With cooler temperatures returning after an unseasonably warm Friday (Jan. 26), a nonprofit headquartered in Reston is putting out a call for winter clothes to distribute to homeless adults throughout Northern Virginia.
An operator of wellness centers that assist people experiencing challenges with mental illness, substance use and homelessness, the Recovery Program Solutions of Virginia (RPSV) launched a winter gear clothing drive earlier this month that will continue until the end of the season.
The organization is seeking new or gently used coats, gloves, wool or thermal socks, scarves, hats, hand warmers and mylar blankets — all items that it says are “urgently” needed by its clients. The drive will also accept first aid and personal hygiene items, tarps, waterproof tents, sleeping bags, and waterproof rolling backpacks, according to a press release.
Donations can be dropped off at RPSV’s five recovery centers:
- Arlington Peers Helping Peers in Recovery (3219 Columbia Pike, Suite 101)
- The Consumer Wellness Center in Annandale (7611 Little River Turnpike, Suite E100)
- Merrifield Peer Resource Center (8221 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive, Suite 1-105)
- Reston Wellness Center (1850 Cameron Glen Drive, Suite 200)
- The South County Recovery and Drop-In Center in Mount Vernon (8794-S Sacramento Drive)
Founded in 2011, RPSV serves Fairfax County, Falls Church, Alexandria and Arlington. Staffed by people who are in recovery, the nonprofit offers peer-run support groups, access to treatment, employment assistance, referrals to housing and financial assistance, and other services.
The D.C. area is expected to be hit with another round of snow tomorrow (Friday), prompting Fairfax County Public Schools to call for its second snow day this week.
All schools and central offices will be closed tomorrow, FCPS announced at 5:25 p.m. today. The closure includes extracurricular activities, field trips and other events on school grounds.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Fairfax County that will take effect from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. tomorrow. One to three inches of accumulated snow are possible, adding onto the three to five inches that fell earlier this week and have yet to fully melt.
The Virginia Department of Transportation says its Northern Virginia District crews started spot-treating roads with brine today and will continue once snow begins to fall tomorrow morning.
Here’s the full winter weather alert from the NWS:
…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM TO 7 PM EST FRIDAY…
* WHAT…Snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 1 to 3 inches north of US-50/I-66 with amounts around 1 inch to the south.
* WHERE…Portions of central and southern Maryland, The District of Columbia and northern and northwest Virginia.
* WHEN…From 4 AM to 7 PM EST Friday.
* IMPACTS…Plan on slippery road conditions. The hazardous conditions will impact the morning commute.
Slow down and use caution while traveling.
When venturing outside, watch your first few steps taken on steps, sidewalks, and driveways, which could be icy and slippery, increasing your risk of a fall and injury.
The season’s first winter storm is making its way toward the D.C. region, though the chances for serious snow in Fairfax County are iffy.
Instead, the county is expected to get a slushy mix of rain, snow and sleet, starting tomorrow (Saturday) morning. The precipitation could add up to an inch of snow and sleet accumulations, along with “a light glaze” of ice, according to a Winter Weather Advisory issued today by the National Weather Service.
The advisory, which also includes central and southeast Prince William County, is scheduled to take effect at 7 a.m. tomorrow and stay in place until 2 p.m. After that, the wintry mix is anticipated to turn into rain.
“Slow down and use caution while traveling,” the NWS said. “When venturing outside, watch your first few steps taken on steps, sidewalks, and driveways, which could be icy and slippery, increasing your risk of a fall and injury.”
Fairfax County notes that some of its facilities may close and programs might get canceled, depending on the severity of the weather.
Virginia Department of Transportation crews began treating roadways with salt brine this morning, a process that will be complete by this afternoon’s rush hour, according to a snow update.
[1:40 PM] – The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory, effective from 7 AM – 2 PM on Saturday, January 6, 2024.
What: Mixed precipitation is expected. Total snow and sleet accumulations of a coating to one inch, and ice accumulations of a light glaze. pic.twitter.com/o2Z55pmwA5
— Ready Fairfax (@ReadyFairfax) January 5, 2024
A #WinterWeatherAdvisory has been issued for parts of NOVA.
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) January 5, 2024
The full Winter Weather Advisory is below:
…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 7 AM TO 2 PM EST SATURDAY…
* WHAT…Mixed precipitation expected. Total snow and sleet accumulations of a coating to an inch, and ice accumulations of a light glaze.
* WHERE…Fairfax County, and Central and Southeast Prince William County.
* WHEN…From 7 AM to 2 PM EST Saturday.
* IMPACTS…Plan on slippery road conditions and slippery untreated paved surfaces, mainly from light ice glaze due to freezing rain.
* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Precipitation is expected to begin as snow and sleet between 7 and 9 AM. Precipitation will change to freezing rain around 11 AM, then rain after 2 PM. Precipitation is expected to end during the early evening.
Map via National Weather Service
Sugar plum fairies are getting ready to descend on Fairfax County, which will host multiple productions of Pytor Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” this holiday season.
The 131-year-old ballet, now a Christmastime tradition, will first waltz into Tysons, with two shows at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) on Sunday, Dec. 3.
Produced by Talmi Entertainment with dancers from around the world, NUTCRACKER! Magical Christmas Ballet is returning to the concert hall’s main theater as part of its 31st annual North American tour. Doors will open an hour before the 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. showtimes.
“We’re the only nationally touring Nutcracker production, so we strive to top ourselves each year,” Talmi Entertainment Executive Producer Dan Talmi said in a press release. “There is a sense of pride and responsibility when it comes to this show. It has become a holiday tradition in households across the country and our team works year round to give audiences the best of everything.”
Starring Ukrainian ballerinas Karyna Shatkovskaya and Elena Pechenyuk as Clara, the production deviates in its second act by shifting the setting from the usual Land of Sweets to a Land of Peace and Harmony “where there are no wars and no children suffer.” Clara and the Nutcracker Prince are guided through the land by two dancers in the unique acro-ballet adagio “Doves of Peace.”
Other notable elements include marionettes and animal puppets, a hand-crafted Christmas tree that grows up to 100 feet tall, and the introduction of a Herald character that represents “the spirit of the forest.”
For those interested in a more local production, Capital One Hall will also host the Dance Academy of Virginia’s inaugural performance of “The Nutcracker Sweet” in The Vault at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 4.
In addition, the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra (FSO) and Fairfax Ballet Company will team up once again to present “The Nutcracker” at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts (4373 Mason Pond Drive) in Fairfax.
Scheduled for 4 p.m. on Dec. 16 and 17, the production is one of the few in the D.C. area with live music by a full orchestra, according to the FSO. This iteration — the seventh that the orchestra and ballet company have brought to GMU — will feature New York City Ballet members Emily Kikta and Aarón Sanz as guest soloists.
“Our unique production has become a cherished tradition of the season,” FSO Executive Director Jonathan Kerr said in a statement. “Audiences delight in the incredible dancers on stage, while Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable music is performed live by our orchestra musicians. The dance, live music, plus the stunning, digital scenery creates a winter wonderland in a magical production that’s perfect for the entire family.”
Fairfax Connector will pull into the Fairfax County Government Center soon for its first-ever Winterfest.
Space is quickly disappearing for the public bus system’s holiday event, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9 in parking lot B of the government center (12000 Government Center Parkway).
Featuring three holiday-themed buses, free food and other treats, Winterfest is free to attend, but a general admission ticket is required for entry. As of this afternoon (Wednesday), more than half of the 500 available slots had been taken, according to the sign-up page.
Separate tickets for a planned Santa Bus, where visitors can meet jolly St. Nick, sold out within hours of going online, a Fairfax County Department of Transportation spokesperson says. In response to the demand, a second bus where attendees can get a free cookie from Mrs. Claus has been added.
Access to the “Cookies with Mrs. Claus” bus is included with general admission.
Winterfest will also feature free hot chocolate and kettle corn, games, music, a “Letters to Santa” station, and Duck donuts and Grill Cheese food trucks. Fairfax Connector will hand out coupons for free rides and other “goodies” throughout the event, according to a news release.
Following in the tracks of Metro, which has decorated a train and buses to resemble gingerbread houses, Fairfax Connector’s holiday buses hit the road earlier this week. They’re wrapped in plaid Christmas tree, Santa gnome and cookie designs.
“These buses are sure to bring a smile to your face,” the news release said. “If you spot one, safely take a picture and share with us on Facebook or Twitter. Use the hashtag #HolidayBus or #FairfaxConnector.”
People who share a photo of the buses on social media will be entered into a drawing for a $50 SmarTrip card, which can be used for Connector buses as well as Metro, Fairfax CUE buses and other local transit systems. The winner will be announced the week of Jan. 1, 2024.
During Winterfest, the tree-decorated bus will serve as the Santa bus, while Mrs. Claus will be in the cookie bus. The gnome bus will host a Stuff-a-Bus donation drive.
“To support our community, Fairfax County Department of Transportation, Fairfax Connector & Transdev are collecting new, unwrapped toys and coats for children ages 5 to 10 years old,” FCDOT said in its news release. “…The toys and coats collected will be delivered to children at three Fairfax County public schools the week of December 11, 2023.”
In a separate charitable effort, today (Thursday) marks the last day of Fairfax County’s virtual Stuff the Bus campaign, which encourages community members to make monetary donations to local nonprofits that provide food assistance.
Reston Association hopes to start a new holiday tradition this year with its first-ever Winterfest.
The three-day “holiday extravaganza” will take place at the Brown’s Chapel Park recreation area (1575 Browns Chapel Road) from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2, RA announced in its weekly “Reston Today” newsletter on Friday (Nov. 3).
“Stroll through a self-guided walk as we Light up the Park,” the event description says. “Join us for festive music, vendors for holiday shopping, bonfires and smores, drinks and a pop-up bar and food options. In addition, we are hosting a Santa Experience inside the Lake House.”
There will also be an “Enchanted Forest” featuring “decorated trees from the community,” according to RA.
The overall event is free for RA members, but the “Light Up the Park” walk costs $18 for non-members, with a discount of $8 for anyone aged 3 to 17. All attendees must register in advance for a one-hour time slot between 5-9 p.m.
Registration for the Santa Experience is separate and includes an opportunity to make a holiday craft and write a letter to Santa, who will also be present at the event. There’s a fee of $20 for RA members and $25 for non-members, though kids under 2 can get in for free.
Cara O’Donnell, RA’s new communications director, says the organization is “VERY excited about this event.”
“The idea for it came about before I joined RA…but I know there was a genuine desire to do a big holiday event — something the entire community can enjoy and one that hopefully will become an annual tradition,” O’Donnell said to FFXnow. “I think it’s going to be really fun.”
In other wintry Reston news, Reston Town Center’s ice skating rink opened at the renovated pavilion on Friday. The town center’s annual holiday parade and tree lighting is scheduled for Nov. 24, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Though it may be hard to believe on a 100-degree day, winter will come to Fairfax County again, and when it does, Kaleido Entertainment and Arts Group will be ready.
For the festival’s return to the D.C. area, Kaleido is planning an even longer season that will kick off around Thanksgiving on Nov. 24 and continue through Feb. 18, according to a special permit application filed with Fairfax County on July 20.
While the previous event was allowed under a temporary special permit, the festival needs to get the Board of Zoning Appeals’ approval this time, because it will last longer than 21 days.
Like before, the event will feature hundreds of illuminated paper lanterns crafted into animals, natural and mythic scenes, and other designs. A list in the application suggests the displays will be laid out in quadrants according to four themes: ocean song, animal world, creative technology and cartoon paradise.
If approved, the festival will again be held in Lerner Town Square at Tysons II (8025 Galleria Drive). The proposed operating hours are 5-9:30 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Kaleido anticipates having 10 employees on site and 2,000 patrons, though it’s unclear whether that’s per day or over the festival’s full stay. A public relations consultant for the company didn’t return a request for comment from FFXnow by press time.
“Patrons came by cars [or Metro] from 5 pm – 9pm after work on weekends. Last year there were no reported traffic concerns or accidents,” the application’s statement of justification says. “We expect NO negative impact of traffic in and out of Tysons during the hours of operation.”
According to the statement, Tysons II property owner Lerner has agreed to provide 6,046 parking spaces for the festival at five office buildings in the development, which also encompasses Tysons Galleria.
“It is much more than needed,” the application says.
The county hasn’t officially accepted the application for review yet, so the zoning appeals board hearing doesn’t have a scheduled date.
Winter is coming, and with temperatures projected to top out in the 30s and low 40s next week, staying warm will soon become even more of a challenge for many Fairfax County residents.
To help those in need get through the season, Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik’s office will launch a winter clothes drive today (Monday), collecting coats, gloves and hats of all sizes for donation to local shelters.
New and gently used items are being accepted until Jan. 19 at the Providence District Office (3001 Vaden Drive), which is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. A flyer says additional drop-off locations will be shared, but as of press time, the office was still waiting to confirm the other sites, including one at Tysons Corner Center.
“Holding donation drives is an opportunity for people to get involved and give back to the community,” Palchik said in an emailed statement. “What some may deem as a small donation is a big help to those in need. The collected winter gear will be donated not only to our unsheltered community members but also those who may not be able to afford them.”
For the drive, Palchik’s office has teamed up with the Providence Community Center, local homeowners’ associations, and the Tysons Community Alliance, which was formed in October to replace the Tysons Partnership as a nonprofit organization that advocates for the area and guides its evolution.
Recipients of the winter clothing donations will include The Lamb Center, a shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness located on the border of Oakton and Fairfax, and Tysons-based Second Story, which focuses on helping kids, teens and families.
While this drive will support Providence District residents, including Tysons, Oakton, Merrifield and the area around Fairfax, the North County Government Center will host a final drop-off date for Reston’s annual Winter Coat Closet on Jan. 14.
Photo via Eli Pluma/Unsplash
Updated at 8:05 p.m. — Fairfax County Public Schools will open two hours late tomorrow in response to the anticipated inclement weather.
Earlier: Fairfax County may get its first serious taste of winter weather for the season overnight.
The NWS initially forecast that the anticipated freezing rain and ice could begin at 10 p.m. today but later revised the time frame.
“Wintry precipitation begins overnight and continues into Thursday morning,” the NWS said. “Warmer air should push in later Thursday morning into Thursday afternoon changing the precipitation to rain.”
More from the alert:
…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM TO 1 PM EST THURSDAY…
* WHAT…Freezing rain expected. Total ice accumulations of a glaze to around one tenth of an inch. Highest ice amounts will be in the northern and western suburbs of Washington and Baltimore.
* WHERE…The Washington and Baltimore Metropolitan areas including the city of Baltimore and the District of Columbia as well as northeastern and central Maryland.
* WHEN…From 1 AM to 1 PM EST Thursday.
* IMPACTS…Difficult travel conditions are possible. The hazardous conditions will likely impact the morning commute on Thursday.
The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department warns that the rain could affect tomorrow’s morning commute, and Fairfax Connector says it will be monitoring the potential storm, advising that riders watch out for slippery or icy sidewalks.
The Virginia Department of Transportation began mobilizing crews yesterday to prepare roads for the wintry precipitation, noting that it has made some procedural adjustments in the hopes of avoiding a repeat of January’s I-95 shutdown.
The risk of ice tomorrow is expected to be highest further to the west in Virginia, where an Ice Storm Warning has been issued.
Thousands of lanterns will take over Lerner Town Square at Tysons II this winter.
Based in New York City, the Winter Lantern Festival will bring over 10,000 Chinese-style lanterns to Tysons for a nearly two-month stay from Dec. 16 through Feb. 12. This will be its first-ever stop in the D.C. area, the festival announced Wednesday (Nov. 30).
“We are thrilled to debut the Winter Lantern Festival, expand to new locations, introduce all visitors to the beauty of these artisan installations, and have the show become part of the DMV’s cultural holiday tradition,” said Haokun Liu, partner of Kaleido Arts & Entertainment Group, which organizes the annual festival.
Founded in 2018 as New York Events & Entertainment, Kaleido Arts assists companies, nonprofits and others with events that promote “global cross-cultural communication,” according to a press release.
The New York City festival has drawn over 150,000 guests annually over its three years of existence. It’s expanding to five different locations this year, but Tysons is the first and only site outside of New York state.
The outdoor venue at 8025 Galleria Drive, which hosted Cirque du Soleil this summer, will be filled with displays made out of painted lanterns to resemble animals, such as polar bears and penguins, as well as figures out of Chinese myths and legends.
All of the lanterns are handmade by over 100 artists, who fit silk cloth over steel wire frames with LED lights using techniques that date back to the Han dynasty, per the festival website. The displays can reach up to 30 feet in height and will span 60 acres.
“Lantern festivals have been a part of Chinese culture and history for thousands of years, honoring our ancestors and celebrating peace, prosperity, and good fortune,” Liu said.
The festival will also feature interactive light swings, see-saws and tunnels, along with live entertainment and food vendors.
Tickets are now on sale for $31.99 for adults and $19.99 for kids 12 and under, including a $2 service fee. For now, customers can get a 30% discount if they use the code EARLYP.
The festival will generally operate on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, but it will be open daily between Dec. 23 and Jan. 1, 2023. Hours will be 5-10 p.m.