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Saturday morning rain wasn’t enough to dampen this year’s Art On The Avenue in Del Ray.

As expected, thousands of visitors descended on Mount Vernon Avenue for the 28th annual festival. The Visit Del Ray event featured more than 300 artist booths, live music on three stages, a pie baking contest, as well as a kids corner to create art at Pat Miller Neighborhood Square. City leaders and local business owners also cut a ribbon recognizing new Del Ray businesses.

“Thank you exhibitors, bands, restaurants, volunteers and attendees for another amazing event,” organizers wrote on the festival website. “See you in 2024!”

https://twitter.com/AdamEbbin/status/1710775974961307935

Ribbon cutting photo via Facebook

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Assorted ciders, beer and mead (image via Meritt Thomas/Unsplash)

A festival dedicated to all things cider-related is making a return to Alexandria next month.

The Alexandria Cider Festival is a special tasting event in the historic Lloyd House (220 N. Washington Street) and is part of the broader Virginia Cider Week.

The event is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 18, from 1-5 p.m. Tickets are $55 for cider tastings or $25 for designated drivers. The minimum age for the event is 21.

According to the Office of Historic Alexandria’s newsletter:

Event ticket includes cider tastings, a souvenir glass, live music, and a little history too! Tickets $55 in advance, $25 for designated drivers. Online sales end at 10 a.m. on Saturday, November 18. After that, tickets can be purchased at the door for $65. Dress for the weather – the event is outdoors! Festival open 1 to 5 p.m. Proceeds from the Cider Festival will benefit the Historic Alexandria Museums.

Image via Meritt Thomas/Unsplash

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An international food festival is making its return to Alexandria next month.

The Around The World Cultural Food Festival, which brings together food from fifty countries around the world, is returning to Alexandria’s Oronoco Bay Park (100 Madison Street) on Saturday, Aug. 26, from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

This is the third year of the event. The event is free to attend with food and beverages available for purchase.

According to a release:

This year, we are taking our patrons on a one day trip around the world right in their back yard and present the cuisine, culture and traditions of almost fifty (50) countries participating in the event. With only one (1) ethnic food vendor per country, patrons will have the opportunity to explore over one hundred (100) traditional food items from sixteen (16) countries, enjoy folk dances and performances from twelve (12) countries, as well as an array of over one hundred and ten (110) ethnic artisans and crafters, independent consultants, small businesses and non-profit organizations. We invite everyone to come and enjoy as many dishes as they can; our food vendors take their time to prepare and present their top traditional food.

In 2023 we are presenting ethnic cuisine from Cambodia, China, Colombia, Greece, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Laos, Lebanon, Nepal, Peru, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam and United States of America, traditional dance performances from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, Iran, Ireland, Japan, Panama, Scotland, Turkey and United Kingdom, as well as artisanal items from Angola, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Colombia, El Salvador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Peru, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Turkey, United States of America and much more.

Image via Around The World Cultural Food Festival/Facebook

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If you’ve got a kid who loves firefighting equipment, or you’re an adult that never grew out of that phase, Alexandria’s got a festival for you.

The Friendship Firehouse Festival on Saturday, Aug. 5, brings the Alexandria Fire Department’s equipment out for display alongside other community activities. Children will receive free fire helmets and can visit the City’s fire trucks.

According to a release:

Join us on the 100 block of South Alfred Street from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and celebrate Friendship’s 249th year. Learn about fire safety today and yesterday, and see Alexandria Fire Department equipment up close. There will be booths by the Alexandria Police Department and Sheriff’s Office, music performances, displays by community organizations, vendor booths, and food and beverage sales. Join in water play and please-touch artifact activities. Children will receive free toy Friendship firefighting helmets.

The Friendship Firehouse Museum is also reopening after being closed for interior painting.  The museum, which shows firefighting equipment throughout history, is scheduled to reopen on Saturday, July 15.

According to a release:

The Friendship Fire Company, established in 1774, was the first fire company in Alexandria. Friendship members were volunteers motivated by their concern for the property and well-being of the community. Today the Friendship Firehouse, built in 1855, is a museum open to the public. Buckets, hose, axes, other firefighting equipment, and Friendship’s recently conserved 1858 hose carriage, originally built by Robert Prettyman in Alexandria, are on view.

The museum is located at 107 South Alfred Street. Admission is $2 for adults and free for children under five or Alexandria residents.

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The Portside in Old Town Summer Festival at Waterfront Park in Old Town. (Via Facebook)

Alexandria’s summer will kick off this weekend with the Portside in Old Town Summer Festival. Here’s what you need to know.

The free event, which includes the 45th annual Alexandria Jazz Fest, will be held at Waterfront Park (1A Prince Street) on Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 1 to 9 p.m.

“This free festival features an array of live music, local craft beer from Port City Brewing Company and fun for the whole family on the Alexandria waterfront,” said Visit Alexandria.

The musicians were chosen by the 2023 Alexandria Jazz Fest Activation Team, which includes John Hasse, a music curator at The Smithsonian Institution, Suraya Mohamed of NPR Music and Jeremy Castillo, the director of Performance and Contemporary Music at the Levine School of Music.

Food will be provided by Borinquen Lunch BoxChalkboard Wings & BBQ, Kungfu Kitchen, Dolci Gelati and The Italian Place.

Port City Brewing Company will provide the beer, as well as:

The Portside Festival is organized by Visit Alexandria and the City’s Office of the Arts and is sponsored by Ting Internet.

The Portside in Old Town Summer Festival at Waterfront Park in Old Town. (Via Facebook)

Friday schedule

Poetry will be read between sets by:

During the performances, muralist Aniekan Udofia will paint a new piece from 6 to 9 p.m. Udofia is best known for the mural at Ben’s Chili Bowl in D.C.

Saturday schedule

Image Via Facebook

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Art On The Avenue in Del Ray (file photo)

A 60% chance of rain might dampen this Saturday’s Art On The Avenue festival in Del Ray, but at least it’s not a hurricane.

Art On The Avenue was supposed to be held on Saturday, October 1, but was postponed due as the remnants of Hurricane Ian battered the East Coast. It was a good decision, since the entire weekend ended up being cold, wet and dreary in Alexandria.

“Postponing an event like this is very difficult,” said festival organizer Pat Miller. “We lost a few artists and we gained a few artists. The food is the same, some of the programming is a little different, but none of the musical acts dropped out.”

Art On The Avenue is historically the biggest day of the year in Del Ray, drawing tens of thousands to Mount Vernon Avenue to check out art from more than 350 artists.

Postponing the event also put some local restaurants in a bind. Del Ray Pizzeria made too much dough, and later sold out after making an appeal to its customers.

The event will not likely be postponed again, in the event of bad weather, Miller said.

“It gets to bee too cold,” Miller said. “That’s tough for a lot of artists and it’s tough for their art.”

The 2020 festival was virtual due to the pandemic, and last year’s event had perfect weather, but an unforced power outage prompted businesses along Mount Vernon Avenue to be shut down.

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The Lloyd House in Old Town (220 North Washington Street) is hosting a festival next month celebrating Virginia ciders.

The outdoor festival is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 19, and will feature a selection of cideries from around the state.

“Celebrate the tenth anniversary of Virginia Cider Week,” a release said. “Enjoy a selection of ciders from 10 Virginia cideries. Ticket includes cider tastings, a souvenir glass, live music, and a little history too!”

Tickets are $55 if purchased in advance or $65 at the door. Proceeds go to benefit Historic Alexandria Museums.

The event is outdoors at The Lloyd House, so attendees should dress accordingly. The festival will run from 1-5 p.m.

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A fall festival celebrating the broad culinary options around Old Town North makes its return next Thursday.

The annual Taste of Old Town North is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 29, from 4-9 p.m. in Montgomery Park (901 N Royal Street).

“Join us at this Free, Family Friendly, Dog Friendly Celebration of the Charms of Old Town North in Montgomery Park,” the Old Town North Community Partnership wrote in an email.

The festival includes sampling from restaurants around the area like Cafe 44, Lost Dog Cafe and the newly moved Hanks Oyster Bar.

The event will also include live music starting at 4:30 p.m.

Photo via Lost Dog Cafe/Facebook

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Fall is art season in Alexandria.

Two popular art festivals are on the horizon — the 20th Annual Alexandria Old Town Art Festival on September 17 and 18, followed by Art On The Avenue on October 1 in Del Ray.

Both festivals draw tens of thousands of visitors to Alexandria, with hundreds of artists selling their paintings, sculptures, jewelry and photos.

20th Annual Alexandria Old Town Art Festival

For the second straight year, the Alexandria Old Town Art Festival will be held at John Carlyle Square (300 John Carlyle Street) in the city’s Carlyle neighborhood.

More than 150 juried artists will be set up along John Carlyle Square — near the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The event lasts from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Alexandria is recognized as one of the country’s premier artistic hubs,” the event organizer said on the festival’s website. “All artwork is juried, which provides a higher level of quality, diversity and creativity of art on display, exemplifying the gifted artists in regions from all over the country.”

Art On The Avenue

Art On The Avenue is widely regarded as the best day of the year in Del Ray, drawing tens of thousands of art lovers to Mount Vernon Avenue.

The festival, which is always held the first Saturday in October, will be held Saturday, October 1, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Celebrating in its 27th year, the festival now features live music on three stages, a kids art corner at Mount Vernon Recreation Center and a virtual charity pie auction.

While deemed a success for artists and visitors, last year’s Art On The Avenue event was marked by a day-long power outage that shuttered businesses along the main stretch of Mount Vernon Avenue.

Dozens of vendors participate, although they have not yet been publicly listed.

The music schedule is below.

City Stage (Mount Vernon and Oxford Avenues)

  • 10 – 10:45 a.m. — Marian Hunter Band
  • 11 – 11:45 a.m. — Janna Audey Band
  • 12 – 12:45 p.m. — Irish Breakfast Band
  • 1 – 1:45 p.m. — The Rob Hornfeck Enterprise
  • 2 – 2:45 p.m. — Cast Iron Skillet
  • 3 – 3:45 p.m. — The Rand Band
  • 4 – 4:45 p.m. — The Rockits Band
  • 5 – 6 p.m. — Rogue Johnsen Project

Americana Stage (1900 Mount Vernon Avenue)

  • 10 – 10:50 a.m. — Justin Shaffer Duo
  • 11 a.m. – 11:50 a.m. — Craig and Rick Duo
  • 12 – 12:50 p.m.  — Esther Haynes Duo
  • 1 – 1:50 p.m. — Mike Elosh Duo
  • 2 – 2:50 p.m. — Julia Kazdorf Duo
  • 3 – 3:50 p.m. — Elizabeth Lane Duo
  • 4 – 5 p.m. — Dire Wolves Duo

Colonel Arnald D. Gabriel Concert Band Stage (Mt. Vernon Community School basketball court)

  • 10 – 10:45 a.m. — Whiskey Before Breakfast Band
  • 11 – 11:45 a.m. — Alexandria Singers
  • 12 – 12:45 p.m. — NOVA Concert Band
  • 1 – 1:45 p.m. — NOVA Nighthawks Jazz Band
  • 2 – 2:45 p.m. — Alexandria Choral Society
  • 3 – 3:45 p.m. — The Alexandria Citizens Band
  • 4 – 4:45 p.m. — The Alexandria Citizens SWING Band
  • 5 – 6:00 p.m. — The Academy at Metropolitan School of the Arts (Vocal Performance Ensemble)
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Morning Notes

Around Jones Point Park (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

New Compost Station Opens — “On Sunday, July 17, the Old Town North Sunday Farmers Market officially opened its Compost Cab compost station. The new compost station will be a permanent fixture at this year-round market, every Sunday from 10am-2pm.” [Zebra]

City Ranks as One of the Top U.S. Cities — “Readers of Travel + Leisure appear to have a favorable opinion of Alexandria, because the city made the top 10 of the magazine’s 15 Best Cities in the United States list… Alexandria was ranked eighth among big cities like New York City, New Orleans and Chicago on the national list.” [Patch]

Film Festival Submissions Open — “Calling all #artists and #filmmakers–Join us this November in @AlexandriaVA for the 4th Annual STEM Art & Film Festival at #IFoRE22. Now accepting submissions http://experienceIFoRE.org/stem-art-film-rt-film-festival #art #artstudent #artfestival #filmfestival #scienceart” [Twitter]

It’s Monday — Rain in the evening. High of 87 and low of 75. Sunrise at 5:59 am and sunset at 8:33 pm. [Weather.gov]

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