3 Outdoor Concerts and a Festival happening in NoVA this Weekend

Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

By Shelby Robinson

Now that the weather has taken a turn towards pleasant and the sun stays out longer, live music is back in season. Kick off the spring with local food and local music this weekend.



The Hummingbyrds are a Northern Virginia-based Americana music duo who won the Helen Hayes Award for their theater company, Dizzy Miss Lizzie’s Roadside Revue. The Hummingbyrds’ music is somewhere between folk and country, which they describe as “in the tradition of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris.” The Hummingbyrds are worthy of Friday night out, with or without the kids. 

The Hummingbyrds

Photo courtesy of The Hummingbyrds.

Friday, April 25, 7 – 10 p.m.
The Hummingbyrds at MS Grill
Reston Town Center
11900 Market Street
Reston, 20190
No Cover Charge 



Great Grapes is a two-day festival of wine and food. Guests are welcome to bring blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy live music on the main stage.  There will be two wine gardens and a variety of food and specialty tasting pavilions.  

Great Grapes Wine & Food Festival

Photo courtesy of Great Grapes!

April 26-27, noon – 6 p.m.
Great Grapes Wine & Food Festival
Reston Town Center
11900 Market Street
Reston, 20190
 Ticket Prices Vary


Gary Smallwood was recently named “Loudoun’s Best Musician” in a poll done by Leesburg Today. Smallwood has been playing music since fifth grade and started touring at the age of 16, sometimes barely making it back from a gig in time to catch his bus to school. His experience and passion is obvious and he puts on a show that is entertaining for both adults and kids. Bring your family out to Leesburg for a relaxing afternoon at Lost Creek Vineyards.

Saturday, April 26, 2 – 5 p.m. 
Live Music by Gary Smallwood
Lost Creek Vineyards
43277 Spinks Ferry Road
Leesburg, 20176


Bill Emerson has been called a “Banjo Legend” by the Washington Post and is considered one of the greats in Bluegrass music. Emerson’s band Sweet Dixie is a group of experienced Bluegrass musicians, covering mandolin, fiddle, bass, and guitar. There’s no better place to hear Bluegrass than Virginia and it’s a great show for adults and children alike.

Photo courtesy of Digital Storm/Shutterstock.com.

Saturday, April 26, 7:30 p.m.
Weekend Bluegrass Concert Series presents Bill Emerson & Sweet Dixie
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
1090 Sterling Road, Herndon

Shenandoah Apple Festival

Posted by Editorial / Monday, April 21st, 2014

By Renee Sklarew

Shenandoah Apple Festival

Photo courtesy of Shenandoah Apple Festival.

Just when apple trees in the nearby orchards are in full bloom, the tiny town of Winchester gets into full party mode. This year’s 87th annual festival has a theme—The Land of Pink and Green—so dress accordingly.

This celebration of spring takes over the entire town, and kicks off on April 25 with Uncork the Bloom, a wine tasting party hosted by 20 Virginia vineyards on a closed-off street with live music, artisans and free museum tours.

The 10-day festival has a variety of colorful events including the huge Firefighter Parade, antique car show and coronation ceremony crowning the newest Queen Shenandoah. There are carnival games, rides and an arcade.

Sports fans enjoy hearing from well-known sports celebrities at the annual Sports Breakfast and 10K run. Stay overnight to attend the Eighties Dance Party and fireworks show. Check the website for details, prices and dates. Winchester, 540-662-3863; thebloom.com, April 25–May 4, ticket prices vary depending on events.

(April 2014)

One Day to Watch Them All

Posted by Editorial / Monday, April 21st, 2014

By Robby Osborne

Hobbit Home

Troy Wegman/shutterstock.com

It’s safe to say that with over $1 billion made at the box office and 17 Academy Awards, the Lord of the Rings trilogy was one of the most successful fantasy series ever made, and the longest. With a 558 minute, or nine hour run-time, it is also the longest trilogy. Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse  throws down a challenge with a Lord of the Rings Marathon for $10 on April 27, starting at noon.

Along with the trilogy, The Drafthouse will be hosting  their own trilogy of fifteen-minute contests. Along with a trivia and costume contest, there will be a fun competition to see who can best imitate Gollum. Anyone who comes dressed in costume will receive a movie voucher that can be used in a future visit. 

The day begins at 11:30 a.m., when the doors open, and movie goers can find their seat for the next 10 hours. Fellowship of the Ring begins promptly at noon, followed immediately by The Two Towers, around 3:15 p.m. After the end of the second film, the trilogy of competitions begins, and allows the audience to stretch their legs. At 7 p.m., the marathon concludes with the Return of the King.

If the full 10 hours seems too long to stay in a theater, even one with a bar, then fear not. The festival is open, and the audience can arrive at any time they wish, though they must pay for re-entry. Lord of the Rings has been out of theaters for almost eleven years, and a chance to see one or all of the movies on the big screen is not something to let idly fall away.

2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington
703 486-2345; arlingtondrafthouse.com
April 27, noon to 10 p.m.; $10

Celebrate the Earth in Northern Virginia

Posted by Editorial / Monday, April 21st, 2014

By Katie Bowles

Earth Day in Northern Virginia.

Photo courtesy of Sunny studio/Shutterstock.

Earth Day is tomorrow, and Virginia’s Arbor Day is this Friday–do some good for the planet and celebrate the holidays with one of these Northern Virginia events, then check out our handy tips at the bottom to help the Earth year-round. 


Alexandria Earth Day Celebration
Stop by Ben Brenman Park this coming Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to see demonstrations, an “Upcycling Showcase” and participate in activities for all ages. Details here

4800 Brenman Park Dr., Alexandria


Green Living Expo and Earth Week Community Fair
Come to George Mason University’s Founders Hall on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the expo and fair, which will include activities, demonstrations, a silent auction, green products for sale and more. Learn more here

Mason Arlington Campus, Founders Hall, 3351 Fairfax Dr., Arlington


Springfest Fairfax
Also on Saturday is Springfest Fairfax, held at the the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton. Come out from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m. and enjoy a petting zoo, pony rides and plant sales. Springfest will also be having a Stream Cleanup and Tree Planting on Saturday from 9 a.m. till 11 a.m. at Occoquan Regional Park for those looking to do their part before celebrating. More information here

9601 Ox Road, Lorton


Green Inspirations Environmental Film Festival
The Cinema Arts Theatres in Fairfax are hosting an Environmental Film Festival this week (began yesterday, runs through Thursday). See six different environmentally-themed movies beginning at 4 p.m. each day for free (though donations are allowed). See the film schedule here.

9650-14 Main St., Fairfax


Environment-friendly Tips for Earth Day and beyond

Purchase a tree to plant, learn about existing trees or donate to the Arbor Day Foundation on the organization’s website

Recycle. Separate your trash before putting it into the garbage and take recyclable items to one of the Fairfax County drop-off centers listed here

Take alternative transportation to work. Bike or walk to be really green, or take one of the many methods of public transportation available in Northern Virginia to cut down on pollution (and save on gas money)

This Saturday: 94th Running of the Middleburg Spring Races

Posted by Editorial / Friday, April 18th, 2014

Courtesy of Lawrence French Photography

By Janeé Williams

Spring is here, so race horse season is underway. The 94th Running of the Middleburg Spring Races is set for tomorrow at Glenwood Park. Gates open at 11 a.m. and the first race will begin at 1 p.m. There will be seven races running every half hour as well as food and retail vendors with an Easter egg hunt for kids beginning at noon.

The Middleburg Spring Races are more than just a race, it’s history. The races are held right outside the town of Middleburg and  the course is the  only course that holds land in that area. The races attract so many people from the surrounding areas, many of them new to horse racing. 

“What makes this event unique is that many of the people attending have never been to a horse race before. They get to come here and experience it for the first time,” says Michelle Hobson of Middleburg Spring Races. These races are also prep for the The Gold Cup Race, one of the largest races in the areaThe meet runs a variety of races including hurdle, timber and flat races. The race will also feature The Temple Gwathemy Stakes Race, a race inspired by James Temple Gwathemy, a New York resident who was a constant supporter and amateur rider of steeplechasing.

Some contenders of the race are Michel Smith’s Arrows Conquest; Ms. S.K. Johnston’s Polarity; Virginia Lazenby’s Pleasant Woodman; Magalen Bryant’s Lea Von; Beverly Steinman’s Master of Markets; Ann Pape’s Fog Island; and Magalen Bryant’s Dakota Slew

Proceeds will go to benefit INOVA/Loudoun hospital, Glenwood Park Trust and local charities. / 94th Running of the Middleburg Spring Races; April 19th, Glenwood Park Racecourse in Middleburg; 1:00 p.m.


A Less Dangerous Game

Posted by Robby Osborne / Thursday, April 17th, 2014

By Robby Osborne

Northern Virginia Easter Egg Hunts

Photo courtesy of Kostenko Maxim/shutterstock.com

The Easter Bunny has laid eggs throughout the world, often with treats inside. Who will find these eggs? What will be in them? Only you can solve the mystery. Here are a few Northern Virginia hunting grounds.


Herndon Easter Egg Hunt 

On Saturday, the Herndon Parks and Recreation department will be holding an old-fashioned Easter party beginning at 9 a.m. The Easter Bunny will make an appearance, bringing cheer wherever it hops. There will be an baby-animal petting zoo, which will delight festival goers of all ages. The hunt itself is divided by age groups, which stagger start times depending on the age of the little hunters. Children ages 5-to-7 begin their hunt at 9:30 a.m., 3-to-4 at 10:15 a.m., and toddlers-to-2 begin at 11 a.m. The only requirement for children to participate is that they are walking. 

Herndon Municipal Center, 777 Lynn Street, Herndon
April 19, 9 a.m. to noon; $9

Narmada Winery gets into the spirit of the season with their own egg hunt on April 20. Open to children ten and under, the hunt begins at 1 p.m., and while the children stalk their colorful prey, parents can venture into the tasting the room, and hunt for their favorite vintage. Those in the tasting room will be serenaded by the music of Luke Johnson until 4 p.m. Reservations are required, though, so plan early.
43 Narmada Lane Amissville,  20106
(540) 937-8215, 43, narmadawinery.com/
April 20, 1 p.m.

George C. Marshall International Center Easter Egg Hunt

For the fourth time, The Marshall House plants their unique crop of 2,500 treat-filled eggs around the grounds. From 2 to 4 p.m., children will search throughout the area to see how many eggs they can store in their bags. While the day is free, and walk-ins are more than welcome, the house would not turn down a $5 donation per family. Along with the hunt, there will be face-painting stations, bag decorating and a raffle. 

217 Edwards Ferry Road Leesburg, 2017
(703) 777-1301, georgecmarshall.org
April 19, 2 to 4 p.m.; $5 suggested

Hogback Mountain’s Easter Bunny Hunt

For those who feel that they may too old to hunt for eggs, Hogback Mountain adds a more mature element to the great hunt: Paintball guns. Hogback Mountain Paintball is holding their annual Easter Bunny Hunt, who will be making its appearance throughout the day, mixed in between normal weekend games. While providing tempting target, if players pay too much attention to shooting the bunny, they might find themselves shot by the opposing team. Along with the bunny, Easter specific games will be on rotation throughout the day, where players can find eggs that will be filled with anything from vouchers, to raffle tickets, to just plain old candy. 

20267 Hogback Mountain Road Leesburg, 20175
(703) 777-0057, hogback.net
April 19, 10 a.m.; $20

Second in City, First in Comedy

Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

By Robby Osborne

The Second City Cast.

The Second City Cast. Standing, left to right: Paul Jurewicz, Lisa Barber, Christine Tawfik, Nick Rees; Seated: Rachel LaForce, Adam Schreck. Photo by Kristen Miccoli.

Seasons change, or at least their supposed to, and snow or shine, Second City is returning for their highly-anticipated annual performance at Wolf Trap this weekend.

This year, the touring comedy group will perform “Happily Ever Laughter,” an ensemble of improv comedy ripped from today’s headlines.

“We keep enough of our show improvised so that we’re able to respond in the moment to what the audience is demanding to hear more of,” said producer Joe Ruffner in an email response, “these portions are entirely made up, they can both speak to very recent events and are unique to a particular performance.”

Second City has a tradition of selling out their performances, and this year is no exception, with their Saturday show already sold out, and a handful of seats left for Friday.

For those unfamiliar with Second City, the best way is to think of this improv troupe as a launch pad for some of today’s funniest stars. Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Bill Murray and many more comedy mainstays started at Second City. Audiences can expect Friday’s performance to be a highlight reel of successful sketches taken straight from the archive.Along with classic sketches, the show utilizes recent news items, not from The Onion, as inspiration for other sketches.  

“So the evening will be a revue, assembled from scripts from our storied past, perhaps with a fresh twist, as well as material hot from our resident stages, with a scattering of improv scenes & games, all with the aim of making you laugh,” said Ruffner.

If a night of laughter isn’t enough motivation to head out to the Barns, audiences will be able to say “I knew them before they were famous.”

Second City has theaters in Chicago and Toronto, as well as training centers in Hollywood. It boasts 11 full-time touring companies, and its own video network. Not bad for a company that started as a cabaret theater in 1959.

The Barns at Wolftrap is a 382-seat indoor stage allowed Wolftrap to have a year-round venue for music, comedy and any other performances.

The Barns at Wolftrap
1635 Trap Road, Vienna, 22182
(703) 255-1900, wolftrap.org 
April 18, 8 p.m.; $25-$27

Take a Wine Tour this Saturday

Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

By: Shelby Robinson

Is there any better way to enjoy the spring weather this weekend than to be taken on a wine tour in Loudoun County by a limousine service? We don’t think so.

Reston Limousine is offering a tour of the Loudoun County wine scene this Saturday, allowing indulge in some of NoVA’s finest vino while riding in style.

Passengers can depart from East Falls Church Metro at 10 a.m. or at the Dulles Town Center in Sterling at 10:30 a.m., on the lower level between Lord & Taylor and JCPenney.  After you hop into the minibus, Reston Limousine will whisk you away to your day of relaxation in the rolling hills of western Loudoun.

The first stop on the wine tour is 868 Estate Vineyards in Purcellville. The 868 Estate Vineyard is unique in that its’ vintners make use of sustainable practices in their grape cultivation and the vineyard culinary staff use fresh food from their garden in their meals. If you get hungry while wine tasting, gourmet flat-bread pizzas are available in the tasting room.

868 Estate Vineyards.

Back deck off of the Tasting Room. Photo courtesy of 868 Estate Vineyards.

At 1:30 p.m., you will arrive at the second stop on the wine tour, Loudoun Valley Vineyards. Located in Waterford, Loudoun Valley Vineyards offers tasters a beautiful view of the mountains and a variety of wines from which to choose.

After the wine tasting at Loudoun Valley Vineyards, the Reston Limousine will take you back to either the Dulles Town Center, at 3:45 p.m. or the East Falls Church Metro, at 4:15 p.m.

868 Estate Vineyards and Loudoun Valley Vineyards Wine Tour
Various Locations
Saturday, April 19
Transportation – $39, Wine Tastings – $10 each, Box Lunch (optional) – $15 

Where Penguins Dare

Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

By Robby Osborne


Photo courtesy of Kian McKellar.

Sometimes people just want to look fancy. This Tuesday, Sportrock in Alexandria  offers a chance to do just that with their sixth annual Penguin Climb on April 15. Both ladies and gentlemen are encouraged to dig deep through their closets to find their “best” formal wear to come climb. Who says that prom dresses can only be worn once? Though after climbing in it, there is a chance that dress may never be worn again. Though, this year, it’s been re-branded as Tux Day, in honor of 1040′s  everywhere. 

How did an event like this get started? “It grew out of our management team reminiscing about prom, joking how everyone still had their gowns,” said Jessica Lewis, director of marketing and youth programs. ”It seemed like such a funny juxtaposition – the rugged nature of rock climbing against dainty dresses and tuxedos.” While it isn’t black tie exclusive, climbers are greatly encouraged to try, even if its only putting a tie over a bare chest.

Female formal-wear presents a problem, as dresses do not allow for safety harnesses to be worn, which is mandatory for all climbers. “The ladies have to cut holes in their dresses if they plan to do any roped climbing to make room for their harnesses so it is fun to watch a lot of the ‘alterations’ that take place once they arrive,” said Lewis. 

Some clothes just live inside a closet, never seeing the light of day. Sportrock will be collecting clothing to donate on Tux Night as well. The clothing donated provides business attire for those looking to re-enter the work force.

“This year, we are looking at either Suited to Change, Strive DC or Goodwill, but the final decision will depend on the quantity and quality of what we receive,” said Lewis.

Sportrock Climbing Center
5308 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, 22304 
703-212-7625, sportrock.com
April 15; $14 

Beat the Monday Blues: Bobby Bare, Jr. is coming to IOTA Club

Posted by Editorial / Monday, April 14th, 2014

By Katie Bowles

Photo courtesy of Bobby Bare, Jr./Joshua Black Wilkins.

Bobby Bare, Jr. was raised by country royalty and nominated for a Grammy at the age of six. Impressed yet? If not, learning that Shel Silverstein was a close family friend and critiqued/helped write many of his songs might do the trick. Silverstein was actually the author of the Grammy-nominated song, a duet with Bare’s father (Bobby Bare) called “Daddy What If”.


For all that he has to be proud of, Bobby Bare, Jr. remains close to his fans, often playing smaller venues (like IOTA Club) and even house parties. He’s also the father of three children and appears to be passing on the music gene to them just as his father did for him–he recently recorded a cover of “Daddy What If” his own daughter, Isabella.



Bare, Jr.’s Americana-style music isn’t quite as country as his father’s, but it’s just as catchy. This tour celebrates the release of his newest album, “Undefeated” (recorded with his band, the Young Criminals’ Starvation League). Come see Bare for yourself in NoVA this coming Thursday, April 17, at IOTA Club in Clarendon. The show’s at 8:30 but you’ll want to get there early since IOTA only sells tickets at the door

Bobby Bare, Jr. at IOTA Club
2832 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington
Thursday, April 17
Tickets $12 

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