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The Tall Ship Providence and The Cherry Blossom on the Potomac River with the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in the distance. (staff photo by James Cullum)

Among many of the Halloween happenings around Alexandria this year is a new one on the waterfront: a conversion of the tall ship Providence into a ghost ship.

The Saturday (Oct. 28) before Halloween, the Providence is set to be decked out for the spooky season and will set sail along the river with a spooky party.

“All aboard for an adults-only costume party!” the tall ship Providence website said. “Cross the gangway (if you dare) for a hauntingly good time.”

Tickets are $85 per person. The event includes a DJ, open bar, food and a costume contest. The party is only open to those ages 21 and over. The “ghost ship” sails from 5-7 p.m., then the party continues dockside from 7-8 p.m.

The Ghost Ship Providence is one of several events highlighted in a Visit Alexandria roundup of Halloween events in Alexandria.

That same Saturday, there’s:

Meanwhile, on Sunday, Oct. 29, there’s:

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The Eisenhower Rock the Avenue Block Party is on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023 (courtesy image)

(Updated on Sept. 21) This Saturday’s first-ever Eisenhower Rock the Avenue Block Party to promote the Eisenhower Valley has been postponed due to a rainy forecast.

“As of this morning, it is still calling for 100% heavy rain and high wind,” event organizers wrote in an email. “Given these predictions, it would be very hard to hold an event with these miserable conditions.”

Eisenhower Partnership and SaltBox are hosting the inaugural event, which was to include a pop-up Cider Garden hosted by Lost Boy Cider, food and products from businesses on Eisenhower Avenue, as well as kid-friendly activities and live music.

A replacement date has not been announced.

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Halloween on Lee Street in Old Town, October 31, 2022 (staff photo by James Cullum)

Updated at 5:45 p.m. — There is a slight surge of Covid cases in Alexandria, however a notification that a Halloween-themed event at a city recreation center this weekend was unfounded, according to the City.

On Tuesday, an Evite was sent to reporters announcing a Halloween festival at the Leonard “Chick” Armstrong Community Center, but on Wednesday another email was sent announcing that the event was canceled.

“In the wake of the latest surge in Covid-19 cases and the lockdowns and stay-at-home orders we are having right now we figure it is best to cancel the Chick Armstrong Rec. Center’s Halloween Fest,” the email said. “We are sorry to miss the fun but it is best to stay home and stay safe. So we hope to host next year once the vaccine is out and it is safer to gather again. We are sorry to have to cancel but health comes first. Stay healthy everyone and remember to mask up.”

Diane Ruggiero, the city’s deputy director of Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities, told ALXnow that the city does not send evites, and that the message was sent from someone outside the city.

“Halloween Fest at Chick Armstrong Rec Center is scheduled for Saturday, October 14 from noon – 3 p.m.,” she said. “This free friendly spooky event will feature food, vendors, games, music, and a costume contest for the entire family. The event has not been cancelled due to Covid.”

Covid update

The Covid-19 pandemic was officially over in May, although the numbers of infected residents are climbing.

There were 614 new cases reported in the last 13 weeks, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The seven-day average for new cases is 15.86, far from the 36.86 seven-day average this time last year. The worst day of 2023 was on Jan. 5, when there were 59 new cases and the seven-day average was 41.57.

New Covid cases over the last 13 weeks in Alexandria (via VDH)

According to VDH:

  • There were 98 reported cases between Aug. 29 and Sept. 4
  • There were 92 reported cases between Sept. 5 to Sept. 11
  • There were 62 cases of children ages 0-9 who contracted the virus in the last 13 weeks
  • There were 18 new cases of children and young adults ages 10-19 who contracted the virus in the last 13 weeks
  • There were 18 deaths reported over the course of the last year, no deaths in the last six months and a total of 126 Covid-related deaths in Alexandria
Covid cases by age group in Alexandria over the last 13 weeks (via VDH)

There are also a number of Halloween-related events scheduled at recreation centers throughout the city next month, including:

  • Boo Fest at Charles Houston Recreation Center, Friday, Oct. 27, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. ($5 per person)
  • Family October Fest 2023 at Patrick Henry Recreation Center, Oct. 27, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. ($15 per person)
  • Family Masquerade Ball at Patrick Henry Recreation Center, Oct. 27, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. ($9 per person)
  • HalloTeen Night at William Ramsay Recreation Center, Oct. 27, from 7:30 to 10 p.m. (Free)
  • Family Costume Ball at William Ramsay Recreation Center, Saturday, Oct. 28, from 5 to 7 p.m. (Free)
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Alexandria’s Eve Capps says she’s more surprised than anyone that she’s lived this long. The 100-year-old was born in Sacramento, California, in 1923, and with an acute memory fondly recalls her childhood during the Great Depression.

“My father worked for the railroad, and we went from living in a big house to a shack,” Capps told ALXnow. “But I was just a little girl and I thought it was fun.”

On Tuesday (Sept. 12), Capps and 26 Alexandria centenarians were recognized by city leaders at City Hall. This is the third year for the annual event in observance of National Centenarian’s Day.

Mayor Justin Wilson said that achieving a full century of living is impressive, although the celebration should not simply be about a number.

“It’s about the contributions that all of you have given to for so many years, so many decades, generations, to our community,” Wilson said. “It’s about the rich legacy that you all have created in our community. And that’s a legacy of family, some of which we see here. That a legacy of service, and accomplishment.”

Capps said that the secret to her longevity is staying active.

“I’ve always taken very good care of myself,” she said. “I don’t know why I’ve made it this long. I just keep going on and on, and I’m always surprised when I have a birthday.”

Centenarians in Alexandria

  • Mary Addison — 102
  • Ann Buxton — 100
  • Dorothea G. Campbell — 100
  • Eve Capps — 100
  • Anita DuMars — 102
  • Audrey Fenton — 101
  • Lowell Fisher — 101
  • Walter A. Hammersley — 101
  • Margaret Johnson — 104
  • Marjorie Knowlton — 100
  • Daniel Krinsley — 101
  • John Leeper — 101
  • Pauline Lynch — 100
  • Charlotte Neborak — 100
  • Ada Nelson — 102
  • Ann Samuel — 103
  • Jane Sara — 103
  • Alice Schmidt — 103
  • Catherine Sevick — 106
  • Helen Smith — 101
  • Eva L. Sorenson — 100
  • Edith Tillotson — 100
  • Barbara Weadon — 100
  • Frances Webb — 103
  • Ruby Wells — 101
  • Virginia Wirtz — 100
  • Mildred Youso — 102
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Virginia Tech and the Torpedo Factory Art Center are collaborating on a sound installation at the Target Gallery (via City of Alexandria)

Virginia Tech and Alexandria’s Office of the Arts are collaborating on “Innovation and Creativity,” a year-long series of projects at the Torpedo Factory’s Target Gallery.

One of those projects, Sound Horizons, opened Aug. 5 and runs through to Jan. 28. Visitors sit in the tesseract, an array of high-density loudspeakers, and experience an immersive environment of sounds curated for Alexandria by Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT).

Sound Horizons includes four sound installations:

  • “Dear Younger Me,” a project about healing the inner Black girl, which features a series of Black women reading letters to their younger selves
  • “Sonification of Cybersecurity Data,” a music installation that turns cybersecurity data into musical harmony of sounds
  • “Liminal Spaces,” a fixed-media composition inspired by life’s in-between moments
  • “Musical Connection,” a sound installation shedding light on the uncharted neural territories that music traverses when people living with Alzheimer’s disease engage in music-making

“Collaborating with one of the nation’s top innovative universities provides an opportunity to put Alexandria on the cutting edge, proving how art and creativity are a thread that runs deeply through all forms of innovation, be it scientific, cultural, engineering, health, or technological,” Brett John Johnson, the Torpedo Factory’s curator of artistic advancement, said in a statement.

A free grand opening for the latest installation, Synaptic Soiree, will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16.

According to Virginia Tech:

The performances push the limits of sound and performance; they will explore scored data composed of music exploring infectious diseases, neuroscience, including Atrium, meditation, PTSD, and more, as well as the juxtaposition of new technology and the human body.

A facilitated discussion will follow at the end of the show, so you can listen to the researchers and ask questions about their work.

The series of exhibitions, performances and events will wrap next September, which is just is time for the opening of Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus in Alexandria.

“Virginia Tech, with its Innovation Campus, is pushing the frontier of technology,” said Ben Knapp, executive director of ICAT. “Together with the Office of the Arts, we will be showcasing innovation in all of its forms.”

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(Updated 4:15 p.m.) The celebration of all things cocktail kicks off on Friday with the start of Old Town Cocktail Week across Alexandria. There will be seminars, themed events, and celebrations to engage with local establishments and the burgeoning cocktail culture during Old Town Cocktail Week.

For the little ones, and kids of all ages, the city is bringing its vehicle fleet out to Chinquapin Park for Tons of Trucks 2023 on Saturday.

This weekend has something for everyone, here’s a look at what’s happening for events, live music, and entertainment, enjoy! 

Are you organizing an event? Submit events to ALXnow.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 8

THINGS TO DO

LIVE MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9

On ALXnow – Alexandria bringing vehicle fleet out for ‘Tons of Trucks’ event this weekend

THINGS TO DO

LIVE MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10

THINGS TO DO

LIVE MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT

Ryan Belmore is an award-winning news publisher, editor, and journalist. Born and raised in Rhode Island, he now resides in Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife and two rescue dogs. Email Ryan at [email protected].

Photo via Via Facebook

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Southern Towers residents wait for the bus. (Staff photo by James Cullum)

The City of Alexandria is hosting Fall Festival this weekend with a moon bounce, hot food, and everyone’s favorite fair activity: free health screenings.

The Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) is leading the event in the parking lot of Southern Towers (5067 Seminary Road) from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 9.

“This free event promises a fun-filled day for all ages, in addition to onsite health screenings,” DCHS said in a release. “The event lineup includes live performances, open mic opportunities, hot food and dessert options, many local vendors, and free health screenings by Kaiser Permanente. There will be a moon bounce for the children in addition to arts and crafts.”

The event listing said a mobile unit from Kaiser Permanente will be on hand to provide health screenings for adults in the nearby community.

“Going into a new season, its important to be in the know about your health,” the event listing said.

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Handing out flags at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Old Town, March 3, 2023 (staff photo by James Cullum)

After a busy spring and summer, the Alexandria City Council will consider permanently changing its special event policy to allow for large events with 500+ people on consecutive weekends.

City Council approved a waiver earlier this summer, as well as last year, allowing for large events on consecutive weekends. They will consider the permanent change in a meeting on Tuesday (Sept. 12).

“This change will allow events in Old Town on consecutive weekends without having to obtain permission from City Council,” city staff wrote in a report.

There are also a number of other special events policy changes, including:

  • Outside entities receiving financial assistance for Special Events from the City are required to provide the Special Events Committee with a business plan and/or provide a full disclosure of all expenses and revenues related to the event
  • Event organizers must file a notice of intent with the City Special Events Committee at least 180 days prior to the event, instead of the 90 days currently in the special events policy
  • If bottled water is provided at the event, a reasonable fee (not to exceed $1) may be changed to the public for each bottle of water
  • No notice or approval is needed for assemblies, protests and rallies if the event won’t block pedestrians from using sidewalks/crosswalks, or attendance will be under 50 and won’t be on/in a city street, or if the assembly breaks out spontaneously
  • Weddings with more than 50 people in attendance and/or that require exclusive use of a city park or other public space will be required to obtain a Special Event permit

Alexandria is home to a number of large-scale events, including the George Washington Birthday Parade, the Scottish Christmas WalkArt On The Avenue, the city’s birthday celebration, and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

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A Star Wars-themed neighborhood party is coming to Del Ray for First Thursday, Sept. 7, featuring the 501st Garrison Tyranus Legion (via Visit Del Ray/Facebook)

Get fresh batteries for your lightsaber, because a Star Wars party is coming to an Alexandria neighborhood not so far, far away.

Del Ray’s First Thursday (Sept. 7) will feature a costume contest, music from The B-Sides, a selfie station and photo opportunities with special guests Darth Vader, his ne’er-do-well grandson Kylo Ren and members of the 501st Garrison Tyranus Legion.

The costume contest starts at 7 p.m.

The free Del Ray Business Association event is sponsored by Click, LLC and runs from 6 p.m. to dusk at Pat Miller Neighborhood Square (2311 Mount Vernon Avenue).

For rebel revelers who want to keep the party going, Evening Star Cafe (2000 Mount Vernon Avenue) is also hosting a Star Wars movie in their backyard at 8 p.m.

Image via Visit Del Ray/Facebook

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An Alexandria Fire Dept. truck heads to a call (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

There’s a basic underlying principle behind an event this weekend that’s applicable to all ages, from children to seniors: trucks are cool.

The city is bringing its vehicle fleet out to Chinquapin Park (3210 King Street) for Tons of Trucks 2023 on Saturday, Sept. 9, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

The event will give vehicle enthusiasts a chance to get behind the wheel of a fire truck, police car, DASH bus and more. Tons of Trucks also serves as a meet and greet for the people who work with those vehicles.

Tickets to attend are $5 per person.

https://twitter.com/AlexandriaVAGov/status/1698400487958098267

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