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Barracks Row Fall Festival – Saturday, September 28th

If you love DC’s famously diverse spirit then put Barracks Row Fall Festival on Capitol Hill on your must-do list SaturdaySeptember 28, 2013; festival opens at 11 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m.

The midway includes the oldest post in the Marine Corps, dozens of historic buildings plus forty international restaurants — most with sidewalk cafés for perfect festival viewing.  Llamas, goats and hedgehogs are waiting to meet you at the petting zoo; acrobats from nearby Trapeze School New York will be sailing through the air at treetop height and at 2:45 p.m. there is a performance by the world renowned Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon.

Take Eastern Market Metro then turn down 8th Street, S.E.  There, under the elms, urban adventure hooks up with an All-American small town fair.  At 8th and I Streets, SE, a black-box cook-off starts at 7:00 a.m.  Chefs from all branches of the United States armed forces vie for the Top Chef in the US Military trophy. As the audience looks on culinary creations are developed in cook tents right on Barracks Row then whisked off to sequestered judges.  Announcers give the play-by-play as you cheer for your favorite chef teams.

DC State Fair joins Barracks Row Fall Festival again this year showcasing unique categories: Funkiest- Looking Vegetable Grown in DC, Best Home Brew, Best Bike Accessory, Best Pie, etc.  There are dozens not-to-be-missed DC State Fair contests all day long. This year Barracks Row Fall Festival features over 100 booths, including those of DC State Fair.

Bringing the kids? The freshly renovated Meader Theater, circa 1910, now the National Community Church will play free cartoons so little ones can catch their breaths. Along with the petting zoo there are loads of kid’s activities. Playseum, partnering with the National Community Church, is devising a spectacular Kids Zone.  Older kids can compete in corn hole, shuffleboard and bocce or take in the Labyrinth tent where board game drama unfolds throughout the day.

Watch Chesty, the Marine Corps mascot bulldog out walking; sign up to row with the mysterious Dragon Boats on the river. Demonstrations take place throughout the day at midway booths: Capitol Hill Yoga, Roller Girls and on the event stage where you can help play an electric violin.

As you enter the festival, sign up at Shakespeare Theatre Rehearsal Hall’sArt4All booth to be a contestant in the Fall Festival PhotoChallenge. Dozens of Barracks Row businesses are participating in PhotoChallenge during the festival where contestants will be sent to Barracks Row businesses with the assignment to use a prop provided by each business to create a photo essay with their camera phone. Winners are selected by raffle from among the PhotoChallenge contestants. Meanwhile, inside both tabula rasa and Shakespeare Theatre Rehearsal Hall there will be performances and visual arts on display all day long- including a Musical Instrument Petting Zoo hosted by National Symphony Orchestra.

During the festival the Home of the Commandants and Marine Barracks Washington are both open for docent led tours! From your personal introduction to celebrity chef Paul Prudhomme to listening to the smoke-y blues of DC’s own Marshall Keyes Trio… it’s all about DC, Capitol Hill and a picture-book neighborhood revival named Barracks Row.