Inaugural Rosslyn Carols! Christmas celebration gets hundreds in the holiday spirit

ARLINGTON, Va. – The carolers’ voices echoed throughout the plaza, beckoning those in search of a little holiday spirit to the heart of the new mixed-use development. There, sandwiched between Central Place‘s gleaming skyscrapers were people savoring spiked hot chocolate, Christmas-themed games and live music at Rosslyn Carols!

Throughout Thursday afternoon and evening, hundreds who live and work in Arlington’s Rosslyn neighborhood braced frigid temperatures to partake in the festivities, organized by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District.

Sophie Barral, the BID’s senior events manager, viewed Rosslyn Carols! as a way to take advantage of the first holiday season that Central Place Plaza was open, espeially before some of the space is converted into outdoor restaurant seating next year.

“This year was our chance to activate the whole plaza,” she said, adding that she wanted Rosslyn Carols! to stand out from other Christmas markets in the Washington area. “Rosslyn is such a modern, urban environment and I wanted our programming to reflect that and be more contemporary and funky.

“That’s what led me to the snow globe,” she said, referring to the life-size snow globe photo booth fixed in one corner of the plaza.

The event kicked off at noon with two hours of free mini doughnuts and hot chocolate courtesy of popular food truck Mama’s Donut Bites.

Later in the afternoon, other food trucks including Killer Tomato lined North Moore Street. Eastern Market Crepes set up a stand on the plaza.

By about 6 p.m., the temperature had dropped to 35 degrees. Chilly patrons huddled around the dancing flames of the outdoor heaters that were scattered throughout the plaza. Some sought refuge from the cold inside the adjacent McDonald’s.

Children on Santa’s nice list sipped on hot chocolate, while adults could enjoy a “naughty” version of the drink laced with peppermint schnapps.

The little ones also enjoyed games like Gingerbread Putt Putt and the Reindeer Toss.

The holiday decor — from the star atop the 28-foot-tall Christmas tree to the bows on the lamp posts — boasted Rosslyn’s signature purple. Violet poinsettias adorned the stage and employees working the event donned purple Santa hats.

The H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program choir performed Christmas carols before The Woodshedders were scheduled to take the stage at 7 p.m.

Barral says more than 300 people attended the inaugural Rosslyn Carols! She noted that the holiday bash may not take quite the same form in 2018.

“If we don’t bring back the snow globe next year, it will be because we’re planning something new and exciting,” Barral said. “But we will definitely have a holiday celebration to bring the neighborhood together.”


This article was written for Lindsey Leake’s COMM 652 Web Studio course on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017.

Lindsey Leake