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Fall Fun in McLean

MPAartfest, pumpkin patch part of local fall events.

Oliver Bush, 7, pulls a wagon full of pumpkins at last year’s pumpkin sale at St. Thomas Episcopal Church. This year’s will begin Oct. 6.

Oliver Bush, 7, pulls a wagon full of pumpkins at last year’s pumpkin sale at St. Thomas Episcopal Church. This year’s will begin Oct. 6. Photo by James Pruitt

Fall is home to several annual traditions in McLean. One such tradition, the McLean ArtFest, hosted by the McLean Project for the Arts, will hit a major milestone this year, and the MPA is celebrating accordingly.

As part of the MPA’s 50th anniversary celebration, the

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Vivian Shen, a first grader at Haycock Elementary School, stands next to her painting at the McLean Project for the Arts ArtFest. This year’s event will feature the children’s art walk.

ArtFest presents some of the event’s classic features and several new ones. The Children’s Art Walk, live exhibitions and artists who work in almost every media will be part of the event.

Margi Vanderhye, co-chair of the event, said that this year will feature 50 artists, the highest number yet, "due to the number of high quality entries we received."

Since it takes place in early October, past ArtFests have seen everything on the weather spectrum, from pouring rain to perfect fall weather, but the festival’s regulars will not be deterred no matter the situation.

"Last year’s event was about the worst-case scenario when it comes to fall weather, cold, windy and rainy," said Maunel Certosa of Vienna. "But the art, even in tents, was still there, and they took care to make sure the show itself didn’t suffer, which is all you can do. So hopefully we’ve earned a good day this year, because I’ll be there either way."

NEW ADDITIONS this year will be The Exceptions, an acoustic duo featuring Jason Saitta and Max Snyder. It will also feature the MPA Wine Café, featuring wine from Chain Bridge Cellars and a new community art project, "Leaf Your Mark."

MPAartfest will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14 at McLean Central Park. Parking is available at the Dolley Madison Library and there will be free shuttle service provided to and from various parking lots around McLean. More information can be found at www.mpaart.org.

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Oliver Bush, 7, pulls a wagon full of pumpkins at last year’s pumpkin sale at St. Thomas Episcopal Church. This year’s will begin Oct. 6.

St. Thomas Episcopal Church in McLean will also be doing their part to continue an annual tradition. Now in its fourth year, their annual pumpkin patch supports charities that serve the local community and areas around the world.

The pumpkins come from the Northwestern New Mexico Navajo Reservation. Proceeds from the sale are split between the reservation, and local charities Share, the Samaritan Mission of Washington, D.C., the Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center, the FACETS Hypothermia shelter program and CrossLink International.

"I never liked getting my pumpkin from a place like Giant or Wal Mart, I wanted my kids to have the experience of picking out their own pumpkin," said Gerald McKnight of McLean, who discovered the sale last year. "I found the St. Thomas sale when we were visiting friends last year, and once I saw how nice everyone was and what we were supporting, I knew it was for us."

THE PUMPKINS will arrive Saturday Oct. 6 and will be on sale throughout the month. St. Thomas Episcopal Church is located at 8991 Brook Road in McLean.