Written by Kristin Underwood, Program Advisor – Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service
There is always something to celebrate in our nation’s capital. If interning, networking and developing your professional future isn’t enough to throw your own celebration, start here to learn about the best festivals and events for the 2014 summer season. Whether you enjoy an evening listening to poetry or a lively day celebrating arts and culture, DC has something for you.
- Smithsonian Folklife Fest
For one week in June and July, the National Mall is blanked with white tents filled with vendors, historians and culture enthusiast for the Smithsonian Folklife Fest. This year the festival is celebrating the cultures of Kenya and China. Both countries will host simultaneous events with craft shows, dancing, storytelling and more! The event is free to the public, but food and souvenirs from The Marketplace will cost you. Be sure to stop by long enough to appreciate each country’s rich history and culture, starting with the opening ceremonies on Wednesday June 25 at 11 am. The festival dates are June 25-29 and July 2-6.
- Independence Day
As someone who chose to live, learn and intern in the nation’s capital, we suspect some of you have a bit of pride for our country. We know you must be pumped to spend Flag Day AND Independence Day in Washington, DC.
Missed the Flag Day celebration? The fourth of July is sure to be a blast as well. Watch the parade, listen to the concert and wave the American flag as we celebrate the independence of our great nation. Look out for our post later for the guide to a successful Independence Day in Washington, D.C.
- Screen on the Greens
DC hosts a variety of outdoor movie showings in many neighborhoods around the city. You almost can’t go one full day without an opportunity to watch a free outdoor movie with your friends. Grab a blanket and a picnic dinner and you are set for the evening!
You don’t have to travel to the Big Easy to hear good jazz tunes. DC hosts multiple occasions for tourists and residents to enjoy jazz music. From soul to swing, there is something for everyone. From June 24-29, the 10th annual DC Jazz Festival puts on more than 100 performances throughout the metro area in just one week. Can’t get enough? Jazz never really stops in the district. Each Friday, the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden hosts “Jazz in the Garden.” Come early and grab a seat by the fountain to enjoy local DC artists as well as famed travelers.
- National Capital Barbecue Battle
The National Capital Barbecue Festival hosted by Safeway is one of the largest and most entertaining BBQ competitions in the U.S. From June 21-22 stop by Pennsylvania Ave. for authentic BBQ, music, cooking demonstrations and more. Guests who arrive early have the chance to win free giveaways and celebrity encounters. A $12 ticket purchased in advance gets you access to taste tests and endless fun! Proceeds from the Battle benefit The Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, DC.
- Food Trucks
A wise man once said, “It’s not a real food truck festival unless they have Korean BBQ.” In the midst of your busy summer, don’t forget to stop and eat at one of DC’s famous food trucks. Farragut Square and Half Street, “Food Truck Fridays” and “Truckeroo” are just two of the food truck celebrations in DC. Follow the food truck fiesta app to search the nearest meals on wheels!
Stay focused on your classes and internships this summer, but don’t forget to take a break every so often to spend time immersing yourself in the new, exciting festivals and events DC has to offer.