web analytics

April 22, 2019

Fairfax County Home to 100 Festivals

Guest Blog by Henrik Sundqvist, Director of Communications & Programs in the Arts Council of Fairfax County

 

1399348_390712521031722_1727422280_o

Patrons visiting the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, which is produced by the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE). Image Credit: Greater Reston Arts Center

Not only do festivals contribute to the quality of life for Fairfax County residents, but they act as a major draw for visitors from both the region and nation. “Tourism in Fairfax County is a $2.9 billion industry,” says Barry Biggar, President and CEO of Visit Fairfax. “Our visitors have numerous opportunities to attend many arts and cultural events, including festivals, and they significantly contribute to Fairfax County’s overall tourism experience,” according to Mr. Biggar. When communities attract cultural tourists, local businesses reap the rewards. A study done by Americans for the Arts found that nearly half of arts and cultural event attendees live outside of the destination, and their event-related spending is more than twice than that of local residents.

“People come to festivals for one thing, maybe the arts and crafts, are then introduced to forms of art they never would have experienced otherwise, and often are inspired to seek out new arts experiences in the future,” said Carole Rosenstein, Associate Professor of Arts Management at George Mason University, who worked on the 2010 National Endowment for the Arts study – Live from Your Neighborhood: A National Study of Outdoor Arts Festivals.

Updated Logo for Website 3.31.14Fairfax County’s diverse offering of festivals showcases everything from the arts, to culinary, to seasonal festivities, to film, and theatre works, nearly every month of the year on an annual basis. Holly Koons McCullough, Executive Director and Curator at the Greater Reston Arts Center helps run the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival which will be held May 16-18. The fine arts festival showcases more than 200 juried artists nationwide and draws 30,000 patrons to Reston. “The festival provides a personal experience; visitors have the opportunity to view, purchase, and interact directly with the featured artists,” says McCullough.

Other community-wide festivals bring locals and visitors together to celebrate our ethnic diversity. The annual DMV Punjabi Mela 2014 Festival, which will be held May 25 at Bull Run Regional Park, draws over 10,000 attendees and celebrates Indian & Pakistani heritage and culture.

“Festivals offer diverse and creative venues for experiencing the arts and create opportunities for meaningful exchange of ideas,” says Linda Sullivan, President & CEO of the Arts Council of Fairfax County.

For more information on the arts and cultural festival listings for the entire 2014 calendar year, visit the Arts Council’s website at www.artsfairfax.org/resources/festivals. Fairfax County’s many events and festivals are published on Visit Fairfax’s website at www.fxva.com.

Why a Diet of Volunteering is Healthy for Your Company

WeHeartProBono_Med_SizeWhen Marion started out in business, 20-some years back, she was working part-time and volunteering for local community groups and (like many young moms) her children’s PTAs. She became recognized for her success in promoting community events and was hired to do the Public Relations for Reston Town Center. Hence – Myers Public Relations was established.

Myers PR employees are encouraged to embrace community service. Myers PR staff members have taken volunteer and leadership roles in: the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce; Reston Association; Friends of Reston; Reston Chorale; Reston Historic Trust; the Greater Reston Arts Center.

A corporate culture that supports volunteering is good business strategy on multiple levels:

  • It helps with the recruitment and retention of quality employees
  • It is a creative way for employees to test drive new skills
  • Volunteering helps foster job-satisfaction and good morale
  • Pro bono projects raise your company’s brand awareness
  • A reputation as a corporation that gives back increases customer loyalty
  • And…. it’s good for your community

Today, Marion averages 500 hours of service annually. She has served on the Boards of: Initiative for Public Arts – Reston; The Medical Care for Children Partnership; the Reston Historic Trust; and is a Past Chairman of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce. She is a current Board Director for the Fairfax County Council for the Arts and Leadership Fairfax, Inc. Combined, the MPR team donates close to 800 hours a year. Now, that’s a very healthy diet of volunteering. Bon Appetit!