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Vienna Prepares To Celebrate

ViVa! Vienna! will soon descend on Church Street.

ViVa! Vienna! is back and bigger than ever, with some 16 entertainment acts, 21 rides and amusements, and over 200 vendors. The festival, which will occupy Church Street from Saturday, May 27 through Monday, May 29, is a "community- and family-oriented celebration of Memorial Day," said Vienna Rotarian Keith Bodamer, who is in charge of sponsorship development for the event.

Its local character, he said, lies in its setting in the town's historic corridor, that it caters to pedestrians, the huge crowds that it draws from a relatively small area, and that it is sponsored primarily by the Vienna Rotary Club, the town itself and the town's biggest employer, Navy Federal Credit Union. The fairgrounds will encompass the Historic Freeman House and Museum on Church Street, which will be open for extended hours, and the old train station, which will have its model railroad running. The original Vienna library, on the Freeman House grounds, will also be open, as will the Old caboose across the street.

Bodamer estimated that about 25 to 30 percent of the vendors will be from the immediate area, and booths will be representing various aspects of the area, from politicians such as U.S. Rep. Tom Davis and Del. Steve Shannon to local veterans and variety of civic organizations.

Entertainment acts from Vienna will include the Vienna Town Band and the Brindley Brothers.

Bodamer also noted that all of the proceeds generated by the festival, which last year totaled over $50,000, will be donated to various charitable and nonprofit organizations. "The money is put back into the community," he said. "That's really why Rotary and the town are involved."

With no alcohol allowed and no entry fee required, said Rotarian and event chair Woody Bently, all are welcome, and "parents bring children of all ages to it with no concerns whatsoever about problems or safety."

Saturday's fair will consist mainly of food and amusements, with stores along Church Street open late and a performance by the Fabulous Mary Ann Redmond Band in the evening. On Sunday and Monday, the vendors will set up shop, coming from as far as New York and South Carolina, and entertainment will run almost continuously on both a main stage and a children's stage.

Children's entertainment will include magic shows, music, jokes, clogging and more, and the main stage will feature music acts ranging from rock to country to jazz.

"There's something there for everybody," said Bodamer.

A Memorial Day ceremony at noon on Sunday will include the mayor, the Town Council, the Vienna Police Department Honor Guard, the president of the Rotary Club of Vienna and an honor guard from the Old Dominion Chapter of Heroes of '76, bearing Revolutionary War flags and dressed in period uniforms.

A free shuttle will run between James Madison High School, the Vienna Metro station and the event during all festival hours — 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday — and parking will be available within walking distance at the parking lot at 301 Maple Ave., W.

For the first time, ViVa! Vienna! will take credit cards this year.

John Brunow, who handles publicity for the festival, said the Rotary works on the event almost year-round. "It's something that we finish up and draw a breath and begin planning again for next year," he said.

The Rotary coordinates the festival, while Navy Federal Credit Union provides volunteers, funds and printing of material, and the town supplies personnel for public safety and trash pickup, he said.

"This is our major community contribution," said Bentley.