One of the Town of Herndon’s staple events is officially no more.
The Herndon Festival has been canceled for good, the town’s parks and recreation department announced today (Monday).
In a video statement explaining the change, town officials said the decision was made due to a combination of issues like increased logistical challenges, security and accessibility concerns, and lack of volunteers to maintain and support what has been a cornerstone event in Herndon for 43 years.
While lauding community organizations and volunteers for their efforts in maintaining the festival, Mayor Sheila Olem said issues with attracting volunteers also contributed to the decision.
“Over the years, the decline in volunteerism and volunteer organizations who were the backbone of the festival has been problematic,” Olem said.
The town invests more than 1,000 hours per year into the event, in addition to 1,000 volunteer hours, she said.
Started in 1981, the festival was traditionally located in downtown Herndon, but it got moved in 2019 to the Northwest Federal Credit Union campus in anticipation of developer Comstock starting construction on its redevelopment project — which still hasn’t begun.
Town Manager Bill Ashton II said the town can’t simply shift the festival back to downtown Herndon, because staffing and security issues remain at that location as well.
“We understand the significance of the Herndon Festival in our community,” Ashton said. “The decision to close the festival is not easy.”
Cindy Roeder, director of the town’s parks and recreation department, said the department will continue to find new ways to bring the community together.
“For over 40 years, the Herndon Festival has been a source of joy, laughter and connection for our community,” she said.
Photo via Herndon Festival/Facebook
Cook, who won the seventh season of the popular singing show, has since broken several Billboard chart records. The D.C.-based rock band Broke Royals will open his performance.
The Town of Herndon recently announced the line-up for the long-anticipated event in June.
Herndon’s own Pool Boys — a rock band that specializes in a mix of pop, rock and hip-hop — will kick off the festival on Thursday, June 1. Uncle Jesse will headline the event at night.
On Friday, June 2, Pablo Perez El Alcalde de la Salsa will perform, with an opening by The Chuck Brown Band.
On Saturday, June 3, Buckwheat Zydeco Jr. & the Legendary Ils Sont Partis Band will bring zydeco, the Creole cousin of jazz, to the festival.
Cook will close out the weekend with a show on Sunday, June 4, from 4:30-6 p.m.
“We are incredibly excited to present such a diverse and talented lineup for the Main Stage at this year’s Herndon Festival,” Cindy Roeder, one of the festival’s organizers, said. “We have carefully curated a mix of nationally recognized acts and regional talent to ensure that festival-goers have an unforgettable musical experience. Get ready to sing, dance, and create lasting memories with us!”
The complete schedule is available online.
The festival is set to take place from June 1-4 at the Northwest Federal Credit Union campus (200 Spring Street). The credit union is the title sponsor for the free event.
The town announced the coming of the festival yesterday (Thursday), unveiling a new logo and media package.
But a town spokesperson said it was too early to share details on the planned scope of the festival.
“We are finalizing the scope of the festival in the coming weeks and will be able to announce more information soon,” Reid Okoniewski, a spokesperson for the town’s parks and recreation department told FFXnow in a statement.
Last year, the town organized an alternative to the annual festival — a carnival — at the same venue. The format of event to help the town transition back to hosting large-scale events following the height of the pandemic, FFXnow previously reported.
Photo via Herndon Festival/Instagram
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.