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A glimpse of artist Rodrigo Pradel’s new mural for the PARC at Tysons on Route 7 (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Get ready to paint the town — literally.

Celebrate Fairfax, the nonprofit best known for organizing the annual Celebrate Fairfax! Festival, will unveil a new public mural tomorrow (Saturday) for the PARC at Tysons.

Painted by Northern Virginia resident and artist Rodrigo Pradel, the colorful artwork can already be seen covering the squat building at 8508 Leesburg Pike that previously housed a Container Store.

“It is a stunning piece of work and its outward visibility from the Metro and surrounding area will be a fun draw to the venue,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said in a news release. “The PARC brings events focused on Tysons’ art and culture offerings as well as numerous events focused on local retail and small businesses.”

A collaboration between Celebrate Fairfax, Tysons Partnership, and the alternative art gallery ArtWhino, the mural will make its official debut with a free party from noon to 5 p.m.

In addition to live painting demonstrations by Pradel, the celebration will offer kids’ activities, music from DJ Cabezon, and a market with local artisans and craftspeople. The food truck Pakos Fresh Mex and Caboose Brewing Company will also be on hand to provide sustenance.

Noting that PARC stands for “People, Arts, Recreation and Community,” Celebrate Fairfax spokesperson Katie Rorer says the organization saw the mural as “a great way” to highlight the importance of the arts to the venue.

“The goal was to deliver something colorful and bold to activate the new space with something that captures the vibrancy of the surrounding community,” Rorer said. “Rodrigo’s abstract approach combined with his experience and apprenticeships on several major mural installations in Tysons made him an ideal fit for this project.”

Acquired by Fairfax County in 2019, the former Container Store served as a storage facility for personal protective equipment and a hypothermia shelter during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic before the PARC launched in September.

The events venue has become a key part of the county’s effort to give Tysons a stronger sense of place beyond the malls and office buildings that defined the area for decades.

“The mural at the PARC is just one more example of how Tysons is building our community to engage all residents, business, and visitors,” Tysons Partnership Deputy Executive Director Drew Sunderland said. “We are focused on driving sustained economic interest which will continue to fuel our future growth. We love the PARC design and look forward to celebrating with everyone involved.”

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A water tent at the Celebrate Fairfax! Festival (via Fairfax Water)

The Celebrate Fairfax! Festival, a summer highlight featuring bands, carnival rides, and more at the Fairfax County Government Center, once again won’t occur — but this time, there’s a replacement.

The nonprofit Celebrate Fairfax!, Inc. announced Friday (April 1) on Facebook that it will switch the festival from one large event to different events staged throughout the county.

“Similar to many other organizations we are embracing change as we evolve,” the organization’s announcement said. “Along those lines, we will not be hosting the traditional Celebrate Fairfax! Festival at the Government Center. Instead, we will be focusing more broadly on Fairfax County as a whole, by bringing a part of the festival into each of the County districts.”

In the past, the annual three-day festival has drawn some 70,000 attendees and featured nationally known bands, including All-American Rejects, Everclear, and Third Eye Blind, but it was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the meantime, Celebrate Fairfax has been organizing block parties, craft markets, and other events at The PARC at Tysons, the former Container Store space on Leesburg Pike that has been repurposed as a community event venue.

The reimagined festival will likely be similar to the Tysons block parties. The nonprofit said it’s working on hosting 12 events, one in each of the county’s magisterial districts.

It’s unclear whether Celebrate Fairfax will continue to book bands in the new format, though it confirmed there will still be karaoke contests. Officials didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Commenters on the Facebook announcement expressed disappointment at the change, saying they hoped the organization would bring back the usual format.

“During the past year, Celebrate Fairfax, Inc. (CFI) had the opportunity to re-envision how we, as a 501c3 nonprofit organization, fulfill our mission to celebrate Fairfax County and its communities,” the organization said. “CFI has been a staple in the Fairfax County community for nearly 40 years.”

Celebrate Fairfax said to check its website for a list of upcoming events.

Photo via Fairfax Water

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