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Dupont East’s 17th Street Neighbors Gearing Up for 6th Annual Celebration

Accompanying images can be viewed in the August 2015 issue PDF

By Bill McLeod*

The annual 17th Street Festival is a community-building event celebrating the shops, restaurants, and services of 17th Street, along with vendors in the Art Zone, Pet Zone, as well as along the street. Rain or shine, the event will take place on Saturday, September 12th between 12 noon and 6 p.m.

As during past festivals, there will be an entertainment stage featuring, among other presentations, a rock band, dance troupe and drag performances throughout the afternoon.

Among the 100 vendors, there will be more than 60 local artists displaying everything from fine art to jewelry, ceramics to crafts, and every creative item in-between. Other vendors will include area nonprofit organizations, politicians, and local entrepreneurs and businesses.

As a result of the recent field renovation at Stead Park, the Kids Zone will be held at that very central location, with easy access by way of the Church Street extension next to JR’s Bar & Grill. In partnership with Friends of Stead Park, the Kids Zone will have activities, games, and amusements throughout the afternoon.

The Pet Zone, sponsored by The Cheeky Puppy, will offer pet supplies as well as the opportunity to adopt a pet through the Washington Animal League.

Unlike other DC festivals, the 17th Street’s does not have food vendors. Surprising to some, the goal of the festival is to draw people to the corridor and show off the 16 restaurants, most with outdoor cafés. And, every year, the restaurants are packed with people stopping for lunch, taking a break with a drink, or those hungry for an early dinner.

More than 100 volunteers will be staffing the festival. Set up starts at 6 a.m. and will continue until noon assisting vendors with their wares. Then the festival is in full swing until 6 p.m. And then it is breakdown. While it sounds like a long day, we break up the volunteer shifts into three slots so everyone gets to enjoy the day. (For those who would like to participate, volunteers are especially needed at the end to assist with breakdown of the site when everyone is weary. Email volunteer@dupontcircle.biz.)

The festival is so expensive to produce with permit fees, police, tenting, and more; it would be impossible to bring about without our sponsors, and more sponsors would be most welcome. For those in a position to add their sponsorship, their business or organization’s logo will be featured on the festival’s website, Facebook, the event’s tee shirt, and on the stage. This is a huge undertaking and it takes many supporters.

The 17th Street Festival is organization by Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets, with assistance from Lee Granados, festival founder. To learn more, visit www.17thstreetfestival.org to register as a vendor, or www.DupontCircleMainStreets.org to learn more about HDCMS.

*Bill McLeod is the Executive Director of Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets.

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