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Year Round Festivities

101 ways of having fun in Herndon, Reston area.

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A presentation promoting the Runnymede Park displays Virginia’s native trees at the Town of Herndon annual Earth Day/Arbor Day Celebration in late April, 2008.

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Virginia Turner of Herndon looks at some produce, while her daughter Natalie plays with the peacock feather her mother bought her from the market.

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Matt Lee, 12, of Herndon, tries to catch insects and butterflies as part of the numerous activities for children to learn about the different kinds of animals and plants that can be found and seen at Runnymede Park.

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Herndon High School’s cheerleading squad raises spectators’ spirits at the 2008 Herndon Homecoming Parade.

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Melissa Yester of Loudoun Valley Vineyards, pours samples of wines for attendees of the 20th Annual Labor Day Jazz and Wine Festival held in Herndon on Labor Day 2008. Wineries from around the region provided the wine while several jazz bands provided the musical entertainment.

<b>Community Celebrations</b>

<b>It’s Only Natural</b>

Town of Herndon Earth Day/Arbor Day Celebration

Town Green

777 Lynn St., Herndon

Join hundreds of area residents at Herndon’s annual Earth Day/Arbor Day Celebration in April. Learn about the community’s natural resources and issues affecting them from local experts and nature enthusiasts. The celebration also features live music and dance performances from students in area schools.

<b>Party at the Herndon Festival</b>

The Herndon Festival

777 Lynn St., Herndon

The Herndon Festival is the town's highly anticipated annual event. Held in the first weekend in June, the four-day event takes over the core downtown area and offers live entertainment, local food, arts and crafts and carnival rides. It also features local civic and nonprofit organizations while showcasing the area’s business community. The Town of Herndon and Parks and Recreation Department sponsors the free annual festival. For more information visit the Town of Herndon web site at www.town.herndon.va.us.

<b>Celebrate America’s Independence</b>

Town of Herndon 4th of July Celebration

Bready Park by the Herndon Community Center, 814 Ferndale Ave., Herndon

Join your neighbors in celebrating America’s independence each July 4 at Bready Park next to the Herndon Community Center. Thousands gather for live evening performances before a spectacular fireworks show over Herndon’s Centennial Golf Course, just across Ferndale Avenue from the park.

<b>A Day on a Farm</b>

4H Farm Fest Frying Pan Farm

Come see animals galore at the annual 4H Farm Fest held in August at the Frying Pan Farm. Animal judging contests, dog shows, hay rides, amusement park rides and farm demonstrations are just some of the activities offered during the weekend-long festival.

<b>From the Orient</b>

Asian Festival

Brown’s Chapel Park, Reston

Thousands of people from all over Northern Virginia attend this celebration each year for the last five years. Cultural offerings from Asian nations include live music and dance, martial arts demonstrations and tens of traditional menus from area’s Asian restaurants. The weekend-long celebration is sponsored by the Thai Tennis Organization in America.

<b>Herndon Labor Day Jazz and Wine Festival </b>

Herndon Town Green

777 Lynn St., Herndon

Combine fine wine and terrific jazz performances for a great day of fun and entertainment. The annual Herndon Labor Day Jazz and Wine Festival features Virginia wineries as well as concessions, art, and of course jazz music by nationally renowned artists, including homegrown talent, on the Town Green. The festival takes place on Labor Day. Admission prices include a $15 charge per person for wine tasting. Children under 12 enter the festival free.

<b>Surrounded by Nature</b>

NatureFest Runnymede Park, Herndon

Hundreds of area residents attend the weekend-long NatureFest each year, taking time to learn about the wildlife and natural surroundings in Herndon. Snakes, bugs, trees and plants dominate the demonstrations and discussions at one of Herndon’s favorite annual festivals, held in late September.

<b>Celebrate Culture</b>

The Annual Cox Hispanic Heritage Festival

777 Lynn St., Herndon

Located on the Herndon Municipal Center's Town Green, the annual Hispanic Heritage Festival features food, music, games and performances celebrating Hispanic culture. Sponsored by Cox Communications, the proceeds from this colorful October event benefit the Hispanic Committee, a Fairfax County organization that supports the local Hispanic Community. For more information on participating in this event, or to sign up as an arts and crafts or food vendor, contact the Council for the Arts of Herndon.

<b>Freezing Cold Swim</b>

Polar Plunge Lake Anne

Come to the Washington Plaza in early February and see a new Reston tradition. In 2008, the first Polar Plunge raised more than $7,000 for Camp Sunshine, sending four families to camp. The second annual event will take place on Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. Visit www.freezinforareason.com for registration and other information about the event.

<b>Reston Zoo Eggstravaganza</b>

Reston Zoo

1228 Hunter Mill Road, Vienna

Hundreds of children hunt for Easter Eggs around the animal enclosures. During the breaks from the egg hunt, the Easter Bunny is available for pictures and animals are available for visits. Visit www.restonzoo.com for more information.

<b>Enjoy the Arts</b>

Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival

Reston Town Center

The annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival is held in May every year at the Reston Town Center. Sponsored by the Greater Reston Arts Center, the festival features many local and national artists who showcase and sell original and unique art. The festival has been held for more than 15 years and also features entertainment by local artists. It is one of the largest juried arts festivals on the East Coast. For more information, and if interested in participating next year, visit the Greater Reston Arts Center web site at www.restonarts.org.

<b>Celebration of Cultures</b>

The Annual Multi-Cultural Festival

Lake Anne Village Center

This annual event occurs in early September and showcases the area’s diverse cultural wealth. Dance performances are couple with musical performances and traditional dresses from all corners of the globe. Each continent is represented and games for children are available. Food vendors and craftsmen ensure the visitors can leave with something from the memorable celebrations. Visit www.restoncommunitycenter.com for more.

<b>German Celebration</b>

Oktoberfest

Reston Town Center

Oktoberfest, the beloved tradition of many years had taken a hiatus for a few Octobers. However, in 2008 the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce sponsored the return of the food, beer, wine and community celebration to Reston Town Center. More than 20,000 people attended the free weekend celebration in mid-October. Reston restaurants showcased their best Oktoberfest fare and area entertainers took to the stage to provide musical and dance numbers for the large audience. For more information visit the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce web site at www.restonchamber.org.

<b>Theater </b>

<b>Watch Elden Street Players </b>

Elden Street Players

The Industrial Strength Theatre

269 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon

Visit the Elden Street Players, Herndon’s volunteer theater group for top notch stage entertainment. Seasonal plays are staged each year. Actors and volunteers are sought for each play. Auditions with the Elden Street Players are held well in advance of the scheduled shows. Between 30 to 100 volunteers are needed for every show. For more information go to www.eldenstreetplayers.com. For ticket reservations call 703-481-5930.

<b>Child's Play</b>

Elden Street Players

The Industrial Strength Theatre

269 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon

Elden Street Players also operates the ESP Theatre for Young Audiences, offering live theater for children. A joint venture between The Elden Street Players and the Town of Herndon Parks & Recreation Department, it has presented such shows as "Alice in Wonderland," "Rapunzel" and "The Emperor's New Clothes." See www.eldenstreetplayers.org

<b>Attend Herndon High School Play</b>

Herndon High School

700 Bennett St., Herndon

Opportunities are abound for taking in a top-notch stage play without leaving town as Herndon High School's award-winning drama department puts on two mainstage plays and as many as three smaller, one-act plays stretching from fall to spring. The mainstage performances include dramatic plays in the fall and musicals in the spring. Those looking to keep up with the drama department's works can take in the smaller one-act plays that dot the calendar throughout the year. For information on upcoming performances, visit Herndon High School's drama department on-line at www.herndondrama.org.

<b>On the Stage</b>

The Reston Community Players

2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston

The Reston Community Players have been performing live shows for more than 40 years. An all-volunteer organization, the group puts on four major productions a year, which has included "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," "The Foreigner" and "Seussical." The players are also members of the Arts Alliance of Reston, the Northern Virginia Theatre Alliance, the Arts Council of Fairfax County and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce. Their performances take place at the CentreStage Theatre at the Reston Community Center, Hunters Woods. Visit restonplayers.org.

<b>Watch a Fight</b>

The Noble Blades

www.nobleblades.org.

The Noble Blades are an off-shoot of the Reston Community Players and are the Washington D.C. area's top professionally trained theater-based fight group. They perform a variety of different martial arts for many events and are based in Reston. Along with performances around the area, the Noble Blades also conduct classes, workshops and demonstrations. They use a variety of different weapons including daggers, knifes, and swords. For more information on performance dates, workshops and classes, or booking information, visit www.nobleblades.org.

<b>Dramatic Readings</b>

The Hub Theatre

www.thehubtheatre.org

Enjoy an evening of spectacular dramatic readings with Reston’s latest dramatic organization, the Hub Theatre, started by Reston’s own residents as a way to encourage the creation of arts in the community. Readings are conducted at either The Reston Used Book Shop at Lake Anne, beginning at 3 p.m., or at the Greater Reston Arts Center at Reston Town Center, beginning at 6 p.m. Recent readings have included "Big Love," "A Christmas Carol" and "Act a Lady." For more information on the scheduled readings and on the Hub, visit www.thehubtheatre.org.

<b>Something for the Children</b>

Children’s Shows at Lake Anne

Lake Anne Village Center

Take the little ones for twice-weekly entertainment on the historic Washington Plaza. Clowns, magicians, singers and more perform free half-hour shows every Tuesday and Thursday morning from June through August. For more information visit www.lakeanneplaza.com.

<b>Sport & Fitness</b>

<b>Play Tennis at Bready Park</b>

814 Ferndale Ave., Herndon

Bready Park, adjacent to the Herndon Community Center, offers local tennis enthusiasts six hard-top regulation courts to refine their racket skills. Experienced mentoring is available for the less experienced players as staff tennis experts offer group tennis classes and summer youth tennis camps. For those who can't wait for the warmer months to hit the courts, a tennis bubble" is placed over three of the courts to allow for year-round play during the colder fall, winter and spring months.

<b>Join Adult Basketball</b>

Herndon Community Center

814 Ferndale Ave., Herndon

703-435-6868

Every winter Herndon's adult men have the opportunity to show off their roundball skills by joining a team in the men's adult basketball league. Teams consist of six to 12 players who are at least 18-years-old [with no more than 5 players residing outside of Herndon] and play full-court basketball twice a week for 12 weeks before competing in the playoffs at the end of the season. Registration for each team is $600 and seasons begin in January of each year.

<b>Crosstown Cycling</b>

Downtown Herndon

With the Washington and Old Dominion Trail cutting through downtown Herndon, cyclists can use the town municipal center parking lot at the end of Station Street, off Elden Street, eat at any number of nearby restaurants and then head east toward Vienna or west to Loudoun.

<b>Race for Turkeys</b>

5K Turkey Trot

Herndon Centennial Golf Course

909 Ferndale Ave., Herndon

Think you're fast? Come show your speed at Herndon’s Centennial Golf Course in November for the Turkey Trot 5K Race. The town's fastest people will show up to shed their soon-to-be visible holiday weight in this annual 5K race. The first-place prize is a turkey. For more information call 703-435-6868.

<b>Watch a Ball Game</b>

Herndon Optimist Youth Baseball and Softball

www.herndonoptimist.org

Enjoy the Spring ball season from the sidelines watching Herndon’s youth swing away at the pitches in the Herndon Optimist Youth leagues. Each year the Town hosts an opening day celebration showcasing the leagues’ teams. For more information on the leagues, other Herndon Optimist Youth sports and schedules, visit www.herndonoptimist.org.

<b>Hit the Pool</b>

Herndon Community Center

814 Ferndale Ave., Herndon

Herndon's Community Center is the home of year-round swimming, featuring an indoor, 25-yard, eight-lane swimming pool complete with shallow kiddie pool area and a one-meter diving board. The community center hosts both adult exercise and child-free swimming periods throughout the day and offers swimming lessons for all ages. All visitors to the pool must pay an admission fee or be the holder of an annual or extended pass, with discounts available for Herndon residents. For information on swimming schedules, programs and fees, visit the Town of Herndon web site at www.herndon-va.gov.

<b>Play Herndon Centennial Golf Course</b>

Herndon Centennial Golf Course

909 Ferndale Ave., Herndon

703-471-5769

Named by Golf Digest's as one of its "Places to Play," the Centennial features an 18-hole par-71 course that has hosted the Men's USGA Public Links Section Qualifiers in 1996 and 1999. This bent grass public course brags country club caliber conditions at municipal rates. The course also boasts driving ranges, practice greens, and golf instruction by PGA Professionals. Special event packages are available for groups and include food and beverage service. For tee times call 703-471-5769 or visit www.town.herndon.va.us/HCGolf.html.

<b>Sharpen Putting Skills</b>

Woody's Golf Range

11801 Leesburg Pike, Herndon

703-430-8337

Woody's Golf Range off of Route 7 in Herndon is the perfect place to perfect a golf stroke, a baseball swing and a mini-golf handicap all within a few feet of each other as the 33-acre facility offers a full driving range, batting cages and 18 holes of mini-golf year-round. For the next Tiger Woods or Alfonso Soriano of the family, there are staff golf and baseball professionals accessible for lessons. Picnic grounds are available for families looking to eat together after fitting in the back nine on the mini-golf course.

<b>Fore!</b>

Reston National Golf Course

11875 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston

703-620-9333

Reston National Golf Course is an 18 hole with a 71-par course. The club also offers lessons, a driving range, a putting green, and rents equipment. Home to tournaments throughout the year, the club can also be rented out for various events. Many high schools practice on the course, and it is open five days a week. Prices differ depending on time and day. Twilight prices are also available, and there is a $15 caddie fee. Tee times must be reserved seven days in advance. For more information, visit the course web site at virginiagolf.com/restonnational.html.

<b>Drive Away From Busy</b>

Golf Park at Hunter Mill

1627 Hunter Mill Road, Vienna

703-759-5664

Escape Northern Virginia’s busy lifestyle by landing yards away from one of its busiest roads, the Dulles Toll Road, and between two of its busiest business centers, Tysons Corner and Reston. The Golf Park at Hunter Mill, a driving range and a practice facility, is located on the east side of Hunter Mill Road, near the road’s intersection with Sunset Hills Road and interchange with the Dulles Toll Road. The park is open every day but Christmas, barring extreme weather conditions, from 9 a.m. until dark. Prices for the drive balls range from $4 for about 35 balls to $10 for about 115 balls. For more information visit http://www.huntermillgolf.com.

<b>High-School Sports</b>

<b>Cheer the Hornets</b>

700 Bennet St., Herndon

Athletic Hotline, 703-749-8133

Become a part of the rallying center of Herndon community pride and enter the "hornets nest" by attending a Herndon High School sporting event. With football in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball in the summer, there is always an opportunity to see Herndon's best and brightest young athletes compete against other area high schools. Tickets are limited and sell out quickly, especially for marquee events.

<b>Music</b>

<b>Attend Friday Night Live</b>

Friday Night Live

777 Lynn St., Herndon

From the beginning of May until the end of August, Friday nights in Herndon are the place to see free live music as the town green, located behind the Herndon Municipal Center on Lynn Street is converted to an outdoor concert hall for the Herndon-Dulles Chamber of Commerce's concert series "Friday Night Live." Never a cover and always entertaining, the chamber and other local sponsors, including Washington, D.C.'s alternative radio station, DC101, bring together some of the region's most promising young acts. Vendors provide the food and beer and the bands provide the music for this family-oriented local music event. For band line-ups and more information, visit Friday Night Live's official web site at www.herndonrocks.com.

<b>Music Under the Stars</b>

Herndon Town Green — Herndon

703-435-6800

A series of free musical performances occur Thursdays, 7:30-9 p.m., hosted by the Herndon Parks and Recreation Department. Performers come from a variety of geographic origins and the music played is as varied as the places the entertainers are from. The series also features homegrown talent.

<b>Watch the Towne Square Singers</b>

Towne Square Singers

269 Sunset Business Park Drive, Herndon

703-481-5930

Enjoy singing or listening to music? So does Jean Goldsby. More than 20 years ago Goldsby founded Herndon's Towne Square Singers — a group of talented vocalists that perform at the Industrial Strength Theater. Still performing to this day, the group has taken on a variety of projects and productions and perform mostly in December, late April and early May. The group rehearses each Monday evening from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Herndon. Auditions are held twice a year in September and January. For tickets and performance dates contact the Herndon Community Center at 703-435-6868.

<b>Simply 'Devine'</b>

Ned Devines

2565 Centreville Road, Herndon

703-793-7376

Ned Devines is one of the premier places to see local rock n' roll bands who are trying to make it big. Gonzo's Nose, 2U, The Alternate Routes, Jack's House and a slew of other local acts have all come through here, entertaining the masses. With live bands on Friday and Saturday, as well as DJs on Wednesdays, this is a must see venue. Visit www.neddevines.com for more.

<b>Jamming at Jimmy's</b>

Jimmy's Old Town Tavern

697 Spring St., Herndon

703-435-5467

In the heart of Herndon's historic downtown, Jimmy's Old Town Tavern holds an open mic night Wednesday at 9:30 p.m Performers range in genre and include singer-songwriters as well as full bands. Acoustic artists play first, followed by the bands. After the bands perform, the scene transforms into an "Open Jam" session where anyone can play. Visit www.jimmystavern.com for sign-up details.

<b>Folk by Local Folks</b>

Tortilla Factory

648 Elden St., Herndon

703-471-1156

Enjoy playing or listening to folk music? The Tortilla Factory is the place to go on Tuesday nights. In conjunction with the Reston-Herndon Folk Club, the Tortilla Factory hosts local folk and country artists for their open mic night at 7:30 p.m. Also, once a month the club showcases one of its own members in a solo performance. For more about the club and open mic nights, visit www.restonherndonfolkclub.com for details.

<b>Music From Around the World</b>

Shahi Kabob

724 Pine St., Herndon

703-796-0110

Shahi Kabob has a different spin to open mic nights as they present a multi-cultural open mic on Fridays. Venture out to Shahi Kabob and be amazed by the wealth of international culture and talented musicians present in the area.

<b>Pickin' Out a Tune</b>

Frying Pan Country Store

709 West Ox Road

703-435-3710

Acoustic guitars, mandolins, banjos — if it has strings it can be picked. The Frying Pan Country Store holds an acoustic jam session on the first and third Sunday of each month from 1-4 p.m. Gather around with other musicians and play a tune or just tap your toes. Acoustic instruments only.

<b>All that Jazz</b>

Ice House Cafe

760 Elden St., Herndon

703-437-4500

Nothing adds to the atmosphere of dining like a little live jazz for mood music. The Ice House Café, located in the historic district of downtown Herndon, offers live jazz music and showcases a variety of local jazz talent on Friday and Saturday evenings from 8 p.m.-12 a.m. Visit www.icehousecafe.com for more.

<b>Spotlight on CenterStage</b>

The Center Stage

2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston

Browsing the list of performers that come through the Reston Community Center's CenterStage, its apparent that this facility is at the heart of the music community in Reston. From author Nick Hornby to Irish acoustic band Lunasa, the CenterStage brings in an eclectic variety of top-notch artists throughout the year. Set in an intimate theater, programs often allow the audience the opportunity for Q & A's, as well as after performance book signings. Visit www.restoncommunitycenter for a schedule of performances.

<b>Perfect Harmony</b>

Voce Chamber Singers

703-277-7772

Voce is a Reston-based choral group that is one of the most acclaimed in the area. Since 1989, Voce has been singing choral chamber music across the region. They have sung at the Kennedy Center and St. Thomas More Cathedral, have performed with the Washington Symphony Orchestra, and been featured on WETA. The group performs all around the Washington D.C. area, but a majority of their performances are in the Reston/Herndon area. The 22-member group has sung commissioned pieces to national acclaim. To get more information on upcoming events and performances, visit www.voce.org.

<b>Watch Reston Chamber Orchestra</b>

Reston Community Orchestra — www.restoncommunityorchestra.org.

The Reston Community Orchestra was founded in 1988 and has since become one of the area's best community orchestras. Preferring to remain a small chamber orchestra, the group performs around the community and region, sometimes in conjunction with the McLean Symphony Orchestra. The music director is Dingwall Fleary, who has held the position for 10 years. The orchestra is always on the lookout for new members and volunteers. Visit www.restoncommunityorchestra.org.

<b>"Take A Break" Concerts</b>

Reston Community Center Lake Anne

1609-A Washington Square Plaza, Reston

The Reston Community Center invites you to "take a break" and enjoy the sounds of this eclectic line-up of musicians. Every Thursday from June 1 to the end of August the RCC provides free concerts and invites the public to bring a lawn chair and picnic basket. In the past bands have ranged from 1950's pop to World Beat-Reggae. Visit www.restoncommunitycenter.com for more.

<b>Summer Saturday Concerts</b>

Reston Concerts on the Town

Reston Town Center Pavilion, Reston

703-912-4062

Looking for weekly variety in your musical entertainment, visit Reston Town Center on Saturdays in the summer. The Reston Concerts on the Town brings the area’s top acts from all sorts of musical backgrounds, from Motown to Country music styles. Many bring lawn chairs or picnic blankets to enjoy the free concerts. The concerts take place on Saturday nights, from 7:30 to 10 p.m., at the Reston Town Center pavilion. For more information call the concert hotline at 703-912-4062.

<b>Dance</b>

<b>Swing Your Partner</b>

Swing Dance with Tom and Debra

Hilton Washington Dulles Airport Hotel

13869 Park Center Road, Herndon

On Friday nights, from 9 p.m.-12 a.m. Tom Koerner and Debra Sternberg host swing dancing accompanied by live bands. Don't know the steps? No problem — this ongoing event offers beginner lessons before the dance, from 8:30-9 p.m. The cost for participating is $15. Visit www.gottaswing.com.

<b>Doing The Two-Step</b>

Monthly Country-Western Dance

Reston Community Center, Hunters Woods

703-476-4500

The Reston Community Center's monthly Country-Western Dance features dances like the line-dance, two-step, hustle and swing and can be quickly mastered by anyone regardless of skill level. Dances take place monthly in RCC's Hunters Woods Community Room from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Refreshments are provided. Admission is $5 per person. The dances are for people age 18 or older. Visit www.restoncommunitycenter.com.

<b>Dance Under the Stars</b>

Annual "Dance Under the Stars"

Reston Town Center

11921 Freedom Drive, Reston

Dance the night away under the twinkling stars at the Town Center. This elegant affair features music that ranges from salsa, to swing, ballroom and classical. Desserts are offered buffet style with non-alcoholic drinks. Feel free to put on your best, as this special dance only comes around once a year. Black tie optional. Price is $10. This annual event takes place in mid-June. Visit www.reston.org.

<b>Tutus and Toe Shoes</b>

Reston Institute for the Arts

2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston

703-430-8768

The Reston Institute for the Arts is a premier dance studio in the Reston area. They have been conducting dance classes since 1983, and they teach over 10 different types of dance, including some unusual ones such as modern jazz and urban tap. They also have vocal and acting classes. Their classes are for all ages, range from beginning to advance, and most classes meet once a week. The cost is dependent on the number of classes you attend and costs range from $100 to $160 per class, and costume fees are separate. In addition to classes, RIA also has two in-house companies, the Reston Youth Dancers and the Reston Jazz Ensemble. The classes meet in two locations: RCC Hunter Woods and the RCP Rehearsal Hall. For registration and more information, visit their web site at www.restondance.org.

<b>Top Notch Ballet Performances</b>

Reston Conservatory Ballet

2254 Colts Neck Road, Hunters Woods Shopping Center, Reston

Established in 1972, the Reston Conservatory Ballet offers a variety of classes to dancers of all ages, from 18 months-old to adults. Classes in Ballet, Irish, Flamenco, Jazz, Tap and Hip Hop dancing are available, as well as pre-professional programs. The Conservatory’s signature annual event is the staging of the Nutcracker in December. For more information on Reston Conservatory Ballet, including information on class sessions and fees, visit conservatoryballet.com.

<b>Movies</b>

<b>Free Summer Movies</b>

Worldgate Centre

Centreville Road, Herndon

703-318-9290

Phoenix Theatres WorldGate 9 offers free summer movies — G and PG rated films — at 10 a.m. every Tuesday and Wednesday in July and August. Doors open at 9 a.m. Seating is limited to auditorium capacity.

<b>Movies From Around The World</b>

Independent & International Films

The CenterStage,

2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston

A big barrel of popcorn and a summer blockbuster can be a fun escape, but sometimes it's more rewarding to broaden your horizons by watching independent and international films. The CenterStage, Reston Community Center's performing stage, offers a film series that takes audiences around the world and uncovers new subject material. Films are screened at 7:30 p.m. on scheduled Sundays. Visit www.restoncommunitycenter.com/film.htm for a complete listing.

<b>Meet Me At the Movies</b>

Reston Town Center Multiplex Cinemas

On the fourth Wednesday of each month, residents 55 and older are invited to check out what's playing at the Town Center Muliplex for Free. Doors open at 9:15 a.m., movie starts at 10 a.m. Refreshments are provided and door prizes are distributed prior to the movie. Call 703-435-6577.

<b>The Great Outdoors</b>

<b>Know Your Farm Animals</b>

Kidwell Farm at Frying Pan Park

2709 West Ox Road, Herndon

703-437-9101

At Kidwell Farm, there are many opportunities to meet farm animals and learn more about what makes them tick and how they contribute to society. Classes, workshops and special events are available through the year. Get lucky and one might even see the birth of a calf. Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Visit www.fairfaxcountry.gov/parks/fpp.

<b>Visit Runnymede Park</b>

Runnymede Park

Herndon Parkway, a quarter-mile north off Elden Street, Herndon

Herndon's 58-acre forest preserve is one of Northern Virginia's most diverse natural parks, with more than 450 native plant species spread out over 11 different ecological habitats. Parkgoers can experience the complexity of nature by taking hikes on the more than one mile of trails in Runnymede, enjoying a picnic with family and friends or taking a tour with official guides who can point out all of the features that make Runnymede distinct to the region. Observant visitors might catch a glimpse of the variety of animals that dwell in the park including beavers, red foxes and painted box turtles. For more information about Runnymede Park nature programs, call 703-435-6800.

<b>A Walk in the Woods</b>

Sugarland Run Trail, Herndon

Paved and natural surface trails follow Sugarland Run 2.2 miles along the Herndon-Reston border from Sugarland Road south to Herndon Town Line. Access can be gained through neighborhood entrances and Runnymede Park. Concrete stepping-stone columns enable walkers to cross the stream at several junctures which, if wet, can be slippery. Unlike the mostly tree-less W&OD trail, Sugarland Run's canopy of leaves provides a cooler walk.

<b>Pick This Pocket Park</b>

Spring Street Park, Herndon

703-435-6868

Spring Street Park, at the corner of Spring and Van Buren streets, is a 1.5-acre, passive park. Original green ash trees have been preserved, and evergreen trees line the frontage of the park. The park has walking trails and benches, and is close to the W&OD Trail. There is no parking available at the park site. For other parks in Herndon, see www.herndon-va.gov.

<b>Iris Relaxation</b>

Margaret Thomas Garden

12410 Lawyers Road, Herndon

http://www.herndonirisgarden.com/index.html

For more than 30 years, area’s nature lovers, painters, school groups and people seeking relaxation in open space have flocked to a five-acre plot belonging to 86-year-old Margaret Thomas off of Lawyers Road in Herndon. Thomas has grown irises and other flowers and vegetation in her garden since a neighbor handed her some irises over the fence in the late 1970s. Thomas has thus far refused offers from developers and construction companies for the valuable piece of land. The volunteers who help run the garden are hoping to preserve it as a nature sanctuary, an educational center and a park for continued community use.

<b>Sled Reston’s Black Diamond</b>

Mt. Reston

Isaac Newton Square

It’s the winter’s steepest, fastest ride in Reston. On any given snow day, hundreds of sledders make their way to what is affectionately known as Mt. Reston, which is located behind the northwest corner of Isaac Newton Square. Everyone, from novices on snow tubes to experts on snowboards, swarm the massive hill for fun in the snow as long as it lasts. Beat the rush and arrive early.

<b>Tour a Favorite Beaver Hangout</b>

Glade Stream Valley

www.reston.org.

Beavers, armed with their signature mouthful of teeth and a paddle for tails, have found a friendly home at Glade Stream Valley in Reston for the past 20 years. Beaver activity is the norm along a stretch of Reston Association paths, which follow a creek through the valley. Pick up the path at the intersection of Twin Branches Road and Glade Drive and walk through the valley early morning or late evening. Keep an eye out for wildlife other than the industrious local beaver population. Deer and birds of prey also find the spot attractive.

<b>Where the Wild Things Are</b>

The Reston Zoo

1228 Hunter Mill Road, Vienna

703-757-6222

Llamas, Zebras, Monkeys — The Reston Zoo is like an African Safari condensed into thirty acres. Operating for more than 25 years, the zoo offers a "Zoofari", a wagon ride through the world of these wild inhabitants, as well as various opportunities to get up close and personal with the animals. Check out the reptile house or even get a close look at the alligators. The Reston Zoo is open early March through the end of November. For hours and ticket prices visit www.restonzoo.com

<b>Floating on a Boat</b>

Lake Anne Boat Rental

Lake Anne Village Center, Reston

703-464-5559

For less than $10 per hour you can get a different view of Reston's oldest village center. Boat rentals are available from beginning of June through beginning of September at the dock of Lake Anne. Local fitness center, Body By Geoff, are the caretakers of the various canoes, kayaks, rowboats and paddle boats and rent the vessels from their store, located in the Lake Anne Village Center. Visit www.restonmuseum.org for boat rental hours.

<b>For The Birds</b>

Summer Bird Walks with the Reston Association

Venture out into the woods of Reston and you might come across some spectacular fowl. Sponsored by the Reston Association, the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and The Bird Feeder Store, these free seasonal walks take place on designated Sundays beginning early May and running through September. Walks are led by local bird experts and explore areas like the Twin Branches Nature Trail, Beaver Swamp, Bright Bond and Glade Stream Valley. You might even get lucky and spot a Bald Eagle. Visit www.reston.org.

<b>Wander the Wetlands</b>

Sunrise Valley Wetland Park

www.reston.org.

It’s like Reston’s version of the Everglades, but very few people seem to know about it. Invisible from the road, Sunrise Valley Wetland Park still remains a secret to most Restonians. The park is tucked away on the left or west side of the ASG Software Solutions parking lot off of Sunrise Valley Drive and east of the Monroe-Herndon Park and Ride. Turtles and lily pads fill the shallow marshland, attracting one of Reston’s most diverse displays of birds. With a nifty boardwalk stretching through the center of the wetland, visitors will be sure to see wildlife.

<b>Have an Adventure at Lake Fairfax</b>

1400 Lake Fairfax Drive, Reston

703-471-5415

Lake Fairfax is 476-acre park that includes a lake, campgrounds, picnic areas, a water park, an amphitheater, soccer and softball fields, and a carousel. The park is open year round, from 7 a.m. to dark, except Christmas day. The 136-site campgrounds are open year round as well, and reservations must be made ahead of time to use the campgrounds. There are varying rates throughout the year, with prime rates applicable Memorial Day to Labor Day. The park amphitheater is home to Arts in the Parks all summer long, with puppet shows, bands, and various acts performing a few times each month from June through August. Boating is generally allowed on the lake, but due to recent renovations, it would be wise to check with the park ahead of time. Various picnic sites are also available for renting. For more information, visit the Lake Fairfax web site at www.co.fairfax.va.us/parks/lakefairfax.

<b>Fun for the Mind</b>

<b>Rooting Out Ancestors</b>

Herndon Fortnightly Community Library

768 Center St., Herndon

703-437-8855

Genealogy research is one of the many programs offered at Herndon Fortnightly Community Library throughout the year. Participants, age 13 and older, can learn how to use the Ancestry and Heritage Quest databases to research family history. Call 703-437-8855.

<b>Visit Civil War sites</b>

Old Train Depot

717 Lynn St., Herndon

703-437-6366

Herndon is filled with battle sites and historical buildings associated with the Civil War. Visit the Herndon Station, known during the war as the First Vermont Cavalry and also as "Hendrick's Station." Civil War history buffs can revisit the war through the eyes of Laura Ratcliffe, Herndon's Civil War spy who is credited with saving war hero John Mosby's life, by visiting her restored home just 1.7 miles south of the Herndon Depot — another war relic. The Herndon Depot Museum is famous for its railroad memorabilia and information on Commander William Lewis Herndon. For more information on civil war sites and locations call the Herndon Depot Museum at 703-437-6366.

<b>Local Architectural Gem</b>

Herndon Fortnightly Community Library

768 Center St., Herndon.

703-437-8855

Walk into Herndon Fortnightly Library front entrance at 768 Center Street to the center of the first floor and look up.

<b>Chess in Historic Setting</b>

Washington Plaza, Lake Anne Village Center, Reston

Chess sets are available for free checkout from the Reston Used Book Shop every day. The Book Shop is located on Washington Plaza.

<b>Farmers' Markets</b>

<b>Food & Fun</b>

Farmers Market

Lynn Street, Herndon

703-787-7300

The Herndon Parks and Recreation Department presents free performances for children attending the Farmer's Market, 10:30-11:15 a.m. The Herndon Farmers Market takes place on Thursday mornings, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., from early May to late October. It features fresh and local fruits and vegetables as well as baked goods.

<b>Going Organic</b>

The Reston Farmers Market

Lake Anne Village Center, Reston

The Reston Farmers Market happens every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon from early May to late October. The market features freshly picked locally grown fruits and vegetables, as well as baked goods, eggs, dairy products, meat, honey, and cut and potted flowers and plants. The Reston Farmers Market also features a Master Garden Plant Clinic, to which customers can bring plants or pesticides for pest and pesticide identification.

<b>Farmers’ Food and Wine</b>

Smart Markets Farmers Market

Reston Town Center

The farmers market at Reston Town Center opened in 2008 for the first time. Besides offering locally grown produce, the privately operated market also offers wine for sale and provides live entertainment at its location at the Reston Town Square park, on the corner of St. Francis and Market Streets. The market takes place on Thursday afternoons, between 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. from early April through October.

<b>Art</b>

<b>Embrace the arts</b>

Council for the Arts of Herndon

P.O. Box 940

Herndon, VA 20172

The Council for the Arts of Herndon, the Town of Herndon's local arts agency, presents an annual art festival as well as ongoing programs and opportunities for those interested in the arts. The council is also working with the Smithsonian Associates to put on a summer series in Herndon which includes educational programs starting in July and running through August. Programs include singing, painting, and arts and crafts. For more information about art in the Herndon area call 703-689-9535.

<b>Gallery and Classroom</b>

ArtSpace Herndon

750 Center St., Herndon

Opened in 2008 as a temporary solution until a larger gallery is built in downtown Herndon, ArtSpace Herndon made an impression in the community with its initial offerings to Herndon’s residents and visitors. Judging and helping sponsor artistic competitions in the Town, including Paint Herndon, and then displaying the work of art created in the competitions are not the only services the creative space offers to the Town residents and visitors. ArtSpace Herndon also features classroom space for artistic programs and education to satisfy those new to the arts, as well as the experts living among us. The regular hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 3 p.m. For more information visit www.artspaceherndon.com.

<b>Painting the Town ...</b>

Jo Ann Rose Art Gallery

Reston Community Center

2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston

Reston prides itself on a commitment to the arts and there is no better way to see that pride than by checking out the place where Reston artists hang their work. Home to the League of Reston Artists, the Jo Ann Rose Art Gallery has frequent shows and openings that cover all of the basic mediums including painting, photography, sculpture and more. Visit www.leagueofrestonartists.org.

<b>Exposing Art to Reston and Reston to Art</b>

Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) Gallery

Reston Town Center,

12001 Market St., Suite 103

The Greater Reston Arts Center, producers of the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, is a meeting place for area artists, from local schools’ students to the community’s professional artist community. The gallery holds annual juried shows, solo exhibits and more. It often collaborates on projects with artists of national and international stature, but it also displays many works by Reston’s own artistic community. In December of 2008, GRACE was chosen as the site to unveil Reston’s Public Art Master Plan, the first such plan for an unincorporated community in the United States. Visit www.restonarts.org for more.

<b>People Watching</b>

<b>Place To People Watch, I</b>

W&OD Trail/Herndon Town Green — Herndon

Above the maddening crowds — at least during concerts on the town green over the summer — people watch from the side of the W&OD trail as it rises up to cross above Center Street and runs adjacent to the Town Green and next to the community favored caboose.

<b>Place To People Watch, II</b>

Worldgate Center, Centreville Road and Worldgate Drive, Herndon

Do you hate all of the following: movies, eating out, having a drink with friends and staying fit? Didn’t think so, and you are not the only one to take pleasure in at least one of the above-mentioned activities. The Worldgate Center at the corner of Centreville Road and Worldgate Drive offers all of these possibilities and attracts thousands of people throughout the day, from office workers and hotel guests in the day hours and Herndon residents and hotel patrons in the evening and night hours.

<b>People Watching & Percolators</b>

The Lake Anne Coffee House

Lake Anne Village Center, Reston

Want to know what is happening in Reston, or who is responsible for it all, visit a favorite Reston destination. The Lake Anne Coffee House, situated on the historic Washington Plaza, is quite possibly the best spot for people watching in Reston. Situated on Lake Anne with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, kick back with a sandwich, coffee or Java-based drink and watch the locals stroll by. It is not only a favorite hangout for many of Reston’s first residents, but also a favorite hangout for many of Reston’s young residents, especially the ones who grew up in the area. For more information call 703-481-9766.

<b>All In One Place</b>

Reston Town Center

Take a seat at the outdoor plaza on Fountain Square, next to the large fountain sporting the statue of Mercury, and see people from all walks of life walk right by you. If you do not feel like sitting, a stroll through Reston Town Center any time of year and any time of day or night, will result in seeing hundreds of people ice skating, wining, dining, walking their dogs, playing in the parks or taking a break from the busyness of everyday business.

<b>Dog Parks</b>

<b>Doggedly Free</b>

Chandon Dog Park

900 Palmer Drive, Herndon

Turn your K-9 loose in a Fairfax County-supported dog park. On any given day, residents from all over the area come out to the Chandon Dog Park to let their dogs burn off some energy and socialize with their neighbors. These are off-leash facilities that provide the opportunity for fun puppy play and friendly frolicking. See all varieties of breeds and sizes. For more information about rules, regulations and hours of operations visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/offleash.htm. Also checkout the Baron Cameron Dog Park in Reston.

<b>Other Fun Stuff</b>

<b>Shoot Pool in Herndon</b>

Breakers Sports Bar & Grill

2445 Centreville Road, Herndon

Carpool

208 Elden St., Herndon

Relax with any one of more than a dozen different draft and micro-brewed beers and a burger while playing pool at Carpool or Breakers billiard halls, both located in Herndon. With a total of more than 20 pool tables between the two locations there are plenty of opportunities to exhibit cue stick skills until each location's 2 a.m. closing time. Enjoy live sporting events on the several televisions at Breakers or live local music for a $5 cover every Friday at Carpool. For more information contact Carpool at 571-203-7995 or Breakers at 703-793-6233.

<b>Party Like 1865</b>

Dranesville Tavern

11919 Leesburg Pike, Herndon

703-938-8835.

In 1865, the Alexandria Gazette described Dranesville Tavern as "one of the finest roadside inns in the State of Virginia." This National Historic Landmark, located on Route 7 between the Reston and Fairfax County parkways, is operated by the Fairfax County Park Authority and available to be rented for weddings or parties. Dranesville Tavern, with its seven rooms, sandstone fireplaces and country porch, can accommodate a dinner party of up to 75, cocktail reception of up to 99, or a garden party of 150.

<b>Lights, Camera, Action</b>

HCTV

730 Elden St., second floor, Herndon

703-689-2323

Want to learn about video production while helping keep the community informed? Herndon's own HCTV — Channel 23 on Cox Communications cable network — offers on-the-job training. The non-profit organization needs volunteers to produce, direct, and run cameras and other television equipment. See www.hctv.org

<b>Catch the Herndon Police Car Show</b>

Herndon Municipal Center

Lynn and Center Streets, Herndon

703-437-1278

This auto flea market is sponsored every year by the Herndon Police and benefits the Herndon Police Citizens Support Team. In September, hundreds of cars will corral into the Municipal Center for showing. The festivities also include food, music, silent auctions, raffles, and trophies to place winners. For more information contact the Herndon Police Citizens Support Team at 703-437-1278.

<b>Show Off your Muscles</b>

Dulles Day Family Festival and Plane Pull

Dulles International Airport Fed-Ex Terminal, behind buildings 5 and 6

Dulles, VA

703-359-4301

Each year, the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority Police Department challenges teams of family and friends to pull 150,000 pounds of machinery, at the Dulles Day Family Festival and Plane Pull at Dulles International Airport. Each team donates $1,000 to the Special Olympics of Virginia, to get the chance to pull an airplane. The team that pulls the plane the farthest, wins. The day also includes face painting, food, and a car show. Visit www.planepull.com for more information.

<b>See the Caboose Come to Life</b>

Model Train and Railroad Art Show

ArtSpace Herndon, 750 Center St.

Visit the Herndon Model Train show and discover the science and history of trains and their importance to the local community. Fun for people of all ages, the show is an occasional event, which last took place in December 2008. The W&OD Museum, as well as the W&OD caboose, are open for visits during the free show.

<b>Rev Your Curiosity</b>

Car Shows

Reston Town Center

Occasionally parts of Market Street in Reston Town Center close down for spectacular car shows. Enthusiasts from many of the Washington region’s auto clubs bring the best and most interesting aspects of their garages for display and a competition on Market Street. The past two years’ participants included a mid-Atlantic Ferrari club and a Washington area Jaguar club.

<b>‘Tis the Season</b>

<b>Relax, Enjoy and Sing Along</b>

Elden Street Players’ Industrial Strength Theatre, 296 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon

Get into the holiday mood by listening to the Towne Square Singers perform carols and other seasonal numbers each year from the first Thursday in December to the first Sunday in December. Thursday through Saturday performances take place in the evening, while the Sunday performance takes place in the afternoon.

<b>Holiday Homes Tour of Herndon</b>

Herndon Dulles Visitors’ Center, 717 Lynn St., Herndon

A favorite holiday tradition in the Town of Herndon is the Holiday Homes Tour. Herndon residents open their historic homes to the community in order to learn about Herndon’s history, both from the homes’ architecture and from the residents’ family histories. The tour is also an opportunity to gather ideas on holiday decorations as the houses are usually already decorated. The tour traditionally takes place on the first Saturday in December.

<b>Library Open House</b>

Herndon Fortnightly Library, 768 Center St., Herndon

Learn about the programs and the resources offered at the Herndon Fortnightly Library while attending a seasonal celebration. Live music mixed with holiday treats and crafts by the Council of the Arts of Herndon ensures this is not your usual library tour. The open house traditionally takes place in the early afternoon hours on the first Saturday in December.

<b>Tree Lighting and Sing-Along</b>

Corner of Lynn and Elden Streets, Herndon

Join your neighbors and invite your friends for a Christmas Tree lighting in the Town of Herndon. The event takes place the first Saturday in December in front of the Old Town Hall in downtown Herndon. It features a sing-along and a visit from Santa Claus.

<b>Holiday Arts and Craft Show</b>

Herndon Community Center, 814 Ferndale Ave., Herndon

Visit the Herndon Community Center on the first Sunday in December, traditionally, to browse through holiday decorations and handmade items by more than 100 arts and craft vendors. Explore holiday gift ideas and make small talk with the vendors themselves. Refreshments are available for purchase.

<b>Dress Up Herndon for the Holidays</b>

Town of Herndon

Drive through the Town of Herndon and see how the neighborhoods came together to create their holiday decorations. Home decorations are judged in multiple categories, including traditional, whimsical and lights. Get ideas for your own holiday decorations. The judging takes place in early December.

<b>Santa’s Workshop</b>

Herndon Community Center, 814 Ferndale Ave., Herndon

Children ages 3 and up visit with Santa Claus, get holiday-themed tattoos, play games and receive a lunch. Registration for this December event is required in advance through the Town of Herndon web site and the cost, if eating lunch, is $7 per child and $3 per adult.

<b>Santa Claus Comes to Town Center</b>

Market Street, Reston Town Center

Cheer the area’s civic and nonprofit organizations, youth groups and students prior to welcoming Santa and Mrs. Claus to Reston Town Center on a horse drawn carriage during the annual Reston Holiday Parade. The parade stretches down Market Street and features Macy’s style balloons, dance groups, ponies and classic cars. It takes place every year the Friday after Thanksgiving and draws thousands out for it. Children visit with Santa after the event.

<b>Santa Arrives by Barge</b>

Washington Plaza, Lake Anne Village Center

Welcome Santa Claus as he disembarks on historic Washington Plaza from Lake Anne. The event traditionally occurs on the first Saturday of December and gathers Reston’s first citizens at Reston’s first village center.

<b>Tree Lighting Ceremonies</b>

Reston Town Center and Lake Anne Village Center

Mix holiday spirit with community spirit and be a part of the Christmas Tree lighting ceremonies at Reston Town Center and Lake Anne Village Center after their respective holiday celebrations.

<b>Horse Drawn Carriage Rides</b>

Reston Town Center

Instead of using your feet to stroll down Market Street, let the horses use theirs. Sit back and enjoy the vistas of a holiday-decorated Reston Town Center in horse drawn carriage. Rides take place between noon and 4 p.m. and are $5 per person. Children 12 and under are free.

<b>Alternative Gifts Market</b>

Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston, 1625 Wiehle Ave.

Don’t know what to get a loved one for the holidays? Want to help deserving local, national and international organizations perform their work? Visit the largest alternative gifts market in the Washington metropolitan area at Reston Unitarian Universalist Church. Buy school supplies for children in Peru or for children in your area in somebody else’s name. Receive an informational card explaining the project supported in the name of the person you are gifting. The market takes place on a Saturday in December.

<b>Traditional German Christmas Market</b>

Bundeswehr Headquarters in Reston, 11150 Sunrise Valley Drive

Experience a traditional German Christmas market with an evening of fine German wining and dining and singing and dancing at the Bundeswehr, German Armed Forces, North American headquarters in Reston. The market is held each December as a charitable fundraiser. Reston Interfaith has been one of the organizations to benefit from the traditional market.