Each election cycle requires some tweaks to Fairfax County’s polling precincts, and 2023 will be no exception.
This year’s proposed revisions aren’t quite as intensive as 2022’s, which affected over half of the county’s precincts to account for redistricting changes. However, they’ll still have an impact on hundreds of voters in a year when nearly all key state and local offices will be on the ballot.
According to a staff memo, Tysons has grown enough to need two polling places. With the Tysons precinct now exceeding 5,000 registered voters, the county recommends splitting it up to create a new “Jones Branch” precinct.
The Jones Branch precinct will take over the existing polling place in the Providence Committee meeting room (7921 Jones Branch Road). Staff have proposed relocating the Tysons polling place to The PARC at Tysons (8508 Leesburg Pike), the county-owned events venue that replaced the Container Store.
“This building is well-situated in the Tysons precinct…and will accommodate the continued growth in this area,” staff said in the agenda for last week’s Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting.
It costs the county $23,865 to add a precinct, a price tag that covers voting equipment, election supplies and notices to affected voters. There’s also an annual cost of $4,800 per year to staff the new precinct with the election officers for at least two elections.
Also in the Providence District, the county suggests renaming the Oak Marr precinct to “Oaktree Crossing,” since the polling site is no longer in the Oak Marr Rec Center.
The polling place was relocated to the Oakton Library in March 2021 “to provide the 4,000 voters a more accessible voting location,” according to staff. The Oak Marr Rec Center now hosts a different, small precinct called Island Pond that was created after redistricting.
Nearby, the Difficult Run precinct in Oakton is permanently moving to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax (2709 Hunter Mill Road) after getting relocated there temporarily last year when its previous site became unavailable.
The church already has a polling place for the Oakton precinct, but it will have “separate voting rooms” for each precinct, per the staff memo.
The county is also considering moving the precinct Spindle #2 out of the Centreville Regional Library, where it’s currently co-located with Spindle #1. The polling place would be relocated to Bull Run Elementary School and renamed “Robinson Mill.”
Staff recommends the change after the county’s election team “reported that the library cannot logistically support colocated precincts” based on last November’s election.
Finally, the county intends to rename the Franconia #1 and #2 precincts as Edison #1 and #2, since they’re both located in Edison High School.
“This name change will avoid voter confusion resulting from the renaming of the magisterial district from Lee to Franconia,” staff said.
As authorized by the Board of Supervisors on Feb. 21, a public hearing on the proposed changes will be held at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7.
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.
Celebrate Fairfax Inc. will close out the summer tomorrow (Friday) with an outdoor bash and some tunes.
The nonprofit organization best known for staging the annual Celebrate Fairfax! Festival will kick off the third and final Tysons Block Party of the season at 4 p.m. outside The PARC (8508 Leesburg Pike), the events venue it established at a former Container Store.
In addition to food trucks, drinks, games and a free workout, the party will feature the championships of the Fairfax County karaoke competition, a longtime festival staple. The contest kicked off with an initial wildcard round on June 17 and had semifinals on July 15.
Get ready to sing your heart out at tomorrow's Block Party! It's the final #BlockParty of the summer so drop by the PARC at 8508 Leesburg Pike, for #openmike #Karaoke, Lost Rhino Brewery, Island Favourites Food Truck, #TysonsCreamery, and free workout provided by #OrangeTheory! pic.twitter.com/EjGZoD9sUH
— CelebrateFFX (@CelebrateFFX) August 18, 2022
Traditionally held at the Fairfax County Government Center in June, the Celebrate Fairfax Festival had what appears to be its last hurrah in 2019. After cancellations in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19, the fair was split up this year into an ongoing series of smaller events in different parts of the county.
While the news disappointed some fans of the festival, Celebrate Fairfax says it has been working to “really try to involve the community” with its new approach, and finding a new home for the karaoke competition in particular has “been a really rewarding process.”
“We love community feedback and we are constantly looking for new and excited ways to create events that are fun for the whole community,” spokesperson Katie Rorer said by email. “…Celebrate Fairfax has begun working on transitioning from planning and producing the Celebrate Fairfax Festival, to creating events and spaces throughout Fairfax County that foster a sense of community, fun, and belonging through placemaking opportunities!”
Upcoming events include a Shop Local Market at The PARC on Sept. 10, a grand opening celebration for the new Sully Community Center (13800 Wall Road, Herndon) on Sept. 17, and a 5K fun run at Kingstowne Towne Center on Sept. 24 to support the ConnerStrong Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to mental health awareness and suicide prevention.
Rorer says a full calendar of events for this fall will be released soon.
The Celebrate Fairfax! Festival is returning in a new form this year — smaller events throughout the county.
The annual festival was a summer highlight featuring bands, carnival rides, and more at the Fairfax County Government Center, but this year, the nonprofit Celebrate Fairfax Inc. is bringing parts of the festival to each of the county’s districts, organizers announced in April.
The karaoke competition that traditionally was at the festival will take place at block parties at the PARC at Tysons, starting this Friday (June 17).
“We are bringing a Celebrate Fairfax! Festival favorite to the PARC – the Fairfax County Karaoke Competition! During the first Block Party we will have our wildcard competition, so get ready to sing at the top of your lungs!” the event website reads. The karaoke semifinals will be held Friday, July 15, and the finals on Friday, Aug. 19.
The Block Party will also feature outdoor games, a food truck and Beltway Brewing.
The first #BlockParty of #summer2022 is one week away! With #beer, #food, #games, and #karaoke there is something for everyone! Join us at 4pm for open mic karaoke and stick around because at 6pm the Fairfax County Karaoke Wildcard Competition begins! #summernights #fridaynights pic.twitter.com/UY4oIOhIyg
— CelebrateFFX (@CelebrateFFX) June 10, 2022
The announcement of the event’s new form drew ire from some on social media who referred to the festival as a tradition. In the past, the annual three-day festival has drawn some 70,000 attendees and featured nationally known bands, including All-American Rejects, Everclear, and Third Eye Blind, but it was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During the past year, Celebrate Fairfax, Inc. (CFI) had the opportunity to re-envision how we, as a 501c3 nonprofit organization, fulfill our mission to celebrate Fairfax County and its communities,” the organization said. “CFI has been a staple in the Fairfax County community for nearly 40 years.”
Celebrate Fairfax lists an event planned for Wednesday, July 13, in Springfield — Springfield Nights: Celebrate Fairfax Kids, which includes a balloon artist and magic shows. The nonprofit also hosted its first Braddock Bark dog festival this past weekend.
So, with the old festival taking new shape, will you miss the big event?
Get ready to paint the town — literally.
Celebrate Fairfax, the nonprofit best known for organizing the annual Celebrate Fairfax! Festival, will unveil a new public mural tomorrow (Saturday) for the PARC at Tysons.
Painted by Northern Virginia resident and artist Rodrigo Pradel, the colorful artwork can already be seen covering the squat building at 8508 Leesburg Pike that previously housed a Container Store.
“It is a stunning piece of work and its outward visibility from the Metro and surrounding area will be a fun draw to the venue,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said in a news release. “The PARC brings events focused on Tysons’ art and culture offerings as well as numerous events focused on local retail and small businesses.”
A collaboration between Celebrate Fairfax, Tysons Partnership, and the alternative art gallery ArtWhino, the mural will make its official debut with a free party from noon to 5 p.m.
In addition to live painting demonstrations by Pradel, the celebration will offer kids’ activities, music from DJ Cabezon, and a market with local artisans and craftspeople. The food truck Pakos Fresh Mex and Caboose Brewing Company will also be on hand to provide sustenance.
Our vendor line-up is here! Celebrate #SmallBusinessWeek and finish your last-minute #MothersDay shopping this Saturday at The PARC! https://t.co/ErFDSQWAu1 #shopsmall #smallbusiness #shoplocal #mothersday2022 #mothers #artisans #localmarket #localbusiness #saturday #tysons pic.twitter.com/c1k1ZVWaLd
— CelebrateFFX (@CelebrateFFX) May 4, 2022
Noting that PARC stands for “People, Arts, Recreation and Community,” Celebrate Fairfax spokesperson Katie Rorer says the organization saw the mural as “a great way” to highlight the importance of the arts to the venue.
“The goal was to deliver something colorful and bold to activate the new space with something that captures the vibrancy of the surrounding community,” Rorer said. “Rodrigo’s abstract approach combined with his experience and apprenticeships on several major mural installations in Tysons made him an ideal fit for this project.”
Acquired by Fairfax County in 2019, the former Container Store served as a storage facility for personal protective equipment and a hypothermia shelter during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic before the PARC launched in September.
The events venue has become a key part of the county’s effort to give Tysons a stronger sense of place beyond the malls and office buildings that defined the area for decades.
“The mural at the PARC is just one more example of how Tysons is building our community to engage all residents, business, and visitors,” Tysons Partnership Deputy Executive Director Drew Sunderland said. “We are focused on driving sustained economic interest which will continue to fuel our future growth. We love the PARC design and look forward to celebrating with everyone involved.”
(Updated at 9:20 a.m. on 4/7/2022) Break out the spoons and waffle cones, Tysons.
An ice cream truck is pulling into the PARC at Tysons and doling out free scoops tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday (April 8).
The local caterer Tyson’s Creamery will be parked at 8508 Leesburg Pike from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on both days as part of The PARC’s “Spring Is Blossoming” celebration, which kicked off with some spring break pop-up activities on Monday (April 4).
The free ice cream will be available, rain or shine, as long as supplies last, according to Celebrate Fairfax, which operates the PARC. Tyson’s Creamery will also have a stall at the weekly Shop Local Saturday Market on April 9.
Join us for #free ice cream* at the PARC provided by @Tysonscreamery! Rain or shine, so mark your calendars and come on by! And if you can't make it during the week, you can shop their delicious #icecream this #Saturday, April 9th at our #Shop #Local Market!
*While supplies last pic.twitter.com/jrHAkZvKNp
— CelebrateFFX (@CelebrateFFX) April 6, 2022
Celebrate Fairfax Inc., the nonprofit best known for organizing the annual Celebrate Fairfax! Festival, launched the PARC as a community hub and event venue last fall, converting a 19,260-square-foot space on Route 7 previously occupied by the Container Store.
The organization recently announced that it will forgo the Celebrate Fairfax! Festival this summer in favor of smaller events throughout Fairfax County, similar to the Tysons Block Party and other activities it has hosted at the PARC.
Photo via Courtney Cook/Unsplash