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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Taste of Annandale draws large crowd

People of all ages and backgrounds enjoyed great food and entertainment at the Taste of Annandale Oct. 1.

The opening ceremony featured (from the left): Del. Marcus Simon, Supervisor Penny Gross, school board chair Sandy Evans (Mason), Board of Supervisors chair Sharon Bulova, Rep. Gerry Connolly, former congressman and supervisor Tom Davis, and Rev. Clarence Brown, senior pastor of Annandale United Methodist Church and chair of the Taste of Annandale Steering Committee.

The day started off rainy, as more than 60 runners took part in the Taste of Annandale 5K along muddy trails in Mason District Park. But the weather continued to clear throughout the day as people lined up at the food vendors and enjoyed lunch under a tent.

Kaia Celine with Monarca in Flight performs an aerial dance with a hoop called a lyra.
The ACCA Child Development Center was packed all day, as the activities originally scheduled for the center’s playground – puppet shows, music, stories, crafts, and games – were moved inside.
The start of the Taste of Annandale 5K Race.
More than 300 votes were cast in the Chili Cook-Off. The winner, the Annandale Fire Volunteer Department’s B shift won, beating the Mason Police District’s bike patrol unit, and will keep the huge trophy until the next Taste of Annandale.

Korean specialties prepared by staff from Annagol restaurant.
Hungry Annandaleans had a choice of Korean, Ethiopian, Argentinian, Peruvian, Jamaican, Mediterranean, and American food, while performers represented the cultures of Peru, India, China, Bolivia, and the South Pacific. 

The Taste of Annandale was organized by the Annandale Roundtable, a group of community stakeholders from the public and private sectors aimed at promoting community engagement.

The firefighters won the chili cook-off.
“We celebrate diversity not as a weakness but as a strength,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly at the opening ceremony. “Annandale is one of the most diverse parts of Fairfax County, which itself is very diverse. We get stronger because of that diversity.”

“We love this community and we want to see it grow stronger,” Connolly said.

Face painting is one of many activities for families at the ACCA Child Development Center at the Taste of Annandale.
“Fairfax County is a very, very diverse community,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova. “That’s one of our greatest assets, and right here in Annandale you can really see the diversity big time and all the great things our diversity brings to us – wonderful restaurants, wonderful small businesses, a wonderful, wonderful community.”

A merina dance performed by Centro Cultural Peru.
The Taste of Annandale celebrates the community’s small businesses, as well as its restaurants, said Del. Marcus Simon. In addition to the food vendors, nearly 30 local businesses – real estate agents, private schools, banks, nonprofits, and others – had booths or otherwise supported the event.

“I love Annandale. It’s a small part of my district but it’s absolutely my favorite part,” he said.

Dama Restaurant offers Ethiopian fare.
Early voting has started, said school board chair Sandy Evans (Mason), as she urged residents to be sure to vote during this election season and to “be thoughtful” about the meals tax referendum that will be on the Nov. 8 ballot. The Mason District Democratic Committee registered more than a dozen voters at the Taste of Annandale.

A Polynesian dance lesson by Tamure ATaaTa.
“I’m a historical figure now with the road named after me,” quipped former congressman and supervisor Tom Davis, referring to the location of the Taste of Annandale on Tom Davis Drive. He spoke about his strong roots in the community, noting that his children went to Belvedere Elementary, Glasgow Middle School, and Stuart and Thomas Jefferson high schools.

The DC Doner food truck.
Mason Supervisor Penny Gross invited the audience to visit the pop-up park, a tiny, temporary spot of greenery with plants and chairs hosted by the Fairfax County Office of Community Revitalization to encourage public engagement.

Annandale High School culinary arts teacher Christine Gloninger and student Nicole Molina demonstrate biscuit making.
Gross shared a quote from President Obama’s meeting with the U.S. Olympic team. “The team, like the nation itself, is more than the sum of its parts,” Obama said. “All races, all faiths, all traditions, all orientations, all marching together under that same proud flag. Not bound by a creed or a color but by our devotion to our enduring set of ideals that we are all created equal, that we can think and worship and love as we please and we can pursue our own version of happiness. That’s a great gift, That’s what makes us strong.”

The Bolivian group, Sambos de Corazon.
“Although he was talking about the U.S. Olympic team,” Gross said, “he could have been talking about Annandale.”

The line at the Empanadas de Mendoza booth.
The Natananjali School of Dance.

Students at the Westminster School.
One of many non-food vendors at the Taste of Annandale. Visit the Annandale Blog Facebook page for more photos.


  1. It was great fun! Thanks for organizing it.

  2. Annandale, Steve McIlvaine Home Sales had a great time and we are honored to be a sponsor for such a wonderful community! Thank you Taste of Annandale! You did a great job highlighting Arts and Culture and providing great entertainment through the day and truly showing why our neighborhood of Northern Virginia is a gem. Congratulations Annandale Volunteer Fire Department for winning the Chili Cook Off! Thank you Ellie Ashford for the coverage on the event!

  3. Congressional School appreciated the opportunity to participate as well. We met so many wonderful people and had a great day sharing information about our school community. Thank you to everyone involved in the planning and hosting such a fun community event!

  4. My husband and I had a good time despite the weather (thanks, in part, to the covered seating). The food was good, the entertainment was beautiful, and the "DJ" for the event was funny! We're looking forward to next year's event already.