This year, Clarendon Day will offer its usual mix of music, food and games. But the street fair, which already ranks among Arlington’s top festivals, will also have a whole new "kids section," including a reading stage with some celebrity readers.
Set for Saturday, Oct. 19, the fifth annual Clarendon Day celebration, organized by the Clarendon Alliance, will also expand its site, covering nine blocks around the Clarendon Metro stop.
The festival will run on Wilson and Clarendon boulevards, from Irving Street to Garfield, and along Highland Street from Washington Boulevard to the First Baptist Church. The streets will be lined with 70 vendors selling food and art, offering information on county government and community events, and, in one case, offering a chance to climb a rock wall.
"Over 20 restaurants have signed up," said Sona Virdi, executive director of the Alliance. "They will have food and fun, and some will serve libations."
With the new space, some new restaurants have also signed up, including Ben & Jerry’s, said Rebecca Tax, Alliance board member and chairwoman of the Clarendon Day planning committee.
The Boulevard Woodgrill and Big Belly Deli, both recent arrivals in Clarendon, will have booths at the festival for the first time. But their owners, Joe Corey and Tax, respectively, are seasoned Clarendon pros, with long-term stakes in Faccia Luna and Mexicali Blues.
The biggest addition to this year’s Clarendon Day comes in the newly formed "kid’s section," Virdi said. The block of children’s activities, on Highland running between Clarendon and Washington, will include finger-printing, sculpting, a dunk tank and a Moon Bounce.
"The best part of it is, there’s going to be a reading stage," Virdi said. Olsson’s Books and Music donated 40 books, to be read by local elected officials like U.S. Rep James Moran (D-8) and county school board members.
But there are also scheduled visits from Tigger, Snow White, Clifford the Big Red Dog and McGruff, Virdi said.
There will also be 16 bands playing four stages, including local favorites like Last Train Home, Juniper Lane and Bio Ritmo, Tax said, as well as some new bands.
"We’re hoping for between 10-15,000," she said. "Last year we had maybe 10-12,000. The police provide the counts, and they always say they’re just guessing, so we are too."