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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 cast for McLean Community Players’ upcoming “The Show Must Go On” revue (courtesy MCP)

The McLean Community Players is taking another shot at a dramatic return from its pandemic-induced slumber.

The nonprofit theater group will stage “The Show Must Go On! A Musical Revue” at the McLean Community Center’s Alden Theatre (1234 Ingleside Avenue) on Sept. 23 and 24, delivering its first public, in-person performances since August 2019.

Blending past musical work with previews of future shows, the production had been scheduled to take the stage in July, but a spate of COVID-19 cases forced a last-minute cancellation.

“We are revisiting favorite MCP productions from the past and then moving on to exciting new productions currently available,” co-directors Jess Rawls and Michael Replogle said in a press release. “Hopefully audiences will be reminded of old favorites and get a taste of what MCP’s future might hold with their help.”

The two-act program features songs from both classic and more recent musical theater hits, from “Company” and “Oliver!” to “In the Heights” and “Dear Evan Hansen,” which coincidentally just started its run at the Kennedy Center.

The revue will be performed at 8 p.m. on both days with a 4 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Sept. 24.

Tickets cost $20 for adults with a $5 discount for MCC tax district residents, seniors, and older students. For kids 9 and under, the price drops to $10, and groups of 10 or more people pay $15 each.

Tickets are now on sale on MCP’s website, by phone at 866-811-4111, and at the Alden box office.

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Online registration for the annual McLean 5K is now open (via McLean Community Center)

Registration is officially open for the 14th annual McLean5K. 

The event — which is designed for runners of all abilities — is set for Oct. 1 at 8 a.m. The start and finish line is located at McLean Square Shopping Center (6631 Old Dominion Drive).

The run will benefit the McLean Community Foundation, a local charity that supports the community through grants and projects, from “fire trucks to playgrounds to social services,” the event page says.

Sponsors include Century21 New Millennium, the Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce and other organizations. 

The registration packet will be available for pickup one day before the race at the Old Firehouse (1400 Chain Bridge Road) from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the morning of the race from 7-8 a.m.

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The Furia Flamenca Dance Company will serve as the artist-in-residence for The Alden’s 2022-2023 season (courtesy McLean Community Center)

A D.C.-based flamenco dance company will entertain McLean audiences for a full year as The Alden’s new artist-in-residence.

The McLean Community Center announced last week that its in-house theater will host public events and serve as an “incubator” for the Furia Flamenca Dance Company, which has performed in the center at 1234 Ingleside Avenue in the past.

“Alden audiences absolutely adore flamenco and pack the house at Furia Flamenca’s performances here,” MCC Performing Arts Director Sarah Schallern Treff said, noting that Furia founder and artistic director Estela VĂ©lez de Paredez’s lectures on flamenco history and styles “have been especially popular.”

“I can’t wait to share even more of the company’s great work with the community,” she added in the news release.

Since it was founded in 2004, Furia Flamenca has performed throughout the D.C. area, including at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Theatre, National Theatre, and Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, according to its website.

The group will put on the first public show of its 2022-2023 residency at The Alden on Oct. 8 with “A Trip to Spain,” an interactive, family-friendly introduction to flamenco music and dance. Tickets for the show, which is being tied to Hispanic Heritage Month, will cost $10 for MCC tax district residents or $15 for non-residents.

Throughout its residency, Furia Flamenca will host open rehearsals, workshops and lectures for the public, concluding on June 3 with the show “Recordando La Alhambra” that it debuted in 2014.

“The production combines choreography with musical arrangements to highlight the common roots of flamenco, Middle Eastern and North African music and dance,” MCC says. “Furia Flamenca will be accompanied by live music.”

Expressing excitement about the upcoming residency, VĂ©lez de Paredez noted in the news release that The Alden was home to the company’s first-ever theatrical production in 2009.

“We are therefore excited to come back to the venue where we made our first big visions a reality, this time as a resident company,” VĂ©lez de Paredez said. “We look forward to continuing to educate our audiences on all aspects of flamenco and to returning to the Alden stage! We want to thank Sarah Schallern Treff for this amazing opportunity and for embracing us once again.”

Furia Flamenca will join an eclectic 2022-2023 season for The Alden that will kick off with rhythm and blues musician Lil’ Maceo on Sept. 11. MCC also shared today (Friday) that Sons of Mystro, a duo of reggae/pop violinists, will give a free concert at 5 p.m. on Sept. 17 in McLean Central Park.

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McLean Community Center (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) For the second time in as many years, the McLean Community Center is in need of a new executive director.

Daniel Singh resigned from the position on July 26, but the news didn’t become public until yesterday (Thursday), when Fairfax County announced that it has assigned a temporary replacement.

MCC confirmed Singh’s resignation in a statement to FFXnow. The governing board had a scheduled meeting the following day (July 27), though its standard procedures dictate that the meeting minutes and an audio recording won’t be published until the board next convenes on Sept. 7.

“Fairfax County has assigned Evan Braff an acting executive director to lead the MCC,” MCC said by email. “MCC operations and programs will continue uninterrupted. The Governing Board plans to begin a search for a new executive director in the near future.”

Set to take over on Monday (Aug. 15), Braff currently serves as countywide coordinator in the Fairfax County Office of the County Executive, but his 28-year career with the county has included some work in recreation and community services, according to the news release:

Braff currently serves as a countywide coordinator in the Office of the County Executive for Fairfax County, where he designs, manages and coordinates high impact initiatives, projects and partnerships. His career with Fairfax County spans 28 years, including service in various roles, including division supervisor of Therapeutic Recreation, Teen Services, and After-School Programs; division supervisor of Senior Centers; and Regional Services and Center Operations Region 4 manager.

During his tenure, Braff has taken significant leadership roles within local government making strong commitments to results, sustainability and collective impact. He has received numerous national, state and local awards for innovation, teamwork and exemplary leadership.

Braff graduated with a B.A. of sociology at George Mason University.  He also has Master of Science in recreation and leisure studies from the State University of New York of Cortland and a Master of Public Administration degree from George Mason University.

Singh’s resignation comes just 14 months after he was named executive director in May 2021.

His vision for the community center emphasized diversity and expanding the facility’s reach as it sought to adapt after the first year of the pandemic.

Singh oversaw the development of a new, five-year strategic plan, which got a public hearing on July 6 but hasn’t been finalized yet, and an ongoing effort to update MCC’s website. He also guided the return of in-person events like McLean Day, though not all were pulled off successfully.

However, the focus on diversifying MCC’s programming and audience — specifically, a “Drag Storybook Hour” at Dolley Madison Library — and a comment Singh made about the center’s role amid “COVID-19, racial tension, and dog whistles of white supremacy” riled up some community members.

FFXnow also heard some discontent after Singh attributed a staff shortage to his predecessor, George Sachs, at a board meeting on April 20. Sachs had served as executive director for over 10 years before retiring in May 2021.

When contacted by FFXnow, Governing Board Chair Barbara Zamora-Appel shared the same statement as MCC. No timeline has been given yet for when exactly the search for a permanent executive director will begin.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, who represents the McLean area, says he wishes Singh “success in whatever he decides to do next” and expressed support for MCC’s current direction in a statement:

The McLean Community Center is a tremendous community asset. The direction and programming of the Center is determined by the MCC Governing Board acting on behalf of the McLean community. The current Governing Board and its predecessors have done a great job. As Supervisor and as a long time McLean resident, I appreciate the current programming and think it should be continued. I would also like to see a greater focus on community building activities like parades, outdoor festivals and craft shows. And I would like to see the MCC lead more joint community building efforts with the many other great organizations that serve McLean residents.

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A historical marker for the McLean Volunteer Fire Department was installed outside the Old Firehouse Center in 2020 (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

If buildings could speak, the Old Firehouse Center in McLean would have some tales to tell — almost a century’s worth, in fact.

Originally built in 1925, the low-lying brick structure hosted the McLean Volunteer Fire Department (MVFD) as well as the wider community, which was starting to take shape.

“McLean’s fire department was the first to be incorporated in Fairfax County,” Carole Herrick, a Dranesville District representative on the Fairfax County History Commission, said. “Back then, it served as the community center of its day, and we want to preserve its rich history.”

The history commission will help honor that legacy with a belated dedication ceremony later this month for a historical marker erected outside the firehouse at 1440 Chain Bridge Road in 2020.

Delayed by COVID-19 concerns, the ceremony will take place at last at the Old Firehouse Center at 1 p.m. on Aug. 21, according to the McLean Community Center, which now uses the facility for its teen after-school programs.

Free and open to the public, this event is being sponsored by MCC, the county history commission, the McLean Volunteer Fire Department, and the McLean Historical Society.

Speakers will include Herrick and Fairfax County History Commission Chair Cheryl Repetti, and MVFD members will be on hand “to discuss various displays,” the press release says. The ceremony will open with Boy Scout Troop 128 and close with an indoor reception.

Joining a sign posted for McLean overall in 2003, the MVFD marker is one 55 installed since Fairfax County’s Historical Marker Program began in 1998. It reads:

The McLean Volunteer Fire Department incorporated in 1923 in Fairfax County. A two-bay firehouse was built and a Ladies Auxiliary formed in 1925. Construction of a rear addition in 1932 provided work during the Depression and offered space needed for equipment and community activities. For several years, the firemen organized the McLean Carnival to raise funds for the department. An air raid observation tower was added during World War II. In 1948 a four-bay station replaced the previous building. A new station opened on Laughlin Avenue in 1988, ceding the vacant firehouse to Fairfax County that the McLean Community Center converted into a teen center.

Though the department has a new home, the old firehouse still holds a special place in the memories of long-time volunteer firefighters like Clyde Clark, who joined the department in June 1962 and recently commemorated 60 years in the role.

Clark’s tenure with the fire department has included stings as chief, assistant chief, and on the board of directors. Currently on the McLean Volunteer Fire Department History Committee, he fondly recalled the firehouse’s role in the department and the community in a statement to FFXnow.

“The coffee pot was always on. People were welcome to stop by, to hear the latest local news and local gossip,” he said by email. “There really was nothing else open like that. No Starbucks like there is today. It was a delightful place to be, and it really served as the center of the community.”

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The David Dorfman Dance company will perform “(A) Way Out of My Body” in McLean on April 14, 2023 (courtesy McLean Community Center)

The Alden Theatre at the McLean Community Center is about to get busy, with a full slate of music, theater, inspirational speakers and other entertainment over the next year.

The upcoming 2022-2023 season will feature local groups like the Virginia Chamber Orchestra as well as more far-flung yet notable figures, such as gold medal-winning U.S. gymnast Laurie Hernandez and The Peking Acrobats.

Kicking off with a free concert by saxophonist Lil’ Maceo at McLean Central Park on Sept. 11, the lineup is guided by a core theme of “healing, both personally and societally,” MCC said in its announcement on Monday (Aug. 1).

Tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased through the theater’s website. Three of the musical performances are free, while the other shows have varying prices with discounts for seniors and students.

A full rundown of the schedule is below. All events are in the community center at 1234 Ingleside Avenue unless otherwise indicated.

Music

Lil’ Maceo

  • Sunday, Sept. 11, 3 p.m. — McLean Central Park (1468 Dolley Madison Blvd)
  • Free admission

For all ages. Old-school funky, foot-stomping R&B saxophone. Lil’ Maceo’s musical roots in funk, pop, dance and contemporary jazz will get you off your butt and partying.

Sons of Mystro

  • Saturday, Sept. 17, 5 p.m. — McLean Central Park
  • Free admission

The Sons of Mystro are brothers who use their violins to interpret reggae classics and American pop songs by such artists as Al Green, LMFAO, Bob Marley and Dua Lipa. They are winners of the Emerging Artist Under 21 Years Old Award from the International Reggae and World Music Awards.

The Boy Band Project

  • Friday, Oct. 14, 7 p.m.
  • $30/$20 MCC district residents/$25 seniors and students

The Boy Band Project transports you back to a time when the boy band phenom dominated pop culture and TRL was appointment television. Delivered with their own special mix of handsomeness, tongue-in-cheek humor and talent from Broadway’s “Wicked,” “Hairspray” and “Mamma Mia” (and more), these boys recreate the sounds and choreography of your favorite boy bands, from NKOTB to One Direction. Read More

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The McLean Community Players were set to return to the McLean Community Center’s Alden Theater this weekend (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

The show will not go on for the McLean Community Players — at least not yet.

After a three-year hiatus, the nonprofit community theater group had been set for a comeback this weekend with “The Show Must Go On!,” a showcase of past musical performances that will also tease highlights yet to come.

However, MCP announced yesterday (Wednesday) that its three scheduled shows at the McLean Community Center have been canceled “due to several positive COVID tests in our cast and musical team.”

“We were honored to have amazing talent as we returned to the Alden Theater, yet everyone’s health and safety are paramount,” the group said. “The McLean Community Center is working with MCP to find another weekend so you can enjoy wonderful live entertainment. MCP is grateful for you as patrons of live performances and look forward to seeing you soon.”

Refunds will be made to the credit card used to purchase the tickets, MCP said.

The show had been scheduled to kick off at 8 p.m. tomorrow (Friday) with additional performances on Saturday and Sunday.

Whenever it’s rescheduled, “The Show Must Go On!” will be MCP’s first in-person production since August 2019. The organization had been preparing to stage the musical “Carousel” when the McLean Community Center shut down in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Carousel” was first postponed to summer 2021 and then canceled as the pandemic dragged on, though MCP organized some virtual events, like a Broadway karaoke night on Instagram.

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A sign for the McLean Community Center (file photo)

This weekend, McLean got its first Fourth of July fireworks since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020 — only no one was around to see them.

The McLean Community Center held its annual Independence Day Celebration at Langley High School on Saturday (July 2) to accommodate a staffing shortage at its fireworks vendor, an issue that affected several other Fourth of July events in the area as well.

However, instead of watching pyrotechnics light up the night sky, attendees wound up scrambling for cover amid a downpour that ultimately led to a cancellation, MCC said today (Wednesday).

“Though we had held off having the show in hopes of the forecasts being inaccurate, it became clear that the show now had to be canceled,” the community center said in its message. “In the flurry to keep people and property safe, we neglected to let you, our beloved patrons, know what had happened on our website and social media. We regret it and apologize for the oversight.”

Adding to the confusion was the fact that the fireworks were unleashed after all once the rain had dissipated.

MCC says the vendor had to shoot off the fireworks, since they had already been set up and couldn’t be transported.

“This was not a show, this was a necessary safety measure to ensure there were no fireworks remaining on the field,” MCC said. “This detonation was carried out in coordination with the safety officials and pyrotechnicians on-site.”

The organization apologized for the lack of communication with the community, stating that it has “put safeguards in effect” to prevent similar issues in the future.

Though rain had been in the forecast for Saturday night, the community center was unable to schedule a possible rain date due to the vendor’s staffing shortage, MCC Executive Director Daniel Singh said in a statement to FFXnow.

Some parts of the D.C. area saw as much as six to eight inches of rain that night. McLean was among the locations put under flash flood warnings, though the National Weather Service’s unofficial rainfall totals don’t include a report for Fairfax County.

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Closed sign (via Tim Mossholder/Unsplash)

While it won’t be quiet around Fairfax County on Monday with Fourth of July celebrations, many government offices and facilities will be closed.

Government offices, and some businesses, are closed for the Independence Day holiday. Public transportation schedules may be lighter and public services, like trash collection, may be changed. See our listing below to get details on what will be open and closed.

Government

Fairfax County government offices will be closed Monday (July 4) in recognition of the Fourth of July holiday, but some facilities are open and schedules vary.

The library system’s branches will be closed on Monday. Animal Control is closed, as it normally is, on Mondays.

The Circuit and District courts will be closed Monday.

The Town of Herndon offices will be closed Monday.

Park Authority

All Park Authority rec centers and golf centers and will be open Monday. Historic sites, nature centers and Green Spring Gardens will be closed. Frying Pan Farm Park Farm and indoor arena will be open while its visitor center will be closed. The River Bend Park Visitor Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All Neighborhood and Community Service facilities will be closed Saturday (July 2) through Monday. Reston Community Center Hunter Woods will be open Monday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Lake Anne will be closed on Monday.

The McLean Community Center will be closed.

Herndon Community Center will be closed Monday. But Herndon Centennial Golf Course will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., weather permitting.

Transportation

Fairfax Connector will operate on a Saturday service schedule on Monday. Human Services Transportation (FASTRAN) will not operate on Monday.

On Monday, Metrorail will open at 7 a.m. and close at midnight but last train times vary by station. The Orange Line trains will operate between Vienna and Stadium-Armory only, according to Metro, but free express and local shuttle buses will be provided.

Trash

The county advises residents to contact their trash and recycling collector directly for service schedule changes due to the holiday.

The I-66 Transfer Station and I-95 Landfill Complex will be closed Monday.

Town of Herndon recycling will be collected Tuesday (July 5) since it is normally collected Monday.

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