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The artwork features animals in celebration of the Year of the Rabbit (courtesy Tracie Griffith Tso)

Inspired by the Year of the Rabbit, a local exhibition in Reston aims to celebrate the Lunar Year.

Titled “Creatures Were Stirring,” a series of work by artists Tracie Griffith Tso and Lisa Schumaier is on display through Jan. 31 at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road).

The exhibit includes small and large creatures depicted in watercolor drawings to dramatic ink on silk and paper using traditional Chinese brushstroke work.

“Rabbits are celestial animals in the Far East,” said Griffith Tso, who has a pet rabbit herself. “They are lively and charming and their ears and posture expresses mood.”

A collection of 3-D clay art and jewelry from Schumaier and Griffith Tso are available year-round at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria.

The artists met in 2008 at the Torpedo Factory, sharing a love with clay and expressive art. They are also behind that venue’s BunnyFest, which typically occurs the Saturday before Easter.

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Black Santa will return to Tysons Galleria this weekend (courtesy Santas Just Like Me)

Tysons Galleria is getting a triple dose of Santa Claus this December.

In addition to the previously reported “Pictures with Santa” event, which is now taking place daily near Sweetgreen, the mall will host a Fashion Santa and the return of Black Santa, who proved to be a big draw for Neiman Marcus last year.

Neiman Marcus confirmed to FFXnow that it has partnered again with Santas Just Like Me to bring a Black man dressed as Santa to its Tysons Galleria store (2255 International Drive).

As the first time in its 33-year history that the department store hired a non-white Santa, last year’s appearance morphed from a three-hour storytime to two days of photos to accommodate the demand.

“Neiman Marcus has a storied history of holiday traditions and in-store celebrations that are beloved by our customers, especially as we look to make each moment special this season,” Neiman Marcus General Manager Kathy Leigh said. “We are delighted to have a Santa that represents our community join us again…Customers and their families can share their wish lists, enjoy hot chocolate and cookies, and explore our remarkable holiday gifting assortment.”

The “Black Santa Experience” will take place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday (Dec. 10-11). Appointments cost $74.95, including the cost of the photos, and can be booked online through Santas Just Like Me.

Just two days later, on Tuesday, Dec. 13, Fashion Santa will strike poses from 6 to 8 p.m. outside Neiman Marcus.

Described as “the suave brother of our favorite jolly holiday icon,” this Santa will host a sneak peek of Jiwa Singapura, the 10,000-square-foot Singaporean and Malaysian restaurant coming to Tysons Galleria’s redeveloped Macy’s wing.

Previously expected to open in October, the restaurant is now slated to open in early 2023, according to a public relations representative.

Jiwa Singapura is being developed by the team behind Cranes, a D.C.-based Spanish and Japanese fusion restaurant. Chef Pepe Moncayo, who’s also working on a concept at Capital One Center, will be present at next week’s event to offer a preview of the planned menu.

“Designed by //3877, Jiwa Singapura takes inspiration from the modern built forms of Singapore with traditional patterns,” the public relations representative said by email. “The space will capture the best of Singapore’s street-food culture and high-end dining, giving the larger D.C.-metro area a taste of some of the Asian city-state’s boldest, nuanced flavors. Expect to see the classics like Hainanese chicken rice, laksa and chili crab.”

Registration for the Fashion Santa event is free, but the event page says donations to Capital Area Food Bank will be encouraged.

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The Boro in Tysons will kick off its winter holiday festivities this Saturday (courtesy The Boro)

Updated at 5:45 p.m.With rain in the forecast for this Saturday, “Rudolph’s Rockin’ Reindeer Games” has been postponed to Saturday, Dec. 17, The Boro announced today.

Earlier: Officially, winter won’t come for another three weeks, but as far as the Tysons area is concerned, its spirit is already in the air.

This weekend will bring a number of festive, mostly Christmas-oriented events to usher in the colder weather and upcoming winter holidays, from a dance party at The Boro to the previously announced McLean Holiday Art and Crafts Festival.

Winter Boroland

The Boro in Tysons will kick off its festivities from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 3) with Rudolph’s Rockin’ Reindeer Games, which it describes as the “ultimate holiday dance party.”

“Get your groove on with friends, families and neighbors at this holiday-themed dance party featuring a live DJ,” the development said in a press release. “Move and sing to your favorite seasonal tunes while sipping hot cocoa, doing arts and crafts and capturing memories (with Santa photo ops!) for your holiday card. Take part in a special scavenger hunt and compete in reindeer games like freeze dance, red light green light and limbo!”

Santa will be present for photos from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The festivities at Boro Park (8350 Broad Street) are free, but advance registration is encouraged.

Winter Boroland will continue on Dec. 10 with a Holiday Movie Pajama Party at ShowPlace ICON Theatre, which will screen three films that morning:

  • 9:45 a.m. — Arthur Christmas (2011)
  • 10 a.m. — The Polar Express (2004)
  • 10:15 a.m. — Elf (2003)

Tickets cost $8 but include admission, a small popcorn, an apple juice, a goodie bag with candy and a holiday craft, and a photo booth opportunity.

Reindog Parade

Over in McLean, the annual “Reindog Parade” will return to the Langley Shopping Center for a 25th year on Saturday.

Hosted by the Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce, the event invites community members to dress up their pet dogs for a parade that will start at 8 a.m. outside Flowers & Plants Etc. (1378 Chain Bridge Road).

Prizes will be determined by a panel of judges, including Del. Marcus Simon (D-53). Dominion Energy spokesperson and former WUSA9 Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Peggy Fox will serve as emcee.

In addition to the parade, the 90-minute event will feature gift bags for participants, hot chocolate and donuts, music by Bristol Sounds, and an appearance by Santa, per the chamber of commerce. An antique McLean Volunteer Fire Department engine and Dominion Energy bucket truck will also be at the scene.

The fire department will have holiday ornaments for sale as a fundraiser, the chamber told FFXnow.

As in past years, the chamber is asking participants to bring two cans of dog food that will be donated to a local animal shelter as a form of “admission.”

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A woman holds up a piece of handmade decor at the 2021 McLean Holiday Art and Crafts Festival (courtesy MCC)

The McLean Holiday Art and Crafts Festival will hit the 40-year mark this weekend, just as gift shopping kicks into full gear.

Featuring work by 80 artisans from around the region, the annual handmade crafts fair will be held Friday through Saturday (Dec. 2-4) inside the McLean Community Center. Hours will be 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

This will be second time that MCC hosts the event in person during the pandemic. It first returned to 1234 Ingleside Avenue last year after going virtual in 2020.

“This fun and festive community event includes every price point and is sure to inspire holiday cheer,” MCC Special Events Manager Catherine Nesbitt said in a news release. “Esteemed jurors have carefully selected artists who have created extraordinary treasures. Support your community and shop locally.”

Selected by a jury, the festival artists work in a range of mediums, from pottery, glass, wood and jewelry to soap, mixed media, holiday decor, and the culinary arts. Their works will be available for purchase.

There will also be an on-site café where visitors can grab a meal and drinks.

Admission is free for kids 12 and younger, but it otherwise costs $5, though that price covers all three days of the festival. The first 200 attendees will receive a free MCC-branded tote bag.

All proceeds will go to the nonprofit Northern Virginia Handcrafters Guild, which is cosponsoring the event and supports local artists with exhibits, scholarships and educational opportunities.

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The annual exhibit returns to Reston in early December (courtesy RCC)

Reston Community Center will host its 24th annual gifts and shopping exhibit in early December.

The Gifts from the HeART Exhibit and Holiday Gift Shopping Event will take place on Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at RCC Lake Anne (1609-A Washington Plaza North).

“Gifts from the HeART is an event that brings the community together, showcases great local artists, and helps Cornerstones,” RCC Arts Education Director Cheri Danaher said. “Our artists and the community eagerly participate in this unique shopping event, and their support of Cornerstones exemplifies the Reston spirit of providing support for those who need it.”

Started in 1999, the annual exhibit and sale has raised more than $19,000 for the nonprofit Cornerstones over the past 23 years, according to RCC.

Artists will display their creations on display in the Jo Ann Rose Gallery at RCC Lake Anne through Jan 9. The 3D gallery exhibit will remain on display through Feb. 18. Artist entry fees and 10% of all sales will be donated to Cornerstones.

Proceeds will go toward the organization’s Embry Rucker Community Shelter, Laurel Learning Center, and community services, including emergency food assistance and job counseling.

RCC will offer a directory of visual artists on its website the day of the exhibit. Interested shoppers can shop directly from the artists’ links.

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The annual parade returns to Reston Town Center this Friday (courtesy TAA Public Relations)

Reston Town Center’s holiday parade is set for this Friday (Nov. 25), kicking off a series of holiday events for the season.

The annual parade, now in its 31st year, will march down Market Street at 11 a.m.

At the conclusion of the half-mile-long parade, Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus will arrive on a horse-drawn carriage. The event also includes balloons, entertainment, and marching bands.

Following the parade, the couple will be on hand for the town center’s annual Christmas tree lighting at 6 p.m.

The parade is sponsored by Reston Town Center, Reston Community Center and Reston Town Center Association.

A character meet and greet is slated for 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at Fountain Square. Mini-train rides are scheduled for 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the pavilion. Horse-drawn carriage rides take place between 6-10 p.m. at the pavilion as well.

Parking is free in all garages on Friday.

As in previous years defined by the pandemic, parade bells will not be distributed.

“We hope to continue this popular tradition in the coming years when social distancing is not an issue,” event organizers said.

The parade has once again been nominated for USA Today’s annual Readers’ choice awards for the best holiday parades in the country.

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Flags outside the Fairfax County Courthouse (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Veterans Day is tomorrow, marking the 104th anniversary of the official end of combat in World War I.

Government offices for Fairfax County, Fairfax City, and the towns of Vienna and Herndon will be closed for the federal holiday, which extends to Fairfax County Public Schools students and the court system.

Notably, the COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Fairfax County Government Center will be closed for the day. The county has scaled back its hours of operation, starting this week.

What to do

Commemorative events have been planned throughout the area to recognize those who have served in the military, including a full weekend of activities at the National Museum of the United States Army in Fort Belvoir.

Those looking to attend a ceremony will have several local options:

For anyone hoping to get outdoors, Veterans Day is one of the National Park Service’s five annual fee-free days, when admission is free for all visitors, including at Great Falls Park.

Trash and recycling 

Fairfax County won’t have any changes to its trash and recycling collection schedule, and recycling and disposal centers at the I-66 Transfer Station and I-95 Landfill Complex will remain open. Department of Public Works and Environmental Services administrative offices will be closed through the weekend.

The county advises residents served by private haulers are advised to contact those companies directly.

Trash collection in Vienna and Herndon will also happen as usual, but Fairfax City is picking up Thursday and Friday routes today. Curbside yard waste collections in the city could be delayed through Saturday (Nov. 12).

Transportation 

Metrorail will follow its standard weekday schedule, with stations operating from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Metrobus, however, will use a Saturday supplemental schedule, meaning that not every route will be operating.

“MetroAccess paratransit service will operate regular service. On the holiday, scheduled recurring ‘subscription trips’ are automatically canceled,” the Metro alert says.

Fairfax Connector will provide holiday weekday service tomorrow.

Fairfax City’s CUE bus system will have modified weekday service.

Community centers

The McLean Community Center will close tomorrow, though its Old Firehouse Center for teens will be open.

The Reston Community Center’s Hunters Woods and Lake Anne facilities will both be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Herndon will close its community center for the holiday, while Vienna’s will follow a modified schedule of 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m.

Libraries, Parks and Recreation

Fairfax County Public Library follows the same holiday schedule as the county government, so all branches will be closed Friday.

The Fairfax County Park Authority’s rec centers will be open, with people who currently or have served in the U.S. armed forces getting free admission for the day.

Park closures include the historic sites at Colvin Run Mill and Sully, Green Spring Gardens, all nature centers, and the visitor center at Riverbend Park. Frying Pan Farm Park’s farm and indoor arena will be open, but not the visitor center.

Editor’s Note — FFXnow is also taking a day off tomorrow for Veterans Day, but we’ll be back to our regular publishing schedule next week.

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Tysons Corner Center’s 2021 tree lighting (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The winter holiday season is kicking off in Tysons next week with a holiday tree lighting ceremony, featuring an appearance from Santa.

The event is planned to include Santa lighting the tree, a few musical performances, complimentary s’mores and hot chocolate, and more. The event is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 18, from 6-8 p.m. in The Plaza section of Tysons Corner Center (1961 Chain Bridge Road).

The event is free and open to the public, with prior registration not required.

According to the mall’s website:

Tysons Corner Center will bring the community together to join Santa in kicking off our 2022 Holiday Season. Programming will include Santa lighting the Holiday tree, community performances, words from our Fairfax County Executives, complimentary s’mores and hot chocolate bar, giant snow globe, pop-up Holiday market featuring our Retailers, custom beverages by Barrel + Bushel, holiday music, giveaways, and more.

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Santa will return to Tysons Corner Center starting Nov. 11 (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Santa Claus is coming to Tysons this November, giving kids plenty of time to put in their gift requests for Christmas.

Tysons Corner Center announced Tuesday (Nov. 1) that Santa will arrive on Nov. 11 for photo sessions at the mall’s Fashion Court, located on the first floor of the Nordstrom wing.

Advance scheduling is now open. The mall recommends pre-booking a session “for the best experience” and to get a free, personalized call “from Santa.” Visitors who also purchase a photo package will get a “free, personalized video from the North Pole after the visit.”

Santa will be at the mall on most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 24, though his hours will vary. There are pet nights on Mondays from Nov. 14 to Dec. 5, and the 9-10:30 a.m. slot on Sunday, Dec. 4 will be exclusively for children and families who need a sensory-friendly environment, according to the event webpage.

All sessions are free, but the professional photo packages range in cost from $39.99 to $49.99.

St. Nick — presumably played by a different person — will also take up residence at Tysons Galleria from Nov. 18 to Dec. 24, including for pet nights and a Santa Cares Day on Dec. 4 for kids with disabilities.

In addition, Tysons Galleria’s Neiman Marcus will host a “Breakfast with Santa” event at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3. Tickets are currently available through Eventbrite, costing $65 for adults and $55 for kids aged 3-12.

The department store made waves last year by inviting its first-ever Black Santa. The event proved so popular that it morphed from a three-hour storytime to two days of photo sessions with hot chocolate and cookies provided to those waiting in line.

In other events, the Town of Vienna will usher in the winter holiday season with its annual Church Street Holiday Stroll at 6-8:30 p.m. on Nov. 28. The festivities will include a tree lighting, music and deals from local businesses, though it’s unclear whether Kris Kringle will be in attendance.

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I-66 construction in Fairfax County (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

To help ease congestion, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) said it will suspend work on many highway projects and lift lane restrictions on interstates and other major roads.

VDOT said in a release that Labor Day is one of the busiest travel days of the year. Past traffic data suggested the congestion is heaviest from noon to 7 p.m. on Friday and intermittently throughout the holiday weekend, Monday included.

“As travelers make their end-of-summer vacation plans before the hustle and bustle of the school season, drivers are encouraged to plan ahead for their holiday road trips,” VDOT said. “To make travel easier this coming Labor Day weekend, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will suspend many highway work zones and lift most lane closures on interstates and other major roads in Virginia from noon Friday, Sept. 2 until noon Tuesday, Sept. 6.”

According to the release:

  • All HOV restrictions on Interstate 66 and rush-hour tolls on the 66 Express Lanes Inside the Beltway will be lifted on Monday, Sept. 5.
  • Find directional schedules for the reversible 95 and 395 express lanes, and information for the 495 Express Lanes at www.expresslanes.com.

This story was first published on ALXnow.

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