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    Sterling, Cascades & CountrySide
    STERLING BOULEVARD: Happy Anniversary
    Last year, my parents celebrated 50 years of marriage. As wonderful as my parents’ 50 years have been, it hasn’t done a whole lot for the Sterling community. To be fair, they do live two hours south. However, a Sterling group is celebrating their own golden anniversary.

    Since 1964, the Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad has been making our lives happier, healthier and safer. It was started as the “Grand Project” by the Sterling Park Jaycees. With just one ambulance and no permanent home, the wholly volunteer-run rescue squad went to work. Just two years later, the group founded Sterling Volunteer Fire Department.

    Today, the group has over 150 active volunteers and seven ambulances, responding at all hours to emergencies from minor to major. To ask this of a paid group would be astounding, but this is done by volunteers – people willing to give up nights and weekends to be there for people when they need it most.

    Now, when my parents celebrated their 50th, my siblings and I took them to the beach for a week. Obviously, we can’t do that for all the volunteers, plus we need someone back home watching over us. But what we can do is support what they do and encourage others to do the same.

    Luckily, there’s plenty of ways to support the Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad. Simply visit their website at and look on the right side for a donate button. You can also do your shopping via the site, and the squad will get a share of the profits – just look for that link on the site as well. Want to do more? Consider volunteering for the squad. To learn how, visit Maybe. we’ll do the beach thing for the squad’s 60th anniversary. Happy Anniversary.

    Two more weeks to see “Anything Goes”

    In the book, “Sister Carrie,” by Theodore Dreiser, the main character is propelled to stardom by a review stating "If you wish to be merry, see Carrie frown." After seeing “Anything Goes,” I would suggest a rewrite: “If you wish to be blown away, see Reno sing.” Played by Cristin Williamson, the character of Reno Sweeney is amazing. You have two more weekends to see the show at Potomac Fall High School. Showtimes are 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sundays. For more information, or to buy tickets, visit .

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    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Cracker Barrel comes to Sterling
    Rockin' on the porch: (from left) Loudoun residents Larry and Sarah Schwenk, Ray Foster of Leesburg and Jeremy Jackson of Greenbelt, Md., share a laugh before the official opening of the Sterling Cracker Barrel on July 21. Photo/courtesy Kathie Felix.
    This week, Sterling has one more reason to become a destination for many in Loudoun and beyond—it is now home to the newest Cracker Barrel Old Country Store restaurant in the Washington suburbs.

    The Sterling store, located near Old Ox Road, opened to the public at 6 a.m. on Monday, July 21. By 5:30 that morning, a friendly group of hungry customers had assembled on the store’s signature front-porch rocking chairs.

    The first person in line was Jeremy Jackson of Greenbelt, Md., who arrived at 4:50 a.m. to celebrate his birthday with an opening-day breakfast. Jackson, who works nearby, was joined at 5:30 a.m. by his friend Jermaine Miles, who had driven to Sterling from Cheverly, Md.

    The second person in line was Ray Foster of Leesburg, who runs Exxon stations in the area with his sons. Foster, an attendee at the store’s “Friends and Family” trial run on Friday, arrived for his second visit at 5:15 a.m.

    Also on hand were Iris Solodar of Ashburn, her daughter Hilary and Sean Sudduth, Hilary’s boyfriend. Sarah Schwenk and her son Larry, also Loudoun residents, rounded out the crowd of the earliest risers.

    As the first customers sat on the porch watching low-flying planes coming in for a landing at Dulles Airport, they said that the iconic shape of the building during construction was the initial clue that told them the CB had come to town.

    “I know what the building looks like,” Jackson said. “I don’t need [to see] the sign.”

    Ten minutes before the store opened, the front-porch crowd launched into a jovial rendition of “Happy Birthday,” directed to Jackson. A few minutes later, Jackson and Miles were ushered inside for a first-customer photo.

    After the photo was taken, Cheryl Ayers of Lebanon, Tenn., the Cracker Barrel store opening supervisor, unlocked the front doors with a welcoming smile, saying: “Let’s do this,” as she invited the customers inside.

    The first carry-out order was placed almost immediately by Jerry Bell of Manassas, who works at Horizon Forest Products, a hardwood flooring company close by. He said he plans to return regularly with a coworker who comes to Virginia each week from Raleigh, N.C.

    Patrons accustomed to road trips on I-95 and Cracker Barrel signs that are visible for miles may be surprised to find that the Sterling store is marked with a sign of a more humble size. To get there, exit route 28 at Old Ox Road/West. The store is on the right (north) side of the road.

    Contact Kathie Felix at KFinLoudoun[at]
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    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Fun away from the sun in Sterling
    While it may be hot, hot, hot outdoors, cool things are happening indoors throughout steamy eastern Loudoun.

    Off to the air races: The After Hours Teen Center at the Cascades Library hosts an evening of paper airplane races on Friday, July 18, from 7 to 10 p.m. Pre-flight activities include some instruction in flight and aerodynamics, followed by experimentation with paper airplanes and competition racing with prizes. Ground crew members are welcome to attend: gaming stations, computers and art supplies also will be available. Teens must arrive by 7:30 p.m. and must be picked up by 10 p.m. All attendees must have a signed permission slip on file. For information: 703-444-3228.

    Indoor playground: Dulles Town Center presents Playdate Thursdays weekly at 11:00 a.m. Toddlers can explore the indoor Nationals Play Park, a new baseball-themed toddler park in the food court. On July 24, the little ones can rock out with live music from area favorites Rocknoceros.

    The Wicket Club: Sterling is home to the first indoor cricket facility in the metropolitan Washington area, a 10,000-square foot training facility known as The Wicket Club. The club offers its final 2014 youth cricket summer camp for ages 6-13 from July 28 through Aug. 1. Club memberships and walk-in rates for cricket and badminton for all ages are available. For information: or 571-276-7600.

    Twist and shout:
    The Cascades Senior Center celebrates the 50th anniversary of the nation’s “other” British Invasion—in the days when British pop music ruled the world—with a Beatles party and dance on Tuesday, July 29, from 2 until 4 p.m. Dust off those ‘60s threads or dress up like your favorite Beatle and show up ready to dance to your favorite Beatles tunes. Transportation will be provided after the party. Tickets are $5 for members and $7 for nonmembers. For information, call 571-258-3280.

    LINK up: The area’s LINK food pantry, a resource for those in need, can use some help with donations during the summer months. The top needs are dried soups such as ramen noodles, canned chicken, boxed meal helpers such as Hamburger Helper, canned fruit, tomato products, cleaning products, laundry detergent, feminine products and toiletries. The organization also needs volunteers in the summer to deliver food on Tuesdays through Saturdays to families living in Sterling, Ashburn and Herndon. To volunteer, call 703-973-4444. Information is available online at

    Contact Kathie Felix at KFinLoudoun[at]
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    STERLING BOULEVARD: Drama camp for everyone
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Eastern Loudoun Students Rock
    STERLING BOULEVARD: Happy Birthday America
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: A flag-waving fourth of July
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: The Cascades Green Team needs some helping hands
    STERLING BOULEVARD: Get schooled
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Falcons Landing raises $147,728 for emergency services, students
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: 11 Tips for Personal Safety
    STERLING BOULEVARD: Writing for fun (maybe not for profit)
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