Dragon Boat Festival
May 21 to 22, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Thompson Boat Center
2900 Virginia Ave. NW
The Dragon Boat Festival is an annual, two-day event now in its 15th year. Held along the Potomac River, this festival includes not only dragon boat racing but also cultural exhibitions and craft demonstrations. Dragon boat racing is an ancient Chinese tradition that dates back to 278 B.C. As the legend goes, Chinese poet Qu Yuan committed suicide in a form of protest and, in his honor, fishermen rowed their boats quickly around the body in order to disturb the water and stop fish from eating it. Originally an act in honor of Yuan, dragon boat racing has become both a cultural and athletic tradition. Events at the festival include an eye-dotting ceremony to “awaken” sleeping dragons, a lion dance to symbolize courage and wisdom and zhong zi, leaves stuffed with rice and various fillings, in the spirit of dragon boat racing.
Alexandria Food and Wine Festival
June 25, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Oronoco Bay Park
Alexandria, Va. 22314
The Alexandria Food and Wine Festival, also known as Vine on the Waterfront, features local restaurants and food purveyors during a lively afternoon of live music and eating. The festival focuses on local vendors and draws an attendance of more than 10,000 people. In addition, the festival features a contest between restaurants. The competition requires restaurants to create 3-ounce tastings of an appetizer, main course or dessert dish. Live music featuring Justin Trawick and the Common Goods, the Allan Scott Band and a children’s corner with a moon bounce and art activities make this event friendly for all ages.
DC Jazz Festival
In its 11th year, the D.C. Jazz Festival aims to provide educational and enlightening jazz performances for students and adults alike in the Washington, D.C. area. The “Meet the Artist” series includes a meet and greet with a jazz artist followed by a concert. The jazz education initiative targets young people and partners with groups such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington and the Phillips Collection. Jazz ’n Family Fun Days, held in June, also help celebrate a combination of the visual arts and lively jazz music through storytelling activities, art workshops and an instrument petting zoo.
Smithsonian Folklife Festival
June 29 to July 4, July 7 to 10
This free festival sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute is an annual summer event by the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. This year’s festival will feature Basque Country culture in an increasingly changing world. In celebration of cultural traditions around the world, the Folklife Festival features daily music, dance performances, cooking tutorials, storytelling and cultural discussion. In addition, festivalgoers will be able to learn special phrases in the Euskara language, listen to Basque poetry and taste cider and wine. Evening concerts are also cultural, and performers include the Biotzetik Basque Choir and the Korrontzi folk.
24th Annual Giant National Capital Barbecue Battle
June 25 to 26
Pennsylvania Ave., Ninth and 14th St., NW
This barbeque battle benefits United Service Organizations of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore and The Capital Area Food Bank. Myron Mixon and Tuffy Stone from the TV show “BBQ Pitmasters” will be in attendance alongside cookbook authors and barbeque experts. Food will be prepared by some of the best barbeque restaurants in the country at the Taste of Giant Sampling Pavilion. Live music will feature the Rising Sun Reggae Band and The Muddy Crows. Other entertainment includes the Nathan’s Hot Dog Competition.
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