Posted by Editorial / Friday, October 31st, 2014
By Michael Balderston
The Voice of Newgrass is coming to Warrenton. John Cowan, longtime member of The Doobie Brothers and founding member of New Grass Revival, is making a stop at Drum & Strum in Old Town Warrenton on Friday, Nov. 7 at 8 p.m. with his John Cowan Band, featuring songs from their new, Grammy-nominated, album “Sixty” and old favorites.
Hear new songs from “Sixty” like “Miss the Mississippi (And You),” “Why Are You Crying,” and “Run for Your Life.” Get a taste of what’s will be in store with another song from “Sixty,” “Devil Woman,” below.
Tickets are on sale now at Drum & Strum. Tickets are $25. Children 12 and under are admitted free of charge. There are a limited number of seats, so it is recommended that you purchase your tickets in advance. For more information contact Drum & Strum owner Tim Dingus.
Drum & Strum
102 Main Street, Warrenton, 20186
Posted by Editorial / Thursday, October 30th, 2014
By Michael Balderston
Getting a plane ticket to Europe will cost you a pretty penny with today’s airlines, but what if you and your kids could get a taste of European culture without a passport? Kids Euro Fest, put on by the European Union Delegation to the U.S. and European American Cultural Foundation, gives you that chance as performers from all 28 countries of the European Union will take part in the festival that runs until Nov. 9 in D.C.
“It’s really bringing Europe to children and their families,” says Sandra Auman, Cultural Affairs Officer for the European Union Delegation to the U.S., “families that may never have the chance to go to Europe.”
Everybody knows about France, Italy and the U.K., but here are some smaller EU countries that you can learn about at this year’s fest.
Professional opera singer Constantinos Yiannoudes shares his craft with kids not only by singing some of opera’s great works but bringing real props and costumes and turning select members from the audience into budding opera stars. Yiannoudes also shares stories and classic folk songs from his home country. “The power of the voice, which is not amplified by electronics,” is one of the most important things Yiannoudes sets out to accomplish with his performances for the kids.
Bela Bartok, Hungary’s most famous composer, described Hungarian folk traditions as “beautiful to the eye; beautiful to the ear.” Find out exactly what he meant with a live performance of the countries folk dancing and music, featuring stunning costumes and instruments you’ve never seen before. Watch this enchanting performance complete with folk games and even a quick “dance house” – a Hungarian dance lesson.
Last year’s Oscar-winning animated short hails all the way from the country of Luxembourg. “Mr. Hublot” centers on a withdrawn, quirky character that is afraid to leave his tiny apartment in a crowded mechanical city. But when he rescues a tiny puppy-like robot Mr. Hublot’s life gets turned upside down when the puppy continues to grow and grow. The film was written and directed by Luxembourg born filmmakers Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares.
Science is everywhere, especially in Estonia. See how science affects the daily life of this Baltic country in northern Europe with experiments that include exploding toothpaste, giant bubbles and driving through super thick fog. Learn just how much science is present in everyday life, not only in Estonia, but right here in northern Virginia.
There is no age limit to experience Europe. Mozaika proves that with this special program that is designed for babies and toddlers. This Lithuanian dance company entertains and educates by piecing together a puzzle (mozaika) of shapes that turn into fruits, vegetables and other recognizable items. Mozaika was a nominee for Best Children’s Performance by the Lithuania Ministry of Culture in 2013.
Take a crash course in Malta’s history with this hilarious ride through the country’s 7,000 year existence. Maltese native Malcolm Galea wrote the play that covers the small islands history that includes cavemen, knights and pirates. “The children will first and foremost enjoy [the play] while having a good laugh,” says Galea. “They will also hear about a place that sounds like a fantasy setting in an adventure book – only it’s real!”
Kids Euro Fest 2014 is currently underway. Get information on the shows here.
Posted by Editorial / Thursday, October 30th, 2014
By Michael Balderston
Trade in your heels for a pair of skates by attending the Washington Capitals Hockey ‘n Heels night this November. This event is for all the ladies who rock the red and want to learn more about the game of hockey. Featuring on-ice demonstrations from players Michael Latta, Nate Schmidt and Justin Peters and instructional sessions from the coaching staff, including a Q&A with head coach Barry Trotz. Tickets are only available for Scarlet Caps members, but you can sign up to become a member for free here. Tickets are now available.
Check out a video recapping last year’s Hockey n’ Heels event here:
Hockey ‘n Heels
Wednesday, Nov. 12
6:15 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Kettler Capitals Iceplex
627 N. Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22203
Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, October 29th, 2014
By Bailey Lucero-Carter
While all the neighborhood children are out collecting candy, the fluffy pups back home might feel a little left out. Luckily, the Northern Virginia area offers a number of ways to celebrate the spooky season with man’s best friend. No tricks involved—treat your dog this Halloween at these local events held especially to entertain your tail-wagging pal and you.
The Potomac Riverboat Company invites adults, children and dogs for a special Halloween edition of its Canine Cruise line. Your dog can come dressed up to a night filled with Halloween tunes and treats while enjoying the cruise from Alexandria’s Seaport. Furry friends can enjoy this aquatic voyage for free. / Oct. 30, 7 p.m.; 205 The Strand, Alexandria; $15 adults, $9 children under 12
Fairmount Washington D.C., Georgetown hotel welcomes all canines looking for a Halloween treat. Dogs will delight in the peanut butter doggie biscuits prepared by Fairmount’s pastry team. The most adorable and creative puppy costumes will also win prizes. Join the fun on Halloween in the hotel’s courtyard. / Oct. 31, 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.; 2401 M Street NW, Washington, D.C.; free
Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
By Bailey Lucero-Carter
Once a factory for underwater ammunition used in World Wars I and II, the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria is now a cultural hub for innovation and creativity. While the art center always showcases painting, photography, jewelry, sculpture and other media, on Nov. 13 “A Niche in the Hall” presented by Jane Franklin Dance will bring artwork to life.
Jane Franklin, choreographer and educator, founded her dance company in 1997, basing it in Arlington for its enduring acceptance and advancement of the arts. Since then, the company has performed routines at multiple venues throughout Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. This dance troupe specializes in modern dance, which Franklin describes as “using the human body to express certain ideas.”
“Modern dance is freedom from anything like a standard technique vocabulary. A lot of modern dance still uses dance technique, such as ballet, but it’s really not something that has to be there. People often develop their own styles of moving that shows up in their dances, so it’s very individual.”
Jane Franklin Dance is no stranger to the Torpedo Factory Art Center; the group has often danced in the stairwells and halls of the art center. Yet this upcoming after-hours performance introduces new elements to enhance the spectacle. In addition to performing alongside live musicians Eric Ryan and Brian Page, the dancers will perform within the artists’ studios for the first time.
Side by side are the studios of Rosemary Covey and Dawn Benedetto, where two dancers will separately perform identical routines. While Covey’s studio displays prints and paintings, Benedetto’s displays dangling jewelry which the dancer can incorporate into her movement. “Part of the reason I’m doing this is that the surroundings in which you see movement change your perception of it so much,” says Franklin.
The dancers will wind and weave on all three floors of the art center. Because the audience can move throughout the building, the performance becomes physically involved for them as well. Audiences can also interact with the performance by placing items on a projector, creating shadows and colors for the dancers to interpret.
Experience the intimacy and creativity of modern dance as it is rightfully displayed among other works of art.
A Niche in the Hall
Torpedo Factory Art Center
105 N. Union St., Alexandria
Nov. 13, 8 p.m.
Posted by Editorial / Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
By Michael Balderston
Virginia is off to the races this weekend as Great Meadow in The Plains will host the 77th annual International Gold Cup, often referred to as the crown jewel of the fall steeplechase season. Upwards of 45,000 people are expected to head down to The Plains to attend the event that will feature tailgating, wacky hats and exciting horse races.
If you’re one of those planning to attend here are some vital bits of information for the event as well as some fun facts to make you the hit at your tailgate.
What is Steeplechase?
Steeplechase is defined as a distance horse race in which competitors are required to jump diverse fence and ditch obstacles. The term comes from the early days of the event when the race would often originate from one church steeple to another. Steeplechase is most popular in the U.K., Ireland, France, Australia, Canada and the U.S.
There are two forms of steeplechase in the U.S., hurdle and timber. Hurdle is a race that almost exclusively uses National Fences – standardized plastic and steel fences that stand 52 inches tall and run around two to three miles. Timber races use solid, immovable fences that can top at five feet high and range from three to four miles.
The Gold Cup is one of the only events in Virginia that allows for parimutuel betting, or more simply put the system of gambling where all bets are placed into a single pool and payoff odds are derived from the entire pool. It is the standard way to gamble on horse racing.
That’s the broad view, if you plan on making a bet you need to know these terms:
o Win – the horse must finish first
o Place – the horse must finish first or second (you collect the amount for second)
o Show – the horse must finish first, second or third (you collect the amount for third)
o Exacta – You must pick the horses that finish first and second in exact order
o Trifecta – You must pick the horses that finish first, second and third in exact order
Self-service terminals will be located on both the North and South side of the track as well as on Members Hill. The minimum bet for any race is $2. Betting stations open at 10 a.m. and close at 6:30 p.m.
Gold Cup History
The first ever International Gold Cup took place at Grassland Downs in Tennessee in 1930. The King of Spain, Alfonso XIII, attended the Gold Cup that year and rewarded a spectacular gold trophy to the winner. That same trophy, appropriately called the King of Spain trophy, is still awarded annually to the winner.
The International Gold Cup has moved around a bit in its history. Originating in Tennessee, the race was moved to Rolling Rock Hunt Meet Course in Pennsylvania in 1932. In 1983 the race was officially relocated to Great Meadows, where it has been held ever since.
In 1984 the International Gold Cup was officially changed to a timber race, keeping in tradition with Virginia’s status as the nation’s leader in timber racing. The National Steeplechase Association awarded the International Gold Cup stake designation in 1989.
There are nine races scheduled for this year’s International Gold Cup. Here is the official schedule:
Noon – The Sport of Kings Maiden Hurdle
12:30 p.m. – The Zeke Ferguson Memorial
1:10 p.m. – The VHBPA Open Flat
1:40 p.m – The VHBPA Open Flat
2:10 p.m. – The Orlando Invitation Timber Race
2:50 p.m. – The Maserati International Timber Stakes
3:30 p.m. – The VHBPA Open Flat
4 p.m. – The VHBPA Open Flat
4:30 p.m. – The Old Dominion Turf Championship
- One of the more popular events every year is the Terrier Race Exhibition, where Jack Russell Terrier’s chase a foxtail through an obstacle course. Takes place at 11 a.m.
- Epic Quartet, an all-female barbershop quartet, will sing the National Anthem.
- It’s joked that jockey’s used to put four marbles in their mouths at the beginning of the Gold Cup, spitting one out after every lap to help keep track
- Patrons can go home winners by participating in the annual Tailgating and Hat contests. Find out more info here.
The International Gold Cup takes place Saturday, Oct. 25, gates open 10 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
Great Meadows in the Plains
5089 Old Tavern Road
The Plains, 20198
Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
By Michael Balderston
The climate change debate is one of the biggest going on in the U.S. today, and a major factor in it is coal. Danny Boyd, a former filmmaker-turned graphic novelist, has been a resident of West Virginia for more than 30 years and is contributing to the debate in the form of his new graphic novel “Carbon”.
“Carbon” tells the story of an evil coal operator who discovers a “sacred” carbon that can burn forever. After years of failed attempts, the coal baron has finally found a way to extract his riches. But in his final attempt he awakens and releases a hell the surface world cannot imagine. The only thing that stands in the way of the end of the world as we know it is a disgraced, ex-pro baseball pitcher and a community of courageous coal miners.
Boyd is having a signing for “Carbon” at Four Color Fantasies in Winchester, on Oct. 24. We got the chance to speak with him about “Carbon” coming out at the right time, the reaction among the coal mining community and his upcoming sequel to “Carbon,” “Salt.”
Why was this the right time for “Carbon?”
I’ve been waiting to tell this story for 10 years. Coincidentally, the timing is good with the current climate change debate going on. Course it’s very touchy here in West Virginia, because our most valuable natural resource is coal. I think a lot of us are on the wrong side of history with that, we got to recognize the damage that it has caused and is causing and move on. I wish I had done it years before, wasn’t able to, but it turned out to be good timing.
What is your personal relationship with coal mining communities?
My first real job was in Williamson, which was in southern West Virginia in the heart of the coal fields. I thought I knew West Virginia, but man I didn’t. It was a whole other world down there. I hadn’t really given it a lot of thought and was just around some people who were socially and environmentally conscious and saw the destructiveness in strip mining in particular. That was 34 years ago. I had pretty strong views on that since. A lot of people go it must have been awful; no, it wasn’t awful, it was really a rich few years of my life and a lot of it has filtered into a lot of my work since.
This was the first property that I was able to go full blown on… that had coal as a backdrop.
How has the reaction been among the coal mining communities?
West Virginia is a very interesting place. I was more worried about – I can take heat, but I didn’t really want to offend my fellow West Virginians. But you know what I found? Even though they disagree with some of it, coal miners are all about it, the ones I talked to, because coal miners are the heroes.
As far as the industry goes, the company side of it, I’m not hearing much. I think they’re probably smart enough not to respond. Because I’m not hating; I’m hating on the bad things that people will admit are bad – disreputable coal operators who jeopardize the health and safety of workers for profit, people who don’t care about the environment. I will say, rather than public anger, it’s been more of a politeness.
Where are you going to go with the sequels “Salt and “Gold?”
Happy to tell you I got the sequel written this summer. It was going to be a trilogy but I found in writing it I could combine “Salt” and “Gold” together, so it’s just going to be one more book. It’s written. This weekend I start the process of finding an artist.
“Salt” picks up where “Carbon” left off. The fuse is lit to possibly the end of the world… our unlikely hero, Heat Hatfield, finds himself the leader of his group, sort of the Moses, trying to lead them to safety… as the rest of the world is going into chaos, our heroes are trying to hold it together.
I know I’m sounding preachy, and I kind of am, but I don’t let that stand in the way of entertainment. I do want “Salt,” being the final book, to deal with some of these issues, but that’s not why I’m doing it. I’m really hoping that it’s entertaining for an audience.
Daniel Boyd will be at Four Color Fantasies from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 24 for the signing.
Four Color Fantasies
80 Weems Lane, Winchester
Posted by Editorial / Monday, October 20th, 2014
By Bailey Lucero-Carter
If you wanted to try a new sport, one with the speed of Jai alai, the skill of golf and the physicality of lacrosse, try all three at once this weekend at Forest Greens Golf Club.
This Saturday at noon, Forest Greens Golf Club hosts a free demo of FlingGolf, a sport that combines golf and lacrosse to create an entirely unique experience.
Once FlingGolf creator Alex Van Alen discovered the fun of slinging a golf ball with a jai alai basket, he created the new sport and prototypes for its equipment in his barn in 2012. Since then, the patent pending FlingStick has been crafted specifically for the sport. It resembles the shape of a golf club combined with the mouth of a lacrosse stick, although the basket of a FlingStick is not woven.
With a FlingStick, players can swing underhanded or over their shoulder to try and fling their golf ball across the course. Like in golf, players must get their ball from tee to hole in the least number of swings—or flings. Players can fling the ball near or far and, when the ball is in the green, players can push their ball towards the hole in a manner similar to putting. The game takes place on a golf course and can be played in company with traditional golf.
While this new and innovative sport can be enjoyed for its own merits, FlingGolf’s semblance to golf—from the initial, high-powered fling/swing, to the game objective—can also encourage a wider audience interest in the sport of golf.
For those who shy away from the golf course, “maybe because they were intimidated about the actual game of golf itself, … this may be a step towards getting onto the golf course,” says Tom Coffman, general manager at Forest Greens Golf Club. Coffman also says that FlingGolf can be a great way for children and teens to begin an invested interest in the sport of golf. Furthermore, FlingGolf may be enjoyed by athletes who play other stick-oriented sports like lacrosse or field hockey.
The free demo at Forest Greens Golf Club will cover the basics of FlingGolf, including its rules and a presentation of the swing. Afterwards, people are welcome to rent a FlingStick and try the sport out for themselves. While FlingGolf has taken residence in courses around the northeast and overseas, Forest Greens Golf Club is the first Billy Casper Golf course to offer FlingGolf.
Expand your horizons with a FlingStick and a new sport that sends golf flying in a whole new direction.
FlingGolf at Forest Greens Golf Club
4500 Poa Annua Lane, Triangle
Noon, Oct. 25
Posted by Editorial / Thursday, October 16th, 2014
By Michael Balderston
Looking to make this Halloween something special? Add bigger thrills and chills to all Hallow’s Eve by visiting any of these amusement parks, redesigned to scare the pants right off you. Whether you make it a midnight run or a getaway weekend, here are six parks that are doing Halloween right.
Kings Dominion – Halloween Haunt (1 hour, 30 min. away)
16000 Theme Park Way, Doswell, 23047
Take a ride down 95 to Kings Dominion’s Halloween Haunt. Featuring live shows like “Eternal Jamnation: Lost Souls & Skeleton Crew,” nine mazes, six scare zones and all of the park’s classic roller coasters, Halloween Haunt will have you screaming. Or bring the tykes to Planet Spooky during the day on Saturday and Sundays. Get ticket info here.
Six Flags – Fright Fest Presented by Snickers (1 hour away)
13710 Central Avenue, Upper Marlboro, Md. 20721
Experience “thrills by day” and “fright by night” at Six Flags America’s Fright Fest in Maryland. Kid themed attractions fill the park during the day, including the all new Monster Mash Bash, Kids Halloween Dance Party, and Theater of Magic: Starring Joe Romano. When the sun goes down, the park transforms with attractions like the new Necroville, Voodoo Curse and The Awakening. Get ticket info here.
Busch Garden’s has been taken over by the cursed, turning its usual countries into brand new Terror-Tories, including Demon Street, Ports of Skull, Ripper Row, Vampire Point and Wendigo Woods. Howl-O-Scream runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Sept. 12 – Oct. 26. Get ticket info here.
Kennywood Park – Phantom Fright Nights (4 hours away)
4800 Kennywood Blvd., West Mifflin, Pa. 15122
Kennywood Park takes their Phantom Fright Nights so seriously they recommend that children under 13 don’t come. Attractions include BioFear, Dark Shadows Maze and Haunted Noah’s Ark as well as all their popular rides… but completely blacked out so you can’t see what’s coming until it’s too late. Get ticket info here.
Hershey Park – Hershey Park in the Dark (2 hours, 30 min. away)
100 W. Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, Pa. 17033
Head up to Hershey Park where all the Halloween candy comes from. Attractions include their Trick-or-Treat Adventure for kids 12 and younger and Creatures of the Night at ZooAmerica. Hershey’s rides are also getting a Halloween makeover, as track lights on coasters Lightning Racer, Wildcat and Comet will be turned off after 9 p.m. for a dark ride. Get ticket info here.
Idlewild – HallowBoo (3 hours, 30 min. away)
2574 U.S. 30, Ligonier, Pa. 15658
The kid friendly HallowBoo at Idlewild runs every weekend leading up to Halloween from noon to 6 p.m. Kids can trick-or-treat through Story Book Forest, ride the HallowBoo Express Railroad or get lost in the Corn-Fusing Hay Maze. The park also will feature a number of live musical shows. Get ticket info here.
Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, October 14th, 2014
Take a break from the hayrides and apple picking and tap into your sense of fear at one of these haunted spots for an entertaining and terrifying experience. – Andy Tran
601 Catoctin Circle NE, Leesburg
At Shocktober there is one ghastly and frightening haunted house called Paxton Manor with a dreaded country theme. In the basement is the Haunted Well of Souls, dark and creepy with monsters lurking around each cob-webbed corner. There is also a coffin simulator where you are welcomed to climb inside, the deathly experience lasts about three minutes. And finally the vortex tunnel, a 20- to 30-foot long contraption that throws you off balance and into chaos. If sweat-dripping terror isn’t your thing, you can buy a “no-scare” glow necklace at the door for $5, letting the vampires and ghouls know to take it easy on you. / Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in October, as well as November 1, from 7-10:30 p.m.; $30 for the Shocktober Package; $25 for Paxton manor; $10 for Haunted Well of Souls.
Bradley Farm Haunted House
13159 New Parkland Drive, Herndon
This dark, menacing house is filled with loud noises and a gloomy stench; witches, ghosts, goblins and crazy clowns can be found in the house, terrorizing people from left to right, in all good fun, of course. This attraction is sure to frighten and satisfy both younger audiences and older teens/adults. At this haunted house, be prepared to be scared. / Oct. 24 from 6-10 p.m. and October 25 from 1-5 p.m. and 6-10 p.m. Tickets are only $5.
Route 29 Haunted Farm
4484 Lee Highway, Warrenton
Do not bring young kids or scaredy-cat friends to the Route 29 Haunted Farm unless you want them to have nightmares for months. For twenty minutes, you and your loved ones will get to walk around the haunted farm and experience the terrors in the night. The looming trees and the hard ground will both seem that much more treacherous as you find the ghouls jumping out at you behind bushes and rocks. Not only will you get a great fright, but there’s plenty of food at the concessions stands. / Every Friday and Saturday in October, and November 1 from 7-10:30 p.m.; $15.
Clifton Haunted Trail
Chapel St., Clifton
The Clifton Haunted trail is certain to scare the living daylights out of you and your friends. A long, meandering trail, chock full of banshees, bloody zombies, and creepy skeletons, is an attraction that will not disappoint. As patrons walk down the dim-lit path, your bravery or fear will surely appear once the trail has ended. Started in 2001, the trail has been scaring people for over 13 years and is as entertaining as it is thrilling. / Oct. 25 from 7-10 p.m.; $15, $10 for children 12 and under.
8275 Maple Tree Lane, Warrenton
Enter into the Haunted Hollow, if you dare. This strange establishment has ties to mysterious farm accidents and shocking diary entries. During the walk around the haunted farm there will be strobe lights, fog, and intense noises. The farm itself is shabby and boarded up with rusty nails and rotted wooden planks. Turn back if you’re afraid, for the twenty-minute thrilling journey will take your breath from your lungs and replace it with fear. / Every Friday and Saturday in October starting at 7 p.m.; $15.