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Adams Morgan Day Festival Set for Sunday, Sept. 14

By Janet Lugo-Tafur*

[Note: Photographs accompanying this news story in the print edition can be viewed in the full PDF copy in the Current & Back Issues Archive.]

The real hurricane in DC is the whirlwind of activity by residents and businesses preparing for the 30th anniversary of the Adams Morgan Day Festival. Successfully reorganized by Adams Morgan Main Street in 2004, when the Festival was in danger of being discontinued due to no local organizers stepping forward, the popular cultural street festival now attracts both local residents and patrons from around the metro region.

Festival goers will enjoy a variety of live music and dance acts across four stages and plazas, including interesting and diverse vendors and the unique Dance Plaza and Kids Fair on the Marie Reed school grounds. Months of preparation by the Adams Morgan Main Street Group and its cadre of volunteers creates a festival known for celebrating international cuisine, cultures, diversity, and music. Major sponsors are the Adams Morgan Partnership and PNC Bank.

The Adams Morgan Day Festival, A Global Community of Diverse Cultures,” is the only DC festival operating continuously for 30 years in the same area. Adams Morgan has a rich and vibrant arts and cultural community which is recognized for its diversity in cultures, countries, and indie businesses. The Festival celebrates the creativity that comes from the synergy of diverse cultures.

The popular Dance Plaza, originated by Adams Morgan MainStreet in 2005, is located in front of Marie Reed School. Volunteer Coordinator Sharlene Kavetski has a fabulous line-up planned featuring such groups as Bolivian Folk, Afro-Samba Reggae, Irish Culkin Dancers, Tribal & Oriental belly dancing, Ghana, Cuban, West-African, and the Malcolm X Drummers. Sponsored by Verizon, people watch, learn, enjoy, and some jump up to participate.

The well-known Florida Avenue and Columbia Road live music stages always bookend 18th Street. Volunteer Coordinator Pablo Grabiel picks up the mantle from Jerry Phillips’ 20 successful years, and the line-up includes Brazilian Clube Do Samba, Latin jazz, Salsa, Reggae and Latin tropical fusion groups. The Columbia Stage, coordinated by Volunteer Risikat “Kat” Okedeyi, feature American music roots with Ne’A Posey (soul), Collectors Edition with both Classic jazz and New Orleans Jazz, Head Roc, Domino Team(rock ‘n roll) from Asylum, Improviso from Bossa, and also funk and alternative.

Bank of America sponsors the Cultural Stage on the church steps at Euclid and Columbia Road. Coordinated by Celestino Zapata, it showcases a mix of musical genres, theater, dance, and cultural performances, including the Sitar Center students.

Opening early at 10 am, “Arts on Belmont” with approximately 45 artisans displaying original artwork in a variety of media, lines the shady residential side street. Coordinated by Avner Ofer, and sponsored by Harris Teeter, attendees can expect high quality artisans from contemporary to traditional, including fine art & sculpture, crafts, jewelry, and photography.

The Kid’s Fair sponsored by RCN, includes performances by Kinderman, Blue Sky Puppet Show, and Jake the Magician. Games and activities include Super Large Moon Bounce, Kiddie Jungle Adventure and more, plus face painting, clay sculpture activity, a Bookmobile and big Fire Truck to tour! Jazz Oasis in the Park features family-friendly vendors and such groups as ZeeBop and Lovesome from Tryst.

For the always popular commemorative T-shirt, something special is planned for the 30th anniversary designed by volunteer Erica Morse. This shirt has a wow factor this year, and will be a real collector’s item. Some of the local businesses with logos on the commemorative T-shirts include Chloe, Adams Mill Bar & Grill, Millie ‘n Al’s, and Spaghetti Garden.

A series of seminars will be held for the 30th anniversary: Adams Morgan — A Spur to Innovation and Creativity.” Topics covered include “Incubator of Small Business” (held at Perry’s Restaurant), “Springboard for the Arts and Culture” (held at the Sitar Center),and “Catalyst for Nationally Recognized Non-Profits (held at Mary’s Center).See website for details:

Adams Investment Group, DC Lottery, DC Chartered Health, Safeway, and Comcast are also sponsors. The success of the Festival, however, is due to the efforts of local volunteers who work on petition signatures, vendor layout, stages and plazas, and work the “day of”.. Volunteer opportunities include working at stages, pre-festival activities, and “day of” and breakdown. To volunteer, send an email to Volunteer Coordinator Alyce Martindale at [email protected].

The new Festival layout originated by MainStreet highlights the neighborhood scale architecture and leaves the business storefront façades visible to Festival strollers. Adams Morgan MainStreet appreciates the support shown by the local business and non-profit community who participate in various ways. “We have less revenue by limiting vendors to a single row, and giving discounts and preferences for Adams Morgan businesses and non-profits,” said Chair Lisa Duperier. “More of our businesses stay open who used to close on AMDay because their storefronts formerly were blocked at the curb.”

* Janet Lugo-Tafur, a proud mixture of the Guatemalan and Peruvian cultures, is a DC native and Executive Director of Adams Morgan MainStreet Group.

Copyright (c) 2007 InTowner Publishing Corp. and Adams Morgan Main Street Group. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited, except as provided by 17 U.S.C. §107.