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Jefferson Manor neighborhood in Groveton (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

One of the oldest neighborhoods in southeastern Fairfax County is holding its birthday party this weekend, despite the likelihood of rain.

Jefferson Manor near Groveton is celebrating its 75th birthday tomorrow (Saturday) with a block party that will include food trucks, music, beer, a kids’ zone area, and a magician. Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk and Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay are both expected to attend.

Held on Monticello Road between Fairhaven Road and Edgehill Drive from 4-7 p.m., the block party is expected to draw about 300 attendees, even with the potential for dicey weather, Jefferson Manor Citizens Association President Derek Cole told FFXnow.

“We started the block party in 2017 just to celebrate how tight-knit our community was,” he said. “The turnout that we get speaks volumes to the community participation that we have.”

Consisting of about 550 semi-detached duplex homes, Jefferson Manor was built in 1947, as thousands of veterans returned home from World War II for jobs in the military and government.

Then covered in dairy farms, Fairfax County was a perfect place to build a home and settle with a family near enough to the urban core. Between 1940 and 1960, its population sextupled, growing from about 41,000 to nearly 249,000 people in just two decades. Those new residents needed homes fast.

A D.C. developer named Clarence W. Gosnell began buying up land across the county, including about 80 acres near Old Town Alexandria from S. Cooper Dawson, the co-owner of the well-known Penn-Daw Hotel.

Gosnell immediately went to work on the land, naming the neighborhood and the surrounding streets after president Thomas Jefferson.

Gosnell was one of the developers who was able to put up housing quickly and affordably,” Tammy Mannarino, a local historian who recently presented at a Jefferson Manor Civic Association meeting. “And he did that by having them be partially prefabricated.”

Gosnell’s company built and installed 12 to 16 homes a month in the neighborhood, a rate only exceeded by how quickly the homes were being sold, The Washington Post reported in 1947.

Every time they released a section of Jefferson Manor, it sold out,” Mannarino said. “They almost couldn’t build them fast enough.”

Homes were directly marketed to veterans, with Gosnell often advertising the starting price of $8,750 — about $114,000 today — as something “you can afford.”

Amenities soon sprang up to serve the budding neighborhood. Mount Eagle Elementary School (then called Penn Daw School) was built in 1949 to accommodate the new families.

However, as was the case in many county neighborhoods, there were restrictions on who could buy the homes.

The original contracts to purchase a Jefferson Manor home all contained a discriminatory covenant precluding anyone “not of the Caucasian Race” from occupying, using, selling, renting, or being given the home. The only exception was for “domestic servants.” Read More

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11925 Triple Crown Road is one of eight houses in the 2022 Reston Home Tour (courtesy Reston Museum)

Visitors will have a chance to step into an assortment of Reston lifestyles at the Reston Home Tour this November.

A ticket unlocks self-guided tours of eight homes, according to a press release from the tour’s host, the Reston Museum. These include the new Lake Anne House and a home close to Lake Audubon that is filled with art.

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5.

Though the home tours are self-guided, attendees can keep an eye out for docents equipped with information about particular rooms and home features.

The tour is a little bigger this year to recognize the event’s 20th anniversary, Reston Museum Executive Director Alex Campbell told FFXnow in an email. Typically, there are six or seven homes on display, compared to the eight featured this year:

From the press release:

This year’s featured homes include an award-winning modern masterpiece tucked back in a wooded oasis, a beautifully-landscaped personal “club house” offering amazing views of the golf course, a newly-renovated Reston Town Center townhouse with a water view, and an art-filled home near Lake Audubon with soaring ceilings and a delightful garden pond. Highlighted homes also include a renovated colonial near North Point with lots of unique personal touches, brand new EYA model townhouses with elevators near the Wiehle Avenue Metro and the newly-constructed Lake Anne House for seniors.

Tickets are available on the Reston Museum website or in-person at the museum. In addition, The Wine Cabinet, Chesapeake Chocolates and the Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art will sell paper tickets, according to the press release.

Tickets cost $30 until Oct. 17. After that, the price increases to $35.

In addition to the Reston Home Tour, the Reston Museum hosts the Lake Anne Cardboard Regatta and Reston Founder’s Day, among other events. The home tour continues to be the Reston Museum’s biggest fundraiser, Campbell wrote.

In past years, tours have featured work by a local architect and a Marilyn Monroe bathroom, among other attractions.

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Fairfax County faces a marginal risk of flash flooding from Hurricane Ian (via NOAA)

(Updated at 5:05 p.m.) An October weekend once filled with fall events is starting to clear out, as Fairfax County braces for Hurricane Ian.

The storm that devastated Florida after making landfall on Wednesday (Sept. 28) is expected to weaken as it heads north, but its rain and winds could still prove dangerous, the Fairfax County Department of Emergency Management and Security (DEMS) warns.

According to the department, remnants of Hurricane Ian are projected to arrive tonight (Friday), bringing scattered flooding and strong winds:

  • Scattered localized flooding is possible from rain. Overall, we are not expecting significant flooding impacts from this event. The rainfall totals are expected to be between 1″-2″ with a high end of 3″ over the three day period of Friday through Sunday. A rumble of thunder may enter the area early Saturday morning, but no significant thunderstorm threat is expected.
  • Winds will be sustained at 15-20 mph with gusts between 20-30 mph throughout the weekend.
  • Tidal anomalies of 1-2 feet are possible, but no significant tidal flooding for Fairfax County is expected.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin declared a State of Emergency earlier this week, giving the state authority to mobilize resources in preparation for the storm.

Several events planned across the county for tomorrow (Saturday) have already been canceled or rescheduled, with organizers citing the impending inclement weather. Others are still monitoring conditions before making a determination.

The McLean Project for the Arts pulled the plug on its annual MPAartfest on Wednesday, though the 2022 McLean 5K is still on for now.

“This is a rain or shine event, we have no plans to cancel,” McLean Community Center General Programs Director Mike Fisher said. “If we do cancel, that decision will be made in the moment as a result of on the ground conditions at the event site.”

Reston Community Center’s first-ever Silent Dance Party at Reston Station has been postponed to 5 p.m. on Oct. 9, while Reston Association announced yesterday (Thursday) that its popular Reston Community Yard Sale has moved to next Saturday, Oct. 8.

This morning, the Town of Vienna officially canceled tomorrow’s Oktoberfest, which drew more than 35,000 visitors last year. The Fall Native Plant Sale has been bumped to Oct. 8.

In lieu of the town’s official Oktoberfest, the Vienna Moose Lodge (9616 Courthouse Road) has teamed up with Caboose Brewing Company to host indoor festivities with draft beer and pretzels from noon to 9 p.m.

Both Fairfax County Park Authority events set for tomorrow have been altered. Bug Fest at Lewinsville Park in McLean has been postponed to Oct. 22, but Buktertoberfest at Burke Lake Golf Course has been canceled.

In Fairfax City, the Out of Darkness Walk to raise awareness about suicide and mental health impacts is currently still a go, but the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says it will provide an update by 5 p.m. if that changes.

Map via NOAA

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Halley Rise — a major mixed use development at the door of the Reston Town Center Metro station — will debut its inaugural Halley Rise Fall Festival on Oct. 22.

The event, which includes live music, food and activities, also kicks off the introduction of the Farm at Halley Rise, an urban farm by Up Top Acres that grows food and donates products to organizations that work to reduce food insecurity.

Just under half an acre in size, the farm includes more than 30 vegetable, herb and fruit crops, along with beehives, a native flower garden, a rain garden and a meadow. The farm is intended to provide Cornerstones Food pantry and other local food security organizations with produce.

“At Up Top Acres, our goal is to create productive farms and gardens that foster a sense of community,” Up Top Acres co-founder Kathleen O’Keefe said. “We’re excited to welcome the Farm at Halley Rise into our portfolio and partner with Brookfield to reduce food insecurity and work toward a more equitable food ecosystem.”

Brookfield Properties broke ground on the project in 2019 and has since focused on building The Edmund, a 353-unit apartment building that includes a pool, terrace, and fitness center. The apartment building, which will house Wegmans on the ground floor, is slated to open in spring 2023.

Robert Swennes, Brookfield’s head of the mid-Atlantic and southeast region, said that the festival is part of an ongoing effort to make the development a vibrant community and destination in Reston.

“We are excited to welcome friends and families from across Northern Virginia for a day full of autumnal festivities, live music, delicious food and more, plus the grand opening of our new urban farm — all together should make for a wonderful celebration at Halley Rise,” Swennes wrote in a statement.

The festival will include scavenger hunts, a pumpkin painting station, a bouquet making stand, farm tours, lawn games and performances by local bluegrass band High & Wides. Pepe by Jose Andres, a food truck, will also serve up Spanish flat sandwiches.

At full build-out, Halley Rise will bring 1,600 residential units, 1.9-million-square-feet of office space, 240,000 square feet of retail, five acres of open space and associated infrastructure to the area.

A spokesperson for Brookfield Properties told FFXnow that the company plans to find other ways to engage the local community.

“Following this year’s event, we will continue to explore ways to offer family-friendly programming for the community,” the spokesperson said.

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The festival takes place in Reston Town Square park tomorrow (courtesy Canine Companions)

A DogFest is coming to Reston Town Square Park tomorrow (Saturday).

The event, slated to take place from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. at 11900 Market Street, will benefit Canine Companions, a nonprofit organization that encourages clients and their dogs to live with greater independence. Activities include service dog demonstrations, music, games, speeches and activities for kids.

The event is free, but online registration is encouraged.

“Help us raise money to provide exceptional dogs for the over 400 people currently waiting for their new canine partners,” Canine Companions spokesperson John Bentzinger wrote in a release.

The organization was established in 1975 and is active in six regions across the country.

Dogs that take part in the event must adhere to several conditions, including being social, being up to date with vaccinations, and remaining on a leash no longer than six feet at all times.

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The first Rescue Reston rally began 10 years ago (via Rescue Reston)

Rescue Reston, a volunteer organization that seeks to preserve Reston’s open space, is officially marking its 10-year anniversary.

The grassroots organization plans to host a rally on Oct. 15 from 1-3 p.m. to celebrate its efforts to protect Reston’s recreational open space.

Rescue Reston formed in 2012 in an effort to successfully oppose the redevelopment of Reston National Golf Course. The owners of the golf course sought to redevelop the golf course into a residential development.

“The Rescue Reston 10th Anniversary Rally for Open Space will show all how strong we are together and demonstrate the level of community support there is for protecting Reston’s recreational open spaces for current and future generations,” organizers said on the event page.

Participants will get a chance to learn how to get get involved with the organization.

“In 2012 we coalesced around a common vision and purpose and have moved forward with unwavering community support over the past 10 years,” organizers say.

Here’s more from Rescue Reston’s president Connie Hartke:

Hidden Creek’s owners made their pitch for development a few years ago, but on March 23, 2020, Supervisor Alcorn stated “…there is not support from surrounding communities for changing the comprehensive plan. In fact it is not even close – there are more than five residents against for every supporter of possibly changing the plan. Therefore, I do not support changing the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan’s current designation of this property as a golf course and consider the matter closed.”

The community around Reston National Golf Course has stayed united against development, even after listening to the RNGC developer-owners pitches for the last 18 months.

The Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan for Reston recently went through a 2.5 year update process by a 31-member community task force. Reston currently has a population of slightly over 60,000, but when all the development under the current plan draft is approved and built, the total population will nearly double to an estimated 110,000 to 120,000 people. Over half of the new housing population will be in the Transit Area between Sunrise Valley Drive and Sunset Hills Drive, where it is expected and planned for.

Our designated Biophilic City of Reston continues to grow and evolve. The speculators who own the two golf courses need to stop attempting to upend our careful planning. They bought golf courses.

Since its inception, the organization has fought a battle on two fronts: preserving the Hidden Creek Country Club and Reston National. Reston’s comprehensive plan — the county’s official guiding document on planning and development for the planned community — designates both golf courses for private recreational use and specific to remain as golf course.

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MPAartfest (courtesy McLean Project for the Arts)

Updated at 2:45 p.m. on 9/28/2022MPAartfest has been canceled due to potential inclement weather from Hurricane Ian, which made landfall in Florida today (Wednesday). Organizers are looking at options for an alternative fall event, the McLean Project for the Arts said.

Earlier: The McLean Project for the Arts (MPA) is kicking off fall with a celebration of the culinary, visual, and musical arts.

The McLean Project for the Arts will bring its annual MPAartfest back early next month. The 16th annual MPAartfest is scheduled for 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2, in McLean Central Park (1468 Dolley Madison Blvd).

“This year’s event will feature a diverse group of more than 35 juried artists from across the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as a world of music curated by MPA Music Director Ken Avis, the beloved Children’s Art Walk, food vendors, children’s art activities, and more,” the MPA said in a release.

New highlights include a juried gallery displaying art from local elementary school students.

In terms of food, a wine and beer stand called Café Beret will return, along with a variety of local food trucks. The event will also feature live music throughout the day.

“A one-day juried fine art show and sale, MPAartfest transforms McLean Central Park into a lively landscape of mini art galleries showcasing and offering for sale the work of acclaimed artists from the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond,” the release said.

Admission to the MPAartfest is free and parking will be available at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Avenue).

“Each fall MPAartfest celebrates our community and the arts in the beautiful setting of McLean Central Park,” MPA Executive Director Lori Carbonneau said. “We are so appreciative of our lead community sponsor, the McLean Community Center, and of all the generous community sponsors who help to make this event possible. We invite all the community to join us for a relaxing and inspiring day of art in the park!”

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Capital One’s headquarters and the upcoming “Block A” mixed-use tower provide a backdrop for The Perch (courtesy Capital One Center)

One year ago, Capital One Center launched The Perch, a 2.5 acre park with mini-golf and a biergarten adjacent to the Capital One headquarters. To celebrate the anniversary, Capital One Center is launching a weekend-long festival.

Capital One Center said guests are invited to come play elevated mini-golf at Perch Putt or drink at Starr Hill Biergarten while musicians perform at the venue’s amphitheater stage. Other features of the festival include a meet-and-greet with adoptable puppies and a pie-eating contest.

“Participate in bocce tournaments hosted by DC Bocce,” the center said in a release, “enjoy specialty treats from community vendors; dig into one of the Wegmans-sponsored pie eating contests; play with Wolf Trap Animal Rescue’s adoptable puppies; and make an impact by supporting the Perchfest charity partner, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington DC.”

The celebration is scheduled to start on Friday, Sept. 16, from 4-11 p.m. It will continue on Saturday, Sept. 17, from noon to 11 p.m. and on Sunday, Sept. 18, from noon to 5 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public. Online registration enrolls guest into a raffle.

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Parking lot sale at McLean Community Center (image via McLean Community Center/Twitter)

The McClean Community Center’s annual Fall Community Parking Lot Sale — a large flea market for local residents and businesses — is returning next weekend.

The sale is scheduled to run from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at 1234 Ingleside Avenue.

“Featuring more than 50 vendors, the Fall Parking Lot Sale is considered by many to be the first, biggest and best sale of the fall season,” MCC Marketing and Communications Director Sabrina Anwah said in a release. Local residents and commercial dealers will sell a wide variety of items at the open-air event — new and gently used household goods, electronics, furniture, clothing and appliances, among other items.”

The sale will also feature a special “Kid’s Row” set aside for sellers ages 3-15.

“These young vendors gain entrepreneurial skills and put their math skills into practice as they sell toys, clothes, games and other items,” Anwah said.

Admission to the sale is free.

Image via McLean Community Center/Twitter

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The inaugural JeanFest22 in Vienna will celebrate the life of Jean Buttecali, a resident, business owner and volunteer who died in 2020 (photo by Pete Buttecali)

This weekend, Vienna will celebrate a longtime resident the way she would’ve wanted: with a party for a good cause.

The Rotary Club of Vienna will stage its inaugural JeanFest22 Charity Benefit Concert at the Town Green and Jammin’ Java on Saturday (Sept. 10) in honor of Jean Buttecali, a local business owner and frequent volunteer who died suddenly from an unknown heart issue in summer 2020.

Conceived by Buttecali’s husband of over 30 years, Pete, the concert will supplement the ViVa Vienna festival that the rotary club organizes every Memorial Day weekend as a fundraiser. All proceeds will be added to those funds for donation to community groups and charitable causes.

“She had a huge heart, big smile, and also really did a lot of stuff behind the scenes philanthropically with different organizations,” JeanFest22 Chair A.J. Oskuie said “…When we lost her, we wanted to celebrate her in some way, and this was the best way to sort of commemorate her memory and also have a good time. She would want to do the same thing.”

In a video about JeanFest, Pete Buttecali calls his wife’s death a “devastating” tragedy in a year already made challenging by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to their marriage and two children, the couple shared ownership of Woodpile Studios, a design firm noted for creating the logo for the 2005 Grammy Awards.

Yet, Jean “was an optimist” who wouldn’t “tolerate a collapse into grief,” he says. They had promised each other that “if one of us passed away, don’t put on a funeral, throw a party.”

In that spirit, JeanFest will kick off at 11:30 a.m. on the Vienna Town Green with food, retail vendors, and family-friendly entertainment:

Admission to the outdoor concert is free, but there will be buckets and QR codes that attendees can use to make donations.

The festivities will move to Jammin’ Java (227 Maple Avenue East) from 7-10 p.m. for live music from the Arlington-based FBI Band, whose frontman was one of Jean’s best friends, according to Oskuie.

Tickets to the indoor, more adult-oriented “JeanFest Night Jam” start at $22 and can be purchased through Jammin’ Java. Ticket, merchandise, food and drink proceeds will go to charity.

Oskuie says the 2022 ViVa Vienna alone brought in about $240,000. Over the next year, the rotary club will support over 70 different organizations nominated by its members this fall, with distributions starting in November.

Among the beneficiaries will be So Others Might Eat, a D.C. nonprofit that helps people experiencing poverty and homelessness. Jean Buttecali was a supporter, and her family set up a GoFundMe page after her death that raised over $16,000 for the group.

Oskuie estimates JeanFest could draw a total of 4,000 to 5,000 people, making it smaller than ViVa Vienna, but the organizers hope it can have as outsized an impact on others’ lives as its namesake had on theirs.

“It’s a lot of folks who were in awe of Jean and knew her quite well that are running behind the scenes and doing different things,” Oskuie said. “So, it’s a celebration of her life and the proceeds…will benefit local charities that we’ve been giving to through Viva Vienna for years.”

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