The Alexandria Health Department is asking residents to stay up to date on vaccinations and to travel safe this spring break.
The guidance was issued in the city’s weekly COVID-19 update.
“The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is to stay up-to-date on your vaccinations,” AHD advised. “If you will be spending time with individuals at higher risk of severe COVID-19, consider getting tested one-to-three days before you travel to see them. Monitor yourself for symptoms after you travel.”
There has been an uptick in Covid cases this month, and the number of cases is now 30,655, an increase of 89 cases since Monday (April 11), according to the Virginia Department of Health. The seven-day average of new cases is now 46.6 — up from 40.9 on Monday. The number of deaths remains unchanged at 185.
Face masks are still mandatory on public transportation, including on buses, planes and trains.
Alexandria is currently at a low COVID-19 community level according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Spring gets into full swing in Alexandria this month, and there are dozens of events around the city to get you out of the house.
April events in Alexandria:
- Outdoor cello concert: Listen to cellist Amit Peled at The Rectory in Old Town on April 7 (Thursday), from 5 to 6 p.m. and 6:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets cost $45 apiece for adults and $25 for children
- Book signing at Alexandria Visitor Center: Meet John Adam Wasowicz, the Author of the Old Town Mysteries, Daingerfield Island, Jones Point, Slaters Land and Roaches Run. Two book signings will be held on April9 and 10 (Saturday and Sunday) from 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Easter Egg Hunt with the Old Town Business Association: On April 9 (Saturday) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Historic event at Carlyle House: On April 9 (Saturday), learn from costumed interpreters about how Major General Edward Braddock, Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty’s Forces in North America, landed in Alexandria in 1775. Tickets are free, and the event is from 12 to 4 p.m.
- Cherry Blossom Jubilee: On Sunday (April 10), enjoy live performance by taiko drum group Nen Daiko on the waterfront side of the Art Center, followed by an Art Center-wide exhibition of cherry blossom-inspired works by resident artists and galleries
- Outdoor vocal recital: On Thursday (April 14), Mexican soprano Judy Yannini makes her Secret Garden debut in a program of selections from vibrant zarzuelas to beloved operas, from 5 to 6 p.m. and 6:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets cost $45 apiece for adults and $25 for children
- Easter Egg Hunt at Lee-Fendall House: On April 16 and 17 (Saturday and Sunday), there will be Easter egg hunts at the historic property, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets cost $15 for children ages 2 to 12, $5 for accompanying adults
- Outdoor bluegrass concert: On April 21 (Thursday), listen to father-son team Ken & Brad Kolodner, from 5 to 6 p.m. and 6:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets cost $45 apiece for adults and $25 for children
- Advance screening of ‘TRASHY: a zero waste film’: The feature documentary follows its director as she tries not to throw anything away over the course of a year. The free screening at the Torpedo Factory Art Center starts at 6 p.m.
- 89th Annual Old Town Alexandria Homes & Garden Tour: The long cherished event will be held on April 23 (Saturday), from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets cost $55 apiece if bought online and $65 at the Alexandria Visitor Center to tour the Carlyle House, Lee-Fendall House, River Farm, Gunston Hall, Mount Vernon and Green Spring Gardens
- Alexandria Symphony Orchestra performance: The ASO will perform the music of Barber and Brahms at its April 23 (Saturday) concert. The event is from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. and costs $20-$85 for adults, $5 for children and $15 for students
- Rocklands BBQ meat and greet party: The April 23 (Saturday) event features School of Rock performances and local vendors
- Soul Food Saturday: On April 23 (Saturday), explore the contributions of African American innovation and tradition to American cuisine with a unique walking tour around Old Town. The event is from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and tickets cost $95 apiece
- Earth Day tree planting: Join the Alexandria City Council on April 23 (Saturday) for a tree planting on Earth Day in Old Town, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.
- History discussion on African American housing crisis in Alexandria: On April 28 (Thursday), Dr. Krystyn Moon will examine how segregationist practices impaired Alexandria’s African American residents. The event is virtual
- Old Town Alexandria Fine Art And Design Festival: On Saturday (April 30), more than 100 artisans, crafters, independent consultants and other local small businesses in John Carlyle Square
Spring2ACTion starts early giving — “Alexandria’s official Day of Giving is April 28, but early giving is open and residents are generously donating to more than 100 local nonprofit organizations.” [Alexandria Living]
Citizen group advicates to return to ward representation — “For most of its history since the early 1800s, the City of Alexandria had neighborhood-based representation on its city council. Now, a bipartisan coalition of residents is calling for a return to that type of government, arguing that ward representation would foster better service and accountability to residents.” [Alexandria Living]
Mister Kleen donates hand sanitizer dispensers to Neighborhood Health –“Mister Kleen Maintenance Company, Inc. is giving back to the community with a donation of more than 100 automatic hand sanitizer dispensers with stands to Neighborhood Health, a local nonprofit community health center that serves more than 42,000 patients in clinics across Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax County.” [Zebra]
Today’s weather — “Thunderstorms in the morning will give way to partly cloudy skies and gusty winds late. Storms may contain strong gusty winds. Morning high of 67F with temps falling to near 55. Winds W at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of rain 80%… Clear (in the evening). Gusty winds diminishing after midnight. Low 37F. Winds WNW at 20 to 30 mph.” [Weather.com]
New job: Bartenders — “Doyles Outpost is the newest FUN in town a uniquely designed entertainment concept featuring a mouthwatering menu, full bar, novel two level laser tag arena, the latest arcade games and the HologateTM virtual reality attraction. We are the perfect venue for your next corporate event, social gathering or birthday party.” [Indeed]
Verizon store crash suspect also suspected of crashing into D.C. apartment complex — “Following receipt of his emails, we immediately worked to increase security at the property. Unfortunately, he visited the office twice last Monday and the second visit is when he crashed his car into our lobby. After leaving The Drake, he visited a Verizon store in Virginia and crashed his car through their storefront as well.” [PoPville]
The Art League bringing back in-person classes this month — “In-person classes will start on Monday, April 5 with adherence to CDC, Alexandria Health Department and Virginia Department of Health guidelines. Over 40 classes will be offered, covering a range of art forms, including drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, metal jewelry design, stained glass, and steel furniture design and construction.” [Patch]
April is Sexual Assault Survivor’s Month — “In April, the City will recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month with a series of events, activities, workshops and displays to support survivors of sexual assault and engage the community in prevention efforts.” [City of Alexandria]
Today’s weather — “Sunshine and clouds mixed. High 48F. Winds NW at 15 to 25 mph. Higher wind gusts possible… Clear skies. Widespread frost likely. Low around 30F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph.” [Weather.com]
New job: Child care director — “Are you a natural leader who LOVES working with children? Are you passionate about working in child care and managing and inspiring a team? Are you ready to grow personally and professionally? We are seeking an awesome assistant director to join our child care team.” [Indeed]
Virginia Governor Proposes Legalizing Marijuana This Summer — “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam proposed Wednesday moving up the legalization of simple possession of marijuana to July 1, nearly three years sooner than previously planned.” [Patch]
Lena’s Pizza opens spring dining experience — “Walking in, customers will also see green grass and butterflies.” [Zebra]
Made in ALX, Blue Room Studio launch Del Ray restaurant matchbook art competition — “Local artist Laurel Prucha Moran has created a watercolor painting of a matchbook from every independent restaurant in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood — more than 30 in all. Now, Moran will put 12 of the most popular matchbook watercolor paintings, as determined by resident’s votes, on an art print that will be available for purchase only through Made in ALX.” [Alexandria Living]
Today’s weather — “Partly cloudy skies, with gusty winds developing during the afternoon. High 49F. Winds NW at 20 to 30 mph. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph… A few clouds. Low 29F. Winds NW at 15 to 25 mph. Higher wind gusts possible.” [Weather.com]
New job: Plant obsessed cashier — “Speedy Cashier needed for our busy and bustling garden center in the heart of Alexandria. Excellent people skills and proficient computer skills a must. This is a part time to full time position including weekends, with full time during peak seasons. Plant knowledge a big plus! Come grow with us!” [Indeed]
“We received a donation from Yates Dry Cleaning,” ALIVE! Executive Director Jennifer Ayers told ALXnow. “We need more. We tried to order some recently and they’re hard to get. Right now we’re still waiting on them.”
ALIVE! has given away a record 110,000 pounds of food since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Alexandria. In fact, the nonprofit is breaking all sorts of records. On April 15, ALIVE! received the top number of donations — $145,611 from 491 donors — in the annual Spring2ACTion fundraiser. The funds will be used for programming purposes, Ayers said.
“That was amazing,” Ayers said. “Our original goal was 60,000, based on what we raised last year.”
There's a lot of be thankful for this week at ALIVE! Handmade masks from Yates Dry Cleaning -PPE for volunteers and staff! And a big thank you again to @LidlUS for the amazing cold storage for our food warehouse, keeping things chill until we can get it out! pic.twitter.com/Mo5ioVxdqU
— Alive4Alexandria (@ALIVE4AlexVA) April 17, 2020
Home deliveries have also increased substantially, as ALIVE! is now delivering food every day to 500 individuals stuck at home, as opposed to an average of about 200 families before the crisis.
ALIVE! is utilizing a warehouse space provided by the city to receive all of the food from suppliers, and the pandemic has caused a few disruptions in deliveries. Inside the warehouse, no more than 10 volunteers at a time receive the food and package it, while being six feet away from each other.
“Home deliveries for today was 500, and that’s almost 600 pounds of food for just one day,” said Ann Patterson, ALIVE’s food program director. “I have enough food to do another 1,000 families this Saturday, but then we’ve got to figure out how to manage on a week-to-week and on a day-to-day type kind of basis, and you have to manage it that way because the supply chain has been disrupted.”
This Saturday’s food distribution will be held at the Leonard “Chick” Armstrong Recreation Center (23 W. Reed Ave.) and John Adams Elementary School (5651 Rayburn Avenue) from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Those receiving food are encouraged to drive to the sites and to stay in their cars. Pedestrians are asked to observe social distancing and to stay six feet away from volunteers or others.
Photo via Alive!/Facebook
The Spring2ACTion fundraiser for the city’s nonprofits is off to a strong start, with more than $500,000 raised from early giving, according to ACT for Alexandria CEO Heather Peeler.
“This year we are asking every donor as part of the checkout process to make an additional gift to the ACT Now COVID-19 Response Fund,” Peeler said. “So far, that has raised more than $15,000.”
The 24-hour online giving event starts today, April 15, and is the largest single-day fundraiser in the region. Early giving started on April 3, and this year’s goal is to attract 10,000 donors.
The annual fundraiser, which was moved to April 15 from April 29 due to the coronavirus pandemic, has raised upward of $10 million from 65,000 donors for more than 160 local nonprofits since it began in 2011. Last year, a record $2.1 million was raised. The fundraiser usually features in-person events, while this year all activities are online.
We are excited and grateful to see how your many examples of compassion, generosity and thoughtful donations have helped…
Prizes will be awarded to the nonprofits that receive the most donations.
Together We Bake, the local nonprofit dedicated to providing comprehensive workforce training and personal development for women in need, had to suspend its spring program due to COVID-19. It is currently asking the community for $55,000, and has received a $10,000 matching gift from the Mason Hirst Foundation.
“Spring2ACTion has begun and we need your help now more than ever,” Together We Bake sent in an email. “We are hearing from many graduates who need help paying for rent and food for their families as the result of layoffs. While we have always had a small amount of funding set aside to help a few graduates facing emergencies each year, we want to be able to help any and all of our alumnae who need assistance and have nowhere else to turn.”
Our TC Williams High School Band seniors may not be getting to celebrate their achievements together this year, but they stand strong with Alexandria in supporting our community! Join them in giving on April 15. #Spring2ACTion https://t.co/i0Fme2CHk3 pic.twitter.com/zLphwjxnPa
— TCW Band (@tcw_band) April 13, 2020
Last year, Running Brooke took home the top prize of the most donations for the second year in a row, with $125,827. The Metropolitan School of the Arts came in second place with $68,825 and King Street Cats raised $62,086. The Alexandria Soccer Association had the most donors, with 750 individual donations, and raised $50,828.
The “Friends of Rocky Versace” is also looking for more than $18,000 to reimburse the city for needed repairs for its memorial outside the Mount Vernon Recreation Center.
Alexandria City Public Schools will distribute food on a modified schedule to families during spring break next week, Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. announced on Thursday.
“We have been able to partner with the city, which I’m really excited about, to continue to have our grab-and-go meal distribution on next week,” Hutchings said in his daily video. “It will not be at all of our sites, though. It will only be at T.C. Williams next week.”
The grab-and-go meals will be available next week on the Chinquapin Park and Recreation Center side of T.C. Williams High School on Wednesday, April 8, and Friday, April 10, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
“We will resume our normal scheduling of our meal distributions at all of our sites as well as our mobile pop-up sites when we return back on April 13, so there is a modified meal distribution next week but we will still have meals, and I’m really excited about the fact that we will still be able to provide meals for all of our families,” Hutchings said.
Spring break ends on Monday, April 13 and students will be expected to resume their studies on Tuesday, April 14.
In the meantime, ACPS is partnering with ALIVE! to provide families with up to four bags of groceries on Saturday, from 8:30 to 11 a.m. in the John Adams Elementary School parking lot [5651 Rayburn Avenue] and at the Leonard “Chick” Armstrong Recreation Center [25 W Reed Avenue].
Otherwise, Hutchings said that he was looking forward to having downtime and not responding to emails for a week.
“I know I’m not going anywhere but in the house, but I’m looking forward to just unplugging and not doing the videos and not responding to emails all day,” he said. “Just taking some downtime that is well needed, and I hope that you all will do the same, that you’ll get some rest.”
Staff photo by James Cullum
Starting on Saturday (March 14) at 10 a.m., the park (4001 Eisenhower Avenue) will reopen with mini-golf, batting cages and more.
“Come join us as we kick off the Spring season with some outdoor fun!” the park management said in a Facebook post. “Enjoy the batting cages, mini-golf, and climb around Paradise Play starting Sunday, March 14th.”
There will also be opportunities to learn about the local wildlife at the park from 3-6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Those looking forward to the reopening of the Great Waves Waterpark will have to wait for Memorial Day weekend (May 23).
Photo via NOVA Parks
You don’t have to go across the Potomac to enjoy cherry blossom season.
Alexandria’s pink and white blossoms are not as famous and centrally-located as those in D.C., but local tourism group Visit Alexandria put together a list of several cherry blossoms themed events around town.
One is a Cherry Blossom Pop-Up History Tour with Discover Alexandria. Two pop-up tours are planned during peak bloom week, with specifics set to be announced one week in advance. Admission to the tour is $15 per adult, or $8 for children and $12 for military, veterans and students.
“Discover Alexandria’s Cherry Blossom Pop-Up History Tour will occur twice during the week of peak bloom,” Visit Alexandria said in a press release. “The 75-minute tour offers the best of both worlds, combining local history with great cherry blossom sightseeing.”
The National Park Service announced earlier this week that peak bloom for the Tidal Basin’s Yoshino cherry trees was projected as March 27-30.
The tours are scheduled to depart from the Alexandria Visitor Center at 221 King Street.
Other local events include:
- Cherry Blossom Jubilee at the Torpedo Factory Art Center (March 28): The annual festival is a celebration of cherry blossoms through art, with hands-on activities, performances, and art available on all three levels of the Torpedo Factory Art Center.
- Alexandria Tastes of Spring Cherry Blossom Food Crawl (April 5): A self-guided food tour of Old Town. Tasting tickets can be bought online with $65 for four tastings, $80 for six tastings, and $96 for eight tastings. Each ticket is valid for a sampling at several locations throughout Old Town.
- Blossom Ball at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum (May 2): A Regency-era ball with live music, English country dancing, a cash bar and seasonal desserts. Tickets are $45 and Regency or cocktail attire is encouraged. Visit Alexandria suggested in a press release that those not familiar with the style of dancing should complete at least one full lesson before attending.
If you do want to leave Alexandria, there are a few options for cherry blossom related choices. Starting March 1, the water taxi from the Alexandria Marina (1 Cameron Street) to The Wharf will start running at 6:40 a.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends, with $13 one-way tickets and $21 round-trip tickets.
There is also an electric bike tour that runs from Old Town to the cherry blossoms along East Potomac Park. The trips depart at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. with $69 admission per bike.
Image via Visit Alexandria