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101 Things To Do

Connection offers a selection of local activities to add to your brand new calendar.

<b>Art-Center formally known as...</b>

The Workhouse Arts Center

9601 Ox Road

Lorton

www.workhousearts.org

The Workhouse Arts Center opened its doors in Lorton in 2008. Located on the grounds of the former Washington, D.C. prison, the state-of-the-art facility provides a visual and performing arts studios, exhibition spaces and engaging art education programs for the community. The Workhouse provides a home for more than 150 of the region’s finest professional and emerging artists to express their creativity and their works. They offer classes, exhibitions, visual performances, a Kids Zone and a Body and Mind program. Call for more information about classes and events, 703-495-0001.

<b>Something for Arts Sake</b>

Spotlight on the Arts

City of Fairfax

In April, the City of Fairfax is transformed to an arts mecca thanks to the annual Spotlight on the Arts festival. The festival includes art exhibits, dramatic presentations and musical performances at several venues in the city and at George Mason University and the Annandale campus of Northern Virginia Community College. For more, call 703-352-ARTS.

<b>Catch a Game at GMU</b>

Patriot Center

4500 Patriot Circle

Fairfax

703-993-3000

Located on the campus of Northern Virginia’s George Mason University, the Patriot Center seats 10,000. Tickets may be purchased at the Patriot Center box office, which is open Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-7p.m. and Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tickets are also available at all Ticketmaster outlets, including all Hecht’s departments stores and all Kemp Mill and Tower Records stores, and by calling Ticketmaster at 703-573-SEAT or 202-397-SEAT. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com. Group sales discounts are offered for most of the family entertainment presentations and some concerts at the Patriot Center. For more information on group sales discounts, contact Washington Sport & Entertainment at 202-661-5061.

<b>Recreate at Oak Marr Rec Center</b>

Oak Marr Rec Center/Oak Marr Golf Complex

3200 Jermantown Road

Vienna

The center, located in Oakton, has an Olympic-sized pool, a spa, a mini “beach” area, and a diving complex. The facility also has two racquetball courts, volleyball courts, and a highly equipped fitness center. Next to the rec center is the Oak Marr Golf Complex. This site provides private and group lessons year round. There are clinics, special events, and junior programs offered at this site. The park includes a large indoor recreation center and a miniature golf course. Cost of admissions is $8.50 for adults and $5.50 for children. Call 703-281-6501 for more information.

<b>Climb at Burke Racquet</b>

Burke Racquet & Swim Club

6001 Burke Commons Road

Burke

The Burke Racquet & Swim Club has a state-of-the-art indoor climbing wall, and a challenging one at that. After a rigorous climb, there are also tennis and racquetball courts to get out some aggression. Non-members can climb the wall for $12. Call 703-250-1299 for more information.

<b>Swim at South Run</b>

South Run RECenter

7550 Reservation Drive

Springfield

South Run RECenter features a 25-by-25-yard heated indoor pool that has two diving boards and a wading area. The RECenter also has a natatorium with a poolside spa, outdoor sun deck, and a full locker room with saunas. After having some fun in the water, guests at the RECenter can also enjoy the racquetball/wallyball courts and the fitness center. Call 703-866-0566 for more information about the RECenter.

<b>Skate With Class</b>

Wakefield Skate Park

8100 Braddock Road

Annandale

www.co.fairfax.va.us/parks/skatepark

Wakefield Skate Park offers a variety of classes for young athletes to learn basic skills and expand their current repertoire of moves and tricks.

Located at the Audrey Moore RECenter, Wakefield offers aggressive inline skating and a safe approach to rails and ramps, skateboarding classes that range from novice boarders to those with significant experience and BMX/Freestyle bike camps that teach jumps, gaps and grinds. Safety equipment is available for rent at the park for a small fee. Call 703-321-7081 for more information.

<b>Toss a Hole-in-One</b>

Disc Golf

Burke Lake Park

7315 Ox Road

Fairfax Station

Burke Lake Park features an 18-hole golf course and a renovated miniature golf course. But there’s also the opportunity to play golf without swinging a single club. The park features an 18-hole disk golf course, located in the woods around the park. It’s B.Y.O.F. (Bring Your Own Frisbee), and the object is to toss the disk into a hanging basket (i.e. the “hole”). Call 703-323-1641 for more information.

<b>Catch a Delicious Bass</b>

Fountainhead Regional Park

10875 Hampton Road

Fairfax Station

www.nvrpa.org/fountainhead.html

Fountainhead Regional Park features a series of bass fishing contests throughout the year. Fifteen spring, summer and fall tournaments are scheduled to culminate with an invitation-only finale in the fall. Call 703-250-9124 for information about the tournaments and the park.

<b>Work on Your Triple Axel</b>

Fairfax Ice Arena

3779 Pickett Road

Fairfax

www.fairfaxicearena.com

Fairfax Ice Arena features ice skating lessons and both free and private skating parties. During the week it costs between $5.75-$7 to skate, depending on the age of the skater. Rates are slightly higher on the weekend. Skates can be rented for $2.75. Hockey skates can be rented for $3.50. The arena also hosts skating classes for different levels of experience throughout the year. Call 703-323-1132 for more information.

<b>Go for the Glory</b>

* Glory Days of Burke

9526-C Old Keene Mill Road

Burke

* Glory Days Grill

9459 Lorton Market St.

Lorton

This neighborhood sports bar features half-price appetizers every night after nine, Wing Night on Wednesday and a friendly, sports-oriented atmosphere. A high-definition, big-screen TV adorns the front wall and Washington’s finest sports teams are always on. Pick from a full rack of ribs, Glory Days’ own unique burger choices or one of close to a dozen beers on tap.

<b>Get Out Your Bike Pump</b>

Tour de Lee

Beulah Park adjacent to Lane Elementary School

Springfield

Each October, Supervisor Jeff McKay (D-Lee) sponsors the Tour de Lee bicycle event. More of an opportunity to tour the trails and streets of the Lee District than an actual race, the event includes a 1.5-mile fun ride for families and longer 15- and 30-mile rides for serious bicyclists. For more, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/lee/CalendarofEvents/tdl.htm.

<b>Neighborhood Rivals</b>

* Robinson Secondary School

5035 Sideburn Road

Fairfax

* Lake Braddock Secondary School

9200 Burke Lake Road

Burke

One might argue that this rivalry lost its luster when Robinson switched from the Patriot to Concorde District, but don’t tell anyone associated with the Lake Braddock-Robinson rivalry that. When these two Northern Region powers get together – no matter the sport – it always makes for an entertaining event.

<b>Roll a Turkey</b>

Bowl America

One of the premiere bowling chains in the nation has multiple locations in the Northern Virginia area. Each site offers state-of-the-art scoring equipment and plenty of lanes. More importantly, there’s beer by the pitcher. Call 703-425-9303 for Burke, 703-273-7700 for Fairfax, and 703-354-3300 for Alexandria.

<b>Stallions-Hawks Split</b>

* South County Secondary School

8307 Silverbrook Road

Lorton

* Hayfield Secondary School

7630 Telegraph Road

Alexandria

When South County Secondary school opened its doors in 2005, several of Hayfield Secondary School’s top athletes were forced to switch schools. It’s a point that’s not lost on coaches and players at Hayfield. Every time these two meet, still, it’s always a treat.

<b>Slime Away</b>

Slugfest

Hidden Pond Nature Center

8511 Greeley Blvd.

Springfield

703-451-9588

Anti-slug “protester” Captain Salty often tries — but always fails — to quench this annual celebration for lovers of all things sluglike. Slugfest, a popular tradition at Hidden Pond, is in September and features events such as a slime toss, slug races, a slug play and, of course, the slimy creatures themselves.

<b>Catch Air at Van Dyck

</b>Van Dyck Park

3500 Old Lee Highway

Fairfax

The City of Fairfax's first skate park features several ramps, rails and a halfpipe. The surface is cement. In the afternoons and evenings, the park gets more crowded, and when school lets out the number of skaters using the park dramatically increases.

<b>Stick an Oar in the Water

</b>Kayaking with NVCT

Fountainhead Regional Park, Fairfax Station

Pohick Bay, Lorton

Mason Neck, Lorton

Bull Run Marina, Clifton

All through the summer, the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust offers kayaking trips at several locations along the Potomac River and Occoquan Reservoir. A naturalist is on hand to illuminate the flora and fauna along the shore. Kayaking equipment is provided, but participants are asked to bring water and sunscreen and wear appropriate attire. Registration is required and a fee is collected to cover expenses. Contact Whitney Bailey at 703-354-5093 or wbailey@nvct.org.

<b>Ride with 3,000 Bikers

</b>Ride of the Patriots

Patriot Harley-Davidson

9739 Fairfax Blvd.

Fairfax

703-352-5400

On Memorial Day weekend, over 3,000 motorcyclists line up on Fairfax Boulevard in Fairfax before heading to the Pentagon to join the annual Rolling Thunder ride into Washington, D.C. Sponsored by Patriot Harley-Davidson and the Fairfax Harley Owners Group (H.O.G), the ride honors the those who died defending the United States.

<b>Ride Along with the Clifton Horse Society

</b>P.O. Box 183

Clifton

Contact Beth Giorgiami at their Web site cliftonhorsesociety.org for monthly trail rides. Established in 1977, the Clifton Horse Society serves the needs of those interested in horses in Fairfax County and the surrounding communities. Most club members are horse owners, but membership is open to all horse lovers. Although founded in Clifton, the society's hundreds of members now include people throughout Virginia, in other states and overseas. Their activities cover every base including recreational, social, educational and service.

<b>Take a Hike

</b>Burke Lake Park

7315 Ox Road

Fairfax Station

The American Hiking Association rates Burke Lake Park as one of the top 10 best fitness trails in the United States. The Burke Lake Loop follows the shoreline 4.7 miles around the lake. It's a picturesque trail enhanced by the solitude of the lake. Perfect for a walk or a run. Visit www.co.fairfax.va.us/parks/burkelake for more information.

<b>Have a Dog Day Afternoon

</b>Canine Cruises

Lake Accotink Park

7500 Accotink Park Road

Springfield

www.lakeaccotinkpark.com

Taking place each summer, this event offers dog owners a chance to cruise Lake Accotink with their canine friends on a pontoon boat. Reservations are required for this annual event, which is open to humans ages 8 and older. To register, send participant’s name, address, phone number, program title and a check payable to FCPA to Lake Accotink Park, 7500 Accotink Park Road, Springfield, VA 22150. Please call 703-569-0285 for credit card registrations or more information. $5 for adults, $3 for children (ages 8-15). Maximum one dog per adult.

<b>Get Wild with Hidden Flowers

</b>Hidden Pond Nature Center

8511 Greeley Blvd.

Springfield

Vinca minor? Ranunculus abortivus? Ranunculus acris? What, they don't ring a bell? Known by their more common names — Periwinkle, Kidneyleaf, and Buttercup — these flowers join dozens of others during a four-month blooming period in Hidden Pond's Pohick Stream Valley. From February through May, visitors can find this diverse collection of flora and fauna in the forest, wetlands, and in the park's meadows. Hidden Pond features acres of undisturbed woodland, trails, streams and its namesake pond. The nature center had exhibits about the park and Fairfax County's ecosystem. Call 703-451-9588 for more information.

<b>Captain a Boat on Lake Accotink

</b>Lake Accotink Park

7500 Accotink Park Road

Springfield

Lake Accotink is a 55-acre body of water. That's a lot of territory through which to navigate a variety of vessels available to park guests. Pedal Boats can be rented for $5 per half-hour. Row Boats are available for $6 per hour, Canoes are $5. Boats powered by electric motors, sailboats under 15 feet and kayaks are allowed on the lake. There is a $2 launch fee for each vehicle. Call 703-569-3464 for more information, or visit the Web site for park hours www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/accotink.

<b>Discover Alternative Cinema

</b>Fairfax Cinema Arts Theater

Fair City Mall

Fairfax

www.cinemaartstheatre.com

Art house cinemas are found all over Washington, D.C. But Fairfax Cinema Arts is every bit as adventurous and rewarding as any spot in Dupont Circle. The theater features dramas, comedies and documentaries that loom outside the mainstream, offering moviegoers the chance to see films that win festival awards but that don't have the big-budget promotional push that studio films have. The theater also offers a menu that goes beyond the typical popcorn-and-soda fare. Gourmet sandwiches, ice cream bars and smoothies are available, and there's a lounge area to consume them before the show if guests wish to do so. Call 703-978-6991 for more information.

<b>Catch a Blockbuster, Miss the Crowds

</b>University Mall Theaters

Braddock Road (Across from GMU)

Fairfax

Movies are great. Movies are fun. But dealing with massive crowds on opening weekend trying to see the latest big-budget blockbuster or superhero sequel can be a frustrating experience. Enter the University Mall Theaters. Second-run movies in a theater that's not that far removed in quality from the local megaplex. Adults pay $4 for a flick; kids 14-and-under, seniors 60-and-over, and students with a GMU ID get in for $3. Every Tuesday, the movies are just $2 apiece. Keep in mind that the theater is cash only. Call 703-273-0876 for more information.

<b>Hail Hair Metal Bands

</b>Jaxx Concert Hall and Night Club

6355 Rolling Road

Springfield

www.jaxxroxx.com

Bands like Blue Oyster Cult, W.A.S.P., the Misfits, Molly Hatchet and Kix headline this Springfield rock club, which is dedicated to keeping the legacy of metal rock alive — although the club also features the occasional hip-hop act and acoustic show. Oh, and Vanilla Ice, too. Shows with prominent names frequently sell out. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster at 202-432-SEAT. The club features a full menu that ranges from nachos to Shrimp Fra Diavlo, a.k.a. Shrimp of the Devil.

<b>Listen by the Lake

</b>Braddock Nights Music Concerts

Lake Accotink, Springfield

Royal Lake, Fairfax

Ossian Hall, Annandale

Three different venues offer free summer entertainment every Friday night during the summer (weather permitting). Classic rock, roots rock, pop, bluegrass, swing, country ... even polka and sea chanteys were featured in this season's lineup. The concerts are billed as a celebration of the community in concert, and that's exactly how they feel. Performances are from early June to late August, and begin at 7:30 p.m. — in fact, it's encouraged that concertgoers have a flashlight handy for leaving the facilities. Call 703-425-9300 for more information.

<b>Music at Night

</b>Springfield District Nights Concert Series

Burke Lake Park

7315 Ox Road

Fairfax Station

Not to be outdone by the Braddock District’s concert series, the Springfield District premiered its own summer concert series on Sept. 20, 2008 at Burke Lake Park. The first full season of concerts begins summer 2009. Park admission is free, but an $8 fee is charged for cars not registered in Fairfax County.

<b>Sing with the Barbershop Quartet

</b>Liberty Middle School

6801 Union Mill Road

Clifton

703-938-3001

The Centreville chapter of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quarter Singing was founded in 1995 and formally chartered in 1996 as the Centreville chapter of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, Inc. The Sounds of America chorus competes in singing competitions in the Mid-Atlantic District. Rehearsal is every Wednesday from 7:30 to 10 p.m. at Liberty Middle School.

<b>Strike Up the Band

</b>City of Fairfax Band Concerts

Made up of over 120 volunteer musicians, the City of Fairfax Band performs concerts throughout the year. During the summer, the full band and its ensemble groups present Thursday night concerts at Veterans Amphitheater on the grounds of Fairfax City Hall, 10455 Armstrong St., Fairfax. During the rest of the year, the band presents concerts at Fairfax High School, 3501 Rebel Run, Fairfax. The band also performs in the City of Fairfax Fourth of July Parade and Fireworks Show. For more about the band, write The City of Fairfax Band Association, Inc., P.O. Box 1306, Fairfax, VA 22038-1306, call 703-757-0220 or e-mail info@fairfaxband.org.

<b>Satisfy Your Inner Wonka

</b>15th Annual Chocolate Lovers Festival

Old Town Fairfax

www.chocolatefestival.net

Augustus Gloop may want to avoid Old Town Fairfax on Feb. 7 and 8 in 2009, lest his gluttony for chocolate goodness again get the best of him. The Chocolate Lovers Festival will again feature the Taste of Chocolate, in which vendors sell a variety of sweet treats; the Chocolate Challenge, an art exhibition in which chocolate is the medium; as well as several children's and family activities around town. The festival, created to bolster interest in both Old Town and in community participation, donates a portion of its proceeds to a selected charity every year. For more information, call 703-385-1661.

<b>Mixing Politics and Drinks

</b>Drinking Liberally in Lorton

Glory Days Grill

9459 Lorton Market St.

Lorton

A network of left-leaning progressives meets the first Wednesday of the month for liberal fellowship at 7 p.m. at Glory Days Grill, 9459 Lorton Market St., Lorton. RSVP requested to Lorton@drinkingliberally.org.

<b>Pile Up Some Scoops

</b>Woody's Ice Cream

4005 Stonewall Ave.

Fairfax

703-273-8977

This ice cream stand is practically a landmark in the City of Fairfax. Started in 1998 by Woody Lashley, the stand offers cool standards such as soft serve and sundaes. At the end of October, Lashley throws a massive party to close the season.

<b>Buy Bushels in Burke

</b>Burke Farmer's Market

5671 Roberts Parkway

Burke

Featuring fresh produce and meats, this farmer's market is held on Saturdays through the end of October, from 8 a.m. to noon. Visit www.co.fairfax.va.us/parks/farm-mkt.htm for more information.

<b>Two Scoops, Two Mayors

</b>* Peterson’s Ice Cream Depot

7150 Main St.

Clifton

703-830-2898

www.petersondepot.com

* Sweet Life Café

3950 Chain Bridge Road

Fairfax

703-385-5433

www.thesweetlifecafefairfax.com

Never has politics been so sweet as when two local politicians put down their gavels and pick up ice cream scoops.

From the end of March through the beginning of December, Mayor Tom Peterson and his family run Peterson’s Ice Cream Depot in the Town of Clifton. The shop offers gourmet ice cream, hot dogs and specialty drinks. The depot will reopen on March 29.

Coincidentally, Mayor Robert Lederer and his family operate the Sweet Life Café in the City of Fairfax, specializing in homemade ice cream and deli sandwiches. The café is open year round, and hours are Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; and Sunday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

<b>Enjoy a 3-Alarm Dinner

</b>Firehouse Grill

3988 University Drive

Fairfax

703-383-1030

Located in the heart of the Fairfax Historic District, the Firehouse Grill offers food, music and libations in an historic setting. Housed in an old firehouse built in the early 1900s, the restaurant is decorated with firefighting equipment and memorabilia.

<b>Find Food Fit for a Kingstowne

</b>Kingstowne Farmer's Market

Kingstowne Towne Center

5955 Kingstowne Blvd.

Alexandria

Located near the Uno Chicago Grill, this farmer's market is open on Fridays through the end of October, from 4-7 p.m. Call 703-642-0128 for more information.

<b>Fine Dining in Clifton

</b>Heart in Hand Restaurant

7145 Main St.

Clifton

This restaurant is a wonderful place for any celebration or special occasion. They have special dinners on most holidays and are opened every day but Monday. The Heart in Hand Restaurant also caters and has a cookbook for purchase. The restaurant was originally founded in 1982 to arouse interest in the Clifton area with tea and lunch, but after popularity grew, dinner and holiday meals were added due to customer demand. Many celebrities and distinguished figures have dined there such as Nancy Reagan and the cast of CATS, and they have catered several notable people as well, including Toni Morrison and Maya Angelo. For catering or reservation call 703-830-4111

<b>Countdown to Mardi Gras

</b>Fat Tuesday's N'awlins Saloon

10673 Braddock Road

Fairfax

Fat Tuesday's is one of those places that tries to make every day Mardi Gras. But c'mon — Mardi Gras comes but once a year. When it does, this N'awlins Saloon is ready with beads flying and bands playing. The bar offers daily specials with Cajun and Creole style cooking — foods like oysters, shrimp, crawfish, catfish, gumbo and Po'Boys. There's live entertainment at night from Wed. to Sat. For more information, call 703-385-5717.

<b>Irish Eyes Smiling

</b>Auld Shebeen Pub

3971 Chain Bridge Road

Fairfax

Formerly the very popular Ned Devine's — a split in the bar's ownership precipitated the change — this pub has a mix of traditional Irish fare and some great nightlife. There are 14 beers on tap at the pub, which also features some signature dishes like Guinness beef stew and a breakfast platter that includes eggs, sausage and black-and-white pudding. The bar also has a basement that features dancing and music. Call 703-293-9600 for more information.

<b>Peruse Fresh Produce in Fairfax

</b>* Fairfax Farmer's Market

Van Dyck Park

Fairfax

* Downtown Coalition Farmer's Market

10500 Main St.

Fairfax

703-430-6164

Take a long lunch break and visit the Fairfax Farmer's Market. The market is open on Tuesdays through mid to late November, from 8 a.m. to noon. It's located off Old Lee Highway in Van Dyck Park. The Downtown Coalition market is Saturdays from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. through the end of October.

<b>Get Crafty for the Holidays

</b>Annual Holiday Craft Show

Fairfax High School

Fairfax

www.fairfaxva.gov

Conducted annually at Fairfax High School, the Holiday Craft Show takes place on the third Saturday of November from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and third Sunday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Admission to last season’s event was $5 per day or $8 for a 2 day pass with no charge for under 18. The show features over 200 vendors and dozens of tables with different holiday crafts, plus food for sale and (in previous years) the opportunity for children to get their picture taken with Santa Claus. Call 703-385-7858 for more information.

<b>Enjoy a Night Out at Fairfax Corner

</b>Monument Drive and Government Center Parkway

Fairfax

Fairfax Corner is a great area with a large collection of shops and restaurants, not to mention a movie theater, a gym for children, and a studio for painting your own pottery. Fairfax Corner also hosts tons of events including their summer concert series held every Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m. There are also various other events throughout the year that can be found on their Web site at www.fairfaxcorner.com.

<b>Shop Tysons Corner Center

</b>1961 Chain Bridge Road

McLean, Va. 22102

1-888-2Tysons

One of the premier shopping malls on the East Coast, Tysons Corner — features two malls in Tysons I and Tysons II — has over 250 stores, including Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, Hecht's, Lord & Taylor, L.L. Bean and Banana Republic.

<b>Visit Georgetown</b>

Bordered by the Potomac River, Rock Creek and Glover Park, Georgetown's heart is located on M Street and Wisconsin Avenue in North West D.C. It's home for high-fashion stores, outdoor bars and restaurants, boat races, as well as some embassies.

Other landmarks include Dumbarton Oaks, where the United Nations was outlined in 1944, and the oldest structure in D.C. — Georgetown Old Stone House. It is also the place where the movie 'The Exorcist' was filmed in 1973. The film's famous staircase scene was located between Prospect Street and M Street.

<b>Celebrate the Holidays

</b>Festival of Lights & Carols

Old Town Hall

3999 University Drive

Fairfax

www.fairfaxva.gov

During the month of December, the City of Fairfax becomes a winter wonderland with lights, decorations, caroling, musical performances and activities for the whole family. Santa pays a visit to Old Town Hall for a Saturday morning children's breakfast. St. Nick stays through the festival to meet with children. Visitors may partake in hot mulled cider while warming their hands by the Yule log.

<b>Ring in the New Year

</b>First Fairfax

Old Town Fairfax

www.fairfaxva.gov

This annual event offers family friendly fun on the night of Dec. 31. Events last year included ice-skating, carriage rides, comedy shows, laser light shows and areas specifically designed to entertain children of all ages. Food vendors are on hand, and the only fees the festival charged last year were for food purchases and skate rentals. Because a number of streets are closed for the event, shuttle buses are offered from both George Mason University and Fairfax High School.

<b>Celebrate at Burke Centre

</b>Burke Centre Festival

6060 Burke Centre Parkway

Burke

The annual fall festival in Burke takes place on Sept. 12-13 this year, from late morning to about 5 p.m. This family-friendly affair features food, rides, games, and giveaways. There's live entertainment, and a large arts and crafts show with dozens of antique vendors. In the past, the festival has included live animal shows, wine tastings and local radio personalities.

<b>Celebrate Springfield

</b>Springfield Mall

Lake Accotink Park

and Various Locales in Springfield

Each June, the Springfield community throws a party for itself. The annual, four-day event includes a pet parade and a Heritage Festival at Lake Accotink Park. The long-weekend culminates in the Cardboard Boat Regatta, in which amateur sailors of all ages venture out onto Lake Accotink in their homemade boats. It’s a soggy, but enjoyable voyage for all.

<b>Sort Out the Mixing Bowl

</b>VDOT Mega Projects Information Center

Springfield Mall

Springfield

www.vamegaprojects.com

The Virginia Department of Transportation operates an information center about several projects its working on in Northern Virginia, including the Interstate 95 Fourth Lane Widening Project and the High Occupancy Toll Lanes Project on the Beltway. A public information center is located in the Springfield Mall, right next to the DMV. The center is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. It has a model of the Springfield Interchange, aerial photos of the area, as well as road maps and travel guides for all of Virginia. It's a great place to get caught up on major improvements to local roads, and for any kid-at-heart that still yearns for those days in the sandbox with a Tonka truck.

<b>Learn about Fairfax

</b>Fairfax Museum and Visitors Center

10209 Main St.

Fairfax

Located in the former Fairfax Elementary School, the Visitors Center offers information about restaurants, transportation and lodging as well as natural attractions and special events for those new to the city and those that have been here a while. The Museum offers exhibits about city history. In the spring and fall, Museum staff members conduct walking tours of Old Town Fairfax. Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m., except New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. The Museum is open half a day on Christmas Eve. Call 703-385-8414 or toll free 1-800-545-7950.

<b>Time Travel

</b>Civil War Encampment

Blenheim Mansion

Fairfax

During the first weekend of May, the City of Fairfax offers Civil War-related activities at the Blenheim Mansion. The encampment weekend includes a military muster, period music and family-oriented demonstrations. For more, call 1-800-545-7950 or visit www.fairfaxva.gov.

<b>Explore History on the Rails

</b>Fairfax Station Railroad Museum

11200 Fairfax Station Road

Fairfax Station

This museum houses artifacts and exhibits from the Civil War, the Red Cross, and a collection of historic railroad memorabilia. In 1975, a group of volunteers created a non-profit organization that sought to save the Fairfax Station railroad depot, which was the last operating railroad station in Fairfax County. After collecting contributions from several civic and government groups, the station was rebuilt a short distance away from its original site. It's now a museum, and a tribute to the area's rich railroad history. It features model train displays and sponsors Civil War tours throughout the year. Call 703-425-9225 for more information.

<b>Discover Franconia's Past

</b>Franconia Museum

6121 Franconia Road

Springfield

Franconiamuseum.org

A museum dedicated to remembering what the Franconia road section of the county used to be — a rural road for Virginia tobacco farmers who made their way to Alexandria's ports. It was also home to several significant events in the commonwealth's history. The museum protects and shares that history through a collection of pictures, artifacts, and the stories shared by its volunteer work force. It’s always looking for more of all three. The official Franconia History Day is in November. For events and information e-mail Franconiamuseum@yahoo.com.

<b>Debunk the Bunny Man

</b>Bunny Man Bridge

Colchester Road

Fairfax Station

This suburban legend — involving, among other things, the ghost of an escaped convict and a vandal in a rabbit costume terrorizing the neighborhood — dates back to 1904. So is there a ghostly Bunny Man haunting the one-lane cement covered bridge in Fairfax Station? Some folks swear the bridge (and, for that matter, most of Clifton) is haunted. Recently, a historian for the Fairfax County Public Library published an essay that claimed the legend was nothing more than rumors that spread after some guy in a bunny suit in the 1970s decided to scare the locals and dabble in some vandalism. Curious locals frequently visit the bridge around Halloween.

<b>18th Century Fair at Mount Vernon

</b>

3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway

Mount Vernon

www.mountvernon.org

An annual fair that goes beyond the usual arts and crafts sales. Visitors are able to witness Colonial-attired artisans demonstrate 18th-century crafts before having a chance to purchase baskets, woodcarvings, tin and iron work, leather workings and furniture. Live music, fire-eating, sword-swallowing, puppet and magic shows, rat-catchers and gypsies make this more than just a marketplace. Details can be found at www.mountvernon.org.

<b>Tour the National Mall and Memorial Parks</b>

Established in 1965, the National Mall in D.C. is home to such icons as the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, World War II Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial and Capital Reflecting Pool.

Also visit Ford's Theatre — the house where Lincoln died — and the mall's various museums, including The Smithsonian.

For more information, go to the National Park Service on-line at www.nps.gov/nama.

<b>D.C. Museum Tour

</b>District of Columbia

One could literally spend days trolling through the Art, Science and Nature, as well as History and Culture museums offered in the nation's capitol. The most popular facilities include the Smithsonian Institution's collection of 16 museums and galleries, including the National Air and Space Museum, The Holocaust Memorial Museum, and The National Museum of American History. One of the district's newest additions is the International Spy Museum — a spy exhibit which offers an interactive experience for kids and adults. For more information on museums in the District of Columbia call the Smithsonian Institution at 202-633-1000.

ro>Catch a Classic Train

</b>Burke Lake Park

7315 Ox Road

Fairfax Station

For a $2 fee, guests can ride a classic five-car miniature train across a trestle around the picturesque park. The park is open on the weekends in the spring and early fall and daily during the summer. Call 703-323-6600 for more information.

<b>Quell a Burning Desire for Bingo

</b>Greater Springfield Volunteer Fire Department

7011 Backlick Road

Springfield

Sundays and Tuesdays, 7 p.m.

703-569-9828

Fire Station

149501 Old Burke Lake Road

Burke

Wednesdays, 7 p.m.

fireteacher@cox.net

703-764-4935

Franconia Volunteer Fire Department

6300 Beulah St.

Alexandria

Wednesdays and Saturdays, 5 p.m.-12 a.m.

Fire Station

34081 University Drive

Fairfax

Fridays, 7:30 p.m.

703-274-3638

Lorton Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department

7701 Armistead Road

Lorton

Fridays, 5 p.m.-12 a.m.

Play Bingo while helping out local firefighters.

<b>Take a Child to KidFest

</b>Clifton Town Park

Main Street between Chapel Road and Chestnut Street

Clifton Town Park plays host to the Northern Virginia Summer KidFest. Professional children's entertainers perform throughout the day and festivities include music, dancing, face-painting, a gift bazaar and silent auction for adults. Entry fee is $5 and proceeds from the events go toward renovating the park's playground. Call 703-968-0740 or visit www.novakidfest.com.

<b>Make a Scarecrow

</b>Fall for Fairfax

12000 Government Center Parkway

Fairfax

Grab some hay, stuff some old clothes, and take home a scarecrow just in time for autumn at Fall for Fairfax. The annual event takes place at the 7-acre ellipse behind the Fairfax County Government Center. The free-admission festival features two entertainment stages with a diverse collection of music and dance acts; train rides on the Fall for Fairfax Trackless Train; exhibits that feature local businesses, organizations and clubs; food vendors offering everything from BBQ to pizza to funnel cake; hay rides; pumpkin painting; and, in previous festivals, a petting zoo. Visit the festival Web site or call 703-324-3247 for more information.

<b>Pick a Pumpkin

</b>Burke Nursery and Garden Center

9401 Burke Road

Burke

www.pumpkinplayground.com

The annual Fall Festival and Pumpkin Playground runs throughout the month of October with daily hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The cost of admission on weekdays is $8 per person and on the weekends is $11 per person. Admission gets you a carvable pumpkin and a hayride. There are daily activities at the festival, including a collection of themed rides and slides (like Ghost Tunnel Slide and the Wizard of Oz Slide), a monster truck, and other attractions. On the weekend, there are pony rides and a moon bounce. Refreshments are also on sale. Call 703-323-1188 for more information.

<b>Golf With Goblins

</b>Halloween Goblin Golf

Lucky Duck Miniature Golf Course

Lake Accotink Park

7500 Lake Accotink Park

Springfield

Here's the problem with golf: It's just not scary enough. Consider that problem solved. Halloween Goblin Golf at Lake Accotink's Lucky Duck Miniature Golf Course features a round of golf with glow-in-the-dark balls, accompanied by spooky music echoing through the park. For $6, participants can play a round and participate in a treasure hunt afterwards — a flashlight is required for the hunt. Call 703-569-0285 or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks for more information.

<b>Fall for Heather Hill

l</b>Heather Hill Gardens Fall Festival

8111 Ox Road

Fairfax Station

This annual festival features a pumpkin patch, pumpkin fort, a petting zoo, pony rides and other autumn mainstays. The festival typically runs from late morning to about 5:30 p.m. Admission for last year's festival was $3. Call 703-690-6060 for more information.

<b>Ridge Trail at Great Falls Park

</b>Great Falls Park

9200 Old Dominion Drive

McLean

Imagine biking a beautiful 1.5 mile trail smack dab between Old Dominion Drive and the Potomac River. The bike trail offers breathtaking scenery of upland forests, the river and the wildlife around it. The terrain is random, varying from hilly to flat; therefore the biker also needs to be on guard, always ready to change gears. The ride is relaxing and peaceful especially since it's a short distance. For further information about hours of the park call 703-285-2965 or visit the Web site, www.nps.gov/grfa.

<b>Occoquan River

</b>Spaced across 560 square miles, the Occoquan River intersects Northern Virginia's Route 123. Many kayakers, boaters, fishermen, and even crew teams use the river as a sporting facility. For more information contact the Occoquan River Marina at 703-324-5616.

<b>Skyline Drive

</b>Shenandoah National Park

3655 U.S. Highway 211 East

Luray, Va.

540-999-3500

Skyline Drive is a 105-mile road that curves throughout the mountain tops of the Shenandoah National Park. The scenic view attracts visitors from all over the eastern United States. A panoramic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains is best viewed at sun up or sun down.

<b>The World's Longest Mini-Golf Hole

</b>Upton Hill Regional Park

6060 Wilson Boulevard

Arlington

703-534-3437

www.nvrpa.org/uptonhill.html

This 26-acre park, featuring the world's longest miniature golf hole, is open daily from dawn to dusk. The park also features multiple swimming pools (in season), batting cages with baseballs and softballs, a nature trail, shuffleboard, horseshoe pits, snack bars and a picnic area.

<b>Dance the Night Away

</b>Lee District Nights

Lee District Amphitheater

6601 Telegraph Road

Franconia

Kingstowne Towne Center

5955 Kingstowne Blvd.

Alexandria

Free summer concerts at two different venues on two different nights. Lee District Amphitheater hosts the shows on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 p.m., with an eclectic collection of performers that range from Hawaiian to Caribbean to Eastern European. For more information, call 703-971-6262. Kingstowne Towne Center has shows every Friday night during the summer, beginning at 7:30 p.m. The performers include country acts, blues bands, swing, zydeco and American roots rock. For more information, call 703-922-9514.

<b>Shoot Stick, Listen to Hits

</b>Bridges Billiards & Grill

10560 Main St.

Fairfax

It's a pool hall/bar/restaurant that was infamous for some of its rowdy special events, such as an occasional wet T-shirt contest. Now it's become an eclectic mix of different styles of music (electronica, hip-hop, Top 40) presented on DJ nights. Interesting interior decor makes this an unusual clash of different designs and styles — along with a solid bar and some tasty food options. Call 703-277-7665 for more information.

<b>Shag at Rene's

</b>Rene's Supper Club

3251 Old Lee Highway

Fairfax

www.renesclub.com

Eat, drink ... but don't consume too much, because it's important to stay light on your feet at Rene's. This club has an international flavor, both in cuisine and in its dancing. Friday nights are reserved for Latin music — salsa, meringue, and bachata. Wednesdays feature the Northern Virginia Shag Club, which keeps the tradition of beach music alive. The club teaches steps for about 45 minutes before open dancing begins at about 8:30 p.m. Food options at Rene's include sandwiches, pastas, steak and salads. Call 703-385-0077 for more information.

<b>Take It Slow at Fast Eddies

</b>* Fast Eddies

9687 Lee Highway

Fairfax

* 7255 Commerce St.

Springfield

www.fasteddies.com

A very popular local chain of sports and billiards clubs, Fast Eddies features great food, a good crowd and plenty of special events. The bar has nine-ball tournaments, dart leagues, and karaoke contests. The Pittsburgh Steelers Black and Gold Club calls Eddies home Sundays during the NFL season. The Fairfax club features live music on Friday and Saturday night. The menu ranges from great seafood items (Alaskan Snow Crab Legs, Jumbo Shrimp Tempura) to delicious 12-inch pizzas that can be covered with toppings ranging from jalapenos to pineapple. Call 703-912-7529 (Springfield) or 703-385-7529 (Fairfax) for more information.

<b>Autumn in Old Town

</b>29th Annual Fall Festival

Old Town Fairfax

www.fairfaxva.gov

It started out as a small market for artists to display and sell their pieces. Today, it’s a full-fledged carnival with food vendors, a car show, live entertainers, as well as local artists displaying their work. It’s a large festival with a “hometown” feel. The Festival is usually held during on either the second or third Saturday in October, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 703-385-7858 for more information about the event.

<b>Become Book Smart

</b>Fall for the Book Festival

George Mason University

Fairfax

George Mason University teams with the City of Fairfax on in September to promote literacy in a three-day educational festival. The event includes author talks, lectures, book signings and book sales. Many book-related activities are offered for children and adults. For more, call 202-334-4740.

<b>Re-enact the Civil War

</b>Seventeenth Virginia Infantry, Co. D CSA

www.fairfaxrifles.org

The Fairfax Rifles are a family-oriented, not-for-profit organization that seeks to educate the general public on the lives of ordinary American citizens in 1861-65, preserve the history of the American Civil War, and benefit Civil War-related museums, foundations, and nonprofit organizations. The organization participates in Civil War re-enactments, encampments, living histories, demonstrations, parades and more. Membership is open to individuals age 18 and older.

<b>See the Writing on the Wall

</b>Blenheim Site and Civil War Interpretive Center

3610 Old Lee Highway

Fairfax

703-591-0560

In 2008, the City of Fairfax opened the Blenheim Site and Civil War Interpretive Center on a 12-acre property in the heart of the city. The attic of the c.1855 home contains one of the largest and best-preserved collections of Civil War-era graffiti in the country. The 100+ signatures, art and poetry were created by Union soldiers during their occupation of the Fairfax Court House area in 1862-1863. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 12-4 p.m. Tours at 1 p.m., Closed Sundays, Mondays, New Year's Day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

<b>Do the Texas Two Step

</b>Northern Virginia Country Western Dance Association www.nvcwda.org

703-860-4941

If you’re a little bit country, how about taking a twirl around the dance floor — country/western style? The Northern Virginia Country Western Dance Association will conduct its smoke-free, alcohol-free dance on Jan. 17 at Luther Jackson Middle School, 3020 Gallows Road, Falls Church. Couples and/or line dancing lessons begin at 7:30 p.m. with open dancing from 8:30-11 p.m. The cost is $12 per person.

<b>Visit a Library

</b>* Burke Centre Library

5935 Freds Oak Road

Burke

703-249-1520

* Fairfax City Regional Library

10360 North St.

Fairfax

703-293-6227

Kings Park Library

9000 Burke Lake Road

Burke

703-978-5600

* Kingstowne Library

6500 Landsdowne Centre

Alexandria

703-339-4610

* Lorton Library

9520 Richmond Highway

Lorton

703-339-7385

* Pohick Regional Library

6450 Sydenstricker Road

Burke

703-644-7333

* Richard Byrd Library

6315 Backlick Road

Springfield

(Temporary site during renovation)

Throughout the year, Fairfax County Public Libraries offer a variety of activities for readers of all ages, from cultural performances to puppet shows and book clubs. FCPL opened two new branches in 2008 — the Burke Centre Library and the renovated Fairfax City Regional Library. Those looking for research material about Fairfax County and Northern Virginia may visit the Virginia Room at the Fairfax City branch. For more information, visit http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/Library/.

<b>Take a Hike

</b>The Fairfax County Park Authority has trail maps illuminating the network of over 200 miles of trails throughout the county. Visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/trailsframe.htm to download maps of the nationally recognized Cross County Trail and other popular stream valley trails. The maps show the nearest points to access a trail, the location of stream crossings and provide trail descriptions and distances.

<b>Adopt and Train Fido</b>

The Fairfax County Park Authority and Fairfax County Animal Shelter offer discounted dog-training courses to those who adopt a dog from the county shelter. Adoptive families who attend a Park Authority workshop receive a coupon for half-off tuition for the Park Authority Obedience I or Puppy Kindergarten class. Conditional upon completion of the course. For more about dogs available for adoption, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/police/animalservices or call 703-830-1100. For more about FCPA dog training classes, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks.

<b>Find True Love on the Dance Floor

</b>Hearts in Motion School of Music & Dance

8600 Rolling Road

Springfield

703-437-1190

On the third Friday of each month, the Hearts in Motion School of Music & Dance hosts a Singles' Dance from 8 p.m.-midnight. Dances include cha cha, waltz, swing, hustle, El Paso, slow dances and line dances. Cost is $12 ($20 for couples).

<b>Get in the Swing of Things</b>

City of Fairfax offers Swing Performance Routine sessions each Tuesday from 8-9 p.m. at Old Town Hall, 3999 University Drive, Fairfax. For intermediate dancers. $72. Call 703-385-7858.

<b>Throw a Pot on the Wheel

</b>Pottery Classes

4810 Tabard Place

Annandale

Susan Fox Hirschmann is currently enrolling beginner and intermediate adults for eight weekly classes beginning Jan. 29. The class will include hand building and learning to “throw” on the potter’s wheel. Call for class schedule. Tuition total: $355, including materials. 4810 Tabard Place, Annandale. 703-978-1480 or www.silverhawk.com/ex99/hirshmann.

<b>Join in Singing</b>

The Wakefield Chorale practices Tuesday evenings from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Lake Braddock Secondary School, 9200 Burke Lake Road, Burke. They meet in the lecture hall/multipurpose room, number B-167. No audition is required, come any time. 703-451-7917.

<b>Practice Needlecraft

</b>The Yarn Barn

9413-C Old Burke Lake Road

Burke

703-978-2220

www.geocities.com/theyarnbarnonline

The Yarn Barn offers a variety of knitting workshops on Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 6-8 p.m., and Saturdays 8-10 am. Call for classes and schedule.

<b>Express Yourself Artistically</b>

Springfield Art Guild and Lorton Arts Foundation member Maureen Wolford teaches classes that focus on enhancing and refining basic drawing and painting techniques involving color, perspective and shading. Materials include watercolor, tempera, pastel, acrylic and oil; machine sewing, beginner needlepoint, architecture, art history and more also explored. Ages 8 to adult, flexible schedules. Call Wolford at 703-455-4473 or visit www.lifethroughart.com.

<b>Improve Your Brushstrokes</b>

Artist Carol Zeitlin has been teaching art classes for adults and children for 20 years. Classes are available for children 5-8, 8 and up or teens/adults in drawing and watercolor painting. All classes meet at the Ponds Community Centre, Burke Centre. Drawing Plus Color for 5-8-year olds and art lessons for 8 and up are on Tuesdays or Saturdays. Art Workshop & Chinese Brush Painting for teens/adults are Saturday mornings from 10:30 a.m.-12:30. Class sessions vary from 7-10 weeks. Call Zeitlin at 703-250-6930 or www.geocities.com/czeitlinschneier.

<b>Learn To Skate

</b>Dick’s Sporting Goods

12501 Fair Lakes Circle

Fairfax

Have a pair of inline skates you’ve never used collecting dust in a closet? Skater's Quest of Fairfax gives free skate lessons with a qualified professional at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Fair Lakes. To register or for more information, visit www.skatersquest.com or www.freeskatelesson.com.

<b>Girls Can Golf</b>

LPGA-USGA Girls Golf of Northern Virginia offers golf clinics for girls throughout the Northern Virginia area. All girls grades 1 through 12 are invited. Register online at www.GirlsLoveGolf.com. Contact Elena Melchert at Elena@GirlsLoveGolf.com or 703-475-4163.

<b>Stroll with Purpose</b>

Mothers can get a workout and spend quality time with their stroller-bound children while browsing Springfield Mall. MamaStroll stroller exercise classes meet at Springfield Mall. Mothers can work out with their babies Mondays and Wednesdays at 8 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m. First class free. Meet at Macy’s Court. www.mamastroll.com.

<b>Mom and Me</b>

The Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia offers Mommy & Me classes for children 3-months-old to 2-years-old. Circle time, singing, games, crafts, story time and more. Class locations include Fairfax and Springfield. For times and locations, contact Laurie Albert at 703-537-3064 or LaurieA@jccnv.org. Visit www.jccnv.org.

<b>Hey Neighbor!</b>

New Neighbors League Club of DC Metro is a non-profit organization, is looking for those new to the area or newly retired and looking for new activities and friends. The club offers bridge, bunco, bowling, hiking, quilting, book clubs, an investment club, an antique group, a gourmet group, couples dining, couples bridge and many other activities. Monthly luncheons take place on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Come meet the members. Call Judy Schulenberg at 703-476-9322.

<b>Calling All Philatelists

</b>Springfield Stamp Club

Lynbrook Elementary

5801 Backlick Road

Springfield

Stamp collectors of all ages are invited to join the Springfield Stamp Club Wednesday nights during the school year 7:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of Lynbrook Elementary School in Springfield. The club also hosts youth meetings, business meetings, trading sessions and auctions on the last Wednesday of the month. For a meeting schedule, see the Schedule of Events page at www.springfieldstampclub.org.

<b>Clogging Along</b>

To local clogging groups offer a chance for would-be cloggers to strut their stuff. The Happy Feet Cloggers, a local clogging club, meets every Tuesday in Fairfax. Call 703-263-7934 for more information and locations. The Yellow Rose Cloggers meets every Saturday in Fairfax. E-mail billiejoblair@yahoo.com for more information or locations.

<b>A Toast for Most</b>

Need to practice your public speaking? The Bennie Bough Toastmasters Club meets every first and third Wednesdays at 7 p.m. in room 27 of the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 8304 Old Keene Mill Road, Springfield. Guests welcome. For more, visit Bennieboughtoastmasters.org or call 703-409-3852.

<b>Toss Balls in the Air</b>

Fairfax Jugglers meets Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., in the cafeteria of Key Middle School, 6402 Franconia Road, Springfield. Learn how to juggle, practice and meet other jugglers. Free. For more information, call Pete Walker at 703-250-3281.

<b>Together for Their Art</b>

The Springfield Art Guild (SAG) is open for new membership. SAG promotes an interest in arts and crafts through educational programs, juried shows and classes for adults and children. Monthly meetings are the second Wednesday of each month, September-June, at 7:30 p.m. at the Grace Presbyterian Church, 7434 Bath St., Springfield. Call Marni Maree at 703-569-5731 or visit www.springfieldartguild.com.

<b>Eire in the Air

</b>Kate’s Irish Pub

6131 Backlick Road

Springfield

703-866-0860

Kate’s Irish Pub in Springfield offers Irish fare and libations with regular performances of Celtic music. For a full schedule of performances, visit katesirishpub.com.

<b>Concerts at Kirkwood

</b>Kirkwood Presbyterian Church

8336 Carrleigh Parkway

Springfield

Kirkwood Presbyterian hosts a variety of free musical concerts at the church in Springfield. On Sunday, Jan. 24, the George Mason Faculty Jazz Combo presents Jazz in January at 3 p.m. For full schedule, call 703-451-5320 or visit www.kirkwoodpres.com.

<b>Music in the Morning

</b>Old Town Hall

3999 University Drive

Fairfax

Each Friday morning, the City of Fairfax presents the Friday Morning Music Club at Old Town Hall. Jazz, folk and classical performers present intimate free concerts for the public in an historic setting. For more, call 703-273-6097 or e-mail jormesher@fairfaxva.gov.