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Saturday, July 17, 2010

VAL Celebration Features Elliott Yamin

One of Leesburg’s biggest developments is set to officially open its retail center Saturday. In Celebration, the Village at Leesburg will host a blowout summer block party featuring a live performance from former American Idol contestant Elliott Yamin.

The Village is already a quite popular destination for area residents because of its anchor, the Wegmans Food Market. That behemoth will doubtless fade a bit into the background as another bright star, Yamin, grabs the attention of all in attendance.

The Richmond native made a name for himself as a finalist in Idol’s season five, going up against Katherine McPhee and the show’s eventual winner, Taylor Hicks. With the show far behind him, Yamin says now he is excited to play as often as he can, especially in his home state. “Every time I get a chance to play in an area I’m familiar with it’s awesome. There’s something about the love and support that comes to me from that area that’s really great,” Yamin said.

In the time he’s been away from Idol, Yamin has released two full-length CDs and made several trips abroad for his involvement in philanthropic endeavors like Malaria No More. A diabetic since age 16, Yamin also devotes a great deal of time to working with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the American Diabetes Association, and was happy to add Habitat for Humanity to his list of charitable partners.

For anyone dreaming of someday having their own “Idol moment,” Yamin prescribed dogged determination as the number-one focus. “Do whatever you can to expose that talent. If there’s an open mic, talent showcase, karaoke, spoken word—whatever it is, use that to hone your craft. Perform whenever and wherever you can. Do it at all costs,” Yamin said.

Joining Yamin Saturday is Fairfax-based alt-rock band emmet swimming, who will warm up the stage. Other attractions at the block party include vendor booths; discounts and prizes at the 15 participating retail stores; balloon sculptors; airbrush art; face painting; and much more. Food offerings include an “American Classics” booth where malts, shakes, hamburgers and hot dogs abound, as well as Thai fare from the Faang Thai Restaurant and Bar. Adults age 21 and older can grab a cold beer to enjoy with dinner. All proceeds from food sales and from the beer garden will benefit Loudoun Habitat for Humanity.

Admission to the event is free to all. The Village at Leesburg’s summer block party runs from 5:30-9 p.m. July 17.

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