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Food, Fun Fills Festival

Four-day event to run from Thursday, May 30 through Sunday, June 2

Last year more than 88,000 people poured through the gates to attend the 21st Herndon Festival in spite of rain on the second day of the four-day event that would have cancelled a baseball game.

"Hopefully the weather will cooperate this year," said Town of Herndon Parks and Recreation director Arthur Anselene. "The event is free. We’re going to have great entertainment, food, hands on art and something for everyone," he said. The 22nd annual Herndon Festival will kick off at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 30 with the first night concluding with a fireworks display.

The hands-on art portion of the Herndon Festival is sponsored by the Council for the Arts of Herndon, said its director Karen Cobb. "This is doing the hands-on art. We use over 200 volunteers who help children and teach children origami, face painting; decorating visors they can wear around the festival, making cards for Father’s Day and patriotic key chains. We’re trying to have some Americana," said Cobb.

The hands on art will also include linoleum blocks – a design carved into a block that children put paint on and stamp it on paper, said Cobb, adding that Herndon High School art students design the blocks. The hands-on art will be located in front of the Herndon Depot near the Old Town Hall building and will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 1 and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 2. "We still need volunteers," said Cobb. "Anyone 12 and up can volunteer," she said, encouraging people to contact her online at karenc@herndonarts.org or via telephone at 703-689-9535.

IN ADDITION to arts and crafts and hands on art, there will be more than two-dozen vendors hawking food as traditional as hamburgers, fries and funnel cakes to the more creative jambalaya. "We will be featuring jambalaya, tavern dogs and root beer floats," said Jimmy Cirrito, owner of Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern, located on the corner of Spring and Elden streets and celebrating its fifth anniversary this month. "Those are our staple items at the Herndon Festival," he said.

"We opened May 29, 1997 — the first day of the Herndon Festival that year, and we’ve been a festival vendor for each of our five years. I love to do all the festivals because you can reach a lot of people outside the restaurant. If they like the food, they’ll come in," said Cirrito.

Aside from food vendors conducting some business at the Herndon Festival, the Herndon Dulles Chamber of Commerce will be sponsoring its Business Expo. More than 50 businesses will participate in the two-day expo that will be held during the Saturday and Sunday of the festival.

Sterling resident Rob Parsons will be on hand both days to represent Virginians for Baseball, "a fan club for a team that doesn’t yet exist," he said of the three-year-old business. "We want Major League Baseball in Northern Virginia and we go out and promote the desire to have a team here. We’re trying to register as many people as possible to demonstrate there is a desire for a major league team. So far we’ve registered over 10,000 households," said Parsons, who holds a full-time job in a human resources-related industry.

NOT ONLY is there no cost to sign up, said Parsons, there is a free raffle he is promoting at the festival for a drawing to be held on June 20. The winner will receive two tickets to this year’s Major League Baseball All-Star game to be held at the new Miller Field in Milwaukee, two airline tickets and hotel accommodations. "We’re also conducting a survey to suggest a name for the new team. This is not a contest, just a survey," said Parsons, ready to go to bat for baseball in Northern Virginia during the Herndon Festival.

While some people may talk about sports at the Herndon Festival, others will take to the street and participate in either the 10-k, 5-k or the K-9 2-k dog walk. Each race will originate from the Herndon Community Center. The 10-k and 5-k races will begin at 7:30 a.m. and the K-9 2-k will start at 9 a.m. To volunteer or for more information about these races, call 703-435-6868 or visit the festival web site at www.herndonfestival.org.