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Cows! At the Prince William County Fair.

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When it comes to our food, many of us know what we’re eating but a lot of us don’t know where it comes from. 

We get a behind the scenes look at what it takes to raise show beef cattle entered into competition at the Prince William County Fair.

These cows are local, from Fauquier County, and on display at the Prince William County Fair.

Here’s a full schedule of this year’s events at the 69th Annual Prince William County Fair. 

The fair is located at the Prince William County Fairgrounds located at 10624 Dumfries Road in Manassas.

Wendy’s wants you to know about its new look

A Wendy’s restaurant at Parkway Crossing West on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge is remodeled. 

From a press release: 

With revitalized decor, comfortable seating and other amenities, customers will enjoy a stunning new Wendy’s experience when they visit the remodeled restaurant at 2410 Prince William Parkway, Woodbridge, VA beginning Aug. 1, 2018.

The restaurant was remodeled using an innovative interior and exterior design, which is part of an ongoing effort to provide an enhanced customer experience — from the high-quality food to the restaurant environment.

The interior showcases open, bright dining areas with multiple seating options, including private booths, cozy lounge seating and a Wi-Fi bar. A Coca-Cola® Freestyle® beverage dispenser that allows customers to customize their drink choices is also available. The touch screen, self-serve fountains offer over 100 regular and low-calorie beverages, including a variety of branded waters, sports drinks, lemonades and sparkling beverages.

The Great Xcape a treasure waiting to be discovered

We found the pirate treasure near Manassas.

A group of eight recently solved the clues and opened the locks that revealed a chest of pirate gold and jewels.

This adventure took place at The Great Xcape located at 8314 Browns Lane just outside Manassas. Our group of youth and chaperones from Haymarket Baptist Church ranged in age from 14 to, um, let’s say 50ish.

As with the typical escape room, we were locked in a room filled with clues and false leads and given an hour to solve the puzzle. Unlike other scenarios of this type, instead of escaping, solving the riddles resulted in locating and opening the locked treasure chest.

The current rooms are designed for adults to solve the problems, but without our group of teenagers in the Shipwrecked room, the adults would probably not have made it out before the clock ticked down.

There were written clues that helped to open simple locks and letter locks along with carvings and maps that gave hints to directional locks.

The Great Xcape offers four rooms for puzzle solvers: The Mystery of the Missing Millions, Shipwrecked, The Following, and the Mad Scientist. A fourth room, Earth Defense Network is coming soon for children ages 6-11.

Solving all of the clues in the allotted time took teamwork, a variety of knowledge, and determination. Just about the time, we thought we had it all figured out; we discovered another obstacle. The designers have created an entertaining but “doable” experience.

We will be returning to The Great Xcape. Because rooms are limited to eight puzzler solvers, some of our group had to wait at home, much to their disappointment. They have already vowed to plan their own trip for this adventure.

As our group exited the building, we were celebrating our success and already discussing what room we want to attempt next.

Dumfries’ only 4-legged cop is about to get some much-needed protection

DUMFRIES — There is just one four-legged member of the Dumfries Police Department.

This K9 officer’s name is “Stitch,” and he’s a two-year-old German Shepherd.

Stitch’s partner is Sgt. David Thomp who’s been on the Dumfries police force for more than a year. Both the sergeant and the dog are inseparable.

“I spend more time with the dog than I get to with my wife and kids,” said Thompson.

Stitch not only works the overnight shift with Thompson, the dog also lives with him. He’s part of the family.

At such a young age, Stitch already has an impressive number of drug discoveries under his belt. The dog, from Hungary, has sniffed out heroin, cocaine, meth, and most commonly marijuana.

Business owners in Dumfries banded together to raise the $15,000 needed to purchase Stitch. And now the non-profit Vested Interest in K9s Inc., of Massachusetts, will provide a stab and bullet-proof protective vest for Stitch.

The vest is sponsored by Daniela Sutu, of California, and will have “In Memory of Rocky” embroidered on the side. Rocky was  K9 that served another law enforcement agency in the U.S.

Stitch will get his vest, valued at more than $2,000, in the next eight to 10 weeks. It will weigh between four and five pounds.

“You spend so much time with him, you want to protect him,” said Thompson.

Vested Interest was founded in 2009 and since then has provided more than 3,000 vests to K9s in all 50 states. The vests have been made possible by private and corporate donations.

Dogs employed by law enforcement agencies at least 20 months old are eligible for the vest program.

Haymarket police parody ‘Top Gun’ in lip sync video

Like Tom Cruise in Top Gun, officers of the Haymarket Police Department “feel the need for speed.” 

And they say that in a newly created video parody of the 1986 movie made for the police lip sync challenge, a series of viral videos featuring officers in departments across the U.S. lip syncing to familiar songs. 

The Haymarket video stars Police Chief Kevin Lands who not only mouths the words to Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone,” but also shreds the guitar during the song’s bridge. 

Locally, Fairfax County and George Mason University Police have made lip sync videos and posted them on Facebook. Manassas police told its social media they were working on a video of their own.

It cost nearly half a million to build, and it’s the part of Jiffy Lube Live you never want to see

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Bottle Stop in Occoquan tops Wine Spectator list

From an email: 

Bottle Stop Wine Bar, located in Historic Occoquan, announced its multiyear selection to Wine Spectator’s Wine List Awards. The Award of Excellence is granted to restaurants whose wine list typically offers at least 90 selections, features an assortment of quality producers, along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style. 

“We’re honored to have been recognized for two consecutive years by one of the premier international wine publications for our wine program,” said Bottle Stop owners Emil and Kim Wigode. “Our Wine Spectator selection recognizes our team’s commitment to develop a wine list that rivals the top wine lists in Washington DC and solidifies our place among the best restaurants and wine bars throughout the DMV.”   

To compliment Bottle Stop’s award-winning wine list, Executive Chef, John Swords is crafting a fresh entrée-focused menu comprised of seasonal fare and cuisine. Swords brings over a decade of fine dining kitchen experience most recently as Sous Chef at fellow award-winning restaurant Poplar Springs Inn.

The complete list of award winners is available online and will be published in the August 31 issue of Wine Spectator (available on newsstands July 17).

About Bottle Stop Wine Bar

Located in the Historic river town of Occoquan, the restaurant/wine bar offers diners a diverse selection of seasonal entrees, flat bread pizzas, sliders, and cheese & charcuterie boards. Owners Emil and Kim Wigode in consultation with Sommelier Nina Escobar, formerly of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, select a constantly changing list of small production artisan wines, craft beers and whiskeys to pair with menu items or by the glass or bottle. 

About the Wine Spectator Restaurants Award

Wine Spectator‘s Restaurant Awards represent everything from neighborhood wine bars serving small plates to opulent palaces with star chefs and elaborate tasting menus; however, the 2018 Restaurant Award winners all share one thing—a passion for exploring and sharing the world of wine. The Award of Excellence was only awarded to 2453 restaurants across the globe. 

Praise sounds for Prince William County’s official Bugler

WOODBRIDGE    At a recent meeting of the Prince William County Board of County Supervisors, Donna Flory was named as the Prince William County Volunteer of the Quarter for the first quarter of 2018. Donna was nominated by Desiree Wolfe with the Office of Executive Management and the award was presented by Gail Macdonald, the county’s Senior Human Resources Manager, for Donna’s service as Prince William County’s official Bugle and Trumpet Player.

The award reads:

“Over the last two decades, Donna has played in various ceremonies and dedications in honor of Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day and 9/11.  Her rendition of ‘Taps’ continues to bring dignity and meaning to these very important events.  When asked to perform Donna has always answered ‘yes’ no matter the day.  Donna has always said it was her honor and privilege to play for Prince William County employees and citizens as we honor those who died for our freedom. Donna’s time and talent has helped make each ceremony memorable, especially for those who have lost a loved one.  For her ability to bring grace and reverence during the most solemn occasions we award Donna Flory the Prince William County Volunteer of the Quarter Award.”

Donna began volunteering as the Prince William County official Bugler in 1992.  Her first event was the original dedication ceremony of Prince William County’s War Memorial. 

Following the presentation, Donna thanked Desiree Wolfe for this very special nomination. Donna then acknowledged her longtime friend, Jane Beyer, and thanked her for getting her regularly involved in Prince William County events that honor those that have served our country and those that made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Prince William Poet Laureate nominee releases fifth book

You might know Katherine Gotthardt from her writing her at Potomac Local. But she also has a poetic side, one that you can see in her new book. 

From a press release: 

Author and Prince William Poet Laureate nominee Katherine Gotthardt has released her fifth book, a collection of original poetry entitled, Bury Me Under a Lilac. Gotthardt calls the book “a poetic journey from birth through passing,” saying it is “meant as an artistic discussion of transition.”

“In a way, these poems are ‘in your face’ with hard-to-handle topics like illness and death. But I don’t see the book as depressing at all,” says Gotthardt, who is also the Vice President of Content Marketing for Prince William Living.

“It’s just honest. Some things in life aren’t easy, but when you get a little closer, examine them, interpret them, give them meaning, then a lot of what you were afraid of before suddenly becomes something else, maybe even something spiritual.”

Some of the poems were written when Gotthardt’s mother-in-law, and then her mother, passed within two years of each other. The title poem sums up what Gotthardt says she has taken away from those experiences and others that have contributed to life’s many lessons.

“Death is something that is always with us,” she says. “Human beings inherently fear that. We’re supposed to. We have a built-in survival mechanism. But because we fear it, we put this glaze of horror over it that isn’t always necessary. Death itself isn’t always the issue.

“While I don’t get up in the morning and say, ‘Hey, today I’m one step closer to the grave! Go me!’ I feel like it’s a natural part of life, another transition.”

Gotthardt says that’s where beliefs about death become important.

“No matter what you believe, you’re better off sorting this kind of thing out fairly soon in life. Don’t spend your whole life in denial, hiding from the inevitable. Face it, analyze it, come to terms with it, and then get on with celebrating the everyday miracles that are too often overlooked.”

Other themes in the book explore identity, femininity, family, motherhood, and spirituality.

“I guess this is really a book about growing up,” Gotthardt says. “All these things happen to us throughout our lives, leading us to some kind of new beginning as we close out our human experience. I’d challenge readers to think about what their life means and approach it as purposefully and joyfully as possible.”

With a cover design by Sima Farra Button and interior design by Chelsea Tompkins and Scott Bricker, Bury Me Under a Lilac is available through Amazon now, and will soon be available through online distributors such as Barnes & Noble. For more information on the book and the author, visit

To support the art of Sima Farra Button and sign up to receive her forthcoming calendar, visit her Patreon page.

Stafford Opera Troupe offers free masterclasses for high school and young collegiate singers

From an email:

Stafford Opera Troupe, a local arts organization dedicated to bringing opera performance and education to Stafford and Fredericksburg, opens its summer season with four public masterclasses on July 14, 17, and 27 at  7:30 pm and August 4 at 3:00 pm, located at the Maranatha Music Ministries building at 1915 Charles St, Fredericksburg, VA.

Under the instruction of Stafford Opera Troupe vocal faculty from around the nation and the world, each masterclass features performances from musical theatre and opera repertoire by the students of the 2018 Summer Opera Program.

Accompanied by collaborative pianist Oleg Bellini, hailing from Alessandria, Italy. Admission is free. Donations are gladly accepted in support of the Summer Opera Program, a tuition-free training program reaching high school and young collegiate singers.


Masterclass I (Saturday, July 14 at 7:30pm at Maranatha Music Ministries Building): Award-winning soprano Dr. Rachel Eve Holmes presents this musical theatre masterclass alongside voice scientist and baritone Christopher Apfelbach. Don’t miss performances from beloved musical theatre works old and new as the expert faculty help the singers explore characterization, technique, stage presence, and more.

Masterclass II (Tuesday, July 17 at 7:30pm at Maranatha Music Ministries Building): Nationally-acclaimed tenor and pedagogue Brett Pardue serves on the music faculty of Lehigh University as the Sametz Artist-in-Residence and Lecturer of Voice Pedagogy. As Visiting Faculty for Stafford Opera Troupe’s 2018 Summer Opera Program, he presents this masterclass creatively exploring student performances of both classical and musical theatre repertoire.

Masterclass III (Friday, July 27 at 7:30pm at Maranatha Music Ministries Building): Decorated coloratura soprano Gyuyeon Shim, hailing from South Korea, joins with award-winning mezzo-soprano Rebecca Sacks to present this masterclass. Under their creative direction, students of the 2018 Summer Opera Program will perform and workshop selections from opera, operetta, oratorio, and musical theatre repertoire.

Masterclass IV (Saturday, August 4 at 3:00pm at Maranatha Music Ministries): A passionate performer of both opera and musical theatre, baritone and doctoral candidate Isaiah Feken teaches as Visiting Faculty for the 2018 Summer Opera Program, helping student singers of opera arias and art song bring their performances to life in this afternoon masterclass. Later, join us for the closing performance of Viardot’s “Cinderella” at 7 pm at Mountain View High School.

Grammy recording artist, Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman to perform

From an email: 

WHAT: Grammy Award®-winning recording artist and producer Will Ackerman presents a reflective, heartfelt performance in Merchant Hall. The highly regarded founder of Windham Hill Records and pioneer of the New Age music movement showcases his remarkable musical vision and “thorough love of the mystery of making music” in this special Hylton Center EXTRA! performance. Ackerman will be joined onstage by guitarists Shaun Hopper and Vin Downes.

WHEN: Saturday, October 6 at 8 p.m.

WHERE: Hylton Performing Arts Center, 10960 George Mason University, Manassas VA 20110


DETAILS: Tickets are currently available to Friends and subscribers of the Hylton Center only. Tickets go on sale to the public on August 1 at or by calling 703-993-7759.

SPONSORS: NOVEC | Buck and Julie Waters, The Waters Foundation

Outdoor performance at Manassas NOVA to celebrate ‘the smooth, rhythmic sounds of jazz’

From an email: 

The Creative and Performing Arts Center, Inc. (CAPAC), in partnership with the Prince William County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. will bring an evening of musical delight to the Prince William County community and surrounding areas this summer. Celebrating the smooth, rhythmic sounds of jazz, three acts will perform on Saturday, July 28, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. at the beautiful Mary Louise Jackson Amphitheater on the Manassas campus of Northern Virginia Community College.

The fully equipped facility provides a professional venue for local, regional and national performing artists. The amphitheater features 500 bench seats and lawn seating for an additional 200, in a relaxing park-like setting. Vendors, food trucks and wineries will also be available.

Tickets are $40 for amphitheater seats, $30 for adult lawn seats and $15 for children’s seats, and may be purchased at

Internationally renowned veteran artist Norman Connor, a Philadelphia native, jazz drummer, composer, arranger and producer, has received both American and international acclaim for many of his recordings. With over 40 years of hits, some timeless classics to his credit are “You are My Starship,” “Valentine Love” and “Betcha by Golly Wow,” in which he collaborated with the late songstress Phyllis Hyman.

Tony Craddock, Jr., an emerging jazz saxophonist regionally known as an artist ”whose music uplifts people like a cold front lifts warm air,” has performed in venues across the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Tony released his third studio album, H2O, on March 16, 2018. As the bandleader and music director of Tony Craddock, Jr. and Cold Front, he believes his music has nothing to do with him, but rather the gifts God has bestowed upon him.

Vanilla Summit, a five-member band hailing from Richmond, Va., has molded the grooves of jazz, Latin and hip-hop to create music for your mind, body and spirit. The band includes Ryan Gary on guitar, Nate Clark on saxophone, Avery Jeffry on bass, Alec Gary on drums and Austin Martin on percussion. Vanilla Summit brings a smooth, comprehensive sound as they fuse the foundations of the old with a new and vibrant twist.

Not only are you in for a treat, but a portion of the proceeds from this event will be used to continue both non-profits’ organizational missions to promote educational engagement through future productions, scholarships, academic excellence and to provide support to other charitable community organizations.

American Legion Post 1799 of Haymarket/Gainesville sends participants to Boys, Girls State programs

From an email: 

Six boys and two girls, sponsored by American Legion Post 1799 of Haymarket/Gainesville, have completed the Virginia Boys State and Girls State programs of the American Legion Department of Virginia.  

Boys State, held at Radford University and Girls State, held at Longwood University, each from June 17-23, provides delegates with an immersive experience designed to enshrine within them with knowledge of the rights and privileges, duties, and responsibilities of citizens of Virginia.  

Delegates have the opportunity to run for election for various offices including mayor, city council, sheriff, Supreme Court justice, delegate, senator, attorney general, lieutenant governor, and governor.   Attendees participate in mock legislative and court sessions designed to provide a real-world experience that simulates the functions of state government.  

In addition, delegates have the opportunity to participate in recreational activities ranging from band and chorus to athletics.  Delegates are also afforded the opportunity to attend classes in public speaking and parliamentary procedures.  

This year’s guest speakers included Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, and Governor Ralph Northam as well as several members of the Virginia House of Delegates and State Senate.

Post 1799 annually selects delegates from Battlefield and Patriot High Schools, based on the applicant’s academic performance, interest in civics, and demonstrated a commitment to public and community service.  

This year’s Boys State attendees were Blake Brown (elected State Delegate), Casey Cho, Austin Gonzales (elected Mayor), Nathan Hakimpour (elected State Senator), Norideen Hussny-Hunt,  and Robert Lazar (elected to City Council).  Girls State attendees were Victoria Witmer and Claire Graser.

Hylton Performing Arts Center’s Niyati awarded for work with vets

Dr. Niyati Dhokai, of the Hylton Performing Arts Center, was honored for her work with veterans. 

More from an email: 

Niyati is a Mason alumna who currently serves as Program Manager of the Veterans and the Arts Initiative at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, as well as Research Assistant Professor at Mason’s College of Visual & Performing Arts. Last week, she was one of the exemplary women honored at the Virginia Department of Veterans Services Summit “Change Makers & Trailblazers: The Power of Being a Woman-The Strength of Being a Veteran.” Niyati was named Change Maker of the Year in recognition of her establishment of the Veterans and Arts Initiative. Please see the press release attached for details.

Spearheaded by Niyati, the Veterans and the Arts Initiative provides year-round arts opportunities for Veterans, Servicemembers, their families, and military caregivers. These opportunities include workshops, exhibitions, and special events featuring music, visual art, dance, theater, and poetry. The Initiative collaborates with local Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs), community groups, and arts organizations—as well as the Schools and programs within the College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University—to support lasting connections to the arts, community support, and camaraderie. The goal is to serve our local Veterans, Servicemembers, and their families through the arts.

You can find more information about the Veterans and the Arts Initiative at

Free food for those who Uber, Lyft, taxi to concert

From a press release: 

The Fringe Benefits Band is launching its new Rock and Ride program starting July 2018 at Uptown Alley – Manassas, the bowling alley/restaurant/entertainment venue located in the Manassas Mall.  Designed to support public safety, local businesses and the community, the Rock and Ride program encourages anyone coming to the show to take paid transportation and receive an incentive from the venue to do so.

Uptown Alley will offer a $10 food credit to patrons who use Uber, Lyft, taxi or any paid transportation to get to a Fringe Benefits show. Paid transportation used must be easily verified through an official receipt. One food credit will be given per proof of paid ride. The program is exclusive to The Fringe Benefits’ next three shows at Uptown Alley, the first of which will be held July 14. 

Bruce Moore, Guitar and Guitar Synth player for the popular local band, also serves as the band’s manager.

“Uptown Alley, under A.J. Laban’s management, has shown great commitment to our community. He has worked with several non-profits and generously helped The Fringe Benefits raise money for Comfort Cases earlier this year, so I knew he would like the public safety aspect of The Fringe Benefits Rock and Ride program.”

Laban, who is the General Manager of  Uptown Alley – Manassas, said, “I have worked with Bruce and Fringe Benefits on multiple, philanthropic initiatives over the past year and am very proud to partner again on this most important initiative. We have been all about safety here at Uptown, ensuring we provide a safe and fun environment. This initiative takes it to another level. We are a venue who wants everyone in our community know that we are more than just great food, quality entertainment and providing outstanding experiences. Our heart is entertainment, but our soul is the communities that surround us.” 

Moore would like to see the program become national.

“Our Rock and Ride program is a simple idea, yet benefits our audience, our venue and the general public. Everyone wins,” Moore said, encouraging the public to come early, enjoy dinner, drinks, music and dancing and arrive home safely.

Moore said the program has additional benefits, such as preventing parking lot overflow and gridlock, reducing the venue’s liability and saving patrons money. “There’s no up-front cost to the bar, and it’s scalable,” said Moore. “There is no place I’d rather launch it than Uptown Alley.”

For more information, contact The Fringe Benefits Band through their website or email

A series of zesty days coming to Occoquan in July

From an email: 

Escape the heat and enjoy a lemon zesty day in Occoquan. Explore this historic waterfront town and soak up the flavor of the day enjoying free tasty lemon treats and sipping lemonade.

Discover our independent small businesses, services and cafes. Shop for ongoing specials, bargains and unique finds in our boutiques. Some specials only available during this event. 

Savor a meal, waterside or in a cozy courtyard at one of our restaurants. Stop in at the Tourist Information Center for business information and things to do. Don’t miss the Mill House Museum for local history about our 1700’s town.

Follow the yellow balloons for participating businesses from 10am-5pm each day.

  • Sponsored by The Occoquan Merchants’ Guild

  • 6th Annual Occoquan Lemonade Stroll

  • Townwide Event

  • July 20th & 21st 2018, 10am – 5pm each day

  • Participating businesses each serving Free lemon treats

  • Historic Town just 30 minutes south of DC, I-95 exit 160

  • Free Parking

  • 100% Independent Small Businesses & Restaurants (no chains)


Prince William foster parent of the year on listening, patience: ‘Every kid is not a bad kid’

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Gov. Northam rocks the red in Prince William County ahead of Capitals Stanley Cup finals game

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam came to Prince William County on Thursday.

He spoke to a group of business leaders at a luncheon at the Hylton Performing Arts Center on George Mason University Science and Technology Campus.

While on campus, Northam paused for a photo with Virginia Senator Jeremy McPike (D-29, Prince William, Manassas) and George Mason University President Angel Cabrera.

Gov. Northam rocks the red in Prince William County ahead of Capitals Stanley Cup finals game

The two posed in front of a statue of the late Virginia State Senator Charles Colgan. There’s a Washington Capital’s jersey on that statue, placed there ahead of tonight’s matchup where the hockey team will play the fifth in a series of Stanley Cup Finals games against the first-year expansion team the Las Vegas Knights.

The Capitals lead the series three games to one. If they win Thursday night, it will be the team’s first Stanley Cup victory since the team formed in 1974.

Special Olympics Virginia torch carried through Quantico

QUANTICO — Runners and members of the Prince William police and sheriff’s office and Manassas police handed off the torch to military police. 

The torch made its way to Quantico about noon on Thursday. Runners made their way south along Route 1 from the Prince William County Police Eastern District Station to the Marine Corps Base. 

Police directed traffic so the runners could safely use Route 1 south to hold the torch high. 

Runners are on their way to Richmond to light the torch at the Special Olympics Virginia Summer games that will start Saturday. 

The torch will pass through Stafford County along Route 1 starting 6 a.m. Friday.

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