Local Commentary

A Penny For Your Thoughts: The News of Greater Falls Church

Free admission. Free parking. Close by. Don’t have to “dress up.” Couldn’t be easier. What is it? Spotlight by Starlight, the free summer concert series at the Newton Edwards Amphitheatre at Mason District Park in Annandale.


The weather has cooperated so far this summer, with only two shows cancelled due to rain. In fact, one show was about to begin when the rains came. As emcee and hostess for the series, I invited the 40 or so stalwarts in attendance if they would like to sit on the covered stage for the performance. The band agreed, turned around to face the rear of the stage, and presented a bravura performance in a more intimate setting for about 25 minutes. Ultimately, when lightning began to streak the skies, the rest of the show had to be cancelled, but the performers and the audience had a great time anyway!

A third of the season has passed, but July and August performances promise to be terrific. A few selections include Deanna Bogart on July 11, the Hexagon satirical revue on July 15, the United States Army Blues Jazz Ensemble on July 25, and Mariachi Los Amigos on July 27. August shows include Voloshky Ukranian Dance Ensemble on August 3, the Capitol Steps on August 5, Tonic and Gin a Cappella on August 12, and the Back Roads Band on July 24. For a complete schedule of performances, log on to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/mason/homepage.htm, and click on the Spotlight schedule at the bottom of the page.

Mason District Park is located at 6621 Columbia Pike in Annandale. The amphi-theatre has bench seating, but many patrons bring comfortable lawn chairs for seating. A separate accessible viewing platform for handicapped patrons and their families also is provided. Spotlight by Starlight is cosponsored by the Friends of Mason District Park and the Fairfax County Park Authority. See you at the concerts!

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The All Fairfax Reads book selection this summer is “His Excellency George Washington” by Joseph J. Ellis. This is the fourth summer for the reading program; previous All Fairfax Reads selections were “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Kite Runner,” and “Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress.” This year’s selection focuses on Fairfax County’s own favorite son, who preferred the title of “General” to “President.” The author’s research reveals a man who valued education even though he was not well-educated for the time, and who liked to be in complete control – of his land, his finances, and his troops. The book is heavy reading, but brings new light to the battles fought for independence, the political machinations behind the scenes, and the difficulties of governing the fledgling nation. Copies of “His Excellency George Washington” are available on loan at any Fairfax County Public Library.