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New festival to celebrate Virginia coming to Tysons Corner Center

George Mason University officials are among the community partners expected to attend the inaugural Celebrate Virginia festival at Tysons Corner Center on Saturday (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

(Updated at 2:05 p.m. on 9/13/2023) The Commonwealth of Virginia will take center stage at Tysons Corner Center this Saturday (Sept. 16).

The first annual Celebrate Virginia festival will enliven the Plaza at Tysons Corner Center from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with beer and wine tastings as well as live entertainment, an artisan market and a mural painted in real time.

“We are excited to bring the community together at our inaugural Celebrate Virginia event, which highlights everything that makes our home state special,” said Jesse Benites, the director of property management for the mall’s owner, Macerich. “We will be showcasing small Virginia-based businesses, artists, and talent and are thrilled with the support and collaboration from our public officials and community partners.”

Some of those officials are slated to make appearances, including Rep. Gerry Connolly, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay, and representatives of the county’s police and fire departments and George Mason University.

Organized in partnership with Visit Fairfax — Fairfax County’s official destination marketing agency — and the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC), Celebrate Virginia will be generally open to the public and free to attend.

The only exception is the V.I.P. Wine and Wellness Tent, which requires $40 tickets. The tent will offer tastings from eight different Virginia wineries and access to a pop-up from the five-star resort and spa Salamander Middleburg, where attendees can create a personalized aromatherapy oil.

Proceeds from the ticket sales will go to the Merrifield-based nonprofit Food for Others.

As for the free attractions, there will be beer tastings from five breweries, including Chantilly’s Strange Fruit Brewing, Smartmouth Brewing from Hampton Roads and Brother Craft Brewing from Harrisonburg.

The musical line-up will feature:

  • 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. — DanYko (Alexandria)
  • 1-2:30 p.m. — Tejas & Felix (Fairfax City)
  • 3-4 p.m. — Zac Quintana & Shawn Cody (Manassas)

The Artisan Makers Market will be similarly stacked with vendors based in Virginia, including many in Fairfax County:

Throughout the day, visitors can also help paint a community mural with Loudoun-based artist Kevin Bednarz, whose work mixes street art, graphics and “original styles,” according to Tysons Corner Center.

“The design will be pre-sketched, and event attendees will be able to paint and bring the mural to life throughout the event,” the mall said. “The final product will be a large piece painted by the community to be exhibited within the shopping center.”

There will also be a “Spin the Tysons Wheel” with limited edition “Virginia is for Shopping Lovers” custom shirts, beanie hats, picnic blankets and other merchandise as the prizes.

“Virginia’s artisan, craft beer, and wine industries have become important drivers of Virginia’s tourism economy, making the Commonwealth an ideal destination for travelers who are seeking authentic, experiential attractions,” VTC Director of Communications Andrew Cothern said. “This event will provide an excellent locally made experience of everything Virginia has to offer firsthand.”

Visit Fairfax President and CEO Barry Biggar said in a statement that the agency is “thrilled” to help celebrate “talented artisans, makers and musicians” from Fairfax County and across the state.

Organizers hope Celebrate Virginia will become a recurring occasion. It will likely return annually to Tysons Corner Center, which was the “brainchild behind this event,” according to a Visit Fairfax spokesperson.

“We hope residents and visitors alike will come out to see what this amazing destination is all about and even take home a unique piece of Virginia,” Biggar said.

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