Clarendon Day Soldiers Ahead

Clarendon Day Soldiers Ahead

Street festival expects huge crowds this year.

Estimating the size of the crowds at the annual Clarendon Day street festival can be difficult because it's a free event. Roni Freeman, executive director of the Clarendon Alliance, said the police have put the attendance in the neighborhood of 10,000 people.

Freeman said this year's event could double that amount, thanks to the continued interest in Clarendon Day and the headlining music of Soldiers of Jah Army, a popular reggae roots band.

"Because of SOJA, there's a chance it could be 20,000," said Freeman. "We're lucky to have them."

Clarendon Day is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 21 from noon to 7:p.m. The festival spans over eight blocks near the Clarendon Metro Station at the 3100 block of Wilson Blvd., and will once again feature an eclectic array of local foods, vendors, artists and entertainers.

There's free parking for the event at 3033 Wilson Blvd., off Garfield or Highland Streets. Organizers encourage festival goers to either walk, ride a bike, take a bus or take the Orange Line to the event rather than drive.

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FREEMAN SAID there are some changes for Clarendon Day this year. The most significant is the distribution of alcohol. In past festivals, vendors were responsible for selling beer and other items; this year, there will be one or two "beer trucks" that will distribute drinks in exchange for pre-sold tickets, according to Freeman.

There are also changes for the children's events. Seaworthy Small Ships will allow children to build small crafts and sail them on a man-made pond at the festival. Freeman said there will also be pony rides for the first time at Clarendon Day. Two moon bounces will be available, as will a climbing


Food vendors will line the streets, offering some of the most popular cuisine in Arlington. That means eateries like Hard Times Cafe, which will offer their tasty chili dogs and burgers, according to assistant general manager Mike Ozier.

THE LINEUP OF musical entertainment has been a vital reason for Clarendon Day’s reputation as an eclectic festival.

There are two stages of acts beginning at noon, set up at either side of Wilson Boulevard.

At noon on the main stage is the Billy Coulter Band, a roots rock group that draws on influences ranging from Bob Dylan to Johnny Cash to Squeeze. Visit for more information.

Like Billy Coulter and his band, The Austins are a returning Clarendon Day act. Playing their trademark brand of "trash pop," The Austins will kick off the second stage’s lineup. Visit for more information.

At 1 p.m., Marwood takes the main stage, which features London-born singer/songwriter Benji Rogers and brings pop harmony to alt-country rock. Visit for more information. Local band One Stop plays the second stage.

At 2 p.m. on the main stage is a band that’s had some experience playing large street festivals this year: Everyone But Pete. The Manassas-based alternative rock outfit won this year’s edition of DC101’s "Last Band Standing" contest, besting over 200 other local bands for the right to open the station’s Chili Cook-Off back in May. They’ve attracted a rabid fan base with their high-energy shows, and will be playing at IOTA Club & Café, 2832 Wilson Blvd., on Friday night, Oct. 20, opening for Shane Hines and the Trance. Tickets are $10. Visit for more information.

On the second stage at 2 p.m. are The Positions, purveyors of pop choruses that evoke everyone from Phil Spector to up-tempo Belle and Sebastian tunes. Visit for more information.

At 3 p.m., Naked Grace takes the main stage, playing original rock and cover tunes. Visit for more information. On the second stage is a band that straddles several genres: The Dan Roberts Trio, which is known for jazz recreations of songs by artists ranging from Aimee Mann to The Flaming Lips. Visit for more information.

Local favorites Radio Mosaic are featured at 4 p.m. on the main stage. This four-piece rock band is a collection of music veterans known for spontaneous live shows — with no set lists, no two shows may be completely alike. Find out more about Radio Mo at On the second stage is 8 Track Jones, which will also provide the rocking sounds for Whitlow’s on Wilson’s Oct. 28 Halloween party at 10 p.m.

Local rock act Welbilt will close the second stage at 5 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., headliners Soldiers of Jah Army take the main stage. Playing a passionate blend of roots music and reggae rhythms, SOJA’s universal approach to music has attracted fans to their over 150 shows a year. Visit for more information.

There are also several acts throughout the day on a third community stage, including Dr. Dremo's all-stars comedy show (2:00 p.m.) and the Jasel Bellydance Extravaganza (3:45 p.m.).