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The final polar dip returns to Reston next month (courtesy David Madison Photography)

Camp Sunshine’s 15th polar dip — Freezin’ for a Reason — will return to Reston’s Lake Anne Plaza on Feb. 11 for a final hurrah.

Beginning at noon, spectators will gather to watch registered participants plunge into the lake — or take a “chicken dip” with just toes — to raise funds for Camp Sunshine, a nonprofit that organizes retreats for families who have kids with life-threatening illnesses.

“The Virginia Polar Dip has a unique aspect that adds to the fun,” Gail Toth, event founder and organizer, said. “We have a one-hour succession of splashes that brings plenty of cheers and laughter from the crowd of spectators.”

The event is the final dip after Toth and the team anticipate reaching their fundraising goal. Organizers hope to raise $100,000 for the charity in an effort to reach a $1 million target set when the event began in 2008.

Online event registration is open. On-site registration begins at noon on the day of the event, followed by the beginning of the polar dip at 2 p.m.

The fundraising model encourages registered participants to raise or donate a minimum of $100 to plunge into the frigid waters of the lake. Participants receive an event t-shirt.

The event was started by the Toth family, who took part in Camp Sunshine in 1996 when their 3-year-old daughter was a cancer patient. The family brought the event to Virginia to support other local families after they took part in a dip in New Jersey.

The inaugural Virginia event in 2008 brought 2,199 dippers to the lake.

Event organizers note that Reston Association does not maintain the lake for swimming standards. Typically, swimming is not allowed in Lake Anne.

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The marketplace concept is inspired by farmers markets (Photo via Anne Preble/Unsplash).

Despite a hiccup in the planning process, the popular Reston Farmers Market will remain at the Lake Anne Plaza next year.

Last week, the Fairfax County Park Authority signed a new use agreement with the Lake Anne Reston Condominium Association (LARCA) to continue the market at its longstanding location in 2023.

“We signed a license agreement last week with the Fairfax County Park Authority and we look forward to hosting the County-run Farmer’s Market in 2023,” LARCA President George Hadjikyriakou wrote in a statement.

Contract negotiations were hung up by an issue revolving around insurance, according to Ben Boxer, a spokesperson for the county.

“Farmers Markets have received significant community support at all ten locations throughout the county and we are appreciative of the ongoing partnerships with our vendors and hosts that make this program such a remarkable success,” Boxer said.

Both parties and the county did not comment further on the nature of the issues. Boxer noted that the context of the discussion was related to “contract negotiation,” and Hadjikyriakou deferred additional comment to the county.

Earlier this year, a free summer concert series relocated to Reston Station after the Reston Community Center failed to reach an agreement with LARCA.

The  market takes place at 1608 Washington Plaza North.

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By the water at Reston’s Lake Anne Plaza (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A new vision for the future of the Lake Anne area in Reston is brewing.

Fairfax County has hired the consulting firm Streetsense to lead the visioning effort. Beginning next month, the team will launch an initial immersion and discovery phase, followed by a significant community engagement process, according to Tracy Strunk, director of the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Development.

“A final report will identify a strategic position for the area within the competitive landscape, and guide future developments, including branding, marketing, design, and merchandizing, that create a market-relevant consumer experience,” Strunk said.

The four-month study will cost roughly $125,250.

The report will target the Lake Anne Commercial Revitalization Area in an effort to create a market approach with the interests of area stakeholders. The 44-acre area was established in 1998.

At a meeting with media yesterday (Monday), Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn emphasized that the “economic visioning study” will begin with conversations with “various stakeholders.”

Earlier this year, the county approved $300,000 in county funds to help develop a revitalization plan for the area.

In a Jan. 10 letter to Lake Anne residents, Alcorn said the funding would be used for economic envisioning and master planning in order to “support the long-term sustainable development planning for Lake Anne.”

A cursory review of the plaza flagged nearly $37 million in repairs for the aging area.

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Pickles, a rescue cat, was trapped in a stormwater drain at Lake Anne in Reston for almost a week.

Her owners unsuccessfully tried to get him out after he became stuck on Dec. 4, his mews audible through a manhole.

After Fairfax County’s animal control staff said they couldn’t humanely trap the cat and the Fire and Rescue Department’s non-emergency line also said they could not do much, the owners turned to the county’s stormwater maintenance team for help.

After working from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday (Dec. 9), the team was able to get Pickles out, according to Brittany Catton Kirk, the owner.

“After a laborious first attempt/ he escaped and ran down a second drain. I seriously was going to give up at that point but your team did not. They moved the truck and started again. And this time got him!” Kirk said.

She told FFXnow that the cat was rescued on a freeway in Maryland a year ago.

Kirk said they promise to keep the feral rescue cat indoors from now on and lauded the team for their effort.

“It would have been an entirely different Christmas and trauma to know our cat was dying in a closed dark space, and now he is safe at home,” Kirk wrote.

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Deli Italiano will open a restaurant in the Town of Herndon (courtesy Deli Italiano)

Deli Italiano is planning to open its location in the Town of Herndon in early- to mid-December.

The pizza shop — which originally was slated to open in early September — was hit by staffing shortages and ongoing renovation work. It will be located at 700 Elden Street.

“To keep our vision for what the Herndon community needed we delayed the opening,” Bianca Moskaitis, a spokesperson for the company, told FFXnow. “Between staffing shortages which is being felt across many sectors in the local workforce and making sure our renovations of the space were conducive to our business future potential, we were not able to keep our original timeline.”

A ribbon cutting ceremony and opening day offers are planned once the opening date is determined.

Meanwhile, the Reston location is still undergoing renovations. Located at 1631 Washington Plaza, that spot plans to open at Lake Anne Plaza in early 2023.

Deli Italiano serves a variety of salads, sandwiches, pizzas, subs, pastas, and calzones. The menu is available online.

The restaurant has other locations in Leesburg, Sterling, Great Falls, Arlington and Burke.

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The vacated Lake Anne Fellowship House is slated for demolition in the first week of November (Photo via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department).

The demolition of vacated Lake Anne Fellowship House will begin in the first week of November, according to Reston Association.

The work will continue through January of next year of the former fellowship house.

“Residents of the area are advised to be very vigilant while outside the Lake Anne Fellowship building. During this work, there will be additional noise and higher traffic in the area,” RA wrote in its weekly newsletter distribution to the community.

In anticipation of the planned demolition, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department has been using the vacated building — which was previously home to more than 300 older adult residents — as a training location for local fire departments.

The affordable housing nonprofit Enterprise Community Development plans to redevelop the fellowship house after demolition takes place sometime next year.

Over the summer, residents of the fellowship house moved into a brand-new residence across the street, leaving behind the 1970s building that was one of the first high rises and the first affordable senior housing property in Reston.

The new Lake Anne House — located at 11444 North Shore Drive — is a $86 million project spearheaded by ECD and Fellowship Square Foundation.

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The fountain is temporarily closed due to repairs (via Reston Association/Twitter)

It may be a while before Lake Anne’s fountain is functional again.

Repairs are expected to take at least two more months to complete due to supply chain issues, according to Reston Association.

“The repair facility is basically rebuilding the motor/working parts. It had to be done at their shop. They are experiencing part delays which is typical in this post-pandemic era,” RA spokesperson Mike Leone wrote in a statement to FFXnow.

The fountain closed in late August after its pump and motor burnt out. At the time, staff estimated parts would be available within three to four weeks.

Leone said that the association hopes that the fountain will be operational by Thanksgiving — assuming that the rebuilt motor arrives on schedule.

“If there are further delays, then it could be pushed into December,” Leone said.

The fountain was inspired by Jet d’Eau, a 140-meter single geyser fountain on Lake Geneva in Switzerland.

Photo via Reston Association/Twitter

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Lake Anne Plaza’s concert commemorating jazz musician Mykle Lyons is back for a second year (courtesy Alec Berry/Roxplosion)

The Mykle Lyons Commemorative Concert will return to Reston this weekend with a new charitable component.

The Lake Anne & Washington Plaza Merchant Association (LAWPA) introduced the now-annual music festival last year to celebrate the life of Mykle Lyons, a jazz musician and longtime Reston resident who died in May 2021.

Initially set for last Saturday (Oct. 1), the concert was postponed to Oct. 8 due to the threat of inclement weather from Hurricane Ian.

Organized by LAWPA in conjunction with Kalypso’s Sports Tavern and Roxplosion, the free concert will be held from noon to 6 p.m. at Lake Anne Plaza (1609 Washington Plaza).

“This free, family-friendly event celebrates the accomplishments, generosity, and compassion demonstrated by a well-loved member of our community — featuring acclaimed artists, exquisite food, and lots of fun,” LAWPA said in a press release.

New for this year, the organizers announced that they are establishing a memorial scholarship fund in Lyons’s name. Donations will go to the Friends of Music at Mason to help a music student attend George Mason University.

LAWPA says checks can be made out to the George Mason Foundation and mailed to GMU-CVPA Development Office, Friends of Music, 4400 University Drive, MS 4C1, Fairfax, VA 22030. The association says to write “in memory of Mykle Lyons” on the check’s memo line.

The second annual Mykle Lyons Commemorative Concert line-up will feature the Dan Lamaestra Trio, the Peter Fraize Quartet, the Chris Timbers Band, and a trio from GMU’s jazz ensemble.

In addition to playing at music venues around the world and frequently performing for former vice president Al Gore, Lyons was a regular at Reston Town Center’s now-closed Market Street Bar and Grill. He founded the Lake Anne Jazz and Blues Festival, which returned to the plaza for a 15th year on Sept. 3.

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Lake Anne House ribbon cutting (photo courtesy of Harry Connolly/Fellowship Square)

After a nearly decade-long effort to redevelop a 1970s-era housing community, the Lake Anne House is finally open.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held last week to open the $86 million redevelopment project at 11444 North Shore Drive in Reston. The Lake Anne House is a 240-apartment complex for low-income seniors that is replacing the five-decade-old Lake Anne Fellowship House.

Conceived by the nonprofits Fellowship Square Foundation and Enterprise Community Development, the new building will house those 65 years or older who are living on incomes 60% and below the area median income.

“This new state-of-the-art building in terms of energy efficiency and accessibility sets a new standard for what affordable housing can be,” Fellowship Square CEO Christy Zeitz said in a press release. “Most importantly, it will enable financially fragile older adults to be able to age in place here in Northern Virginia for many years to come.”

While the official opening was just last Thursday (Sept. 29), residents already relocated from the Lake Anne Fellowship House to the new building over the summer.

Built in 1970, the Lake Anne Fellowship House was the first high-rise and first dedicated affordable apartment complex for seniors in Reston. It was also part of Robert Simon’s original vision for the community.

But after more than 50 years of use, the building is now considered aging, and since its construction predated the Americans with Disabilities Act, accessibility for many residents became an issue.

With the opening of the Lake Anne House, the hope is that those challenges are now solved.

In attendance at the ribbon-cutting ceremony last week were local officials, including Hunter Mill Supervisor Walter Alcorn, as well as the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Adrianne Todman.

“Lake Anne House is an example of the high-quality affordable housing we can build with ingenuity, tenacity, and partnership,” Todman said. “It is what fixing our housing supply looks like — a demonstration of how we can work collaboratively at all levels to build and rehabilitate housing — project by project, block by block, community by community — across the country.”

The idea of building a whole new complex on an underused portion of the site next to the Lake Anne Fellowship House was proposed in 2013. It took five years of design and development before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the project in 2018.

Two years after breaking ground in October 2020, the Lake Anne House is now officially open to residents. It has 56 studios, 178 one-bedroom, and six two-bedroom apartments, including 54 fully handicap-accessible units, per a press release.

The building also has a fitness center, arts and crafts room, a social hall, a sunroom, a game room, an outdoor terrace, a wellness clinic, and on-site residents’ services offices.

Lake Anne House was mostly financed by a combination of state and local funds, including $47 million from a tax-exempt bond financing from state-created Virginia Housing.

The old building next door is now vacant and currently being used as a training location for fire departments. It’s set to be demolished early next year and the land sold to a private developer for new townhomes.

Fellowship Square also completed a renovation of its affordable housing at Hunters Woods this summer.

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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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