12 things you need to know

The fourth annual Taste of Annandale is tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 13, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., along Tom Davis Drive in the heart of Annandale.

It’s happening rain or shine. There will be tents, so you’ll be able to enjoy a meal and watch the entertainment without getting wet. The children’s program is indoors at the ACCA Child Development Center at 7200 Columbia Pike.

There are a few new  features this year, including a beer garden, a photo booth, a “demonstration park,” and a police helicopter.

There is no charge to attend. The Taste of Annandale is family friendly and pet friendly.

There are a record number of sponsors and vendors this year, and we actually had to turn some vendors away because we ran out of space.

Note that it’s closing earlier, at 4 p.m., than in past years, so don’t wait until the late afternoon.

If you’re planning to come to the Taste of Annandale, here’s what you should know:

(1) There will be plenty of parking in the Giant and Kmart parking lots. You can also park at the ACCA Child Development Center, United Baptist Church (7100 Columbia Pike), and Annandale United Methodist Church (6935 Columbia Pike).

(2) Columbia Pike between John Marr Drive and Mason District Park will be closed to traffic during the Taste of Annandale 5K Race, from about 9-11 a.m.

(3) The 5K Race starts at 9:30 a.m. in the Kmart parking lot. There’s still time to register online, or you can register on site before the race, 8:15-9 a.m. Runners who pre-registered can pick up their race packets tonight, 6:30-7:30 p.m. at PR Performance Fitness, 4111 John Marr Drive.

(4) The beer garden is hosted by Audacious Aleworks Brewery & Taproom of Falls Church. It will be in an enclosed area, and you’ll need to show an ID to get in, so be sure to bring a driver’s license.

(5) There will be plenty of food options, although there will be more food trucks than restaurants. There will be selections from Latin America, Vietnam, Thailand, the Middle East, and China, among others.

(6) The chili cook-off will pit the Annandale Fire Department (last year’s winner) against the Mason Police District. Everyone at the Taste of Annandale will get to try both chili varieties and vote for their favorite. The winner will be announced at about 1:50 p.m.

(7) The entertainment lineup includes the Blue Book Value Band, the Annandale High School Band, Helen Yamada and Family (traditional dance from Okinawa), Kofi Dennis & Friends (Djembe drumming), NOVA Wushu Academy (martial arts), the Fairfax Chinese Dance Troupe, Capoeira Candeias (a sport/dance performance from Brazil), the 7 Step Hand Dance Academy, the Peacock Dance, Rung’s Kung Fu, and a Chinese fashion show.

(8) The best-dressed pet contest, sponsored by Chico’s Natural Pet Market, is scheduled for 2 p.m. There are three categories: best overall costume; most creative, handmade outfit; and best duo or group (with one or more pets or one and more people and pets). Chico’s is providing prizes for the winners and gifts for everyone who enters. There is no charge to enter. You can register online or at the Chico’s booth on Saturday.

(9) The children’s program, sponsored by the ACCA Child Development Center, includes songs by Mr. Gabe and friends, a puppet show from Dinorock Productions, games, crafts, dancing with a DJ, stories, health screenings, child IDs from the Sheriff’s Office, and the popular Paw Patrol characters. The Annandale Fire Station next door to the CDC is having an open house tomorrow, too.

(10) Children will have an opportunity to explore a police helicopter on the field outside the fire station from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The helicopter is part of a law enforcement display hosted by the Fairfax County Communities of Trust Committee. The committee was formed to improve relationships between the public and law enforcement.

(11) The demonstration park, hosted by the Fairfax County Office of Community Revitalization, will give the public an opportunity to think about what they would like to see in a new, small park/civic space to be developed in Annandale.

(12) Several local leaders will give brief remarks on the stage beginning at 11:15 a.m. The lineup is expected to include Rep. Gerry Connolly, Board of Supervisor Chair Sharon Bulova, Mason Supervisor Penny Gross, Mason Police District Cmdr. Brooke Wright, County Executive Bryan Hill, Fairfax County Fire Chief John Butler, state Sen. Dick Saslaw, Del. Kaye Kory, Del. Alfonso Lopez, Mason school board member Sandy Evans, and Annandale High School Principal Tim Thomas.

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