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McLean Day returns with amusement park rides like the Himalaya, pictured from 2019 (courtesy McLean Community Center)

Thousands of people are expected to descend on Lewinsville Park Saturday (May 21) for the first full-fledged McLean Day since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

After getting canceled in 2020 and limited to a drive-thru event last year, the McLean Community Center’s annual outdoor festival will return for its 107th year with all of the usual carnival rides, live entertainment, food vendors, and family-friendly activities.

McLean Day will unfold from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1659 Chain Bridge Road. While admission to the overall event is free, the rides require tickets that can be purchased online in advance or on site.

Community members can get a sneak peek of the rides from 2-10 p.m. tomorrow (Friday).

Here is more of what to expect from McLean Day, from MCC’s news release:

Rides and More Amusements

The large amusement rides are a big draw at McLean Day. This year’s selections will shake things up! In addition to the large rides on the parking lot, the Kids’ Way area of the park offers smaller, ticketed rides especially for younger children. Also, for the young and young-at-heart are costumed superhero characters who will be available for photos. Other free activities include laser tag, Bubble Ball, two rock-climbing walls, balloon twisters, a magician and a petting zoo.

Lots of Treats to Eat!

Do you favor festival food? Come to McLean Day ready to enjoy a wide variety of international entrees, snacks and beverages. Some of the area’s best gourmet food trucks that will be on hand to serve the crowds in Lewinsville Park.

Performers Onstage and Off

Free performances will be offered throughout the festival on the Community Stage. Young dancers enrolled in MCC’s Art in Motion Dance classes will open the show at 11:05 a.m. The McLean Community Players will follow at 1:05 p.m. The Alden’s Unruly Theatre Project teen improv group will perform at 1:45 p.m., followed by the McLean High School Chorus at 2:25 p.m. The McLean Citizens Association will present its Teen Character Award at 3 p.m. and G’NASH, a five-member rock band comprised of McLean High School students, will perform at 4 p.m. In addition, a Jugglers’ Stage, located close to the children’s ride area, offers free performances throughout the event.

Voting will also be underway for this year’s MCC Governing Board election, which has been unusually heated with nine adults vying for three seats. There are also three youth candidates for the two teen seats on the ballot.

While absentee voting concluded at 5 p.m. yesterday (Wednesday), the in-person election will be held at McLean Day from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

With parking at Lewinsville Park unavailable during the festival, Fairfax Connector will provide free shuttle service from 10:25 a.m. through 6 p.m. Buses will be available from the McLean Metro station, MCC (1234 Ingleside Avenue), McLean Baptist Church (1367 Chain Bridge Road), and the Trinity United Methodist Church (1205 Dolley Madison Blvd.).

The festival is being sponsored this year by Wheat’s Landscaping, Mars Inc., McLean Properties, and Johns Hopkins Community Physicians, which opened a primary care office in McLean in February.

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Rockler Woodworking and Hardware will open its first Virginia location at Fair Lakes Shopping Center (via Rockler)

Rockler Woodworking and Hardware is opening a new location in Fairfax County.

The hardware and woodworking shop plans to open up at 12975 Fair Lakes Shopping Center. It will be the business’ first location in Virginia.

A company representative tells FFXnow that the shop is expected to open this summer.

“Unfortunately, we do not have an exact date but the location is expected to open around late June,” the representative wrote in a statement.

Rockler takes the place of Golf Galaxy, a shop for golf clubs, apparel and equipment. The sporting goods shop is permanently closed.

The business originated in 1985 when Norton Rockler started the Minnesota Woodworkers Supply Company in Minneapolis. It now has stores and independent resellers across the country.

The store also offers free demonstrations on Saturdays and in-store classes.

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It took longer than anticipated, but Basic Burger has officially arrived in Tysons.

The Arlington-based burger joint opened the doors of its new Tysons West restaurant at 5 p.m. yesterday (Tuesday) — roughly half a year later than planned.

“We had hoped to be open months ago but what should have been a 6 week build out of an existing space took a little over 6 months because of permit delays,” Operations Director Jamie Mansy said by email. “Thankfully we are open now and have been very warmly received by the community.”

Taking B.Good’s place at 1495 Cornerside Blvd., Basic Burger’s Tysons venue is open from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It has seating for 42 patrons inside and 16 outside.

In addition to burgers, the menu features hot dogs, fried chicken and fish sandwiches, salads, and “moo” shakes. The sides include “Loaded Moo Fries” — shoestring fries with chipotle ranch, bacon, shaved Parmesan cheese, and chopped scallions, topped with a fried egg.

Basic Burger announces its Tysons opening (via Basic Burger/Instagram)

This is Basic Burger’s first expansion since it launched in 2016. The company had two new locations in the works before COVID-19 hit but put its plans on hold during the first year of the pandemic, according to Mansy.

As part of its introduction to the Tysons community, Basic Burger has partnered with several local schools for a “Basic Giving Month.” During the first month of business, the partner schools will get all sales proceeds on a specific day, starting next week with Lemon Road Elementary School in Pimmit Hills.

“We have been fortunate to be named to several local, regional and national best burger lists,” Mansy said. “We hope to continue that tradition at Tysons West.”

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New restaurant Knossos will take the place of Spice Town in Herndon (via Knossos/Facebook)

(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) The family behind Knossos Restaurant, an eatery that called Leesburg home for a decade, is bringing its Greek and American cuisine to Elden Street.

Owner Sarfraz Nawaz said many customers have been asking about plans to open a new location. Once the renovation is completed, the business will open at 150 Elden Street, Suite 180, the former home of Spice Town.

“We wanted to pick a location that would provide a central hub location to the various surrounding areas to meet the demand for high quality Greek food. This location is conveniently located near Fairfax County parkway and provides that easy access,” Nawaz wrote in a statement to FFXnow.

While there’s no exact date yet, the owners hope to open their doors to the community within the next two months. The restaurant’s Leesburg location closed in 2006.

Knossos Restaurant will have limited indoor seating, and no outdoor seating is available. Pickup and delivery will also be offered.

It offers subs, burgers, gyros, shawarma, falafel, platters, salad and other items.

Photo via Knossos Restaurant/Facebook

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Frequenters of Reston Town Center may notice new artwork in the area.

Local artist Bryan King began work yesterday (Monday) on two new murals at The Harrison at Reston Town Center. Titled “Salute to Reston,” the murals depict Reston’s skyline and the Mercury Fountain in RTC.

Shaneik Isaac, the apartment’s social director of events, says the artwork is intended to brighten up the more “drab” areas of the building.

“We wanted to remind The Harrison community that Reston is an amazing and beautiful place to live,” Isaac said.

The 360-unit building already has one mural on its loading dock door featuring a picture of leaves and the apartment’s logo.

King is the owner of Artifice Inc., a decorative painting company. Here’s more from King’s website on his background: 

King has been working as a decorative artisan in the Washington Metropolitan region since 1986. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie-Mellon University and received his M.F.A. in painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.  He is a past recipient of the Washington Building Congress Award for Craftsmanship and an instructor of mural painting for the Smithsonian Resident Associate Program. Bryan has executed many large scale building murals that dot the landscape of the region. He has also executed for the past 30 years numerous murals for private residences, corporate interiors, schools, and restaurants, and sophisticated finishes for many prestigious interiors including the House and Senate Theaters at the Main Exhibition Hall at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. 

The project was completed yesterday.

Located at 1800 Jonathan Way, The Harrison opened in 2015 and includes roughly 28,000 square feet of amenity space. It was developed by Renaissance Centro, the developer behind Stratford House and Carlton House, two other multifamily communities across Reston Parkway.

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Jack’s Ranch wants to reintroduce itself to Tysons, and this time, its full identity will be on display.

The Texas-barbeque-meets-Italian restaurant debuted at the Lumen Apartments (1755 Tysons Central Street) in November, but a combination of factors, including the surging omicron variant of the coronavirus, prompted a closure on Dec. 25.

When Jack’s Ranch reopens on Friday (May 20), as first reported by Eater DC, it will have an expanded, barbecue-focused menu that owner Steve Roberts says is more in line with his original intent, though some pasta, pizza, and other Italian dishes have been retained.

“It’ll be an excellent addition to Tysons, given the menu that we have available for everyone,” Roberts told FFXnow. “We do just amazing smoked meat, Texas-style craft barbeque, just like what you would get if you were visiting Austin at one of the best barbeque restaurants there.”

The restaurant’s unusual mix of food was inspired by the marriage between 19th-century cowboy John B. Omohundro (a.k.a. Texas Jack) and Italian ballerina/actress Josephine Morlacchi, according to its website.

According to Roberts, who also owns Texas Jack’s Barbecue in Arlington, the smoked meats were always supposed to be the centerpiece of his new venture, but delays in getting permits from Fairfax County for smokers forced the restaurant to initially launch with only half of its menu available.

After about a month of operations, Roberts says the team decided it “didn’t make sense to continue that approach,” especially with COVID-19 cases rising in the area. They opted to shut down until the smokers were officially approved, which took about seven months.

Open from 5-10 p.m. daily for dinner, with a 4-7 p.m. happy hour, Jack’s Ranch has a 300-seat dining room and a bar that serves beer, wine, and cocktails. Takeout is also available from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Later, the restaurant will add lunch and brunch hours, an 80-seat outdoor patio, and live music performances on its second floor, which has space for private and special events.

Now that the smoker situation has been addressed, giving Jack’s Ranch the ability to cook 100 briskets a night, Roberts says he’s on the lookout for outdoor patio furniture that can withstand the wind that sometimes hits the site, which is just west of the Route 7 and Route 123 interchange.

“We don’t want it blowing all over the place, but I think people will really enjoy it,” Roberts said. “It’s a fun, casual, but beautiful spot.”

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An eco-friendly alternative to lawn-mowing in the shape of teddy-bear-like four-legged creatures has arrived in Fairfax County.

The Fairfax-based LambMowers uses a flock of roughly 11 sheep to mow lawns in the county. Cory Suter, who graduated with a phD in economics, jump-started the company in order to allow sheep to eat weeds instead of poisoning the soil and ecosystem with herbicides.

“One of many things I learned through my studies is that modern society was treating the soil and clean water upon which all life depends like it was dirt,” Suter said. “Rotational grazing on Silvopasture land is one great way of building back dark carbon-rich soil, a rapidly depleting resource. Suburbs with their mix of trees and grass can be very effective at sequestering carbon when managed thoughtfully.”

He moved to Fairfax in 2014 and sold his green roofing company, which was based in Philadelphia, before he started the business.

Suter sections off a portion of his clients’ property to contain the sheep so they can do their work — which they do best in the morning.

The main challenge of this age-old lawn care method: the sheep like to eat shrubs, flowers and plants that clients actually want to keep. The sheep also don’t do a perfectly even mowing job.

But the environmental benefits and cuteness factor have attracted several clients in the county.

For one, the sheep’s poop — what Suter calls a “low odor biodegradable fertilizer” — and its pee is a nutrient-rich form of plant fertilizer.

“The poop dissipates into the soil after a good rain or is consumed by microscopic and insect life in a healthy ecosystem,” he said.

A county spokesperson tells FFXnow that lamb-mowing services are classified as landscape contractor services to mow grass and, as a result, do not require any type of special permit. The workers — the sheep — do need to be kept on a minimum of 2 acres to meet the county’s zoning ordinance.

Suter’s typical client has dogs or kids and doesn’t want them overexposed to toxins like pre-emergent herbicides. Others let their weeds grow out of control in their beds or have stopped mowing their backyards for a bird-friendly way to take care of landscapes.

Instead of charging by the hour, he requires a $150 minimum payment when he brings his trailer of sheep to a client’s yard. The cost is $275 on weekends and evenings.

Suter also offers other eco-friendly gardening services and advice so that his clients “feel they got more than their money’s worth of value.”

He says that most clients have scheduled a follow-up appointment after reviewing the results.

A workforce expansion is on the horizon for the business. Most of the sheep are expecting or have recently delivered babies.

“Bringing sheep to eat the weeds instead of poisoning the soil and ecosystem with herbicides is what sets LambMowers.com apart from other landscaping companies, whose employees have shorter lives on average due to exposure to broad-leaf toxins,” he said.

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A carnival will light up the Town of Herndon in early June (via Town of Herndon)

This year’s alternative to the annual Herndon Festival — a carnival — is set for early June.

The Herndon Carnival will come to the Northwest Federal Credit Union (200 Spring Street), bringing rides, games, entertainers, food vendors and a 5k race to the campus.

Admission is free to the event. In addition to carnival staples, attendees will have the chance to enjoy Greek, Latin, Asian, and southern and traditional American foods.

Pets are not allowed in the carnival areas, and all backpacks, packages and hand-carried items will be searched.

Here’s more from the town on the logistics of free bus shuttle service and parking for the event:

A free shuttle bus service will transport attendees to and from the Carnival area, departing every ten minutes from the Peraton building off Worldgate Drive, 12975 Worldgate Drive, or from the front of Herndon High School, by the bike racks, off Bennett Street.

Two new stops have been added: Herndon Middle School, in the front of the school at 901 Locust Street, and Parkridge Apartments off Florida Avenue.

Parking at shuttle bus pick-up/drop-off locations is free. Shuttle bus service hours are as follows: Thursday, June 2, 6:00-10:00 p.m.; Friday, June 3, 5:00-11:00 p.m.; Saturday, June 4, 10:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.; and Sunday, June 5, 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. Or ride your bike and enjoy a free bike valet service located off Herndon Parkway and the W&OD Trail.

Free public parking is available at 505 Huntmar Drive, a short walk from the Carnival site. For Kiss and Ride drop-offs, use 151 Spring Street.

A “Run Into Summer 5k” is planned to take place on Sunday, June 5 at 7:30 p.m. Beginning at the Herndon Community Center, the race will take attendees through the historic downtown. The first 500 pre-registered participants get a free t-shirt. Registration for the event is open online.

The event is sponsored primarily by Northwest Federal Credit Union and several community and countywide partners. The race is sponsored by Wegmans, Virginia Pediatric Group and Good Wolf Gear.

Residents should avoid the intersection of Herndon Parkway and Spring Street, which is primarily where traffic will be impacted by the event.

The town expects the usual Herndon Festival to return next year, marking 40 years since the event started in the town. The format of the event was changed to help the town and department transition back to hosting large-scale events.

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A new steak and seafood spot opened its doors this month in Old Town Fairfax.

Draper’s Steak & Seafood opened at 3936 Old Lee Highway last Wednesday (May 11).

The Fairfax City Economic Development Authority lauded the business when they officially opened after a soft opening a week earlier.

“Go see the magic yourself! Cheers to Draper’s future success and lasting partnership,” the authority wrote in a social media post.

The restaurant offers items like traditional steaks with a variety of cuts, lobster, salmon, rockfish, and puttanesca.

The business is open Tuesday through Thursday from 4-10 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 4-11 p.m. The restaurant is closed Sunday and Monday.

Draper’s Steak & Seafood did not immediately return a request for comment from FFXnow. It’s established by the Parry Restaurant Group, which is behind other restaurants like Duke’s Diner and 23rd & Main.

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The salon and cocktail bar Scissors & Scotch has opened at Reston Station (via Comstock)

A new business has opened up shop at Comstock’s Reston Station plaza near the Wiehle-Reston Metro Station.

Scissors & Scotch opened in mid-April, bringing grooming services and a fully-stocked bars to customers.

The business is located at 1902 Reston Metro Plaza, Suite 101, and is part of Comstock’s Reston Station development.

The men’s salon and cocktail bar occupies a little over 2,000 square feet on the plaza.

It’s open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., on Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

While packages aren’t required for services, customers can purchase a membership for unlimited booze, special discounts and guest passes, according to its website.

“We are very excited to continue our expansion in the Washington D.C. area at Reston Station,” Kai Christian, the company’s operations director, said in a statement. “At Scissors & Scotch our team of seasoned barbers, stylists and bartenders strive to make our customers look and feel great. We believe those who live and work in the Reston area will love the unique combination of grooming services and cocktails our locations are known for.”

This is the Scissors & Scotch’s first location in Fairfax County, joining franchises in Arlington and D.C. Originally started in Omaha, Nebraska, the business is now based in Kansas City, Missouri, with shops in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.

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