Unrelenting rain posed a slight setback for a few of last weekend's McLean High School (MHS) 50th Anniversary events, but the community rallied on in spite of it all.
"Friday night it poured so the bonfire with free food was canceled, and Saturday it drizzled on the parade, the game and the Taste of McLean," said resident Linda Burchfiel. "Saturday was a big day for the community, and we hoped to get a lot of people out but because it was drizzling ... it put a damper on things but it was still nice."
Burchfiel helped to organize "The Taste of McLean" portion of the 50th Anniversary weekend celebration. On Saturday, Oct. 22, 11 restaurants participated: Red Hot and Blue, Cafe China, Cafe Oggi, Cafe Taj, Endo Sushi, the Italian Deli, Kazan Restaurant, the Lebanese Taverna, McKeever's Pub, Boss Hog's and Listrani's. Nine of the restaurants set up booths, and since Listrani's was understaffed, it donated pizza and lasagna to sell at the concession stand.
"It was a nice event, but of course the rain kept most of the people at home since nobody wanted to fight the mud and the rain and the inclement weather," said Renato Scozia, manager of Cafe Oggi. "However the community is always there to respond, and we did whatever we could."
Zeynel Uzun, owner of Kazan Restaurant, operated his booth with the help of his children. Uzun's daughter, Zeynep, is currently a junior at McLean High School and his son John is a graduate of McLean High School and the University of Virginia.
"It was great that they came to help," said Uzun. "The only thing was the weather but in spite of that lots of people came and they were very happy."
UZUN WAS PARTICULARLY enthusiastic about participating in the McLean High School 50th anniversary festivities because he is celebrating an anniversary of his own.
"I'm finishing up a quarter of a century in McLean," said Uzun. "When I came there were only 3 restaurants in McLean."
Dave Sethi, manager of Cafe Taj, set up for the event despite running late.
"We got there late, so we didn't have a booth, but it was okay. We were not there for too long, but it was good," said Sethi.
Demby Banbury, Assistant Director of Student Activities at McLean High School, helped to organize the various 50th Anniversary weekend events, which included Friday night's tailgate party and musical performances as well as Saturday night's gala at the Fairview Park Mariott hotel. Banbury says she is grateful to the community for "rising to the occasion."
"It went well and everybody was so complimentary ... everybody was hugging and laughing and screaming," said Banbury. "We moved the tailgate party inside, so the bonfire was the only thing that didn't happen. So everything went [forward as planned], and it was a good opportunity to see people you hadn't seen in a long time."