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The 2022 Fairfax County karaoke competition will conclude at The PARC’s Tysons Block Party on Aug. 19 (courtesy of Celebrate Fairfax/AE Lands Photography)

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.

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.

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A photo of a previous block party at the PARC at Tysons (via Celebrate Fairfax)

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 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?

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A glimpse of artist Rodrigo Pradel’s new mural for the PARC at Tysons on Route 7 (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

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.

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.”

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The PARC at Tysons will host an ice cream giveaway this week (via Courtney Cook/Unsplash)

(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.

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

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