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Vikings will invade Manassas on May 12

MANASSAS — The first-ever Manassas Viking Festival will be held on the lawn of the Manassas Museum from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 12.

From a press release:

AThe Manassas Viking Festival is a fun filled family oriented cultural and educational event hosting several Viking reenactment groups who will set up life history camps on the Manassas Museum lawn to demonstrate daily life during the Viking era. This will include iron work, tool making, wood carving, cooking, working with wool, period fighting and games for the entire family.

Leif Ericson a 40 ft Viking ship will be located by the Manassas Museum lawn thanks to a generous contributor to the event.  The ship is owned by Leif Ericson Inc and is being hauled down I-95 from its home in Philadelphia.

Representatives from the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia will be onsite with several of their falcons and hawks. Icelandic horses from FRIDA Icelandic Riding Club and Icelandic sheep and Icelandic chickens from Thee Bags Full on the lawn as well as Norwegian Fjord horses.

 The Crossjacks will provide lively Celtic music throughout the day. Lots of authentic Viking era vendors will be located in both areas. The Nordic Dancers of Washington D.C, “Sporið” Icelandic folk dancers and local dancers from the PhoenixIrish Dancers Academy are among entertainers at the pavilion. 

Local restaurants will offer Nordic fare and other refreshments. We encourage people to dress up in their Viking best and come down and have fun with us. There will be plenty of photo ups so be sure to bring your camera.

Meet Linda Saylor of Manassas and Brigitte Bombardier of Woodbridge. They are Puppy Raisers for Guiding Eyes for the Blind.

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Two new exhibits open at the Manassas Museum

Two very different stories are being told this month at the Manassas Museum

The first is about how the Boys and Girls Club has worked to make an impact on the city. 

The second is the story behind one of the city’s most recognizable residences, Annaburg Manor.

From a press release: 

Expanding Boundaries

The Expanding Boundaries exhibit at the Manassas Museum looks at the impact the Manassas Boys and Girls Club has on our community and the children it serves. Through its focus on academic success, good character and citizenship, and promoting healthy lifestyles, the Club fulfills its mission to help boys and girls of all backgrounds, especially those who need them most, acquire the skills needed to become productive, civic-minded, responsible adults.

Living the American Dream

The Living the American Dream exhibit at the Manassas Museum tells the story of German immigrant Robert Portner, the Washington, D.C. beer baron. He was an entrepreneur, a philanthropist and a Manassas resident.

It was while visiting the Mathis family in Manassas that Robert Portner, founder of Alexandria brewery Tivoli, decided to purchase property and build Annaburg, a legendary summer retreat named for his wife Anna, that still stands on Maple Street in the City of Manassas.

He considered the 1892 house—with its 35 rooms and electricity his escape from the city. Robert Portner was also the inventor of the first mechanical air conditioning system.

Both of these exhibits are free to the public. The Manassas Museum is open Tuesday – Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and seven days a week beginning Memorial Day weekend.

Annaburg Manor has long been owned by Prince William Hospital, which today is owned by Novant/UVA Health System. Earlier this year, the health system abandoned plans for providing healthcare services at the aging manor property and decided to sell the land.

The Manassas Symphony Orchestra will conclude its 25th Anniversary Season with Russian Silver

From a press release: 

The Manassas Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Music Director James Villani, will conclude its 25th Anniversary Season with Russian Silver on May 12, 2018 at 7:30 pm at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. The highlight of the concert will be the performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s magical Scheherazade, where the orchestra will be augmented with 21 advanced musicians from seven area high schools and one middle school, representing 3 different school districts, Prince William County, Manassas City, and Fairfax County Schools. The MSO performed this amazing composition in 2007.

Internationally-acclaimed Steinway Artist Agnes Wan is the concert’s highlighted soloist, playing Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. A first prize winner at the Paris Grand Prize Virtuoso Music Competition and the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition, Agnes Wan has also won the Loyola Concerto/Aria Competition, University of Iowa All-University Concerto/Aria Competition, and the University of Iowa Chamber Music Competition. Her performance should not be missed. The program also includes Dmitri Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, Op. 96.

Season subscriptions and individual concert tickets are available from the Hylton Center Box Office or by calling 888-945-2468. All children and student tickets (through college) are free.

Founded in 1992, the Manassas Symphony is the winner of the 2015 American Prize for Orchestral Performance, Community Division and is a Resident Arts Partner of the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas. The all-volunteer orchestra plays five concerts a year and is involved with many educational and civic events throughout the community. For more information on the Manassas Symphony, visit its website at

Veteran performer Livingston Taylor coming to Hylton Performing Arts Center

The Hylton Extra Series at the Hylton Performing Arts Center works to bring in widely known “top tier talent and lower tier prices,” and they’re meeting their mission once again. Livingston Taylor will be here performing April 15, 2018 at 8 p.m.

Taylor has been in the music industry for over 50 years. He comes from a family of musicians, said Hylton Center’s General Manager David Baylor.

“His brother James…everyone is aware of his sister. His other brother…all musicians.”

Taylor has had several Billboard Top 40 hits over the years, mostly in folk.

“He’s performed with…I can’t even name all the different musicians, but all the greats over the years. And we had the opportunity to have him come here to the Hylton and we just felt that someone of his stature was something that we want as part of our Hylton Extra program.”

Baylor said the center originally scheduled Taylor for the Gregorie, which is their small theater, so it would be an intimate setting. But they decided to hold the larger Merchant hall available in case ticket sales get to the point where there’s more patrons that want to see him.

Merchant has 1,100 seats. “Acoustically, it’s probably one of the better halls in the region,” Baylor said. “There’s not a bad seat in the house. And it can be a really intimate feel, since the seats are also close to the stage. No matter where you’re sitting, you’re less than 90 feet to the stage. So it has that intimate feeling, but it’s a full size concert.”

Cost for tickets is $30. Tickets are general admission and available at the Hylton Center at the box office, through their website or through

NOVEC and Buck and Julie Waters of the Water Foundation are sponsoring this event.

Baylor said, “The whole an Extra program was born out of a desire of some of our donors to see some different artist here that may not be on the main season.

What happens is, we book our season, which is booked a year in advance. And we’ll get phone calls from artists that may be traveling through the area that might have a show in Philadelphia and then shoot down to North Carolina, and they have a day in between this region. The artists ask if the Hylton Center has space. So that’s how the extra idea was born.”

Typically the Hylton Center can get a better rate if the artist is between performance dates. “The whole goal is for the Hylton Extras to be revenue neutral,” Baylor said. “You know, we want to just break even, bring a great artist for the community to see it, but it not really cost.”

“We look, we listen, we get suggestions from the community like, ‘Oh, wouldn’t it be great to have someone, say,…’ And so we’ll look, we’ll see if they’re available,” said Baylor.

“We don’t have many open dates. So it is kind of a chess match of ‘Will this artist be available? Is the price right? Can we get them here? Can we sell the tickets?’

We’ve walked into a few artists where we’ve gotten a phone call from artist management. Charlie Daniels was our first Hylton Extra. We had an opening. And, I have to say, I got to see one of the people I grew up listening to and was very excited to meet Mr. Daniels. And it’s the same thing with each one of these.”

The Extra program has brought in artists like Art Garfunkel, Rosanne Cash, Richard Thompson and Paul Anka.

“That was kind of the idea, the opportunity to get artists that you wouldn’t normally see here. You might see them down, you know, at the Kennedy Center. You might see them at Wolf Trap. But you wouldn’t necessarily get the opportunity to see him in a 1,100-seat hall. Same thing with the other artists. It’s just that opportunity where it works out.”

For more information, visit

Veterans Day 2017 at the Hylton Performing Arts Center

From an email:

A celebration for Veterans, Servicemembers, their families, and military caregivers, featuring interactive activities, arts experiences, and a pops concert

(MANASSAS)— The Hylton Performing Arts Center presents Celebrating Veterans and the Arts, an afternoon of free arts activities and experiences for Veterans, Servicemembers, their families, military caregivers, and the community at large on Saturday, November 11, 2017. The annual celebration culminates with a concert of pop, jazz, and patriotic music by the American Festival Pops All-Stars, which is free to the Veteran and military community. Members of the general public may purchase tickets to this family-friendly performance at

The free-of-charge portion of this celebration begins at 1 p.m. with Veterans Service Organizations, community groups, and arts organizations displaying their support and offerings for Veterans, Servicemembers, their families, and military caregivers in the Didlake Grand Foyer. The Didlake Grand Foyer will be a hub for socializing with community members and networking with representatives of local organizations for the entire afternoon. (more…)

NOVA Woodbridge to host An Evening with Edgar Allen Poe

From Northern Virginia Community College:

The NOVA Players of Northern Virginia Community College’s Woodbridge Campus will host the theatrical production of “An Evening with Edgar Allen Poe,” at the NOVA-Woodbridge Black Box Theatre, 2645 College Drive. Show dates are Oct. 26-28 and Nov. 2-5 at 7 p.m., with matinees Oct. 26 at 10 a.m. and Nov. 5 at 3 p.m.

“An Evening with Edgar Allen Poe” by Robert Mason & “Poe Connectives” is based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe with additional material included by David Tyson, assistant professor of communication studies and theatre arts at NOVA-Woodbridge.

“Edgar Allen Poe is the master of the macabre, but he’s also the father of the detective story genre, and an accomplished poet,” said Tyson. “Poe’s genius lies in his ability to capture the pain, despair, loneliness and transform it into a thrilling journey of self-discovery. This production looks at a number of his short stories and poems and dramatizes them for the stage, as we seek to discover the author and our darker selves.” (more…)

Manassas Symphony Orchestra celebrates silver

From a press release:

In 1991, Dr. Gail Kettlewell, Provost of Northern Virginia Community College, had a vision for a new orchestra in Manassas and Prince William County. This orchestra, originally called the NOVA-Manassas Community Orchestra, began performing at Grace United Methodist Church in 1992. Over the years the orchestra has grown in both size and stature. In 2010, the ensemble moved into its new home in the Hylton Performing Arts Center, and was renamed the Manassas Symphony Orchestra in 2011.

In 2015, the MSO, under the direction of Music Director James Villani, was recognized as the winner of The American Prize for Orchestra Performance, Community Orchestra Division, and is now recognized as among the best volunteer orchestras in the country. To celebrate its 25 years of service to the community, the 2017-2018 Subscription Concert Season will feature some of the favorite pieces and soloists from past concerts, as well as pieces that they have not played before.

The MSO kicks off its Silver Anniversary Season on Saturday, October 28, 2017, 7:30PM with Silver Celebration featuring the return of fellow American Prize-winning piano soloist Anthony Michael Cornet performing American composer Edward MacDowell’s distinctive Piano Concerto No. 2. Mr. Cornet last performed with the MSO in 2015. The concert concludes with Ludwig van Beethoven’s blissful Symphony No. 7 which was previously performed by the MSO way back in 2003. (more…)

Occoquan Arts and Crafts Show returns September 23 & 24

From a press release:

The Fall Occoquan Arts and Crafts Show will be held rain or shine on Saturday, September 23, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, September 24, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in downtown Historic Occoquan. A 48-year tradition, this award-winning outdoor street festival features more than 300 artisans and crafters, fun interactive activities for the kids, live entertainment and great food! Be sure to stop by Mamie Davis Park to listen to live music.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

All Day: DJ John Coulter Mamie Davis Park
10 a.m.-11 a.m.: Manassas Ballet Theatre Mamie Davis Park
12 p.m.-1 p.m.: The Amazing Kevin (Kids’ Magic Show) Mamie Davis Park
2 p.m.-4 p.m.: Most Savage Gentlemen (Rock/Pop) Mamie Davis Park
All Day: Fairy Jennabelle Face Painting Mill House Museum
All Day: Law Enforcement United Dunk Tank Mill House Museum
All Day: Touch-a-Truck Mill House Museum (more…)

Local photographer on exhibit at The Hall in Manassas

From Prince William County:

City of Manassas, VA  Today through Aug. 31, Christine Grubbs, a local photographer, is displaying her art in The Hall at City Hall. The exhibit is open to the public Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is free.

“History is the driving force behind much of my work,” said Grubbs. “It is important for me to know the background of a scene or object in order to tell the story of the image I am creating and make it come alive.”

Christine Grubbs’ photos range from city scenes, to mountain ranges and beautiful still life displayed in frames and on canvas.

Grubbs 1
Grubbs 2
Grubbs 3
Grubbs 4

Exhibits in The Hall at City Hall rotate on a monthly basis and include different forms of visual art. For more information about art in the City of Manassas, visit

Italian water circus comes to Potomac Mills mall

From a public relations firm hired to represent Potomac Mills mall: 

The first-ever Italian Water Circus in the US is coming to Virginia this week when Potomac Mills hosts “Cirque Italia” from July 28 to the 31.

Featuring a stage holding 35,000 gallons that can make water fall like rain, guests will see highwire feats, flying aerial dances, jetski stunts, twin juggling maniacs, acrobatic balancing acts, explosions, elegant chiffons, and even a large [artificial] dinosaur invading the show.

Taking place under a twisting Italian white and blue big top tent near Marshalls at Potomac Mills, this show features performers from around the world and is completely animal-free. Performances begin this week with shows Thursday and Friday at 7:30pm and over the weekend at 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 8:30pm.

Tickets [range between $10 and $50 and] can be purchased on the Cirque Italian website ( or by phone and text: (941) 704-8572.

‘Into the Woods’ re-imagines multiple Brothers Grimm fairy tales

From an email to Potomac Local: 
I’m Chris Zavadowski, the marketing director for Upper Room Theatre in Manassas, VA.
Thank you for reaching out to us on Facebook and for your willingness to help get the word out about our 15th anniversary production!
I’ve attached a PDF version of our poster.  Also, I’ve included some copy below which we’ve been using to explain the show.
The Tony and Grammy award-winning Into the Woods caps off Upper Room Theatre’s 15th Anniversary Season! A fresh spin on multiple Brothers Grimm fairy tales, this story intertwines and re-imagines many beloved characters as they take an epic journey beyond “happily ever after.”
Before it was adapted into a hit movie, Into the Woods began as a stage musical that took Broadway by storm. This beautiful and humorous show by Stephen Sondheim & James Lapine not only has characters and stories that children love but is overflowing with heartfelt themes and questions adults will appreciate.
Featuring gorgeous songs and backed by a full, live orchestra in an intimate setting, this family-friendly production is full of magic, laughs, and adventure. Young and old alike will have an enchanting theatrical experience!
Join us this July 19-24, 2016! Get full details and purchase tickets at  

Test your trivia knowledge at Prince William County Historic Preservation History Happy Hour

Looking for a fun and inexpensive way to spend the evening?

Join us at the Old Manassas Courthouse on August 5 at our final summer History Happy Hour for a Trivia Night! 

Test you skills in history and popular culture centered on Virginia. Compete individually or in teams against friends, family, and other players in multiple rounds to increase points. Prizes will be awarded for first, second, and last place. Trivia competition will take place from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Not interested in competing? Cheer squads and happy hour enthusiasts are welcome to come enjoy one of Prince William County’s historic social venues, watch the trivia competition, and learn about the history of Prince William County and its unique historic sites.

Admission for History Happy Hour is $15 per person, ages 21 and up only. Cost includes two drink tickets and light food and refreshments. Additional drinks are available for purchase. Reservations are suggested, but are not required. For more information or to make reservations, please call 703-367- 7872.

Old Manassas Courthouse is located at 9248 Lee Avenue, Manassas, VA 20110. Free parking is available Lee Avenue and in the lot located at Lee Avenue and Peabody Street.

We hope you’ll join us!

For more information, please call 703-367- 7872 or email

Dumfries artist launches ‘The Gravestone Project’ to raise awareness of Prince William County homicides

Submitted by Dumfries Artist Alexis Gomez: 

Hello Potomac Local, I am an artist based out of Dumfries with a new project discussing the recent homicides in Prince William County. The Gravestone Project addresses the outbreak of homicides that have been occuring in Prince William County this year (2016).

For each of the eleven homicides that have occurred, a gravestone has been placed throughout the city. While each stone references a real event, the graves are unidentified, and only suggest a possible fatality if the pattern continues.

The name and birthdates on the stones are left blank, leaving space for the viewer to apply their own narrative and fully understand the gravity of the recent losses that our community has endured. The idea of the project is to raise awareness, make people re-think the situations they get themselves into, and stop the violence.

For more information, including photos and a video, follow the link below.

There have been 11 murders this year in Prince William County. We detail them in this post.

Gainesville Ballet Company changes name

From an email: 

Name Change: Gainesville Ballet School has been under the leadership of Elysabeth Muscat Hegab and Rafik Hegab since March of 2013. 

The nonprofit professional company, Gainesville Ballet Company, debuted in 2014 with Carmina Burana.  The professional company is changing its name to “Virginia State Ballet.”  Gainesville Ballet School will keep its name for the time being. 

Why the name change? 

People frequently confuse Gainesville Ballet with two other Gainesville Ballets, one in Georgia and one in Florida. 

Additionally, while the company is proudly located in Gainesville, Virginia, the reach of the company is much further than the immediate geographical area, and the Artistic Director and Company Dancers are an international group, coming from the Middle East, Central America, South America, and the Far East, in addition to the American Managing Director and American dancers. 

The new name will eliminate any possible false association with the other Gainesville Ballets, and reflect the larger scope of the company.  New websites and email addresses will be made available during the season. 

For the time being, the same website will be used: .