It may not be as “old” as the medieval tavern that preceded it, but Village Brauhaus is celebrating one year in business this Saturday (Feb. 22).
The German beer hall will celebrate with food and beer specials all day long, according to the event post on Facebook. A keg of Austrian ale will also be tapped into during the festivities.
“Polkastar” Johnny Koenig is also scheduled to perform with his band from 3-7 p.m.
The restaurant opened early last year and features a variety of Austrian and German dishes. It’s located at 710 King Street in Old Town.
Photo via Village Brauhaus/Facebook
How do you like your chili? On Saturday, the seventh annual Del Ray Chili Cook-off will be a heated contest.
The Del Ray Citizen’s Association is hosting the contest, which will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. at Commonwealth Academy (1321 Leslie Ave.). Tickets are $10 and free for DRCA members.
The event raises funds for Friends of Guest House, a home for previously incarcerated women in Alexandria.
The rules are strict:
- Only Del Ray residents can compete in the event
- Teams can only have up to three people on them
- Contestants must bring their own ingredients and equipment, including utensils and fuel
- Each participant must cook a minimum of six quarts of chili, prepared in one batch prior to the event
There are two categories for contestants — meat and non-meat entries. DRCA will provide spoons and cups for serving to the attendees and judges.
The three judges will be looking at “taste, aroma, texture and after-taste. Your chili can certainly be spicy, but it isn’t a requirement,” according to DRCA rules.
Prizes totaling $450 ($150 apiece) will be presented to 1st place vegetarian, 1st place meat and 1st place people’s choice. Professional chefs are ineligible from winning the main awards, but can win the people’s choice.
Last year’s winners were Christi Hart and Daniela Spigai, who tied for the meat competition; Sue Kovalsky for the best veggie chili and Kristine Hesse, who won the people’s choice.
A new trivia night scheduled for this Wednesday (Feb. 19) at Port City Brewing Company (3950 Wheeler Avenue) will put your Alexandria knowledge to the test.
“Join us, along with our friends from the Office of Historic Alexandria, for a trip into the past as we uncover hidden wonders, forgotten events, scientific oddities, and all the wonderful history that makes Alexandria so special,” the brewery said in an event listing. “It is time for ALX Obscura Trivia!”
The tasting room is scheduled to open at 4 p.m. with trivia starting at 7 p.m. Tickets to the event are $10 per team, which includes one pint and a $3 donation to the Office of Historic Alexandria.
Teams are limited to no more than six players, with no smartphones or mobile devices allowed.
Staff photo by Jay Westcott
A sushi bar coming to Tysons later this year is making a guest appearance as a pop-up in Arlandria this Saturday.
Roll Bär is scheduled to take over local bar Hops N Shine (3410 Mt Vernon Avenue) from 1-6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22. The event will showcase items from the upcoming Roll Bär menu, like hand-rolled sushi.
Both Roll Bär and Hops N Shine — which recently celebrated its one year anniversary — are owned by Matt Rofougaran, who also owns the Tysons Biergarten.
The sushi restaurant is scheduled to open its full-time location in ShipGarten, a new beer garden-slash-food hall built out of an array of shipping containers in Tysons.
Photo via Roll Bär/Facebook
Ain’t love grand? It depends on how you look at it. If your perspective is of the darker variety, with a dose of good humor, there’s an event in Alexandria for you.
This coming Thursday and Friday nights, Port City Brewing Company (3950 Wheeler Ave.) is hosting “Love Is Hell: A Valentine’s Day Horror Experience.”
Forget your regular Valentine’s Day programming. For $20 per person with the promo code FUNLAND (it’s $25 at the door), participants will get a pint of Port City draft beer and be led upstairs to the brewery’s Lighthouse Lounge, which has been converted into a haunted house. Inside will be dimly lit tables full of dead flowers and chocolate, love-themed games of horror and Demonic Cupid in her booth offering love advice to couples. Red lights have been put in the bathrooms, in addition to creative writing on the mirrors, which should make for a number of Instagram-worthy experiences.
The events will be held from 7-10 p.m. Also, at the end of the night, a list of the worst break-up lines participants have ever been given will be read aloud.
Co-founder Charlie Visconage has been happily married for three years and said his troupe is walking a fine line of presenting, “more of a Sam Raimi comedy horror-vibe instead of a Texas Chainsaw Massacre vibe.”
“There are plenty of things in our romantic past that are frustrating, weird and come out of left field,” Visconage told ALXnow. “We’re really hoping people will hang out. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and I promise it won’t be like a haunted house with jump-scares.”
Image via Funland Productions/Facebook
The Fort Ward Museum — which covers the history of one of the best-preserved Union forts that formed the defenses of Washington, D.C. during the Civil War — is scheduling its annual “outfitting the men” program for next Saturday, Feb. 22, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
“Museum interpreters in Union uniform will present ongoing talks about the clothing, military accessories and equipment typical of the Federal units who were stationed at Fort Ward throughout the Civil War,” the museum said in a press release. “Hands-on reproduction items, intricately detailed model soldiers, and original objects on exhibit will be featured.”
Museum director Susan Cumbey said the display of Union uniforms on model soldiers are popular among children that come to the tour.
Gadsby’s Tavern is one of Alexandria’s most notable historic landmarks, famous for hosting guests like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, but a new tour looks at the lives of slaves forced to work at the tavern.
A Complicated Hospitality Tour looks into the stories, experiences and archival records of the men and women enslaved by proprietor John Gadsby, according to an event description. While many depictions of slavery focus on the plantation system, this tour looks at the nuances of urban slavery and aims to explore how slaves lived in early Alexandria.
The tour is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 22, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person.
There are several events throughout Black History Month in Alexandria, including a screening of a movie about an African American woman in Alabama who spoke out against the white men who raped her, and a meeting on Tuesday (Feb. 11) of the Equal Justice Initiative — a group currently working to investigate two lynchings in Alexandria’s history.
Black history in Alexandria has had a prominent focus early in 2020, with the city purchasing the Freedom House museum at 1315 Duke Street, a new art installation on the waterfront focusing on the role of black Americans in the city’s industrial and agricultural origins, and the Manumission Tour Company spotlighting the city’s history with the Underground Railroad.
Photo via Gadsby’s Tavern Museum/Facebook
It wouldn’t be February in Alexandria without the largest George Washington Birthday parade in the country.
The annual event, which will be held in Old Town on Presidents’ Day — Monday, Feb. 17 — is attended by thousands and caps the end of the George Washington birthday weekend.
This year’s parade theme for the nation’s first commander in chief is “selfless service to country.” The nearly 1-mile parade starts at 1 p.m. at the intersection of Gibbon and South Fairfax Streets and goes past the reviewing stand at Market Square.
The grand marshal is retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Robert Shumaker, who spent eight years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. The parade is dedicated to Kathleen Kelly, a volunteer with the Office of Historic Alexandria for more than 30 years, who passed away last year.
The weekend kicks off with George Washington’s Birthnight Banquet & Ball at Gadsby’s Tavern on Saturday, Feb. 15, from 5:30 to 11 p.m. The costumed evening of dancing and partying in 18th century style is a popular event and usually sells out. Presidents’ Day in Alexandria starts with the solemn wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the Revolution at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House (321 S. Fairfax St.) from 11 a.m. to noon.
New this year is the “Hunt for Washington” — a scavenger hunt that will take participants around Old Town. The hunt should take participants up to an hour-and-a-half to finish and a clue sheet can be picked up at the parade reviewing stand after 10 a.m.
Alexandria’s Department of Community and Human Services will host its second annual mental health first aid (MHFA) training program this month.
Laypersons and paraprofessionals alike are encouraged to participate in the eight-hour training and certification program.
The first session, which will focus on youth, will be conducted on Feb. 19 and Feb. 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and a second session focusing on adults mental health first aid will be held Feb. 26 and Feb. 27 from 1-5 p.m. Both training seminars will be held at the Alexandria Health Department (4480 King Street).
“The training demonstrates the initial help given to a person showing signs of mental illness or a mental health crisis,” according to the city. “The course teaches risk factors, warning signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use disorders, the effects of the illnesses, an overview of treatments and a five-step action plan for helping someone with symptoms.”
There are about 239,000 adult Virginians with a serious mental illness, which at around 4% is on par with the national average, according to a 2015 report.
The MHFA program is designed to help people identify and respond to the signs of mental illness and addiction. Those interested must register online and there is room for 20 participants in each course, but the classes will be canceled if there are fewer than 10 registrants.
Alexandria offers 24 hour adult mental health outpatient services for residents at the Alexandria Community Services Board (720 North St. Asaph Street).
Available services include:
- Individual, group and family counseling
- Medication management
- Emergency mental health services 24 hours a day
- Assistance with admission to hospitals for psychiatric care
- Case management to help access and coordinate services
- In-home counseling services for the elderly or children in crisis
- Confidential testing for HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis
Alexandria will turn green at the 39th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Fun Dog Show on Saturday, March 7.
The festivities are sponsored by the Ballyshaners, a nonprofit dedicated to Irish heritage, and are expected to include more than 2,000 participants, including Irish dancers, the Kena Shriners with their mini Corvettes and the famous City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums.
The Grand Marshall of this year’s parade is John Brennan, a native of Kilkenny, Ireland, and one of the original owners of Daniel O’Connell’s Restaurant and Bar (112 King Street).
While the parade is scheduled to kick off at 12:15 p.m., Irish eyes will officially start smiling at 10:30 a.m. with the Fun Dog Show at Market Square outside City Hall (301 King Street). Dozens of costumed canines compete in such categories as Best Human/Canine Look-Alike, Most Talented and Most St. Paddy’s Spirit, according to Visit Alexandria. The event benefits the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.
The parade will begin at King and Alfred Streets and finish at Lee and Cameron Streets.
February’s here, but you don’t have to go through the winter dour and alone. There’s plenty of exciting acts coming to The Birchmere (3701 Mt. Vernon Avenue) in Arlandria.
Tickets are still available for Arlo Guthrie’s concerts on Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, Feb. 29. Guthrie is an influential protest and anti-war folk singer-songwriter. His most famous piece is Alice’s Restaurant Massacree, an 18-minute ballad about a littering incident that goes horribly awry.
Other Birchmere concerts in February include:
- Feb. 6: Lizz Wright
- Feb. 8: Eric Roberson
- Feb. 13: Durand Jones & The Indications
- Feb. 14: Burlesque-a-Pades
- Feb. 15: Daryl Davis
- Feb. 16: Chante Moore
- Feb. 21: The Kentucky Headhunters
- Feb. 23: Jeffrey Osborne
- Feb. 24: Digable Planets
- Feb. 25: Peter Asher and Jeremy Clyde
- Feb. 26: Sarah Harmer
- Feb. 28, 29: Arlo Guthrie
Beyond February, other notable upcoming ats at the music hall include Squirrel Nut Zippers, The Oak Ridge Boys, Graham Nash, 10,000 Maniacs, Vanessa Carlton, The Dramatics, Ohio Players, and Don McLean of “American Pie” fame.
Photo via The Birchmere
(Updated 11:30 a.m.) Whether you’re a child reading through the Harry Potter books for the first time or a reporter in your late 20s still waiting on a letter from Hogwarts, you’re invited to the Hooray for Books Harry Potter night.
The event is scheduled for 6:30-8 p.m. at Hooray for Books (1555 King Street) tomorrow (Thursday).
“The theme this year is the Triwizard Tournament, to celebrate the illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” the store said on its Facebook page. “This event will include a costume contest (Durmstrang and Beauxbatons characters welcome), trivia, crafting owl origami bookmarks in honor of Hedwig, and more fun activities.”
The event page said it will also feature host knitter Tanis Gray, author of official knitting-companion book Harry Potter: Knitting Magic.
“The event is open to all Potterheads, young and old,” the page said.