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Morning Notes

Singers wanted for older adults choir in Alexandria — “Encore Creativity for Older Adults (Encore), an arts education nonprofit, is hosting two 15-week choral programs for people 55 and over beginning the second week of January.” [Zebra]

Christmas in camp in Alexandria — “Fort Ward reenacts Civil War Christmas.” [Alexandria Gazette]

New Capital Bikeshare station in Alexandria — “New station alert! Check out this new, 11-dock station installed at Fillmore Avenue & Bisdorf Drive.” [Twitter]

Waterskiing Santa returns Dec. 24 — “Now in its 36th year, the Waterskiing Santa returns with his band of merry fellow waterskiing friends — and The Grinch.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

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It’s the holiday season, so expect a series of closures and reduced services toward the end of this month.

In a press release, the City of Alexandria ran offered an overview of what services will be open and when.

“All City of Alexandria government offices will be closed Thursday, December 23 and Friday, December 24, in observance of the Christmas holiday; and Friday, December 31, in observance of the New Year’s Day holiday,” the city said.

What follows is a rather lengthy list of openings and closings that will be included verbatim at the end of the article.

Some of the highlights are that the Old Town Farmers’ Market will be open on Christmas Eve, Friday, Dec. 24, from 7 a.m. to noon. Free parking will be offered in the Market Square Parking Garage (108 N. Fairfax Street) from 5:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The market will be closed on Saturday, Dec. 25, but will be open as usual on New Year’s Day, Saturday, Jan. 1.

Speaking of parking: the Alexandria Police Department will suspend enforcement of parking restrictions at metered spaces, residential permit districts, and other areas with signed parking time limits from Thursday, Dec. 23, through Saturday, Dec. 25, and on Saturday, Jan. 1.

“This suspension of enforcement applies only to the restrictions at legal parking spaces, and does not permit parking in any location normally prohibited (for example, no-parking zones, loading zones or spaces for persons with disabilities),” the city said. “Temporary no-parking signs will be posted and enforced on the holidays.”

For those looking for something to do on Christmas Eve, the Torpedo Factory Art Center (105 N. Union St.) will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 24.

In terms of transit, on Friday, Dec. 24 and Friday, Dec. 31, DASH bus will operate on a Sunday service schedule. On Saturday, Dec. 25 and Saturday, Jan. 1, DASH will operate on a regular Saturday service. The King Street Trolley will continue to operate through the holidays.

Visit Alexandria has also put together a small guide to local restaurants continuing to serve food on the upcoming holidays.

The full list of closures is available below the jump:

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Families and friends looking to celebrate are in for an annual holiday tradition. For the third year, Ice & Lights: The Winter Village At Cameron Run is open with light displays, Christmas trees and ice skating.

The winter village (4001 Eisenhower Avenue) opened in mid-November, and will shut down on Jan. 2. The ice skating, however, will remain open on weekends until Feb. 27. General admission to the park is $8 and ice skating is $12.

“It takes Cameron Run staff, NOVA Park volunteers, and contractors three months to install all of the lights and displays,” NOVA Parks said on its website. “A lot of hard work goes into preparing for this awesome show.”

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The Sushi Bar at 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue is closing for good tonight (Dec. 7), and will soon reopen as a Christmas-themed pop-up bar, owner Bill Blackburn informed ALXnow.

“Joy On The Avenue – A Christmas Pop-up Bar” will open in its place sometime next week, Blackburn said.

The Sushi Bar opened in 2013 — next door to sister restaurants Pork Barrel BBQ and Holy Cow Del Ray, which are all owned by the Homegrown Restaurant Group.

“It’s long been our intention to close it by the end of the year and to change it into something new,” Blackburn said. “We decided to accelerate that plan. Tonight will be the last night of The Sushi Bar. “

The bar will have light appetizers, and will serve holiday wine, beer and cocktails.

“We’re going to do that until the 31st instead, and then close it and remodel to a new concept,” Blackburn said.

Blackburn anticipates unveiling a new concept soon and then reopening at the end of February 2022.

Via The Sushi Bar/Facebook

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Hundreds of people turned out for the lighting of the menorah and Christmas tree at Pat Miller Square in Del Ray on Sunday night, December 5.

The evening was full of families and friends caroling with hot chocolate with marshmallows.

Retiring Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne made the countdown to light the 30-foot-tall tree.

“Thank you for 43 years of supporting me,” Lawhorne said. “I’ve loved every minute of it.”

Last year’s public tree lighting was canceled by the pandemic, and the event was a little smaller than in years past. Santa Claus, for instance, made a drive-by appearance, but was unable to stop for photos due to his busy schedule.

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It was a clear and slightly brisk Saturday afternoon (Dec. 4) in Old Town for the Campagna Center’s 50th Scottish Christmas Walk Parade.

The parade, which was canceled last year due to the pandemic, is one of the most popular events in the city.

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner was the grand marshal, and along with the mayor and other local dignitaries, waved at dozens of Scottish clans and bagpiping groups, including the City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums.

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Bagpiper at the Scottish Christmas parade (photo via Campagna Center/Facebook)

The Campagna Center is hosting the 50th annual Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend with the iconic parade scheduled for Saturday, Dec.4.

The parade is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. and will be marshaled by Sen. Mark Warner. The event is planned to start at St. Asaph and Queen Streets and end outside City Hall.

“At the Campagna Center’s iconic Scottish Christmas Walk Parade, dozens of Scottish clans dressed in colorful tartans parade through the streets of Old Town, joined by pipe and drum bands from around the region, as well as terriers and hounds,” Visit Alexandria said on its website.

The event was canceled last year.

Photo via The Campagna Center/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Golf could return to former Topgolf Alexandria property — “The shuttered Topgolf Alexandria and neighboring former Ruby Tuesday restaurant on South Van Dorn Street may be resurrected as a golf-centric venue by the underlying landowner, whose efforts to rezone the properties for residential use have been slow to advance.” [Washington Buisness Journal]

Alexandria Film Festival 2021 extended into December — “The festival, held in a virtual format, is giving viewers more time to view films through Dec. 10.” [Patch]

Little Theater’s Christmas Carol completely sold out — “Congratulations to the Cast & Crew of LTA’s A Christmas Carol – your spirited production is completely SOLD OUT!” [Facebook]

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After being canceled last year, the 50th annual Campagna Center Scottish Christmas Walk Parade is back on Saturday, Dec. 4.

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) will be the grand marshal at Saturday’s parade, which begins at 11 a.m. at St. Asaph and Queen Streets and ends in front of City Hall.

In the parade, dozens of Scottish clans march to “Scotland The Brave” and other favorites as played by the City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums.

While the main attraction, the parade is usually the proverbial cherry on top of a weekend caked with Scottish-themed events that historically generates approximately $250,000 in revenues such for the Campagna Center’s Early Learning Center at St. James, it’s New Neighbors program and Building Better Futures program, among others.

The festivities begin on Friday at 6:30 p.m. with the Taste of Scotland scotch tasting, which will be held in the newly renovated Atrium building (227 S. Washington Street).

The event is sold out.

Attendees are asked to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19, which includes a photo of a CDC vaccination card or a confirmation email from a negative test result.

“Guests who do not bring proof of vaccination/test results will not be allowed into the venue,” the Campagna Center said. “To expedite the check-in process, you may email a photo of your vaccination card to [email protected] by December 1, 2021.”

The festival is not yet back to full strength, as cancellations still include the annual historic homes tours and the Campagna Center’s heather and greens sale.

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The Del Ray Menorah and Christmas tree lightings are happening this Sunday (Dec. 5) night on Mount Vernon Avenue, but Santa Claus won’t be making an appearance due to COVID-19.

It’s the 11th straight year that Mike Anderson and Bill Blackburn of the Homegrown Restaurant Group selected and cut down the tree at the Naughty Pines Nursery in Maryland, and donated it to the Del Ray Business Association. Additionally, BMC Smoot donated a flatbed truck and a driver to haul the 30-foot-tall tree to Del Ray, and Mike Dameron of Windmill Hill donated his cherrypicker crane to put it in place on Tuesday (Nov. 30).

Over the weekend, volunteers also decorated street signs and poles with pine and jingle balls on Mount Vernon Avenue.

“Mike and I are big into traditions,” Blackburn told ALXnow. “It’s really fun to see del ray transform into the holiday season, and it’s all done privately by volunteers, businesses and citizens. There’s no bid or city dollars spent on decorations.”

The Menorah and tree lighting is free to attend, and will includes holiday caroling. It will be at 6 p.m. on Sunday at the Pat Miller Neighborhood Square. The Avenue will also be lined with luminarias to honor the late Nancy Dunning.

Additionally, the Del Ray Candy Cane Bar Crawl, which raises funds for Neighborhood Health, is on December 11.

Via Facebook

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