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Taste of Annandale festival returns next week after pandemic hiatus

The Taste of Annandale festival will return on April 29 for the first time since 2019 (photo by Ellie Ashford)

Annandale will close out April by resurrecting its annual celebration of food, diversity and local businesses after four dormant years.

The Taste of Annandale will return next week for the first time since COVID-19 emerged, taking over Tom Davis Drive on Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The festival was last held in the fall of 2019, when it drew over 5,000 attendees, according to Annandale Today editor Ellie Ashford, a volunteer member of the Taste of Annandale Planning Committee.

“This will be the first Taste of Annandale since fall 2019,” Ashford said. “After a break due to the pandemic, it’s great to be able to be back with a big event celebrating a diverse, vibrant community.”

First held in 2015, the festival was created by the volunteer nonprofit Annandale-Mason Roundtable, which emerged out of a series of community forums on diversity organized in 2010 and 2011 by Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services with support from the police department.

After getting canceled in 2020 and 2021, Taste of Annandale was set to make its comeback last fall until organizers announced in June that they had decided to postpone the event to this spring because work conflicts limited the participation of key planning committee members.

Organizers are confident that next week’s festivities will be worth the extra wait.

“This year’s event promises to be even bigger and better,” Ashford said.

According to the website, about 14 restaurants and food trucks have signed up for the 2023 Taste of Annandale, though the deadline for vendors and sponsors was today (Thursday). Caboose Brewing Company, which has locations in Vienna and Merrifield, will host a beer garden.

The festival will also feature live music and other entertainment, activities for kids, a best-dressed pet contest, the Taste of Annandale 5K, and a chili cook-off between the Mason Police Department and the Annandale Volunteer Fire Department.

Registration for the 5K is still open. The race will begin at 9:30 a.m. at 4251 John Marr Drive.

Other highlights include raffles with a basket of locally sold items, a restored 1966 Mustang, and a shirt signed by D.C. United manager and former English soccer star Wayne Rooney as prizes. Proceeds from the Rooney shirt raffle, sponsored by the gym RAMP (7232 Columbia Pike), will go to the Annandale Volunteer Fire Department.

The overall festival will benefit local youth art programs, including a George Mason University initiative that encourages high school students to “use art and poetry to promote community engagement,” per the Taste of Annandale website.