By Rob Yingling
As summer heats up, international travel increases from Dulles International to destinations in more than 40 countries all around the world. With service on 31 airlines to more than 125 cities, Dulles Airport’s strong air service connectivity is of major interest to thousands of travel industry buyers and journalists who recently convened in Washington, D.C. The convention, called IPW 2017, featured more than 800 meetings between travel planners and local tourism promotion organizations like
Destination D.C., Virginia Tourism Corporation, Visit Fairfax and Visit Loudoun.
The convention instilled a positive and lasting impression on attendees. Dulles rolled out a first-class welcome for arriving delegates, tours and cultural experiences showcased the best of the region’s offerings and signature events celebrated the unique appeal of the National Capital Region. Tourism to the region is already strong, but IPW’s research shows that the host city typically gains one million additional international visitors within three years. That’s great news for airlines, hotels, Virginia wine country and downtown D.C. attractions. The arrival of new visitors through Dulles will ultimately benefit the regional economy and job market.
Visitors to the region are encouraged to check www.flydulles.com and read the airport’s free magazine at www.flywashington.com to learn about the airport and interesting ways to maximize their stay.
Fairfax County Libraries Now Check Out Nature Backpacks
Remember when mom told you “It’s a beautiful day, go outside and play”? Fairfax County’s public library system is doing the same, but one-upping mom by loaning free nature-themed backpacks so kids of all ages can enjoy the outdoors and learn about nature and science. It is a great outside activity for families and groups such as Scouts and other youth organizations.
The 32 backpacks were provided to Fairfax County by the Library of Virginia through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Each backpack contains great resources for exploring your local parks or open spaces near your home. The contents include:
- A parking pass that allows the library customer to visit any one of 36 Virginia State Parks at no cost
- You can also use the backpacks at one of the Fairfax County parks, always free to County residents
- Pocket guides: Edible Wild Plants, Medicinal Plants and Weather
- Tarp and paracord
- Big Foot Leave No Trace Ethics Card
- Port-a-bug field observation container
- Dip net and magnifying lens
- Learn & Live outdoor skills card
- Other nifty things like star charts and activity guides
- So grab your sense of adventure…and “check it out!”
Do you have a Smart Commute – some perk or incentive that makes your commute a bit easier to handle? Maybe you telework one day a week, or get preferential parking because you are part of a vanpool.
There are many strategies to easing a bad commute, and the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC) is focused on helping residents in the Prince William County area to put them to use!
In addition to its OmniRide and OmniLink bus services, PRTC offers Omni SmartCommute, a free service that helps employers in the Prince William County area to create, implement, and expand incentives that ideally will persuade employees to choose alternatives to driving alone. The end result: fewer vehicles on the road, more predictable commutes, reduced stress, and workers who save time and money!
Omni SmartCommute is fully funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia and is available to help employers with:
Employee Commute Surveys – Omni SmartCommute can provide research that holds key insights into staff and their commuting behavior. The data can be used to determine employee interest in commuter benefit programs as well as which types of benefits and programs might be most beneficial to a company and its employees. Surveys can be conducted on paper or online in both English and Spanish.
Telework Programs – Creating a telework program allows staff to avoid the hassles of a daily commute. Telework programs are often highly valued by employees and numerous studies have shown that employees who participate in a telework program are more productive.
Emergency Preparedness – A snowstorm or natural disaster doesn’t mean that your business needs to shut down. Be prepared for an emergency, and develop a business continuity plan to keep your business open by helping employees with their commutes during a crisis. An established Telework Program is a key component to emergency preparedness.
Transit Subsidies – Employees who take public transportation or ride in vanpools are eligible to set aside up to $255 of their salary each month for their commuting costs. Employers can also provide up to $255 per month directly to employees as a tax free benefit. The SmartBenefits program administered by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (Metro) helps employers manage their employees’ transit benefits for free!
Carpool/Vanpool Formation – Let Omni SmartCommute help find colleagues interested in starting a carpool or vanpool. Omni SmartCommute can also tap into the ridesharing programs run by OmniMatch, Commuter Connections, and others to find commuters with similar origin and destination points looking to share rides to work.
Biking/Walking to Work – Become a bike-friendly workplace by providing staff with places to lock up their bikes and change for work. Biking is an affordable and a healthy way to get to work. Omni SmartCommute has tips and ideas for how to make businesses bike-friendly.
Alternative Work Schedules – Whether it’s allowing employees to work more hours over fewer days or letting them choose what time they arrive and depart each day, Alternative Work Schedules are a great way to improve a commute. Alternative Work Schedules keep people off the roads during rush hour and can help them achieve a better work/life balance.
Parking Management – Overflowing parking lots are easily controlled when staff uses transit, carpools, or works from home. Omni SmartCommute can help develop strategies for maximizing parking at your workplace by offering employee incentives to not drive alone.
By implementing some of these alternatives, employers can simultaneously improve the commuting experience for workers, attract and retain talented staff, and help to reduce congestion on area roadways. It’s a win-win all around!
PRTC is happy to talk with you or your employer anytime! Visit PRTCtransit.org, email us at email@example.com, or call (703) 580-6130.
Taking a staycation this summer? Don’t fret, there is plenty to do here in Northern Virginia during the summer months. A wide variety of events, music, food, rides and other entertainment can be found this summer at any one of the fairs listed below. You can explore animal competitions, carnival rides and first class music. Fair time in Northern Virginia is certainly livemore time! Take your family out and support these community events.
Arlington County Fair
The Arlington County Fair is a summer family event complete with carnival rides, live animal shows, musical entertainment, arts and craft exhibits, and a variety of international foods. Local crafters will display their needlework, apparel, dolls, photography, creative writing, flower arrangements and ceramics. On Saturday, there will be a parade to the fair, starting at 10 a.m. outside the Arlington Career Center, proceeding along S. Highland to 2nd St. and finishing at the fairground.
New this year, there’ll be even more culinary delights to choose from, with an expanded array of food trucks. There will also be a Photo of the Day Contest and a “Find the Disco Ball” contest (a tribute to the Fair’s 1977 birth), with prizes for the winners. Admission to the fair is free.
Dates and Times: August 16-20, 2017, Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 5-10 p.m. (outdoor only), Thursday, August 17, 2017, 5-10 p.m. (outdoor only), Friday, August 18, 2017, 2-10 p.m. (outdoor); 4-10 p.m. (indoor), Saturday, August 19, 2017, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.(outdoor); 10 a.m.-9 p.m. (indoor), Sunday, August 20, 2017, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. (outdoor); 11 a.m.-7 p.m. (indoor)
Location: Thomas Jefferson Community Center, 3501 South Second Street, Arlington, VA..
Parking: There is no public parking at the Fair and parking on nearby streets is restricted to neighborhood residents with temporary permits.
The Community Center parking lot will be used for fair vendors and exhibitors only. Shuttles will run continuously from the Ballston and Pentagon City Metro station, and from the I-66 parking garage and Arlington Career Center lot for $2 round-trip. Children under 12 may ride for free. Bike Arlington and partner Two Wheel Valet have teamed up to provide free valet bike parking on the tennis courts.
Fair Highlights: Harlem Wizards, Racing piglets
Air-conditioned Indoor Exhibitor Hall and Entertainment: interactive aquarium area, indoor community entertainment, arts/crafts, jewelry, competitive exhibits, community and commercial exhibitors
Outdoor fun begins with the 5 p.m. ribbon-cutting on Wednesday in front of the Thomas Jefferson Community Center. There will be pony rides, True Health Kids Obstacle Course and animal races. The following days will feature free musical performances, Harlem Wizards, dancers, exhibitions and more.Kids’ Court: inflatables, face painting, and Monster Mural. Cole Amusement Midway: Kiddie/Thrill Rides, Games and Pony Rides. The ride lineup includes Catch N Air, Cliff Hanger, Rainforest Expo Wheel, Funnel Force, Hurricane, Super Shot, Tilt-A-Whirl, Zipper, Money Maze, Dizzy Dragons, Go Gator, Jolly Choo Choo, Jungle Crawl, Magic Carpet Slide, Skipper the Dolphin, Willie the Whale and more. 5K run/walk: Saturday 8 a.m.
Fauquier County Fair
The Fauquier County Fair features livestock, rabbits, poultry, produce, homemade arts and crafts, animal shows, contests, games, demonstrations, homegrown dinner and a variety of live music. The competitions are especially popular and include the Animal Sounds Contest, ATV Rodeo, Corn Shucking Contest, Hot Dog Eating Contest, Lawn Mower Pull, Pie Eating Contest, Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest, Zucchini Races and much more.
Fauquier County provides a perfect setting for an old-fashioned fair. The area is known as horse and wine country set in the beautiful rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The area offers a contrast as both a natural haven and gateway to bustling Washington DC metropolitan area.
Dates and Times: July 12-15 2017, Wednesday, July 12th, 2:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., Thursday, July 13th, 2:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., Friday, July 14th, 2:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., Saturday, July 15th, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Location: Fauquier Fairgrounds, 6209 Old Auburn Road, Warrenton, Virginia
Admission: Youth: (12 & Under) $5, Adults: $10,Babes in arms: FREE, Adult Military: (with military ID) $5, Senior Citizens: (65 & Over) $5, Parking is free.
Loudoun County Fair
The Loudoun County Fair is held at the Loudoun County Fairgrounds each July and is best known for its Kiss-a-Pig fundraiser and livestock auction. Other fair highlights include a carnival, rodeo-bull riding, dairy show, goat show, horseback demonstrations, magic acts, pet shows, floral exhibits, obstacle courses, tug-of-war, live musical entertainment and a special dinner each evening.
Dates: July 24-29, 2017
Location: Loudoun County Fairgrounds, 17564 Dry Mill Rd. Leesburg, Virginia. Located near the intersections of Routes 7 and 9.
Admission Daily: Purchased at gate – $12.00 per adult; $5 per child ages 6-12; ages 6 and under are free.
Weekly Passes: Purchased at gate – $25.00 per adult; $15 per child ages 6-12; ages 6 and under are free.
Re-discover the Lucketts Fair, a family friendly event which honors Lucketts’ agrarian roots. Enjoy bluegrass music all weekend under the gazebo, thrill at the border collies herding sheep, take a load off and enjoy a hayride, let the little ones loose in the hay maze, squish grapes and sample the juice, dominate the mechanical bull, dance with the cloggers, visit with authors in the Reader’s Garden, shop at the juried crafters and artisans, explore for antiques, refuel on great fair food, squeeze some apple cider and so much more!
Join in the fun by entering the Best Fruit Pie and the Largest Vegetable contests. Don’t miss the Cake Walk. Winners take home an amazing homemade cake. The Bakery is back and beckons you into the Old School auditorium for freshly baked goodies and a cup of knock-your-socks-off coffee.
Stop by the Old School House Market tent during fair days to purchase raffle tickets for your chance to win this hand-sewn quilt. You may also purchase tickets and view the quilt in advance at the
Lucketts Community Center on weekdays. Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5.
Visit with local non-profit organizations to learn about ways that they give back to the Lucketts community. Groups including The Journey Through Hallowed Ground, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, Equine Rescue League and Loudoun Beekeepers, among others, will demonstrate their missions through activities.
Bring the entire family, young, old and everyone in between. Stay the weekend – each day offers new country flavored delights.
Dates: August 19-20, 2017, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Rain or Shine
Admission: $7. Children 7 years old and under are free.
Location: Lucketts Community Center, 42361 Lucketts Road, Leesburg VA
Prince William County Fair
The Prince William County Fair dates back to 1949 and today is Virginia’s largest county fair. The annual event in Manassas, Virginia includes livestock exhibits, a variety of midway shows, truck and tractor pulls, Monster Trucks, Lawnmower Racing, a rodeo, demolition derbies, baby contests, pet shows, live music, storytelling, games and carnival rides.
Dates: August 11 – 19, 2017
Mon, Wed, Thurs, and Fri 5 p.m. – Close, Tuesday 2 p.m. – CloseSat and Sun 12 p.m. – Close Closing time is usually around 11 p.m. but varies with attendance.
Location: Prince William County Fairgrounds, 10624 Dumfries Road Manassas, Virginia. The fairgrounds are located near I-66, off of Virginia Route 234.
Admission: One Admission Adult Ticket $10, One Admission Child/Senior Ticket $6, Ride wristbands:, Weekdays: $18 Sun 8/14: $22, Fri 8/19: $20, Sat 8/20: $22
Specials: Tickets are half price on Half Price Night—Aug 14th.FREE GATE ADMISSION. 2-5 p.m. only on Tues, Aug 15th. Ladies admitted FREE on Ladies Night—Aug 16th. Children 4 and under and Active Military admitted FREE daily.
The Accolades for NoVa Area Keep Stacking Up!
Arlington County, along with the City of Alexandria, were recently included as some of the top ten best places for millennials to live in the United States. Washington, DC came in at a respectable twelfth place. The website Niche, recognized these localities as “the best cities for young professionals based on the number of millennial residents, job opportunities, and access to bars, restaurants, and affordable housing.” Niche’s rankings are based on data from the U.S. Census, FBI, BLS, and other sources.
The website noted that “Arlington is a very beautiful area! So many national monuments near by to visit and admire. Lots of trails for exercising and health food stores for people who love to live that healthy lifestyle. Only down side would be the traffic, but it’s not anything someone can’t handle.”
Alexandria, coming in at a respectable fourth was recognized as “a beautiful and historic town with many fine dining and expensive store fronts. It’s an affluent area. It can be hard to afford to live here. But if you can, it’s a wonderful place to be!” For many of us who already call these communities home, these accolades are a given, but it sure is still nice to see what a great place this region is when compared to many other areas in the US.