a Saturday night (staff photo)

New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball at Clarendon Ballroom
3185 Wilson Blvd
Time: 9 p.m.
Cost: Starting at $45

Clarendon Ballroom was also recently revamped and reopened over the summer. All three floors, including outdoors, will be open during the party. There will also be an ice luge, party favors, a photo booth, a champagne toast and live entertainment from several DJs.

Interior of WHINO in Ballston (Photo courtesy of Timothy Yantz/WHINO)

New Year’s Blowout at WHINO
4238 Wilson Blvd
Time: 10 p.m.
Cost: $25

WHINO, a restaurant and art gallery that opened at Ballston Quarter in June 2021, is hosting a party with two DJs as well as a countdown to and champagne toast at midnight.

Smokecraft’s Fire & Ice New Year’s Eve 2023
1051 N. Highland Street
Time: 8 p.m.
Cost: Starting at $125

This two-year-old barbeque joint in Clarendon will have a buffet for New Year’s. A ticket grants access to the buffet plus an open bar and a $25 gift card to be used in 2023.

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The central tree in Welburn Square, waiting to be transformed into a “singing tree” (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

A “singing tree” is set to bring holiday cheer to Ballston.

Next week the Ballston Business Improvement District (BID) is debuting the “Ballston Singing Tree.”

That’s 12 strands of 1,200 sound-responsive lights that “[come] alive as harmonies and melodies grace its branches” draped across the central tree in Welburn Square right off N. Taylor Street.

To celebrate, Ballston BID is hosting an event at 5 p.m. on Wednesday (Dec. 14) at the square. It’s set to include performances by the Arlington Children’s Chorus and local musicians Kara & Matty D as well as food from nearby We, The Pizza, a “Jingle Bar” for adults, and a free hot cocoa bar for kids.

And, of course, the lighting of the tree. More technically, the singing tree will use microphones to turn sounds into a show.

“Microphones capture audio input from the environment around the system, which interprets that data into colors and patterns to display throughout the tree,” says a press release.

The software was designed specifically for Ballston by Canadian developer Limbic Media. Mastercard is listed as a sponsor for the event.

“We are so grateful to our partner and fantastic neighborhood steward, Mastercard, for their generosity and for helping us celebrate this wonderful time of the year,” BID chief Tina Leone said in the press release. “Supporting local Arlington organizations and Ballston businesses is the most special way to give back, and we encourage folks to come down to the tree lighting, enjoy some Christmas carols, try their hand at activating the tree, and enjoy all Ballston has to offer!”

The hope is that this will be the start of an annual tradition, per Ballston BID.

The “Singing Tree” will be in Welburn Square from Dec. 14 through the new year.

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Rabbi Mordechai Newman lights the menorah at Chanukah on Ice 2012 at Pentagon Row (file photo)

Arlington is set to celebrate the festival of lights with two menorah lightings later this month.

Hanukkah begins the night of Dec. 18 this year, but the menorah is going to be lit a bit early this year in Pentagon City.

The annual “Chanukah on Ice” event at the Pentagon Row ice skating rink is set for Thursday, Dec. 15 at 5:30 p.m. Organized by the Chabad Lubavitch of Alexandria-Arlington, the evening will feature skating, hot latkes, kosher hot dogs, a raffle, and the lighting of a six-foot menorah.

This family-friendly celebration will also include ice skating, latkes, kosher hot dogs, a raffle, and the lighting of a six-foot menorah for the fifth night of Hanukkah. It will take place from 6-8 p.m.

In case of heavy rain, the rink will be closed.

This fire and ice event has been going on for at least a decade and, often, local officials show up to help light the menorah.

Another Hanukkah celebration is planned a few days later in Clarendon.

Light Up Arlington” is set for Tuesday, Dec. 20, the third night of Hanukkah, at 1307 N. Highland Street. This event is also being hosted by Chabad Lubavitch of Alexandria-Arlington and being held outside, in front of its community center.

There will be latkes, donuts, chocolate gelt, dreidels, hot cocoa, the lighting of a nine-foot menorah, and “lively” Hanukkah music. It begins at 6 p.m.

This event is free, but there’s limited capacity.

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Wreaths Across America in 2021 (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

(Updated at 3:15 p.m.) As many as 40,000 people are expected to attend Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery later this month.

The annual holiday event is set to take place on Saturday, Dec. 17 this year, starting at 8 a.m.

Wreaths Across America provides the public a chance to lay wreaths and other symbolic items at the graves of fallen service members and their families. This tradition was first started in 1992. Some 30,000 to 40,000 people are expected to volunteer this year, per a cemetery spokesperson.

However, for those who’ve attended in the past, the process for attending the event and entering the cemetery will be slightly different.

There’s a new registration system that grants timed entry into the cemetery at either 8 or 9 a.m. through one of four gates — Memorial Avenue, Service Complex gate, Old Post Chapel, and the recently-restored Ord and Weitzel gate.

The South Gate is closed this year, due to the cemetery’s expansion project. The expansion is set to add 60,00 burial sites and space for the new 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center.

Registration is required to enter the cemetery this year, ANC officials said. This new step is being instituted to ensure the “safety and security” of visitors and employees.

Vehicular traffic will not be permitted in the cemetery and parking will be off-limits for the general public in the garage on Dec. 17. There will be “limited” general public parking at the Pentagon North and South parking lots.

Large crowds and road closures near the cemetery should be anticipated.

ANC officials are recommending attendees use public transportation or a ride-share service for traveling to and from the cemetery. The drop-off location will be at the parking lot at 880 Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City. From there, visitors can walk to the Service Complex gate along Columbia Pike.

The annual “Escort to Arlington” parade will also be arriving at the cemetery that day. Billed as the “country’s longest veterans’ parade,” a caravan of vehicles transporting Gold Star families and veterans will travel down the East Coast starting this weekend, en route to Arlington.

Family Pass Holder Day is being held on Sunday, Dec. 11 this year, a week prior to the event for the public. This separate event allows family pass-holders to place a wreath at their loved one’s grave ahead of the more-crowded public Wreaths Across America event.

Last year’s event was, more or less, back to normal after 2020’s version — initially canceled due to the pandemic — ended up being conducted only by military personnel and family members.

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Ballston Quarter’s outdoor Christmas tree (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

It’s holiday time and the lights are coming on in Arlington.

Over the next several weeks, a slew of tree lightings, Santa visits, markets, and holiday celebrations are happening around the county. That’s in addition to last night’s Shirlington tree lighting and the Santa photo shoots already underway at the Pentagon City mall.

Next week, the Rosslyn Business Improvement District is set to turn on the lights at its annual tree lighting ceremony, which now takes place at Central Place Plaza near the Metro station. It’s happening on Thursday, Dec. 8 at 5 p.m. and will be aired on ABC 7 with a countdown from local reporter Kidd O’Shea.

There will be musical performances from Cherry Blossom Organ Trio and HB Woodlawn’s Choir, as well as raffle prizes, holiday cocktails, free photos, and a coat drive benefiting PathForward.

Other upcoming Rosslyn holiday activities include:

  • Dec. 7 at 6 p.m.: Rosslyn Cinema featuring”Elf” at Bennet Park Atrium

Santa is making his way to Ballston, meanwhile, and will be taking holiday photos with well-behaved children every weekend until Christmas starting this Saturday, Dec. 3, as well as the entire week between Dec. 19 and Dec. 23.

Santa will be stationed on the first floor of the mall near the Wilson Blvd street entrance.

Additional Ballston holiday events include:

The annual Peppermint Mocha Competition put on by the National Landing BID returns this weekend as well.

On Saturday, Dec. 3 starting at 11 a.m., three local businesses — The Freshman, Commonwealth Joe, and Beauty Champagne & Sugar Boutique — will compete to see which has the best peppermint mocha.

Other holiday activities in Crystal City and Pentagon City include:

There are also holiday markets at Wakefield and Washington-Liberty high schools as well as a number of Christmas tree sales across Arlington.

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The Village at Shirlington is hosting its annual holiday event “Light Up the Village” (Photo courtesy of Federal Realty Investment Trust)

The lights are being turned back on in Shirlington for its annual holiday event next week.

Shirlington’s “Light Up the Village” is set for Thursday, Dec. 1 from 6-8:30 p.m.

Like previous years, the holiday event will include a Christmas tree lighting, horse-drawn carriage rides, selfies with Santa, and a holiday market featuring local makers. There will also be strolling entertainment, face painting, and balloon twisting.

Additionally, students from Bishop O’Connell High School and Shirlington-based Signature Theatre are both scheduled to perform holiday music.

The schedule with times is below:

  • 6:00 pm Holiday Musical Performance by Signature Theatre
  • 6:30 pm Tree Lighting celebration
  • 6:40 pm Horse and Carriage Rides
  • 7:00 pm Photos with Santa (located at Hardwood Artisans)
  • Live Holiday Music Performance by Bishop O’Connell High School
  • FREE Face Painting and Balloon Twisting
  • Strolling Entertainment
  • Merchant specials and promotions

The event is free. It first started about 20 years ago.

Attendees will continue to be able to “sip and stroll,” as has been the case since 2020.

Food items and donations to the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) will also be accepted at the event.

The Village of Shirlington, which is owned by Bethesda-based Federal Realty Investment Trust has had a slew of business openings in recent months with more likely on the way.

Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls and Diament Jewelry opened at the shopping center over the summer. Greek restaurant Our Mom Eugenia is looking to open soon, while Jeni’s Ice Cream is still setting up shop in a space formerly occupied by a Thai rolled ice cream business.

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Looking for something to do this week in Arlington?

Check out the following selections from our event calendar. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out this form.

 

Thanksgiving Day Gratitude Service

Thursday, November 24 @ 10:30 AM

First Church of Christ, Scientist (890 N McKinley Rd)

Tony Woods Live – Standup Comedy Showcase

Friday, November 25 @ 8:00 PM

Crystal City Sports Pub (529 23rd Street South)

Comedy legend Tony Woods (HBO, Netflix) in Arlington!

Highlighted items are sponsored

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Shirlington-based Signature Theatre has announced a slew of new shows and events as part of a season-long tribute to Stephen Sondheim.

Earlier this week, the well-known local theater on Campbell Avenue released its show schedule for the upcoming season. It will feature a season-long tribute to the American musical icon Stephen Sondheim, who died last November.

The theater has produced 31 Sondheim productions in its history, more than any other theater in North America, per a press release from Signature.

So Many Possibilities: A Season of Sondheim” will include three all-new productions from Signature of Sondheim classics: “Into the Woods,” “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” and “Pacific Overtures,” a rarely-produced musical due to the need for specific casting and production demands.

The addition of three more shows will bring the total of Sondheim shows performed at Signature to 34, a press release notes.

As the American theater that has produced and championed more of Sondheim’s work than any other, Signature Theatre is proud to present So Many Possibilities in honor of his memory and in celebration of his unparalleled contribution to the American musical theater canon,” Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner said.

Along with three new fully produced musicals, there will also be a number of other events celebrating the lyricist. That includes book signings, sing-alongs, and a collective effort to sing (or speak) every lyric of every Sondheim song called “Sharing Sondheim.”

Signature Theatre opened in Shirlington nearly three decades ago, converting an old auto garage into a theater. In 2007, the theater moved about a quarter of a mile away into a $16 million space that was built in partnership with the county. Signature won the Regional Theatre Tony Award in 2009.

Signature Theatre’s show and event schedule through July 2023, from the press release, is below.

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