Top 20 Reasons To Love Vienna

Community spirit exhibited year-round.


Vienna’s Community Center is home to community events, from bazaars to the 4th of July celebration, to classes, and to drop-in activities.


W & OD Bike Trail runs through the heart of Vienna.


Freeman House Store and Museum, built in 1849, sponsors popular events throughout the year.


’Walk on the Hill,’ a Windover district garden tour, features landscapes blazing with color, musical entertainment provided by the Vienna Community Band, cookies, and the opportunity to mingle with friends and neighbors. JP Brehony, Vienna home builder, and wife Deborah, pictured during the 2008 tour.


Vienna Farmers’ Market attracts area residents looking for flowers, vegetables, fruits and other items on display.


Hundreds of area residents enjoy the festivities of the three-day ViVa!Vienna! held each year over the Memorial Day weekend.


The two-day mega-book sale on the grounds of Freeman House is the year’s biggest fundraiser for Historic Vienna, Inc. Patricia Wessel calls it "a bit of Vienna and community."


Vienna’s Town Green has become one of the focal points of the community life. Entertainers appear on-stage in a rustic-looking gazebo, while the audience spreads out blankets and lawn chairs on the grass. Local businesses sponsor the entertainment.


Vienna’s 4th of July celebrations provide fun for residents of all ages. Several youngsters compete in a three-legged race at the 2008 event.


Mid-summer Civil War reenactment is held on grounds of Freeman House.


At midnight, young fans line up for the distribution of the final volume of the Harry Potter series at Patrick Henry Library’s Harry Potter Book Party.


Oktoberfest debuts on Oct. 4 on the Town Green.


The themed annual Halloween parade, going on 65 years old, is the highlight of the Vienna calendar for many area residents. In 2007, the theme of the parade was Jamestown.


Church Street welcomes the holiday season with its annual Holiday Stroll, held the weekend following Thanksgiving. Live holiday entertainment, strolling carolers, horse-drawn carriages, a petting zoo, decorated shops, and Santa Claus, round out the evening.


Madison High School Band Director Michael Hackbarth shares the holiday spirit on-stage with the Madison band, and narrator, Mckenna Weipert (in pajamas) in December 2007.


Every year in mid-December Santa tours Vienna neighborhoods riding this antique fire truck.


Vienna Inn is one of the town’s icons.


A window reflects Luke Brindley and his band rehearsing before his concert at Jammin Java on June 20, 2008.


Old friends and new friends are welcomed at the quarterly Shillelagh Open House. The travel club has been a staple since the mid-1960s.


Pumpkin carver, Roger Holtorf, puts the finishing touches on the face of a menacing pumpkin tiger.

1. Community Center – Classes, community events, age-targeted activities … The Vienna Community Center runs year-round programs for all ages, provides drop-in resources, and hosts community public service events. Bazaars, parties, and the annual 4th of July celebration take place at the Community Center.


2. W & OD bike trail – Well-maintained, shaded, landscaped, and runs through the heart of Vienna. The W & OD bike trail passes the Community Center, runs between the Town Green and the Vienna Inn, and alongside Freeman House and the red caboose. A traffic signal on Maple where the bike trail intersects busy road affords safe crossing. Vehicles must stop for anyone in the crosswalk on Church Street.

3. Freeman House Store and Museum – Sponsors popular events throughout the year, including the annual Egg Roll, book fair, and Santa visit during the Church Street Stroll. Freeman House, built in 1849, maintains its old-fashioned aura inside, and features made-in-Virginia products for sale. The old house is decorated with respect to its heritage during the holiday season. The mechanical toys are unique.


4. Ayr Hill Garden Tour Walk on the Hill – This annual late spring event features gardens in the historic Windover district that are open to the public. Highlights include blazing azaleas and the Vienna Community Band. Along the route, complimentary refreshments are offered.

5. Farmers’ Market – Saturday market featuring fresh produce and homemade goods sold by regional vendors. Begins first Saturday in May and runs through last weekend in October. Market sits on Church Street, alongside W & OD Bike Trail and red caboose, and directly across street from Freeman House.


6. ViVa! Vienna! – For three days over Memorial weekend, Vienna-area families and friends eat and drink, ride amusement rides, buy toys and clothes and jewelry from a couple of hundred vendors, mingle with neighbors, and listen to live music. ViVa! Vienna! always bustles with energy and crowds … even blistering heat does not slow down attendance.

7. Book fairs – Book lovers, rejoice. Friends of Patrick Henry Library sponsors spring and fall book sales, and proceeds are earmarked for library functions. In June, Historic Vienna, Inc. hosts a tented mega-sale on the grounds of Freeman House. This two-day event brings in locals, visitors from other Northern Virginia towns, and book dealers from throughout Virginia and Maryland. There’s a dedicated children’s area, where parents sit reading to their children, and kids themselves browse through the books. Book fair prices are bargains.

8. Town Green concerts – From May through September, the Vienna Town Green hosts evening concerts and children’s programming. Even wild animals make their way to the Green. Entertainers appear on-stage in a rustic-looking gazebo, and the soft grass is accented with colorful landscaping. It’s peaceful even when cars are cruising by. And it’s all free, thanks to Vienna businesses and families who sponsor the presentations.


9. 4th of July Celebration – Nothing says "community spirit" more than an old-fashioned, small-town 4th of July celebration. From rides, games, entertainment, antique autos, vendors and food, to the brand-new laser show at nightfall, the annual 4th of July festival draws young and old, families and friends. Festivities begin at 11 a.m. at Waters Field and the Community Center.


10. Civil War encampment – Mid-summer reenactment held on grounds of historic Freeman House, built in 1949. A Living History Event features infantry drills and marching, musket demonstrations and camp activities. Free to the public. www.historicviennainc.org

11. Patrick Henry Library – More than simply a place to find books, Patrick Henry offers programs and resources for all ages, from tots to mature adults. It hosts weekly manga and Pokemon programs, morning tot tales, evening presentations, and monthly foreign films. There’s free computer and Internet instruction, too. Patrick Henry Library had the distinction of being the only Northern Virginia library to host a themed Harry Potter book party when the final volume in the series went on the market. "Deathly Hollows" was distributed to pre-buyers right at midnight by a Borders Books representative.

www.fairfaxcounty.gov/LIBRARY/BRANCHES/ph /

12. Oktoberfest on the Town Green – The event debuts in 2008 on Oct. 4. Sponsored by the Town of Vienna and the Vienna-Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Oktoberfest celebration will feature food, music and activities for adults and for children. An adult music stage, a children’s stage, and a beer garden liven up the one-day event. Church Street will be closed from Center Street to Mill Street.

13. Halloween parade – Early on the day of the Halloween parade, always scheduled for the last Wednesday prior to Halloween, local families begin marking their spots with lawn chairs along the Maple Avenue route. No people, just the chairs. And in the evening, the chairs are in the same place people left them. The parade is a partnership between the Town and the Vienna-Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce, and features a Grand Marshal, marching bands, themed floats, dancers, mini-cars, and politicians.

14. Church Street holiday stroll – Late November, right after Thanksgiving, historic Church Street turns into a winter wonderland of sorts. Across from Freeman House, musicians take the stage singing holiday songs and carolers stroll among the strollers. The mayor lights the Town tree, shops stay open, and upstairs in the parlor of Freeman House sits Santa Claus. Freeman House is the place to find made-in-Virginia products.

15. Madison High School Tiny Tots Holiday Concert – The house is packed when James Madison High School presents its annual Tiny Tots Holiday Concert programs. Daycare centers come out in full-force, and parents tote their own pre-schoolers. The productions are staged with special guests and costumed toy soldiers. The concerts are a fund-raiser for the school’s band, but are a community service, as well.

16. Santa Run antique fire truck – Every year in mid-December, over the course of a week, volunteers from the Vienna fire station take the station’s antique fire truck through Vienna neighborhoods, sirens blaring, horns beeping … elves jump off the truck along the routes where children wait and hand out candy canes. Santa waves and parents take lots of home videos.


17. Vienna Inn – The modest-looking white-clad restaurant on Maple Avenue in the heart of Vienna is one of the town’s true icons. Since 1960, the Vienna Inn, aka the "VI," has been the place to go after Vienna youth games, for lunch or quick supper, for a beer, for a burger, but mostly for the restaurant’s famed chili dogs and its ambiance. The VI has been immortalized in tour books, on postcards, and in news stories. The land the VI stands on housed various incarnations of food and drink, but the Abraham family turned it into a landmark almost 50 years ago. When Tim Kaine campaigned for governor, he met his supporters at the VI.


18. Jammin’ Java – Northern Virginia’s preeminent music venue is right here in small-town Vienna. Tucked in Glyndon Plaza, Jammin’ Java has won awards and recognition for its programming. National artists appear nightly, and in the mornings, Jammin’ Java features renown kiddie programming. The music venue draws customers from throughout the Metro area. Light food is served.


19. Shillelagh Travel Club – The Shillelagh Travel Club started out in 1964 as the country’s first air travel club. Today, with a membership at 2,000, Shillelagh is but one of three of the original travel clubs remaining. With the advent of deregulation, Shillelagh transformed itself as travel club for "friends." Single membership costs $35 a year, family membership is $50; many of the club’s members have been members for 25 years or more. From U.S. travel to global travel, from short hops to long cruises, Shillelagh notes that it "has something for everyone."

For 2008, Shillelagh offered 12 day trips, four Open Houses, 25 tours (Air/Coach Tours), 20 cruises (15 long and 5 short), and eight coach trips from Vienna (approximately four nights each trip). Open Houses are free and open to the public for introduction. For upcoming trips, see http://www.shillelaghtravelclub.com/html/upcoming_trips.html; www.shillelaghtravelclub.com

20. Pumpkin Gallery - Every Halloween season, Roger Holtorf of Oakton, and friends, carve hundreds of pumpkins, add sound effects and illumination, and present a nighttime frightfest of ghostly art on Holtorf's property on Trott Avenue, open to the public.