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Posted at 12:43 PM ET, 09/10/2008

Festival Frenzy

By Julia Beizer

You may think kilts are funny, but the Scottish Games are no joke. Competitor Harvey Barkauskas, from Canada, threw a 28-pound iron ball 67 feet. (James A. Parcell/The Washington Post)

One of the busiest weekends of the year is coming up: Saturday and Sunday bring a number of outdoor community fairs, concerts and art exhibitions. Here's a quick take on what to expect at each celebration -- find more information on when and where by clicking on the links at the top of each listing.


Community Festivals

Arts on Foot -- Saturday, Sept. 13
Overview: Sixteen years ago, this festival was founded to lure people into Penn Quarter, which was hardly the lively cultural playground it is today. Even so, this annual fest still shows off the best food and art the neighborhood has to offer. The outdoor part of the market is centered at the intersection of 7th and F streets Northwest, but venues across the neighborhood participate with tours, performances and kid-friendly activities.
Eat: The food here is the best you'll find at any festival this weekend. Nearby restaurants like Rasika, Indebleu, Occidental, Ceiba, Ella's, District ChopHouse and McCormick & Schmick's offer sample sized portions of house specialties for $1-$3. The fest also includes cooking demonstrations by area chefs. For the second year in a row, the festival includes a wine-tasting area. For a $7 admission fee, sample wines from Argentina and California and take in wine seminars in the Hotel Monaco's courtyard.
Play: Families will want to make a beeline for the Post Office Pavilion, where a juggler and a clown will be entertaining. Kids can also chalk outside the MLK Library, make a necklace at the Bead Museum or build a boat model at the Navy Memorial.
See: Check out tap dancing, Indian dancing and stage combat performances on the main stage at F and 6th streets. The Warner and Woolly Mammoth theaters will be giving backstage tours, and artist studios located in a renovated building at 923 F St. will be open to the public.
Buy: Seventy-nine photographers, painters and crafters will be selling their wares at the festival's Art Market. Can't make it to the fest? Half of the art market's vendors will be set up on the sidewalk from noon to 7 p.m. on the Friday before.

Adams Morgan Day -- Sunday, Sept. 14
Overview: This neighborhood has been celebrating its diversity with a fest for 30 years.
Eat: The food here is classic street food. Find barbeque, Salvadoran, Malaysian -- plus booths staffed by local restaurants like Napoleon Bistro and Leftbank.
Play: A teacup ride, magic performance and puppet show are the highlights for kids, but there will also be face painting and crafts.
See: Bands take over two stages that are set up on opposite ends of 18th Street. The sound system is never great -- you mostly just hear noise when you're in between the stages -- so be sure to stake out a spot up front if you're interested in hearing any of these performers. Find dance at Marie Reed; jazz at Kalorama Park; and poetry, folk dances and drumming circles at the intersection of 18th and Euclid.
Buy: Arts on Belmont, the festival's artistic marketplace off the 18th Street strip, showcases metalwork, glasswork, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry and photography.

Takoma Park Folk Festival -- Sunday, Sept. 14
Overview: This family-friendly fair's massive performance schedule sets it apart.
Eat: As you might expect from Takoma Park's legendary crunchiness, vegetarians can chow down. African, Asian, Pakistani, West Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine is available.
Play: Folksingers and storytellers delight children on the Grassy Nook stage, but more restless kiddos can participate in bean-bag tosses and play table-top mini-golf (with a marble and a stick). Children can also join in the dancing at the Lenore Robinson stage and get temporary tattoos.
See: The entertainment here is all over the map. Folk, instrumental, political, roots rock are among the genres represented, but particular highlights include Afrofunk band Chopteeth, traditional music by the Civil War Comrades, the Jewish music group Alexandria Kleztet and the Bob Dylan tribute show at 5 p.m. on the Seventh Heaven Stage. Learn to shake it on the participatory dance stage, featuring Israeli, Bulgarian, African and swing performances. A capoeira troupe and near Eastern dancers are among the performers on the World Stage.
Buy: Handmade soap, photography, jewlery and mixed-media artwork are among the items available for sale in the juried crafts section of the event.


Cultural Festivals

Virginia Scottish Games and Festival -- Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 13-14
Overview: A celebration of all things Scottish, from hammer throwing to fiddling to sheepherding.
Eat: Vendors sell treats from the British Isles, and, of course, there's a beer tent.
Play: The Scottish Games are true feats of strength, almost all of which involve throwing a heavy object -- a massive rock quarry hammer, 16-pound stones, etc. The sheaf toss involves throwing a stuffed burlap bag over a highbar using a three-pronged hay fork. Other attractions include dance and fiddle contests, bagpipe performances, and herding demonstrations.
See: Feats of strength, a classic British car show, border collies at work, a "Dogs of Scotland" show.
Buy: Vendors offer Scottish woolens, Celtic jewelry, CDs and, of course, kilts.

Washington Ukrainian Festial -- Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 13-14
Overview: The area's Ukrainian population gets together for dancing, beer, and varenyky (pierogies).
Eat: This isn't hard to figure out. Your choices come down to cheese, potato or sauerkraut-stuffed varenyky, various sausages, and holubtsi, a cabbage roll stuffed with meat. Most of the varenyky are homemade, so banish any thoughts of Mrs. T's. And don't forget to visit the beer garden. It's where all the real Ukrainians will be.
Play: Watch traditional dances performed by local groups, listen to live music or take the kids to a fully-stocked children's area. On Saturday night, stick around for the "Outdoor Disco" -- we're expecting the finest cheesy Eastern European dance tunes from dusk until midnight.
See: The highlight of both days is a reenactment of a circa-1650 battle between Cossacks and Turks with "full costumes and horses."
Buy: A marketplace sells all the Ukraine-pride gear you could need, religious icons, books and decorated Easter eggs.


Music and Arts Festivals

Alexandria Festival of the Arts -- Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 13-14
Overview: Hundreds of artists sell their works on King Street in Old Town Alexandria.
What's There to See?: Artists from California to Maine submitted applications for inclusion, and their works include life-size sculptures, abstract paintings, jewelry, ceramics and photographs.
Beyond the Tunes: Spend the day browsing through Old Town's boutiques and grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants.

Kennedy Center Open House Arts Festival -- Saturday, Sept. 13
Overview: The nation's performing arts center throws open its doors for a full day of free entertainment, from ballet to classical music to go-go.
Who's Playing: The National Symphony Orchestra unveils a pop program in the Concert Hall; the Suzanne Farrell Ballet performs Balanchine's "Apollo," among other works; Godfather of Go-Go Chuck Brown adds some hometown flavor with a concert under the stars; Dan Zane makes the kids go wild; Jake Shimabukuro rocks a ukulele -- there are dozens of artists taking 11 stages over 11 hours.
Beyond the Tunes: Kids can examine oboes at the NSO's "instrument petting zoo," learn to dance to Western swing and browse the Washington Opera's props and costumes.

Silver Spring Jazz Festival -- Saturday, Sept. 13
Overview: Now in its fifth year, the Silver Spring Jazz Festival mixes high school ensembles and big-name acts along Ellsworth Drive.
Who's Playing: The Mingus Big Band, which performs the music of the legendary bassist Charles Mingus, headlines -- Post critic Geoffery Himes once called them "the best jazz orchestra in the world." Also on the bill are local smooth-jazz pianist Marcus Johnson, Latin jazz combo Samambaia, vocalist Gail Shipp and saxophonist Yaron Elyashiv. The day starts with a performance by high school jazz ensembles, who engage in an old-school cutting contest.
Beyond the Tunes: Have a bite to eat at a recommended restaurant or grab a drink at a nearby pub.


-- Julia & Fritz

By Julia Beizer  | September 10, 2008; 12:43 PM ET
Categories:  Events, Misc.  
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