Get ready for fun — the second annual Chantilly Day celebration is slated for Saturday, May 4, at the Sully Place Shopping Center, off Route 50 West in Chantilly. There’ll be children’s activities, live music, food and entertainment — as well as two U.S. astronauts.
The festival runs from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. in the Kmart and Babies R Us parking lots, and the day’s events will include onstage performances by the Westfield High Jazz Combo, local rock musicians, a pet adoption, rock climbing, business expo and awards ceremony.
“This will be far and above what we had last year, and it’s doubling in size,” said event Co-Chairman Carl Brown, assistant general manager of Staybridge Suites in Chantilly. Insurance agency owner Shak Hill is the other co-chair.
“Everyone is welcome to our event,” said Brown. “Chantilly Day is that time for people to come out and celebrate the area, create a sense of community and acknowledge the businesses and leaders that help make Chantilly what it is.”
More than 15,000 people attended last year’s event, and this year’s celebration promises to be “out of this world” since former NASA astronauts Carl Walz and Frank Culbertson will be the co-chairs and guests of honor. In addition, Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R-Sully) will read a proclamation by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors officially declaring Chantilly as the “Air and Space Capital of Virginia.”
“It was Culbertson, [while] the sole American aboard the International Space Station, who took the picture many saw depicting the plume of smoke he witnessed 200 miles above the surface of the earth on 9/11,” said Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman Heather Gray.
Both he and Walz now work for Orbital Sciences Corp., which develops and manufactures small- and medium-class rockets and space systems for commercial, military and civil government customers.
“The former astronauts’ appearance at the festival reflects the rich history of exploration and technology that has long helped define Chantilly and the surrounding Dulles region,” said Gray. “With the Space Shuttle Discovery recently relocated to the nearby National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the chamber is confident this year’s festival will continue to strengthen the identity of this dynamic community.”
The astronauts will address the crowd as part of the day’s stage entertainment. They’ll talk about life in space and on the Space Station and how their space experiences relate to their work at Orbital Sciences. Both will also meet the public and answer questions at a special tent next to the space-shuttle moonbounce in the Babies R Us lot.
The Chantilly-Centreville Chamber of Commerce (an offshoot of the Dulles Chamber), in partnership with the Westfields Business Owners Association and Kaiser Permanente, are putting on the event. Host sponsor is the shopping-center owner, Beatty Management Co.
Like the others, WBOA President Bill Keech Jr. is looking forward to Chantilly Day. “We’re bringing people here,” he said. “Companies, individuals and families get to come together and learn and share what Chantilly is all about.”
About 25 people were involved in planning Chantilly Day. Said Brown: “We began working on it the day after last year’s event.”
OPENING AND AWARDS
Opening ceremonies and the presentation of awards will kick off the day at 9:30 a.m. at the stage in the Kmart parking lot. All the other events will begin at 10 a.m., except for the stage entertainment which will start at 10:15 a.m. and the Taste of Chantilly, beginning at 11 a.m.
The Chantilly Academy’s Air Force JROTC Color Guard will present the colors at 9:30 a.m. and Dulles Chamber member Brittani Poindexter will sing the national anthem.
The Chantilly-Centreville Chamber will then give out business, nonprofit, partnership and citizen of the year awards. It will also present four, $1,000 STEM scholarships (science, technology, engineering and math) to graduating seniors at Chantilly, Centreville and Westfield high schools and The Chantilly Academy – a Governor’s STEM Academy.
“What makes our festival a family-friendly, fun event is that the children’s activities are free,” said Gray. “They’re provided by the Chantilly-Centreville Chamber and its sponsors.”
They’ll be in a fenced-in area along Metrotech Drive in the Kmart lot, near the business expo. And sponsoring many of the children’s activities is Wholesome Campus of Chantilly, an enrichment center for children and adults.
“I’m really excited about Chantilly Day,” said company President Donna Cooper. “We’ll have face-painting, bubbles and lots of gymnastics equipment, including balance beams, plastic tunnels, tents, parachutes and rockers. We have a competitive jump rope team and some of the members will be performing on stage. We also hope to bring in a balloon artist and a tarp covered with Legos.”
Additionally, the Elden Street Players will perform at a special children’s stage. Children will also be able to climb on a rock wall sponsored by F3 Tactical of Chantilly and enjoy a space-shuttle moonbounce and trackless train rides sponsored by the Chantilly-Centreville Chamber. There’ll also be games and arts and crafts.
The Taste of Chantilly food area will be in the Kmart lot. Vendors will include: The Similans Thai Eatery, Thai dishes; Bungalow Billiards, pulled pork and chicken sliders; Hooters, chicken wings, hot dogs and hamburgers; Coyote Grille, tacos; Chick-Fil-A, chicken sandwiches; Moe’s Southwest Grill, Mexican food; and Ms. P’s Concessions, jerk chicken, red beans and rice, steamed cabbage, plantains, fish, funnel cakes, lemonade, soda and water.
There’ll be a variety of entertainment for all ages. PRO Martial Arts of Chantilly will give a martial arts demonstration and the competitive jump ropers from Wholesome Campus will show what they can do.
Also performing will be the Westfield High Jazz Combo, plus THEYCALLMEPIANO, a local pop, rock and electronic dance music artist. Three rock bands will liven up the day, as well. They are …AND WHAT ARMY, Soul Raising Visions and The Stolen Camaros.
Sponsoring a pet adoption is Chantilly Animal Hospital; this activity will be in the Babies R Us lot, next to the moonbounce. Attendees will be able to adopt pets on the spot and take them home.
Various Chantilly High clubs and classes will also be participating in Chantilly Day. One of the hits of last year’s event was the Chantilly Academy’s basketball-playing robot, and the Robotics Club is bringing it back again this year.
The school’s Hispanic Leadership Club will be doing free face-painting, in addition to the face painter provided by Wholesome Campus. The Chantilly Academy’s Animal Science class will also be on hand, as will the school’s athletic boosters, who’ll be selling spirit wear.
And more than 100 local businesses are participating in the Chantilly Day Business Expo. It gives area residents a chance to see what’s available to them in their community. Businesses range from finance to health, education and government contracting. They’ll be offering giveaways and people may win prizes just by stopping by their tables.
Free, offsite parking with shuttle service to and from the event will be offered. Staybridge Suites is providing free shuttle buses. Visitors are encouraged to use the nearby parking area at 3900 Skyhawk Drive (off Centreville Road). Signs will mark the parking lot. People are also welcome to walk the quarter mile or so from the lot to the event.