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Where you’ll want to be Saturday: Rink-side sipping hot coco while your children let loose on the newly opened Reston Town Center Ice Skating Rink. The best part – it’s all in the name of charity.

By the end of the week the Pavilion will be transformed into a glistening Ice Skating Rink.  And in keeping with the longtime tradition, on opening weekend, Saturday, November 3 and Sunday, November 4, 50% of proceeds go to support Character Counts! Reston Coalition.

So lace up your skates, because we’re out to raise funds for one of the biggest character education programs in the nation. Character Counts! Reston Coalition directly impacts our local students with programs like Ethics Day for South Lakes High School seniors. This non-profit initiative is designed to help youngsters and adults develop and practice the six pillars of good character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship.

The wishes tossed into Mercury Fountain are donated regularly to Character Counts! Reston Coalition, but this weekend we want to mix philanthropy with fun while making a lasting impact on our children.  (Parents, this can also be a springboard into a conversation with your kids about why character counts and how to develop it!)

Excitement is high because installation of the rink has already begun with the glass dasher boards installed, but we are waiting for clearer weather to start up the underground chilling system and begin the flooding to transform the Pavilion floor into the spectacular ice rink! And don’t worry if you’re a little rusty on the ice, the Reston Town Center Skate Shop has any rentals or lessons you may need!

For those who would rather meet their Saturday morning cartoons than watch them, there’s a Saturday Morning Cartoon Skate 11am – 1pm. Also, don’t miss Friday Night Rock ‘n’ Skate every Friday night 8-11pm with a live DJ, games and prizes. There’s lots of fun to be had at the Ice Skating Rink, so bundle up and kick the season off with us this weekend!


Get ready to fill your tankards and sing some German folk songs; Oktoberfest is coming back to Reston Town Center October 5-7, 2012! Hosted by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, the 3-day event includes a Saturday morning 5K, food, wine & beer, a carnival, a chili cook off and live entertainment including traditional German music and dance. Whew! Sounds like a quite a weekend, so let’s get down to details, shall we?

The festival opens on Friday, October 5 at 3 pm. That means the carnival will be up and running with rides like the tilt-a-whirl and games to win fantastic prizes for the kids and the kids-at-heart who can’t resist. The food will also be underway with tasty treats like Japanese potstickers from Obi Sushi, Autumn Gnocci from Paolo’s Ristorante, Italian sausage from Il Fornaio, mac & cheese from Uno Chicago Grill, and lots more dishes from participating restaurants! (Carnival tickets will be available to purchase online soon and all-you-can-ride wristbands for Saturday morning will be available for purchase at The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce starting September 17.)

Of course the beers and wines will also be available throughout the festival. In true Oktoberfest fashion, seasonal beers like Shock Top’s Pumpkin Wheat and Dominion’s Oktoberfest  will be available along with some perennial favorites  such as Beck’s, Bud Light, and Widmer. For those who love microbrews, there will be a couple craft beers on tap near the Library Street stage! And for those poor souls who can’t or don’t like beer, Market Cellars and The Wine Cabinet will have wine available near the Pavilion!

Saturday features a few activities unique to the Oktoberfest weekend!  The morning kicks off at 8:15 am with the Anthem Pumpkin 5K, offering a quick route around Reston Town Center and the surrounding community.  The 5K is followed by the Pumpkin Smash Mile, a non-timed mile long party with Halloween costumes and tons of enthusiasm. Participants with the BEST costumes will be awarded prizes, honor and bragging rights. And lastly, the smallest ones get to decorate pumpkins and compete in the Pumpkin Dash, which also encourages fun and costumes! Online registration is open through October 2, otherwise, you can register at packet pickup on October 5, or on-site before the races on October 6.

Since the runners loop back to the Pavilion prior to Oktoberfest kicking-off, the Scrambled Legs Breakfast will be open for post-race refueling, including fall brews of course, and the carnival will open early and offer unlimited-ride wristbands!  Of course, runners are encouraged to stay and enjoy all the festivities – Oktoberfest opens at 11 am!

If you’re still hungry after the Scrambled Legs Breakfast, you won’t have to wait very long before the Guns ‘n Hoses Chili Cookoff at noon where the Police Department and the Fire Department square off in a battle of brute cooking skills. You will need to taste the competition very, very carefully before deciding on your “People’s Choice” vote. The award ceremony starts at 4 pm, so make sure you’re there when they announce the champion!

It wouldn’t be a festival without live entertainment! Traditional German music and dance will fill the streets all three days. Then at night, the Pavilion will rock out to this line up: Friday night, Gonzo’s Nose, music from the 80s to today; Saturday night, 2U, a U2 tribute band; Sunday night, Almost Journey, as you could guess, a Journey tribute band.

And, as with any great event, volunteers are always a must! If you would like to participate in the event in a slightly different way (and get a few free tickets and a tee-shirt for your efforts!) sign up here.

This is the fall festival that really has something for everybody, so come ready to drink some brews, eat good food, ride the rides and get in the autumn spirit. For ticket sales and other updates, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, OR, follow Oktoberfest on Facebook. We look forward to seeing you at Reston Town Center – Prost!

It’s only been a few months since Reston Town Center hosted the spring Great Grapes Wine, Arts & Food Festival, but now the cooler weather is about to set in, it’s prime wine season and the fall festival is coming up September 8 & 9!

For Restonians, the festival is a seasonal staple with more than 200 wines from 20 Virginia wineries, delicious food with live gourmet demonstrations, crafts, a kids’ activity area and live entertainment. But let’s get down to business and talk about the real reason we’re all here: the wines. We went through the participating wineries and picked a few of our favorites. (We by no means claim to be expert sommeliers, these just struck our fancy!)

Here are a few of our top wines to watch:

  • Cooper Vineyards in Louisa, VA won eight awards with their 2010 Norton Reserve. Made of 100% Norton grape, it has a deep purple color and a robust burst of fruity, silky flavor and tannins that are best tamed by letting it breathe first.
  • Mattaponi Winery in Spotsylvania, VA, is best known for its Odeimin (meaning strawberry) wine that has won seven awards. It is a light dessert wine made from local strawberries that hints of the fruit starting sweet, but not overly sweet, and finishes with a tart lingering flavor on the palate.
  • Democracy Vineyards in Lovingston, VA, has an eight-time award-winning wine, the Velvet Revolution Reserve 2009, which is a varietal with an explosive complexity that’s a mixture of cherry notes, deep tannins and a nutty, dry-yet-still-fruity finish. The equal parts Cabernet Franc, Chambourcin, Merlot and Petit Verdot round it out for a well-balanced wine.
  • The Williamsburg Winery in Williamsburg, VA, has their barrel-aged Acte12 Chardonnay 2010, which is an eight-time award winner. It is a smooth, toasty chardonnay with a strong buttery finish that leaves a creamy sugary taste on the palate.
  • Potomac Point Vineyard & Winery in Stafford, VA, has the best Viognier of the East Coast according to the Beverage Wine Institute. The Richland Reserve Viognier 2009 has a golden yellow color with gentle, yet complex aromas of tropical fruits such as citrus, and dragon fruit yet with a creamy banana and coconut custard finish. This is a well-balanced wine with a crisp medium-to-full-body taste.
  • And lastly, don’t miss the Unicorn Winery in Amissville, VA – we can’t speak to their wines, we just love the name!

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So now you know about a few of the great wines that are going to be at the festival, grab your tickets (a percentage of the proceeds go to Spirit of Hope Children’s Foundation!) and get ready to uncork the fun!  If you can’t make it to the festival this season, don’t worry, Reston Town Center has plenty of delicious wines to taste at our restaurants or grab a bottle at our specialty shops like Market Cellars!

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