Next Thursday, Dec. 14, the mighty Falls Church News-Press will host its 28th annual Holiday Party, almost all of which have been held since 1990 at what is now the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment building next to the State Theatre on N. Washington St. It goes from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., is catered by Ledo Pizza and live entertainment will provided by the rockin’ George Mason High School jazz band.
The venue hosts always decorate the hall to the hilt making it a cozy and welcoming place, and it has always been the policy of the News-Press to offer this event free for the entire community, inclusive of family and friends, and not limited to any geographical boundaries. If you’re reading this (which you are), please take our invitation personally. We’d love to see you!
These events have been held every year since before the first edition of the News-Press hit the streets of Falls Church in March 1991. The first one was in our tiny makeshift office on N. Virginia Ave. in December 1990, a couple weeks after the official start date for the endeavor, the St. Nicholas Feast Day of that year (easy to remember given our founder-owner-editor’s name. The start was the creation of his very singular inspiration and decision).
Over the many years, what we’ve cherished most about our annual holiday parties has always been their unique demographics. Indeed, while all sorts of different groups hold parties for their members and friends in this season, there are not that many where political adversaries are genuinely welcome, and have often shared the same space for hours on end.
With fondness we recall the many years when the late veterans’ advocate Len Michalowski attended, only to disappear shortly before Santa would appear each and every time. Then there was the unforgettable sight of the late regional parks authority founder Walter Mess, as he approached his 100th birthday, beaming while looking on as the Mason High Jazz band rolled out the tunes that he’d kicked his heels to so many times back in the day.
Countless of the City’s A-Listers, its mayors, Council and School Board members, superintendents and managers, local clergy have enjoyed time at these parties. And, so yes, our beloved “old soreheads” have often been there, too.
Some have not enjoyed our use of that term, but we assure you it has always been intended in the most affectionate way. We first saw the term on a billboard outside a small town in Southwest Texas. It read, “Welcome to Stanton, Texas, 3,500 Friendly People and a Few Old Soreheads.”
The sign proved so popular that Stanton now holds annual “Old Sorehead Trade Days” with 600 booths and 30,000 visitors. They love their soreheads, and we love ours, hoping that again this year, they’ll make it to our party.