Press Club

A “Maker’s Market” in Pentagon City and a “spring fling” block party at Shirlington are both set to take place later this month.

Currently scheduled for Sunday, May 15 and Sunday, May 29, a “Marker’s Market” is set to happen in the plaza at Westpost (formerly, Pentagon Row) in Pentagon City. It will feature more than 30 artists and craft vendors, including local businesses Shop by Nancy, Fera’s Loft, Chase McClough, and Victoria Barnes Photography.

The event is free and tickets are not required. The market will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

Then, on Saturday, May 21, the Village at Shirlington is putting on a “Spring Fling Village Block Party” from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The event will feature live music, a market, restaurant pop-ups, pet adoptions at Dogma, and a corn-hole tournament benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association. The tournament will start at noon and cash prizes will be awarded to the winners.

A number of restaurants are also participating in a “sip & stroll,” allowing customers to take their cocktails to go.

A featured pop-up at the block party will be Astro Doughnuts, the owners of which are bringing a beer hall to Shirlington. The beer hall is aiming for a summer opening.

The Shirlington block party is also free and tickets are not required.

The retail centers, both owned by Federal Realty Investment Trust, have seen a lot of turnover in recent months. Target and Nighthawk Pizza opened at Westpost over the past several weeks, while sushi restaurant Kusshi and “taco temple” Banditos are expected to start serving very soon.

At Shirlington, a Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is replacing I-CE-NY. The Cookery closed earlier this year and Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls is moving towards an opening later this year.

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Dozens of people, including a County Board member, are expected to rappel down the side of a tall building in Crystal City this week.

More than 70 volunteers associated with the non-profit New Hope Housing will be rappelling down the 14-story Hilton Crystal City at 2399 Richmond Highway on Thursday and Friday to raise funds and awareness for the organization.

That includes Arlington County Board member Matt de Ferranti, who is expected to rappel down on Thursday night at the VIP reception.

The public will be welcome to watch “14 Stories of New Hope” on Friday, though, between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the “Landing Zone,” an all-day festival with food, music, and booths.

If you are feeling the urge to safely rappel down a 140-foot-tall building, there could be an opportunity.

“All are welcome to attend and there may be opportunities for people to walk up and rappel,” says a press release.

Those that are rappelling will be doing it safely with the help of “Over the Edge,” a company that helps non-profits with events of this nature.

This isn’t the first time the company has worked with a local organization for this type of event. Back in 2012, the Special Olympics of Virginia held a similar event when folks rappelled down the Hilton Crystal City to raise funds.

First established in 1977, New Hope Housing is a non-profit with a mission of ending of homelessness in Northern Virginia. It operates a number of facilities and shelters in the region, including a 44-bed shelter on Columbia Pike that it runs in partnership with the county and a facility in Bailey’s Crossroads. The organization also runs shelters in the City of Alexandria and Fairfax County.

Those rappelling down the side of the hotel come from a variety of backgrounds, New Hope’s Director of Development Jan-Michael Sacharko tells ARLnow.

Some are newbies, some are ex-military, and at least one is a Hollywood producer. Greg Garcia, Northern Virginia native and the creator of television shows including “My Name is Earl,” is among the expected participants.

As of last week, the event has raised over $200,000 for New Hope Housing programs, according to Sacharko.

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The Columbia Pike Blues Festival is back to being fully in-person for the first time in three years.

The mainstay Arlington music festival, which is put on by the Columbia Pike Partnership in partnership with the county, will take place on Saturday, June 18 from 1-8:30 p.m.

All of the performances are set for the Pike’s main stage, unlike the last two iterations of the festival. While neither was officially canceled, the events were completely or partially virtual due to the pandemic.

This year’s version will feature headliner Shemekia Copeland — the Blues Foundation’s 2021 “Entertainer of the Year” — as well as Eric Scott, D.C.-based Robbin Kapsalis & Vintage #18, local band Shakin’ Woods, and Anthony “Swamp Dog” Clark.

Local vendors and restaurants will provide food and drinks, plus there will be beer from New District Brewery and a wine list curated by the Pike’s Rincome Thai.

There will be a “Kids Zone” and an “art alley” along 9th Road S. featuring the Arlington Art Truck and work from the Columbia Pike Documentary Project.

2022 is being marketed as the festival’s 25th anniversary due to the format changes over the last two years. The first Columbia Pike Blues Festival was held in 1995.

Beyond Saturday’s day-long festival, a number of other events are being planned over the weekend to celebrate the event’s quarter century anniversary.

On Friday, there’s set to be a special blues festival performance at William Jeffrey’s Tavern. For Sunday morning, a Juneteenth history walk led by the Black Heritage Museum of Arlington is being planned. There will also be live music at the Columbia Pike Farmers Market and at Café Sazón on Sunday morning.

To finish the weekend, there will be a free screening of the 1980 musical-comedy “The Blues Brothers” at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse.

The Columbia Pike Blues Festival is the largest blues festival in the D.C region, according to its website. It often prompts some neighborhood road closures. Upwards of 7,000 people have attended past festivals.

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Arlington Pride Festival 2022 poster (image via Polished Kreative)

Arlington is getting its own pride festival in two months.

The inaugural Arlington Pride Festival is being planned for Saturday, June 25 at Rosslyn’s Gateway Park at 1300 Langston Blvd.

The event is free and for all ages and will run from noon to 7 p.m., according to a press release It’s set to feature games, live entertainment, DJs and “surprise guests.” There will also be a dog park area and kids play section, notes the release.

The festival’s theme is “Moving Forward Together.”

“The Arlington Pride Festival will inspire our community to collaborate in new ways, ensuring all LGBTQIA+ individuals and their families and friends feel empowered, and supported,” organizers wrote.

The announcement of the festival was first posted on Instagram earlier this month. More details are expected to be announced in the coming weeks, a website for the event notes.

An Arlington County Dept. of Parks and Recreation official confirmed to ARLnow that event organizers have completed all the needed paperwork to hold the festival at Gateway Park.

“At this time, the Special Event application is pending, which is common this far out of the process,” parks department spokesperson Martha Holland wrote. “The County will be working with the organizers, as we do with all organizers, to assist in its approval.”

Due to the pandemic, it’s been several years since most pride events were last held. Back in 2019, a number of smaller events were held around Arlington in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

D.C.’s big Capital Pride festival and parade is being held on June 11 and 12 this year, the first time in three years.

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Street scene from Clarendon Day 2017

After a two year hiatus caused by the pandemic, Clarendon Day is set to return in the fall.

Organizers not yet finalized a date for the popular fall street festival, but it’s likely to be in late September, according to Clarendon Alliance board president Kieran Daly. Clarendon Day was last held on Sept. 21, 2019.

In the meantime, the Clarendon Alliance is kicking off a new concert series tonight dubbed Music By the Metro.

The four-week series will run on Wednesdays through May 11. The music starts at 5:30 p.m. at the park just outside the Clarendon Metro station entrance.

Today’s performer is blues musician Bobby Thompson. Next week it’s jazz and Go-Go fusion group JoGo Project, followed by rock/alternative/folk collective Phil Kominski & The Breakaways (May 4) and reggae band Nkula (May 11).

The series is co-sponsored by Arlington Arts, Clarendon Animal Care and coworking provider Industrious.

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

If you like the arts, 5Ks or family- and earth-friendly events, Arlington is the place to be this weekend.

Three separate events in the county will make it bit harder to get around by car.

The Arlington Festival of the Arts will take pace on Saturday and Sunday (April 23-24), shutting down several roads in the Clarendon area. The outdoor event offers art for display and sale over several blocks, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

The Arlington County Police Department announced the following road closures for the event.

The following roads will be closed from approximately 3:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 23 through 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 24:

  • N. Highland Street will be closed from Wilson Boulevard to 13th Street N. Local traffic will be allowed to access the public parking garage to 3033 Wilson Blvd.
  • N. Hartford Street will be closed from N. Highland Street to 13th Street N. Local traffic will be able to access the parking garage for 1210 N. Highland Street.
  • The alleyway between N. Herndon Street and N. Hartford Street will be closed at N. Hartford Street

Meanwhile, starting at 6 a.m. Saturday morning, the Bunny Hop 5k Race will close streets in the Ashton Heights and Lyon Park neighborhoods. The race kicks off at 8 a.m. and involves the following road closures, according to ACPD.

The following roadways will be closed in order to accommodate the event:

From approximately 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

  • N. Irving Street, between 7th Street N. and 5th Street N.

From approximately 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

  • N. Irving Street, between 2nd Road N. and 5th Street N.
  • N. Pershing Drive, between N. Piedmont Street and N. Edgewood Street
  • N. Fillmore Street, between 3rd Street N. and Pershing Drive
  • N. Garfield Street, between Pershing Drive and 3rd Street N.
  • 4th Street N., between N. Fillmore Street and N. Garfield Street
  • 2nd Road N., between N. Irving Street and the Columbia Gardens Cemetery

A portion of the course winds through the Columbia Gardens Cemetery.  The Cemetery will be closed to vehicular traffic and have a delayed opening at 10:00 a.m.

Finally, on Sunday, the 2022 Earth Day Every Day Festival will be held off Langston Blvd in front of the Lee Heights Shops. The event will include various family activities, live music, sidewalk sales, food and drink specials, and its own art market.

“Let’s come together as a community to celebrate the beauty and promise of our local environment and the planet,” says the website for the Earth Day event. “Every year, communities worldwide uplift Earth Day to mark the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. It reminds us all to do what we can, in ways small and significant, restore, conserve and protect our environment.”

From ACPD:

The 2022 Earth Day Every Day Festival will take place on Sunday, April 24, 2022 and will be held from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The following roadways will be closed from approximately 8:00 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. in order to accommodate the festival:

  • Cherry Hill Road, between N. Woodstock Street and N. Woodrow Street
  • Northbound N. Woodrow Street, between 20th Road N. and Cherry Hill Road will be restricted to local traffic only

Additional Information

Community members should expect to see an increased police presence in the area around these events, and motorists are urged to follow law enforcement direction, be mindful of closures, and remain alert for increased pedestrian traffic. Additional closures not mentioned above may be implemented at police discretion in the interest of public safety.

Residents of the affected neighborhood areas will be escorted through the road closures to minimize the impacts on the community, only when safe to do so. Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No parking” signs, as street parking in the area around these events will be limited. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222.

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E-CARE event at Yorktown High School (photo courtesy of Arlington County)

Arlington residents will be able to get rid of all that motor oil, latex paint, old 90s electronics, unused bikes, and mercury laying around the house at this weekend’s Environmental Collection and Recycling (E-CARE) event.

The biannual event is coming back to Yorktown High School on Saturday, April 23, giving residents a chance to safely dispose of household hazardous materials, old electronics, bikes, and other small metal items.

E-CARE will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. with the county asking folks to enter via 28th Street N. While the event is intended to be drive-through, those dropping off on foot or via bike will “get super-fast VIP treatment,” reads the email the county sent late last week.

Below is a list of accepted items.

  • Automotive fluids
  • Batteries
  • Car care products
  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)
  • Corrosives (acids/caustics)
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Flammable solvents
  • Fluorescent tubes
  • Fuels/petroleum products
  • Household cleaners
  • Lawn and garden chemicals
  • Mercury
  • Paint products (25-can limit)
  • Photographic chemicals
  • Poisons (pesticides)
  • Printer ink/toner cartridges
  • Propane gas cylinders (small hand-held or larger)
  • Swimming pool chemicals

Serviceable and repairable bikes, as well as bike parts and accessories, are being accepted. Donated bicycles will be donated to the non-profit Bikes for the World. A $10 donation per bike is being requested to offset shipping charges.

Small metal items like pots, pans, tools, pipes, and venetian blinds can also be dropped off.

Below is a list of prohibited items.

  • Asbestos
  • Explosives and ammunition
  • Freon
  • Medical wastes
  • Prescription medications
  • Radioactive materials
  • Smoke detectors
  • Business and commercial waste

Organizers asking residents to pack vehicles in reverse order of drop-off — electronics first, then household hazard materials, and, last for easy access, metals and bicycles.

“It’ll make unloading much faster. And be sure to check with neighbors for opportunities to combine loads and save trips,” the county wrote.

About 95,000 pounds of household hazardous materials were collected at last spring’s E-CARE event, after 77,000 pounds were collected at the October 2021 event.

The event is open to Arlington residents, so bring identification or, as the county e-mail jokes, “be prepared to name every County Manager in order starting with good ol’ 1, Roy Braden.”

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A Virginia State Police vehicle (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Both Virginia State Police and Arlington County police are planning coffee-centric community engagement events in the coming weeks.

This Saturday, April 16, state troopers will be at the Italian Store in Westover (5837 Washington Blvd) from 10 a.m. to noon, ready to engage with the public. VSP will also be recruiting at their “Coffee and Conversation with Virginia State Police” event, looking for new hires to join their ranks.

With continuing staff shortages, VSP recently started offering a $5,000 hiring bonus for those who complete the academy and a training program.

There is also a chance new state hires could be working more closely here in Arlington. In November, the County Board approved a mutual aid agreement that allows troopers to aid Arlington police in keeping the nightlife scene in Clarendon and Crystal City safe.

ACPD, meanwhile, is set to host the first “Coffee with a Cop” events of 2022 later this month.

On Tuesday, April 26, officers will be at the Starbucks at Penrose Square on Columbia Pike from 10:30 a.m. to noon and at East West Coffee on Wilson Blvd in Clarendon from 2-3:30 p.m.

“It’s an informal opportunity to ask questions, discuss public safety and get to know the officers and neighbors in your community,” police said.

The department has been hosting these coffee-centric engagement events since at least 2015.

ACPD also continues to struggle with staffing shortages, recently announcing that the department would cut back on some services while those reporting minor crimes well after the fact are increasingly directed to do so online rather than with an on-scene officer.

https://twitter.com/ArlingtonVaPD/status/1512425141908619273

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

The Arlington Festival of Arts is coming back to Clarendon later this month

The annual free, outdoor arts festival is returning to Washington Blvd on April 23 and 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will cover several blocks, with an entrance at the intersection of N. Highland Street and Washington Blvd.

The festival was canceled in 2020 due to Covid concerns and the 2021 version was pushed to September. So, this year marks the festival’s return to spring for the first time since 2019.

There are set to be over a hundred local and national artists selling their wares at the show. All artists were “hand-selected by [an] independent panel of expert judges,” a press release notes.

“Whether your passions run to sparkling jewels and one-of-a-kind paintings, masterfully crafted glasswork, or an art deco sculpture, you are sure to find it during the free, two-day event,” the press release says.

There will also be a “juried, first-class outdoor art gallery,” for attendees to peruse.

Pets on a leash are welcome, festival organizers say, adding that “ample” parking will be available in Clarendon.

While the Arlington County Police Department has not yet announced any no road closures, it probably can be expected that parts of Washington Blvd will be closed during event hours. Typically, local authorities urge drivers to avoid the area around the closures and take public transit to the event.

A number of annual Arlington events are marking their return this spring and summer after several years of scaling down or cancelling such events due to Covid. That includes last month’s DC Tattoo Expo in Pentagon City, May’s Ballston Quarterfest Crawl, and the yearly “Arlington Reads” series, which is back to being in-person through the spring and summer.

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Enchanted Rhapsody is set for Saturday, April 9 in Crystal City (image via screenshot/National Landing BID)

A string quartet will play pop music in Crystal City this weekend as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

The event, dubbed Enchanted Rhapsody is taking place at the intersection of 6th Street S. and S. Ball Street on Saturday from 4-7:30 p.m. It will feature food, drink and the musical stylings of the Edgewood String Quartet, which will perform classical renderings of Taylor Swift and Queen songs.

The string foursome is known for its covers of pop songs or, as the press release puts it, “think Bridgerton-style classical covers IRL.”

“An evening of Taylor Swift versus Queen songs performed by the Edgewood String Quartet will welcome the bliss of springtime and the beauty of the cherry blossoms,” an event announcement said.

There will be drink and food specials from local Arlington businesses RĀKO, Crystal City Wine Shop, and Bun’d Up. A Captain Cookie and Milkman food truck will also be there. The D.C.-based sweets shop is opening up a Courthouse location later this spring.

This is the neighborhood’s first official Cherry Blossom Festival event, according to the announcement. The event is being co-hosted by the National Landing Business Improvement District and tickets are free, though registration is being requested.

While many of this season’s cherry blossoms met a gusty end last week, the National Cherry Blossom Festival continues until April 17. In Arlington, there are still petal porches to see and bike rides to take to catch what remains of this year’s blossoms.

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George Mason University is celebrating its 50th anniversary and the Arlington’s campus $250 million expansion this week with a concert, a new photo exhibit, and groundbreaking.

Beginning today (Monday), the Northern Virginia-based university will be hosting a week full of events at its Arlington campus in Virginia Square on Fairfax Drive, now known as Mason Square, culminating with an outdoor concert from a local cover band on Friday night.

There is a new photo exhibit opening in Van Metre Hall tomorrow called “Profiles of Arlington” that recognizes those “who are working to impact their community, their region, and the world.”

On Wednesday, there’s set to be an official groundbreaking ceremony for the quarter of a billion dollar expansion of George Mason’s Arlington footprint. That includes the 400,000 square-foot building set to be the centerpiece of the efforts, which is being called Fuse at Mason Square.

The building will house faculty from the Institute for Digital InnovAtion as well as the university’s new School of Computing. There will also be an atrium, 750-seat theater, a public plaza, and a below-grade parking garage. The building is estimated to be completed in the summer of 2025.

While construction actually started at the beginning of the year, Wednesday’s ceremony may include some news. The university previously said it would occupy about 60% of the space with the remaining 40% likely being leased to private companies.

The groundbreaking ceremony press release promises an “announcement of a landmark tenant.”

Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol and Virginia’s Secretary of Education Aimee Rogstad are both scheduled to be in attendance at the groundbreaking.

Thursday marks GMU’s 50th anniversary. The university officially broke off from the University of Virginia and became independent on April 7, 1972.

Then, on Friday, Mason Square will host an outdoor concert event featuring the David Thong Band which will play cover songs from across the decades. The event asks attendees to “dress your favorite decade,” with the best costume winning a prize.

Virginia Square-based Rocklands BBQ, Shrlington’s New District Brewery, and Captain Cookie & the Milkman (which is opening an outpost in Courthouse this spring) will also be there selling food and drinks.

The event is free.

Next week, noted philosopher Cornel West is set to speak at GMU’s Arlington campus about the current state of American democracy, human rights, and critical race theory.

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