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Adams Morgan Main Street Gearing Up for Annual Adams Morgan Day Festival

Accompanying images can be viewed in the August 2014 issue PDF

By Dwayne Telesford*

As a native Washingtonian, I am only eight years older than the 36-year-old festival known traditionally as Adams Morgan Day. My parents were immigrants from Guyana, South America. They loved bringing me and my four older siblings out for the day to enjoy the rich and diverse cultures on display. My fondest memory was watching the steel drum bands and enjoying the different foods from around the world. On Sunday, September 14th, from mid-morning to seven in the evening, I get to be the festival director and bring my 16-year-old daughter to continue the tradition of this wonderful event.

“One Community. One Love. One People…We Are One” is the ongoing theme of this year’s festival because this event celebrates all cultures together and the creative synergy that comes from that mix.

Adams Morgan Main Street Group, with the help of many dedicated volunteers, organizes this annual festival known for celebrating international cultures, cuisine, arts, music, and bringing visitors to local storefronts. Residents and visitors of Adams Morgan will have a diverse offering of live music, street performances, and dance acts along with artwork, food, services, craft, and gift vendors. And, as customary every year, the shops, restaurants and sidewalk cafés will be open for business.

Longtime favorites, the Florida Avenue and Columbia Road live music stages at each end of 18th Street will be slightly modified as we move the Columbia Road Stage onto the SunTrust Plaza facing 18th street. Also, the stage traditionally bookending at Florida Avenue will now be on the new Marie-Reed soccer field. Headliners will include DC’s own jazz/funk/go-go group, the legendary Chuck Brown Band and internationally renowned jazz pianist Marcus Johnson. The SunTrust Plaza stage will highlight the diverse culture of the neighborhood as Trio Caliente kicks off the performances at 11:30am.

Arts on Belmont opens the festival at 10 a.m. in the 1800 block of that shady side street with 100 artists and artisans showing their paintings, graphics, photography, sculpture, crafts, and jewelry – all available for sale and in all price ranges.

The interactive Dance Plaza, hosted by Cheryl Hardy, has a line-up that will include such acts as the energetic DC Casineros and the famed local Malcolm X Drummers and Dancers. The Dance Plaza has moved from it’s traditional place on the Marie-Reed basketball court to the much more visible corner of 18th and Florida. We expect the Dance Plaza to be bigger and better than ever.

The Kid’s Fair will be located at the Marie-Reed playground with activities and amusements for children and families which will include family fun favorites like face painting, moon bounce and more.

The Green Pavilion makes a comeback on the tennis courts with purveyors of all things “green.” Look for vendors who specialize in green roofs, rain barrels, renewable energy, and water conservation. Also to be found will be organic foods and products for the home designed for enabling sustainable living good practices.

Always a popular collector’s item, the commemorative festival tee shirt will be available throughout the festival area. This year the design was commissioned to Adams Morgan resident and famed artist, Aniekan Udofia (www.aniekanudofia.com). These shirts will go fast as there will only be a limited amount pressed for this special design.

Adams Morgan Main Street has devised a new festival layout which has allowed for an increased number of vendor booths by 60 percent. This will mean so many more diverse and interesting merchants who will delight you with their crafts and art as well as community organizations, new businesses and local political candidates. Though the first round of vendor booth applications has ended, there is still opportunity open for the second round. For more information, call (571) 492-2116 or apply online at www.adamsmorgandayfest.com.

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. We also encourage people to come by bicycle since this year we are introducing a safe and secure Bike Valet on Marie-Reed basketball court.

Volunteers are still needed and opportunities are still available for working at stages, pre-festival activities, and “day of” and breakdown. To volunteer, please apply online by visiting www.adamsmorgandayfest.com or email the volunteer coordinator, John Zottoli, at john.zottoli@gmail.com. Also visit www.AMMainstreet.org for general information about the neighborhood.

*Dwayne Telesford, this year’s festival director, is a native Washington and graduate of St. John’s College High School and Howard University. He is also the Artist Relations Manager for The Capital Jazz Festival/SuperCruise.

Copyright © 2014 InTowner Publishing Corp. and Adams Morgan Main Street Group. All rights reserved.