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Annual Adams Morgan Day Festival Plans Complete; Set for September 12

By Kristen Barden*

[Note: Photographs accompanying this news story can be viewed in the current issue PDF.]

Eagerly awaited is the 32nd Annual Adams Morgan Day Festival on Sunday, September 12, from 10 in the morning until 7 in the evening. Visitors and locals can choose from a plethora of diverse offerings: five stages and plazas of varied live music, performance, and dance acts, plus artwork, food, services, craft and gift vendors. Popular attractions like the Dance Plaza and Kid’s Fair return, along with new features added to this year’s festival which showcase cultures and diversity.

Adams Morgan Main Street Group, assisted by many volunteers, organizes this annual festival known for celebrating international cultures, cuisine, arts, music, and bringing visitors to local and indie business storefronts. New elements this year will include a Health Pavilion and a Pet Zone welcoming four-legged visitors to the festival. Sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, the Health Pavilion showcases yoga and fitness to clinics and personal health to holistic and positive lifestyle to sports and spas. The Pet Zone features services, products, green pets and pet health grouped together on 18th Street’s Marie Reed tennis court, complete with a nearby doggie wading pool.

The Green Pavilion, sponsored by Washington Gas, DC Department of the Environment and Zip Car, will be a tented area on the Marie Reed School’s 18th Street plaza showcasing all things green. There will be found vendors specializing in planet-friendly items and services, such as design and installation of solar systems for home and office, tree planting and care, energy-saving remodeling, renewable energy, energy and water conservation, personal care, organic food, home products, and recycled furniture. Green media partners are Skincando and Grassfed Media.

Longtime favorites, the Florida Avenue and Columbia Road live music stages at each end of 18th Street will again be offering diverse performances throughout the day. Florida Avenue stage coordinator Pablo Grabiel is producing Latin and World music, from Irish to Reggae and in-between, with the popular salsa competition at 3 p.m. The Columbia Road stage, coordinated by Kat Hansen, will be hosting groups with American music roots and beyond, including rock, soul, and Afro pop –- maybe even a Grammy-nominated act.

A Global Community of Cultures is the recurring theme of the festival, sponsored by the Adams Morgan Partnership and PNC Bank. “It highlights a message that creativity comes from the synergy of diverse cultures and applauds celebrating together, a special quality of the Adams Morgan Day Festival,” says Lisa Duperier, President of Adams Morgan Main Street.

“Arts on Belmont,” sponsored by Harris Teeter, opens the festival at 10 a.m. with diverse works of 45 artisans and with explanation by the artists. Coordinated by Avner Ofer, the shady residential side street hosts original works in a variety of media. Visitors can meet collectors and artists and browse high quality items from contemporary to traditional, including fine art and sculpture, crafts, jewelry, and photography.

At Kalorama Park on Columbia Road, with a slower feel, “Jazz in the Park” will be presenting a great lineup, ranging from individual and group to traditional and modern. Here one will find a shady retreat from sun and crowds, with a grassy area to sit down on and take in the music.

Retail stores in Adams Morgan will, as customary every year, be open for business, as will the restaurants and sidewalk cafés. Local businesses such as Himalayan Heritage, Mixtec, Tibet Shop, Smash, and Mint Fitness also take part showcasing their offerings along with the vendors.

Sponsored by Bank of America, the Cultural Stage is being upgraded this year with a showmobile stage on the Marie Reed school ball field. Celestino Zapata returns as the coordinator and will be featuring a mix of musical genres, theater, dance, and cultural performances, including the students from the famed local Adams Morgan Sitar Center. The nearby Kid’s Fair at Marie Reed school will offer free activities and games for children of all ages and a family area that includes a rock climbing wall, obstacle course and prizes. “Chalk 4 Peace” allows kids and adults to create personal sidewalk art embodying themes of peace and love.

Always a popular collector’s item, the commemorative Festival T-shirt will be available throughout the festival area. The interactive Dance Plaza will be located at Marie Reed School near the Green, Health and Pet Pavilions. Sponsored by Safeway, watch or join in with diverse cultures such as the all female Brazilian Batala Drummers and Dancers or the Malcolm X Drummers. Bolt Bus, DC Lottery, Hilton Washington, and Comcast are also festival sponsors.

According to Executive Director Janet Lugo-Tafur of the Main Street Group, “We could not do the festival without many hardworking local volunteers who donate their time and organize vendors, layouts, work on petition signatures, stages and plazas, and execute the actual ‘day of’!” Volunteer opportunities include working at stages, pre-festival activities, and ‘day of’ and breakdown. To volunteer, contact Volunteer Coordinator Sheray Wright at: [email protected]. Also visit; for general information about the dynamic neighborhood,

Adams Morgan Main Street originated a festival layout which leaves the business storefronts accessible and visible, and shows off the local small-scale architecture. For more information, call (202) 232-1960. Visitors are encouraged to use Metrorail, Metrobus and the Circulator bus. Limited parking will be available at The Park at Adams Morgan, the former Security Storage and now a five-level parking garage at 1711 Florida Avenue).

*Kristen Barden, originally from Upstate New York, has been a DC resident for 16 years, and is the Executive Director of the Adams Morgan Partnership BID, and formerly a DC Council staffer.

Copyright (c) 2010 InTowner Publishing Corp. & Adams Morgan Main Street Group. All rights reserved.