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At their most basic level, street festivals encourage people to connect with their communities. It can be a neighborhood block party, a celebration of heritage, or an ongoing event that celebrates a group’s shared history. Whichever the case, these festivals offer a perfect excuse to get out of the house and interact with friends and strangers. You never know who you’ll meet at these things: Some years, it’s an enormous pop star; other years, it’s goats and pigs.
Read more from our summer guide here.
June 4, Upshur Street NW
Now in its third year, this Northwest neighborhood celebration focuses on activities for its youngest residents, like craft projects, puppet shows, and storytelling by local artists. Adults can buy vegetables and clothes or pick up promotional materials from any of the dozens of nonprofit organizations that set up shop on Upshur Street. New this summer: a 5K run through the neighborhood and a dog show honoring Petworth’s four-legged residents.
Columbia Heights Day
June 18, 11th Street NW
Grab snacks from local vendors, hear local music, or camp out in the beer tent at this 11th annual neighborhood celebration. While activities for kids in the past were limited to petting zoos and quick art projects, this year will see the field at Harriet Tubman Elementary turned into a full-scale carnival.
Capital Pride Festival
June 12, Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Presented this year by Live! Casino, the annual celebration of the District’s LGBTQ community features national entertainers (Alex Newell of Glee and vocalist Melanie Martinez are booked) and booths highlighting different community organizations. Dance in the street or learn about a new cause at this long-running festival.
June 26, Rhode Island Avenue NE
Local artists share their work and invite community members to collaborate at this annual festival which winds through 20 blocks of Northeast. In addition to checking out art created by their neighbors, attendees can explore small businesses, sample food and drinks, and try out new artistic endeavors.
June 8–12, Euclid Street NW
The Olympics will showcase the sights and sounds of Rio in August, but before that, D.C. residents can go to Park View to learn about the Brazilian state of Bahia. Scheduled activities include drumming workshops, capoeira demonstrations, and plenty of cachaça to sample.