Clarendon has a party


Will Siegal

The Muddy Crows play on the Car Free Diet Stage.

Before the music was playing and the smell of food commandeered the air, runners of all ages crossed the finish line in their respective races to cheers and goody bags. Races are only a fraction of the traditions and events Clarendon Day had to offer.  

    Having started in 1993, Clarendon Day began to promote businesses and organizations in Arlington. Set up across multiple streets with stands and trucks offering free goodies, businesses and organizations sell food and give out information on their cause.

    Besides local chains like Hard Times Cafe and Pete’s New Haven Style Pizza, other small businesses got the chance to promote their food. A wide array of selections were available, from kabobs to donuts on a stick.

    The Clarendon Chili Cookoff, held on Highland St., allows chili competitors to promote their food at the judging of passerbyers. Tasting and judging lasted throughout the day with the winner taking home the title of best chili in the county. The proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Project

    Four stages were also set up around the venue for musical and poetic performances. Bands of all ages and sizes played, providing a lively atmosphere to the event. Along both Clarendon Blvd. and Wilson Blvd. crafts and goods shops as well as local charities entertained interested onlookers. Clothes, pottery, art and much more were available for purchase.     

Organizations made up the majority of the booths, spanning various interests. One such organization was Teen Network Board, a community student-led group led by teens for teens at teaching how to be safe, smart and knowledgeable about the choices they make. Students from all high schools in Arlington are and can be part of the Board. The booth featured free items as well a sign-up sheet to become part of the group.

    What makes the organizations at Clarendon Day thrive are the people involved who volunteer and what they bring to their groups. Ryan Huaman, a senior at Yorktown High School, is the co-chair of the Teen Network Board. He helps promote the organization’s events and meetings in schools. He provides advice and encouragement to the community as well as maintains the Board’s social media influence. “(Teen Network Board) helped me shape what I want to do in life,” Huaman said. “I have become passionate in helping others in what they do.”

    Several booths away, Homeward Trails, a dog shelter, promoted adoption of their dogs. Homeward Trails is a non-profit organization that rescues dogs from high-kill shelters and off the streets while trying to find them homes. People could come by and pet the dogs and learn more about adoption and their organization.

    Homeward Trails employs volunteers eager to help in their adoption efforts. Brittany Hill, a veteran of the organization, says the main goal of her participation is exposure for the dogs. “Love; it’s the best gift you can give (them),” Hill said. “They will love you for the rest of their life.”

    Clarendon Day brings together young and old to promote community unity and support. Clarendon Day is a chance to appreciate all that the area has to offer. “Give back something to the community,” Huaman said, “because the community is always giving something back to you.”