Monday, April 4, 2016

Cultural and ethnic festivals in the Washington DC area (2016)

Summertime brings a number of local cultural events and ethnic festivals to the Washington, D.C. Metro area. The diversity represented in the area is highlighted during the year through celebration. Here are a few of the upcoming events which will be taking place throughout the region over the next couple of months -

Passport D.C.: This event takes will run from May 1 through May 31. Put together by Cultural Tourism D.C., people can explore D.C.’s diversity and celebrate International Cultural Awareness Month. Enjoy embassy open houses, street festivals, exhibitions, performances, workshops and more. For more information and details about specific dates, you can keep updated on Cultural Tourism D.C.'s website.

Italian Festival: Festa Italiana takes place in Frederick, Md., this year’s festival is being held on June 11, 2016. Visitors can enjoy a day of fun, food, wine and discovery at Rose Hill Manor Park. Celebrating Italian and Italian-American culture and heritage, this event is also raising funds and awareness for Habitat for Humanity of Frederick County. Tickets can be bought online or at the gate, but you’ll get a discount for pre-purchasing your tickets. Family packages are also available – for admission and other information, see the official  website

Smithsonian Folklife Festival: This event has been running since 1967 and every year its theme changes. For 2016, the festival celebrates Basque culture. As customary, the festival spans two weekends - this year's event takes place on June 29-July 4 and July 7 to July 10. For more details, check out the official web page.  

German Festival: The 116th Maryland German Festival takes place on Sat., July 23 and Sun., July 24 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Rd, Timonium. This event features German entertainment, food and drink. There is an admission fee for this event, this year’s prices aren’t listed yet but tickets for last year were as follows: $8 adults, $6 seniors, Active Military $6; children 12 and under are admitted free with a paid adult ticket. 

Peruvian Festivals: This annual event usually takes place in Arlington at the Gunston Arts Center, located at 2700 S. Lang Street. This event honors Peru's day of Independence (July 28th) and features Peruvian dance, music and food. This is an annual event, but the information doesn’t appear to be out yet.

There is also a Peruvian culinary festival on May 28. Now in its 4th year, the Taste of Peru event showcases several expert chefs in the area. It all takes place at the University of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC. 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door, but there is a discount if you buy online.   

African American Heritage Festivals:
The African American Festival in Baltimore runs on July 2 and July 3, 2016. A free festival, there will be entertainment, cultural exhibits, health screenings, contests and more, along with 150 vending booths and attractions. The entertainment is not listed yet, so stay tuned. The festival takes place at Camden Yards Sport Complex on lots B and C between Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium, 1101 Russell St., Baltimore.

This year's African American Culture Arts Festival takes place in Manassas at Metz Middle School on Sat., Aug. 6, 2016 and will run from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. For 24 years this festival has been taking place in Prince William County on the first Saturday in August. According to the official website, this year's event will feature more than 125 exhibitors, entertainment (see schedule) a classic car show, games for the kids and much more. Admission to the festival is free.

Irish Festival:

This annual event hosted by Ballyshaners takes place on Sat., Aug. 13, 2016. Other than the date, current information is not available at the time of this writing. In years’ past the festival has taken place at Alexandria's waterfront park (1A Prince Street). Visitors can experience Irish culture including arts and crafts, food, refreshments, cultural dance and entertainment. This is an event open to all ages and entrance to the event is free.

Pakistan Festival: Approaching almost 30 years, this increasingly popular event usually takes place at Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville, Va. In 2014 and 2015 it took place in August.  Visitors can expect lots of traditional Pakistani food, folk music and more. Information for 2016 isn’t available just yet, but you can keep updated on the Pakistan Festival USA website.

Annual Cambodian Community Day Festival: This festival will be a celebration of Cambodian culture, showcasing folk and classical dance performances, live music, traditional foods and entertainment for the kids. The festival takes place on Sun., Sept. 11, 2016 at the Cambodian Buddhist Temple in Silver Spring, Md. You can learn more about the event on the Cambodian Community Day website.

Other cultural festivals to look out for:

KORUS Festival: This annual event takes place every September and is in its 14th year. In years’ past it was at Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville, but looks like it was moved to Tysons Corner Center last year. Taking place over a weekend, visitors can enjoy a weekend of fun, food, music and more. Far as I can tell, the dates for 2016 haven’t been announced yet, but you can keep up to date with the latest on the event’s Facebook page.

Reston Multicultural Festival: No dates have been announced yet, but this one traditionally also takes place in September. To get an idea of what the festival is about, you can check out last year’s press release. Traditionally, it is an annual event, so likely to be announced in upcoming months. The festival celebrates the diversity represented in the community. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed in attire to represent their own cultural background. There will be entertainment, music, dress, food and anything related to cultural diversity. The event takes place at the Lake Anne Village Center located at 1609-A Washington Plaza in Reston.

The annual Turkish Festival in years’ past takes place at the end of September in Washington, D.C. to culminate Turkish Cultural Heritage Month. The website is not updated for 2016 yet, but you can visit the official page to keep up-to-date to see what’s in store for the festivals 16th year.  

I'm sure I missed a few, but will try to update as I come across new ones. I know there are also several cultural festivals in the Baltimore area throughout the year too. 

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