Summer is coming to an end. The school year is starting again and pumpkin spice is beginning to sneak its way back into almost everything, so Fall must be around the corner. (Fall officially begins on September 22nd.) This month, we can enjoy a prolonged summer at a few festivals and Labor Day celebrations.
Many DC neighborhoods are hosting festivals celebrating what makes their communities special. There are also several opportunities to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. As the summer comes to a close, don’t forget to check out our Ultimate Guide to Summer Fun for ideas on how to make the most of what is left of the season.
DC Area Moms was established to build a sense of community among all moms in the DMV. It is with this care and concern for everyone in our communities that we encourage you to follow the ever-changing COVID protocols of the venues and events you attend as you enjoy these last days of summer. We hope you find many ways to safely enjoy time with your family as the summer comes to an end.
August 27 – October 23
This annual festival, which draws huge crowds every year, will transport you back to 1536. You will wander among knights, princesses, fairies, minstrels, and more at this craft show/festival/cosplay opportunity. Visitors will be entertained by over 200 performers. There is fair food and ale. Little ones can play in the free children’s area that includes a pirate ship. Tickets are required and advance purchase is suggested. Refer to the event website for all sorts of information that will make your experience more enjoyable.
August 31 – September 4
The 18th Annual DC JazzFest will feature an impressive lineup of performers, beginning with Kurt Elling on opening night. Festival experiences will include in-person performances at various locations around DC, up-close-and-personal “Meet the Artist” conversations, and the DCJazzPrix international jazz band competition Finals live at Union Stage. See the event website for information regarding tickets, schedules, and health and safety protocols.
September 2 – 5
For 68 years, the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, which was started in 1955 as a way of raising funds to build a Youth Center, has delighted adults and kids of all ages. This year, carnival games and rides are back! Attendees will also be able to enjoy the annual parade, a 15K and fun run, musical performances, and Bingo. Those with a competitive spirit can take part in a variety of competitions including corn hole, water races, sack races, egg toss, a children and teen pet show, pie eating contest, and much more. Please check the website for an updated schedule and its Facebook page for the most up to date information.
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
The National Book Festival returns to the Convention Center this year with the theme, “Books Bring Us Together” and a litany of in-person activities and author talks. The featured authors this year include Sabaa Tahir, Nick Offerman, Janelle Monáe, Nyle DiMarco, and Geraldine Brooks. Check out the event website for its full schedule as well as a list of this year’s participating authors. According to FAQ’s, tickets may be required and will be available to the public at no charge. More details on ticketing will be available closer to the date of the Festival. Subscribe to the Festival blog for updates.
West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol
The National Symphony Orchestra’s annual Labor Day Concert is returning to the West Lawn of the Capitol this year. The concert is free and no ticket is required. Seating is first-come, first-served.
The parade returns to Kensington’s annual Labor Day celebration this year! The parade will include loads of entertaining acts such as marching bands, floats, equestrian show groups and more. Visitors to the festival will enjoy the food and drink vendors and other family-friendly activities along Armory Avenue. The parade and festival will both kick off at 10am. Check out the festival website for more information.
Smithsonian Portrait Gallery
This free event is the first festival that the Portrait Gallery has hosted in two years. Join them in a celebration of art, identity, and creativity. There will be interactive gallery talks and hands-on art workshops. Attendees will be able to enjoy music, art, and a variety of activities for all ages. Registration is not required for this event.
National Children’s Museum
Join the National Children’s Museum as it celebrates its one year anniversary. Since opening in September 2021, the Museum has sparked children’s curiosity with hands-on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) based exhibits, programs, and virtual offerings. The evening’s celebration will include a DJ’d dance party, small bites and drinks, interactive science activities, and more. Tickets, which are available online, are required for attendees age 1 and over.
The Textile Museum
During this Family Day event, held in partnership with the Korean Cultural Center, Korean culture and fashion will be celebrated through activities such as embroidery and loom weaving. There will also be demonstrations of skills including lacemaking, quilting, and spinning. In addition to these fun activities, several Korean musical performances are scheduled, including a K-pop dance performance.
West Potomac Park (Starting Line)
If your family enjoys biking together, you’re sure to enjoy this unique opportunity to bike 20 miles of car-free DC streets. The route will take riders past our area’s iconic monuments and also offer stops along the way to enjoy food and live, local music. Riders age three and over and those of all riding abilities are welcome. In fact, riders under 7 years old can register for free and youth riders can register for half price. Don’t have a bike? Don’t worry! You can rent a bike and helmet to participate in the event. Participants can continue the celebration after the ride at the Finish Festival. The Festival will be held in front of the U.S. Capitol and offer live music, food trucks, and family-friendly activities.
Takoma Park Middle School and Lee Jordan Field
Takoma Park, MD
This free annual event, organized by volunteers, celebrates folk music and the arts. This year, in person performances are back and there is quite a lineup for the festival’s multiple stages. There is also a juried craft show. Check the event website for a schedule of performers and additional event updates.
Adams Morgan Neighborhood
For over forty years, the Adams Morgan Day festival has highlighted the history and the diverse and creative cultures of the neighborhood. It is a family-friendly celebration with music, art, and activities for all ages. Attendance and entertainment are free. The festival’s diverse music lineup is phenomenal and the “Family Fun Zone” will offer kids the opportunity to play soccer, flag football, and other games. Families can watch and participate in demonstrations of dance styles from around the world at Dance Plaza and kids can enjoy Drag Queen Storytime at 11am at Unity Park.
September 15 – October 15
MLK Jr Memorial Library
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Library is giving away craft kits on a first-come, first-served basis. The kit will provide materials to create a papel picado banner and a marigold out of tissue paper. Additionally, it will include book recommendations and other resources. The Library will also recognize Hispanic Heritage Month with a screening of Encanto on September 17th. Both the craft kits and movie screening are intended for children up to 12 years old.
H Street NE (between 3rd and 14th Streets)
Attendees can expect to see a variety of music, dance, youth performers, poets, and fashion shows as they wander the 11 blocks of the festival. There will also be a lot of food options, art vendors, and informational booths. In previous years, there have been children’s music performers, bounce houses, and more family-friendly activities. Check the event website for more information as it is updated.
National Museum of the American Indian
RAYMI, the Andean and Latin fusion band, will entertain audiences during four performances that will commemorate the end of summer. Their music combines traditional Peruvian instruments, such as zampoñas, mosceños, quenas, and tarkas, with contemporary instruments. Peruvian scissor dancers will demonstrate their acrobatic dances during the performances as well. Attendance is free.
September 17 and 18
This event is part of the Fiesta DC Festival celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. The festival and parade are going to be held on September 25th and 26th. However, Experience Guatamala at The Wharf will kick off the fun a week earlier. People are invited to learn about Guatemalan culture and enjoy the tastes of Guatemalan cuisine. This all-day event is free.
September 17 and 18
Joint Base Andrews
Joint Base Andrews, MD
Take the whole family to Joint Base Andrews for a day of high flying fun! Explore a wide variety of aircraft on display and numerous STEAM exhibits. The crowd will be wowed by aerial performances scheduled throughout the day including the Golden Knights (the U.S. Air Force Parachute Team), USAFA Wings of Blue, a Coast Guard Demo, the famous Thunderbirds, and more. This year’s event will celebrate the Air Force’s 75th Anniversary. Please note that attendees will have to park at FedEx Field and then be bused to the Joint Base Andrews flight line. This is a free event and no tickets are required. However, premium seating can be purchased. See website for information about the full schedule, the busing system, prohibited items, and more.
September 17 and 18
John Carlyle Square
This annual art festival is rated as one of the top 100 art shows in Sunshine Artist Magazine. For the 20th year, attendees will be able to peruse juried art from gifted artists in regions from all over the country. Check out the event website for a list of scheduled exhibitors. Admission is free.
September 17 and 18
Mount Vernon Estate
Mount Vernon, VA
Discover the 18th century at the annual Colonial Market & Fair. Mount Vernon’s 12-acre field will be filled with the sights and sounds of the marketplace. Attendees will be able to interact with a variety of colonial artisans selling traditional handcrafted food and wares. There will also be colonial music, crafting, and more fun for the whole family. Admission to the Colonial Market & Fair is included in admission to the Estate. Tickets are available online.
800 Block of Upshur Street NW
A group of volunteer residents organizes this free festival which celebrates “the creativity, diversity, culture, and people of Petworth and its surrounding neighborhoods.” In addition to music, food, and games, attendees can enjoy a dog show and Petworth history storytelling. There will be a Kids Zone hosting a full day of family-friendly activities and music. Check out the event website for a full schedule of events.
Silver Spring Civic Center at Veterans Plaza
Silver Spring, MD
This annual celebration of African heritage is back at the Civic Center at Veterans Plaza. It is the culmination of a number of events promoting African heritage in Montgomery County throughout the month of September. Attendees will be treated to live performances, arts and crafts, African cuisine, and African fashion. This event is free to attend.
National Portrait Gallery
To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, the National Portrait Gallery is teaming up with renowned children’s book publisher Lil’ Libros to host this bilingual event. Visitors will enjoy story times, book signings, live entertainment, and gallery tours. Budding artists can also create their own art inspired by the Lil’ Libros book series, The Life of / La Vida de.
September 24 and 25
Pennsylvania Ave NW between 9th and 14th Streets (Festival)
Constitution Ave NW (Sunday Parade)
Fiesta DC has been celebrating Latino culture for 50 years. This family-friendly annual celebration will feature the Fiesta DC Festival on both Saturday and Sunday. The festival will include entertainment, food vendors, and educational and community information. On Sunday, the “Parade of Nations” will include Native Latino cultural dance troupes as well as civic organizations, schools, and performers. Check out the website for a schedule of performers.
This family-friendly community event is back this year. The day will be filled with fun activities including crafts, musical performances, carriage rides, balloon animals, face painting, and an exercise class. Food and drink will be available, including beer and wine. This event is free, but tickets need to be reserved for all attendees.