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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!

In our last post, we shared some of our best activities around Reston Town Center to prevent childhood summer “brain drain,” so to keep the summertime fun rolling, here are the rest of our top 10 fun learning activities!

1. If you’re looking for something the whole family can do together on Saturday mornings from 10 – 10:45 am, the Family Fun Entertainment Series at Reston Town Square Park is just the ticket. Performances run through August 11 and include mischievous mime antics, puppet shows, magic, live music and more! There is plenty of seating space and grass for a picnic and be sure to not miss the free Rocknocerous concert coming up on July 28 – their music is fun for kids AND adults!

2. Summertime creates some of the best memories, so if you’re feeling crafty, you can make a summer fun scrap book with pictures and keepsakes from trips, outings, or even crafts! Paper Source has funky paper, hundreds of stickers and sparkly, creative embellishments for all your pages and FedEx can help with the printing and cutting. This gives your kids a cool indoor activity where they get to be the creative captain!

3. This summer has been extremely hot, but if you’re tired of the pool, you could bring the little ones down to the interactive fountain in Reston Town Square Park to splash around and cool off. The fountain is open 9 am – 10 pm, Monday – Sunday, and at noon on Saturdays through August 11 after the Family Fun Entertainment Series.

4. If you want to tire the little ones out, a bike ride or nature walk might do the trick. The W&OD trail is right next to Reston Town Center; The Bike Lane and Potomac River Running can get you set up with all the equipment you could need like a jogging stroller or kids bikes. The Bike Lane even rents out adult bikes on a daily basis if yours has gone the way of the garage sale!

5. You have to make lunch, right? Well, might as well pack it in to-go boxes for a picnic in the park! They’ll have so much fun they won’t even notice the veggies in their lunches. There are benches, trash cans and plenty of shaded grass to spread out on in Presidents Park & Hyatt Park in front of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Enjoy the outside fun and explore with your kids how being active and healthy foods help their brain and bodies grow!

Whew! That should keep them busy for a while. But if you have superhuman children and still need more ideas, check out the Reston Town Center events calendar or our “Kids Activities Around the Town” Pinterest board for some pintastic fun!

And even though we’re full swing into summer and don’t want to think about school, mark your calendars:  Virginia’s tax free weekend for back-to-school shopping is coming up on August 3-5 where qualifying school supplies selling for $20 or less per item, and purchases of qualifying clothing and footwear selling for $100 or less per item will be exempt from sales tax.

Good times don’t have to fade with warm weather.  Come and enjoy the wintry delights Reston Town Center has to offer! Spend an afternoon and evening experiencing the enjoyment that this cold weather brings,  by relaxing with a hot beverage and watching as beginners and pro’s alike skate across the Town Center’s ice rink.  (Or join in yourself!)  As you make your way from one to another of your favorite shops, the well-maintained streets and sidewalks offer an easy stroll for visitors wishing to enjoy the picturesque outdoor scenery.

As the chilly darkness drapes the Town Center,  lights twinkle and reflect off the fresh ice rink, creating the perfect opportunity to cozy up to someone special.  Grab some drinks and dinner at any one of our premier dining venues (visit our nightlife page for specials and restaurant events!).

Trying to escape the cold? Turn up the heat at M&S Grill every Sunday evening for some sizzling Salsa lessons.  Or, shake it your own way every weekend at Paolo’s,McCormick & Schmick’s, and Market Street Bar & Grill where DJ’s and live bands will be rocking the night away.   Whenever you feel the need to make an otherwise blasé evening special, visit our winter wonderland and let Reston Town Center help you make a memory.

The Fountain at Reston Town Center came on March 11th with the arrival of the warmer weather.

The fountain came on today at Reston Town Center – a sure sign to locals that we’re trading the gloomy days of winter for some much needed fresh air and outdoor fun!

Speaking of outdoor fun, the ice skating rink remains open for the time being – so if you’re trying to get your final fix of winter fun, come on over! Just give the skating rink a call first to make sure they’re open as the days go on. You can reach them on the skating pavilion hotline at 703.709.6300

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