Post Content
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.”

0 Comments
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.

0 Comments
The McLean Community Center’s Old Firehouse Center (file photo)

The McLean Community Center is on the lookout for local teens who are in tune with what kids these days enjoy.

The community center has launched a new MCC Youth Ambassador initiative that invites students from McLean and Langley high schools to provide input on and promote events at their schools and online.

MCC provides programming for older kids and teens through its Old Firehouse Center (OFC) at 1440 Chain Bridge Road. The facility generally attracts middle school-aged students, but attendance dips once kids enter high school, according to minutes from the governing board’s Sept. 28 meeting.

“I think the reason why is that they felt that it was more of MCC telling them to come — rather than it being a high school-oriented and high school-planned event publicized throughout social media,” said Charlotte Loving, who represents the Langley High School area on the board.

Conceived by Loving and Sarah Tran, who represents McLean High on the board, the initiative is open to all students enrolled in those two schools who live in MCC’s tax district, known as Dranesville Small District 1A.

Here’s more on the volunteer positions from MCC’s announcement, released on Friday (Nov. 18):

Youth Ambassadors will serve as liaisons between community youth and the two youth members of the MCC Governing Board, Sarah Tran (Langley High boundary area) and Charlotte Loving (McLean High boundary area). The ambassadors will promote MCC activities via their social media platforms and through resources at their respective schools. They will also assist in planning events and activities targeted to the youth of McLean in support of acquiring their growing participation in MCC programs. Ambassadors will meet monthly at MCC or the Old Firehouse Center to discuss public feedback and plan future activities.

Applications can be found on the MCC website and sent when completed to MCC General Programs Director Michael Fisher at michael.fisher@fairfaxcounty.gov. The deadline to apply is Friday, Dec. 9.

According to the website, the ambassador program is currently considered a pilot. If deemed successful, it could expand to allow participants from private high schools in the tax district.

0 Comments
Fairfax County Police Department footage of Park Police shooting McLean resident Bijan Ghaisar (via FCPD)

It has been five years since U.S. Park Police officers pursued and shot McLean resident Bijan Ghaisar in Fort Hunt, ultimately killing him.

Still seeking closure and accountability for the officers involved, Ghaisar’s family will mark the five-year anniversary of the shooting with a candlelight vigil at the Lincoln Memorial in D.C. at 7 p.m. today.

The vigil is being organized by the Bijan Ghaisar Foundation, which was formed by the family to honor their loved one and advocate for victims of police brutality and gun violence.

“The pain, anger, and frustration never diminishes,” the organization said on Facebook. “…We hope you can join us and help keep [Bijan’s] spirit and memories alive, and to continue to demand accountability. We have not and will not stop fighting.”

Ghaisar died in a hospital on Nov. 27, 2017 — 10 days after two Park Police officers shot him nine times, concluding an extended chase from George Washington Parkway to the Fort Hunt Road and Alexandria Avenue intersection. He was 25 years old.

A criminal case against the officers, identified as Alejandro Amaya and Lucas Vinyard, was dismissed last year by a judge who said they “were authorized by federal law to act as they did.” A dispatcher initially said Ghaisar was responsible for a hit-and-run, but later clarified that his vehicle was in fact the one that had been hit, court documents said.

Mark Herring, Virginia’s attorney general at the time, appealed the ruling with backing from Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano, but Attorney General Jason Miyares dropped the manslaughter charges against the officers in April after he took office.

After previously suggesting it would help with the prosecution, the Justice Department said in June that it won’t pursue federal charges against Amaya and Vinyard after all, stating that it “does not have an adequate basis to reopen its prior investigation.”

Ghaisar’s family still has a civil personal injury lawsuit against the Park Police pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria.

According to The Washington Post, Amaya and Vinyard declined to answer questions about their actions at depositions last month, prompting Ghaisar’s family to file a motion asking the judge to compel them to provide testimony. A hearing on that motion has been scheduled for Dec. 9.

In a joint statement released this morning, Virginia Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine along with Reps. Don Beyer and Jennifer Wexton said the Department of the Interior, which includes the Park Police, “has taken several positive steps” in response to Ghaisar’s shooting, including a new requirement that officers wear body cameras.

However, reiterating sentiments voiced by elected officials over the past half-decade, the legislators expressed frustration with the lack of accountability and transparency around the federal investigations into the shooting:

Today marks five years since Bijan was shot and killed by U.S. Park Police. While we appreciate that the current leadership of the Department of the Interior has taken several positive steps to ensure that the failures that led to the tragic death of this young man don’t happen again, we remain deeply disappointed that the Ghaisar family’s pleas for justice and closure have not yet been answered. Bijan’s friends and family deserve closure for the killing of Bijan, which includes making sure that the individuals responsible for his death are finally held accountable.

Investigations involving use of force should be handled in a timely manner and include constant information sharing with the families involved and the public. Failure to do so undermines public trust in law enforcement and our institutions. It is our sincere hope that through increased transparency and communication, the Ghaisar family will finally receive the closure they need.

Per the Post, Vinyard and Amaya are on paid administrative leave and haven’t returned to active duty since the shooting. The Interior Department moved to fire them last year, but they filed a challenge that is still pending.

0 Comments
A construction worker on a house building frame (via Josh Olalde on Unsplash)

(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) A 57-year-old contractor from Centreville could face up to two decades in jail for using his custom home building company to defraud McLean homeowners.

Pedro Felipe Valdes Sanchez pleaded guilty yesterday to defrauding “several couples” who hired his company to build or remodel their houses in and around McLean, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia announced.

Unfolding from at least May 2017 through April 2018, the scheme saw Valdes take money from customers who believed he would use it to perform contracted work on their properties, according to the Department of Justice:

In the end, Valdes performed minimal work on these customers’ homes, sometimes only demolishing the existing residence on the customers’ property. Valdes also convinced one customer to lend him money by misrepresenting his company’s financial situation. He sometimes used client funds for personal expenses and routinely used funds from one client to fund another client’s projects.

Valdes targeted three couples, according to court documents, the DOJ told FFXnow.

Valdes’s plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema and announced by U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber and FBI Washington Field Office Special Agent in Charge Wayne Jacobs.

Valdes could be given a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

“Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties,” the DOJ said in its news release.

A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 14, 2023.

Photo via Josh Olalde on Unsplash

0 Comments
McLean Pizza and Subs is permanently closed (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

McLean Pizza and Subs has served up its last slice.

The Italian and Greek restaurant at 1434 Center Street is permanently closed after supplying the neighborhood with pizza, pasta, subs and more since 1962, according to its website.

A notice posted to the door states that the business “has closed for good” and apologizes for the inconvenience, but it doesn’t elaborate on what led to the closure. FFXnow didn’t receive a response to its attempts to contact the owner.

McLean Pizza appears to have shuttered in late October, though an exact date is unclear. Twitter user Thomas Malloy alerted FFXnow on Oct. 28, and a Yelp reviewer said on Oct. 18 that it was closed when they went by to order a pizza.

“Sad. Great food and really nice people,” the reviewer wrote.

Renovated in October 2021, the dining room was still fully furnished when FFXnow visited Sunday (Nov. 6), with tables, chairs and even ketchup bottles visible through the darkened storefront windows.

Located in Old Dominion Shopping Center, McLean Pizza occupies a sizable space next to McLean Hair Center, which was established in 1956 and is McLean’s oldest barbershop, according to a sign by the door. The strip mall also houses Chesapeake Bagel Bakery, McLean Shoe Store and Repair, and Comfort One Shoes.

According to Fairfax County records, Old Dominion Shopping Center was built in 1956 and has been owned by McLean Properties since Feb. 28, 2007.

The landlord has reportedly opted not to renew leases for longer-term tenants or only offered renewals by the month.

FFXnow has reached out to McLean Properties and is awaiting a response.

McLean Properties also owns the McLean and Chain Bridge shopping centers. A redevelopment is in the works for the latter that would renovate Giant Food, its anchor store, and reposition the buildings along Beverly Road.

0 Comments
McLean Antiques Show (image via Fairfax County Government/YouTube)

The McLean Antiques Show & Sale is returning to McLean next month for its 46th year.

The event, sponsored by the McLean Community Center (MCC) at 1234 Ingleside Avenue, is described in a release as a “treasure hunt.”

“[The sale] will feature an exciting selection of designer vintage clothing and American Folk Art as well as well-known traditional show offerings,” the release said.

The show is scheduled for 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12 and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 13. Admission is $10 per person for both days of the show, though anyone under 18 gets in for free.

The McLean Antiques Show & Sale typically brings in dealers from across the eastern seaboard, from New England to North Carolina, but the release said there will be some differences this year.

“This year’s show will be more diverse than in the past,” the release said. “Dealers will feature traditional offerings of fine jewelry, paintings, furniture, porcelains, a variety of interesting collectibles, accessories and Oriental rugs as well as a larger selection of designer vintage clothing and accessories, American Folk Art and country furnishings.”

The full list of dealers can be found online.

“Dealers offer unusual, quality items from various corners of the world,” said show manager Dordy Fontinel in the release. “The continued emerging trend of antiques and vintage items is appealing to sustainability-minded customers and provides a beautiful, greener alternative.”

0 Comments
Fairfax County set to celebrate the importance of protecting the night sky (Photo via Mindaugas Vitkus/Unsplash).

The Fairfax County Park Authority will celebrate the importance of protecting the night sky on Saturday, Nov. 12.

The free event, which takes place in McLean at Lewinsville Park from 6:30-8:30 pm, will feature live demonstrations, hands-on activities, and opportunities for the public to learn how to fight light pollution.

Tammy Schwab, project manager, tells FFXnow that there will be stations for people to learn about artificial light’s effect on plants, animals, and people. If the weather permits, there will be telescopes and binoculars to view constellations.

“We will also have information about the small actions folks can take to help reverse light pollution in their neighborhood.”

Schwab said it’s essential to educate the public on light pollution because it causes harm to animals and plants that are adapted to dark nights.

“This artificial light at night, especially those with high color temperatures like bright white and blue, have been shown to cause harm in humans as well by interrupting our circadian rhythms. Additionally, light pollution is a waste of energy,” Schwab said, adding that unlike other forms of pollution, humans can easily reverse light pollution with a switch.

The park authority is partnering with the McLean Citizens Association, the Analemma Society, and Dark Sky Friends. Registration is encouraged but not required.

Photo via Mindaugas Vitkus/Unsplash

0 Comments
A Ukraine love sign in Vienna (file photo)

A church in McLean and an orchestra based in Tysons have teamed up to do their part to assist humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine.

The Virginia Chamber Orchestra will put on a free Benefit Concert for Ukraine in the McLean Baptist Church sanctuary (1367 Chain Bridge Road) at 4 p.m. this Sunday (Oct. 16).

The concert will feature soprano singer Mandy Brown, violinist Emil Chudnovsky, and pianist Tatiana Loisha as well as the VCO String Quartet.

They will primarily perform classical music, including works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Joseph Haydn, and Antonín Dvořák, but Rogers and Hammerstein also appear. The program closes with “Shche ne vmerta Ukraina,” the national anthem of Ukraine.

While the concert is free to attend, the church will accept donations that will be used to provide medical supplies in Ukraine, according to VCO.

“The Virginia Chamber Orchestra is very pleased to partner with the McLean Baptist Church in presenting a Benefit Concert to provide medical supplies for the people of Ukraine,” VCO Board of Trustees President Douglas Lovejoy said in an emailed statement. “We welcome everyone to the concert and will appreciate your donations.”

Since Russian military forces invaded Ukraine in February, more than 15,000 civilian casualties have been recorded by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, as of Monday (Oct. 10), though the organization believes the actual numbers of deaths and injuries are much higher.

Like in other communities across the U.S., acts of solidarity and support for Ukraine have become common in Fairfax County, from a regional winter coat drive and a fundraiser by local breweries to symbolic displays of the eastern European country’s blue-and-yellow flag.

The full program for Sunday’s benefit concert in McLean is below:

  • “Sheep May Safely Graze” by Johann Sebastian Bach — VCO String Quartet
  • “Uzun Hava” by Osman Kivrak — for violin and viola
  • Selections from “44 Duets” by Béla Bartók, including Ruthenian songs from Ukraine
  • “Allegro from Quartet in F Major, Op. 96 ‘American'” by Antonín Dvořák — VCO String Quartet
  • “Polonaise Brilliante in D Major” by Henryk Wieniawski — Emil Chudnovsky, violin
  • “Chanson d’amour” by Jan Tarasiewicz — Tatiana Loisha, piano
  • “L’invitation au voyage” by Henri Duparc — Mandy Brown, soprano
  • “The Winds are Blowing,” a Ukrainian folksong by Mykola Lysenko — Mandy Brown, soprano
  • “Introduction” and “Rondo Capriccioso” by Camille Saint-Saëns — Emil Chudnovsky violin
  • “Nocturne in C Sharp Minor” by Frédéric Chopin — Emil Chudnovsky, violin
  • “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from “Carousel” by Rodgers & Hammerstein — Mandy Brown, soprano
  • “Shche ne vmerta Ukraina” by Chubynsky/Verbytsky
0 Comments
Tysons Corner Center (file photo)

Halloween is showing up on Tysons Corner Center’s doorstep a couple weeks early this year.

The mall’s Fall Festival this weekend will include a full Halloween experience, with trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, and other activities.

The festivities will mostly unfold on the Plaza, where Maniac Pumpkin Carvers founder Marc Evans will put on live pumpkin-carving demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will also be face painting, a photo booth, a vender market, a beer garden from Barrel & Bushel, and a Seasons52 wine tent.

Live entertainment will be provided by country musician Scott Kurt and the bands Under the Covers and The Moonlighters. In addition, the Traveling Players Ensemble will stage a puppet show from 1-5 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday).

There will also be a kids’ corn maze set up on Sunday (Oct. 16).

Kids who arrive between noon and 2 p.m. on both days can participate in Tysons Mall-o-Ween, where they’l be able to collect candy from over 40 retailers in the mall. Free tote bags will be handed out at the Plaza.

Advance registration is required for Mall-o-Ween, but only one ticket is needed per family, according to an announcement on Facebook. The mall encourages kids to don costumes, but Halloween masks won’t be allowed inside.

The Town of Vienna is also getting a head start on the season of ghosts and ghouls with Halloween on the Green.

From 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. tomorrow, the parks and recreation department will offer snacks, games and prizes, story times, moon bounces, crafts and pumpkin decorating at the Vienna Town Green. The event page says a limited number of pumpkins will be available.

For area residents who’d prefer to celebrate closer to the actual holiday, Vienna will have its annual Halloween parade at 7 p.m. on Oct. 26. Saturday, Oct. 29, will bring costume contests to The Boro and The Perch at Capital One Center, and a Festival of Frights to McLean Community Center’s Old Firehouse.

The Mosaic District in Merrifield will close the weekend with a Halloween Spooktacular, which will feature trick-or-treating and a screening of the 2019 “Addams Family” movie on Oct. 30.

Finally, on Halloween itself (Monday, Oct. 31), Celebrate Fairfax will throw a party at The PARC (8508 Leesburg Pike) with “face painting, balloon twisting, mad science activities, and of course candy and other treats,” according to the Facebook event page.

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list