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Santa Visits Lake Anne

Holiday celebration coincides with 40th Anniversary of the Lake Anne Village Center.

Last Saturday, Santa rode into Lake Anne Village Center using nontraditional transport — he traveled by barge on the calm waters of Lake Anne.

Most children that packed into Washington plaza were so excited about Santa’s arrival, they forgot all about the reindeer. But not Joshua Evans of Reston.

“Where are all the reindeers? Are they sleeping?” said Joshua to his father.

“Yeah, they’re probably sleeping,” said Tom Evans, Joshua’s father.

Letting his reindeer rest at the North Pole, Santa made his traditional stop at Lake Anne to hear what children want for Christmas.

Thousands of people made their way to the village center Saturday to enjoy the holiday celebration, which in addition to Santa included music, children’s crafts, a petting zoo, bell ringers, free hot cider from Jasmine’s Restaurant and a whole assortment of holiday shopping at local vendor stations.

THE EVENT, sponsored by the Lake Anne Merchants Association, also coincided with the 40th Anniversary of the Lake Anne Village Center. The center had its grand opening Dec. 4, 1965, attracting 12,000 people, including ambassadors, members of President Lyndon Johnson’s Cabinet and famous poets.

Last Saturday, a short program marked the 40 years at Lake Anne. Robert E. Simon Jr., Reston’s founder, was on hand to talk briefly on how much Reston has grown up.

Reston’s local elected representatives also attended the anniversary, including Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill), Del. Ken Plum (D-36) and state Sen. Janet Howell (D-32).

Hudgins asked that the people who were at the grand opening 40 years ago raise their hands. About 12 people in the crowd of about 50 raised their hands.

“We take problems in the community and turn them into opportunities,” said Hudgins in her remarks, reflecting on the origins of the Embry Rucker Homeless Shelter.

Howell challenged the crowd to commit to the next 40 years. “We need to rededicate ourselves and remember what we’re all about.”

“This has been a wonderful place to raise children,” said Ellen Anderson, a Reston resident who moved here over 40 years ago. Anderson attended the center’s grand opening in 1965. “So many people [from that day] are still here,” said Anderson.

Anderson also said she’s seen a lot of changes. “All the empty spaces have been filled in,” she said. “But we came out knowing Reston would be about 60,000 people.”

Chuck Veatch, vice president of the Reston Historic Trust, ended the program by quoting August Heckscher, the director of the Twentieth Century Fund who gave a speech at the grand opening.

“Reston has had its dream. It was largely the dream of one man — Mr. Robert Simon. But from today on, others weave the dream into the fabric of their lives, making the vision of their own and sharing hope for its future … Will it work? … We can believe today that the miracle has been pulled off,” said Heckscher.