Carol Nahorniak, Myers Public Relations, LLC
In 1964 the Beatles made their Washington debut, Lyndon B. Johnson was re-elected president, My Fair Lady was the best picture, and the computer mouse was developed by technology pioneer, Douglas Engelbart.
To those who live, work and play in Reston, the most notable event of that year was the implementation of Robert E. Simon, Jr.’s dream. Despite the media fanfare about this unique community, home sales were slow in the beginning. There were cynics who said that this New Town of Reston would be a place where only ‘communists’ would want to live. Regardless, the first residents of Reston moved in to their Waterview Cluster townhomes in December 1964, amid mud, unpaved roads and few amenities, following one man’s vision of what was to come.
Forty years later, it’s time to celebrate. The New Town of Reston has come of age and it’s a sensation admired throughout the world, now ‘home town’ to just under 60,000 people. It is testimony to the success of this community that many of the original planners, marketers and an extraordinary number of first residents still make Reston their home, atypical of the transient nature of the Washington, DC region. Planners and students of urban and social studies visit Reston regularly for research. Just recently, Money Magazine rated Reston as one of the Best Places to Live in the nation. Robert E. Simon, Jr. (Bob) himself resides here and revels in friendships, conveniences, recreation and culture, all available right outside his door.
The thoughtful planning of this community included the very important aspects that make it possible for people to come together in their diverse ways. Venues for special events and community gatherings were centerpieces of the plan. The lakes, trails and natural areas, plus organized recreational facilities in every neighborhood provide settings for all sorts of leisure and competitive outdoor activities. The village centers and urban core provide opportunities for daily socialization and special events that attract thousands from both within and outside of the area. Since Reston’s inception, residents have planned and supported ongoing and special events in celebration of culture, commerce, philanthropy, sports, visual arts, and more. Since 1991, the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE), now marking its 30th anniversary, has produced one of the nation’s top ten art festivals in Reston every May.
With the arrival of this milestone year, the Reston Celebrates 40 Years! Steering Committee was formed to make plans for 2004, and the brainstorming has been phenomenal. The crowning achievement of this team has been the cohesion of community groups, businesses and the media to honor this high point in Reston’s history in ways that can function in perpetuity through creation of a web site – www.restoncelebrates.com; a hotline – 703-7RESTON and, for this special year, commemorative Reston Root Beer. More ideas from members of the committee are in the works, such as development of a curriculum for elementary students to learn in depth about the planning and history of Reston. The opportunities are endless for the community-at-large to participate and plan for celebrations in 2004 and beyond.
The kick-off to Reston’s 40th birthday celebrations came with the first annual Founder’s Day, held at Lake Anne Village Center on April 17. The timing of this event was planned to commemorate Bob Simon’s 90th birthday (actually on April 10) with entertainment provided by Reston Community Center. Initiated by Reston’s venerable Chuck Veatch, the event highlight was the surprise unveiling of a bronze Bob Simon sculpture relaxing on a lakeside bench. The sculpture, created by Zachary Oxman, has already become a destination for all ages to sit with and enjoy. Reston’s first Founder’s Day was an incomparable occasion that ended with a black tie dinner, champagne, cake, music and dancing at Lake Anne to fete Reston’s beloved founder.
The celebrations will continue in many ways through 2004. A special birthday theme is planned for the Reston Festival on July 10 at Reston Town Center and in November, the Greater Reston Chamber’s monthly luncheon will feature a panel of Reston’s developers with Bob Simon and leaders from Gulf, Mobil Land (VA) Corporation and Terrabrook. The festivities will culminate with the 40th birthday themed Reston Holiday Parade on the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 26 at Reston Town Center.
Proceeds generated by some of the special Reston Celebrates events and Reston Root Beer will benefit the Reston Historic Trust and Friends of Lake Anne, two groups with a mission to keep community knowledge and traditions alive, based in the historical heart of Reston at Lake Anne Village Center.
Community planning with style, open space and regard for social value is a concept that some may take for granted today, but in 1964, the avant-garde architecture and concept of clusters, open space and village centers were revolutionary in residential development of that time. In Reston there is a home, an activity and an event suitable for everyone, from tree-huggers to tycoons and all in between. 40 years of the exceptional community of Reston is something to celebrate!
Reston Celebrates 40 Years!
www.restoncelebrates.org - 40th themed information and a calendar of Reston-only events with an option for e-mail bulletins. Birthday wishes to Bob Simon can be posted to create a long-running, online greeting card.
703-7RESTON (703-773-7866) – Highlights each month’s events and, just for fun, a little Reston trivia.
Reston Root Beer – brewed right here in Virginia, is available for purchase by the bottle or the case. The commemorative bottles boast a portrait of Bob Simon by Pat Macintyre on a distinctive label designed by Doug Fuller of Studio Hinge. Reston Root Beer will be available all through 2004 at the Reston Museum. Call 703-709-7700 and visit www.restoncelebrates.org for more retail information.
Reston Celebrates 40 Years! would not be possible without the support of these Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce members:
Web Site - www.restoncelebrates.org
Developed by Silver Web
Sponsored by Virginia Commerce Bank and Reston Hospital Center
Managed by Myers Public Relations
Hotline: 703-7RESTON (703-773-7866)
Developed and managed by Myers Public Relations
Sponsored by Three Cees Car Wash Center
Reston Celebrates logo and Reston Root Beer label contribuued by
Doug Fuller, Studio Hinge
Reston Root Beer
Developed by Myers Public Relations
Sponsored by Clyde’s Restaurant
Reston Community Center
“40 Stories for 40 Years”
Developed by Times Community Newspapers
Published April 14, 2004