Local Commentary

Editorial: Waiting for Wammie

Yet again this month, on Feb. 15 the “Wammies,” the Washington Area Music Association’s annual awards bash, is coming to the State Theatre in downtown Falls Church.

It is one of the premiere gatherings of the year in the entire Washington, D.C. Metro region, drawing the best musical performers and their admirers to a spectacular event that mimics, for the region, the Oscars or Grammy Award ceremonies.

It goes without saying that this represents a golden opportunity for the City of Falls Church to impress an audience that will be drawn into its own lair of many fine restaurants and other, including living and working, amenities that the City has to offer. Yet despite this newspaper’s repeated editorial attempts, every year about this time, to light a fire under City Hall, or someone, to respond to this opportunity, we again see nothing in the works. It’s not too late, however.

It would be a great way for the Economic Development Authority’s new initiative on marketing Falls Church to kick off its efforts in an immediately rewarding fashion. But we fear the machinery of the old bureaucratic methods will not permit such a rapid response. The EDA is supposed to take months of arduous citizen “branding” deliberations before anyone dare take a stab at something like this. Maybe next year.

On the other hand, it would not take a citywide referendum or clear mandate from all the City’s boards and commissions for someone at City Hall to work up the energy to develop some simple signage, advertising or handouts geared to the Wammy revelers concerning the City they’re partying in and the nearby restaurants, for example.

Even better would be a make-shift version of this newspaper’s oft-advocated notion of a “yellow brick road” linking the State Theatre, which is routinely filled with over 700 mostly non-resident paying customers, to stuff along Falls Church’s West Broad Street only a half-block away. Right now, a State Theatre patron negotiating the darkened sidewalks, such as they are, connecting the State to the Broad Street scene is an arduous, even perilous, journey.

But some added, temporary lighting, strung along that sidewalk for the special occasion of the Wammies, for example, would welcome Wammy patrons to venture onto West Broad before or after their event. It would draw folks’ attention not only to the Irelands Four Provinces, the Dogwood Tavern, the Pilin and other establishments, but to Clare and Don’s and Argia’s along the way, as well.

Not in time for the Wammies, perhaps, but in a short period, the sidewalk, itself, on both sides of N. Washington for that one half-block, could be redone with some inviting inlaid design encouraging a friendly, easy walk between the State Theatre and West Broad, with some more permanent added lighting. This would not require an act of Congress to implement, but then, who’s got the gumption to do it?

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