9 things to do in the D.C. area on the weekend of Aug. 22-24

August 21

 The weekend’s best in nightlife, music and art. For even more, check out Nightlife Agenda.


Jousting is part of the fun -- partly because it tends to end better than it does on "Game of Thrones" -- at  the annual Maryland Renaissance Festival  in Crownsville. (Photo by Matt McClain for The Washington Post)

Friday: With the release of their fourth album, "Libation," Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars continue to prove that they're more than just an irresistible story. The musicians met in refugee camps after war drove them from Sierra Leone and became the subject of an award-winning 2005 documentary. Hear the band's newest material, an exuberant blend of highlife, soukouss, reggae and soul, on the Black Cat's main stage; doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are $20.

Friday-April 12: The National Portrait Gallery's newest exhibition, "Portraiture Now: Staging the Self" explores the evolving sense of self portrayed by Latino artists through portraiture. Artists including David Antonio Cruz, Carlee Fernandez and Maria Martinez-Canas employ props, theatricality and artistic staging to reveal seminal moments from their histories.

Saturday: It's hard to believe that Washington's favorite four-legged resident is about to turn 1. Pay a visit to the National Zoo on Saturday and celebrate Bao Bao's birthday with the (increasingly) giant panda cub. Kids can sign a card for the birthday girl, and there will be plenty of other activities and treats scattered throughout the zoo from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Saturday-Oct. 19:  The time is nigh for horns of ale. The Maryland Renaissance Festival is everyone's favorite occasion to dress up in period costume and reenact characters from "Game of Thrones" -- which has nothing to do with the medieval or Renaissance periods, but that won't stop fans of House Stark. The festival is open weekends through Oct. 19 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. $17-$22; $15-$19 for age 62 and older; $7-$9 for children ages 7-15. But Saturday and Sunday, children 11 and younger are free.

Saturday-Monday: The tap dance prodigy who won the 1996 Tony Award for best choreography for Broadway's "Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk," Savion Glover, brings his heel-clicking skills to the Howard Theatre with shows Saturday, Sunday and Monday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35-$55.

Saturday: Miranda Lambert is reliably one of the summer's best concerts; this time, the sassy country singer brings her Platinum tour -- a country tour with rock-show theatrics --  through Jiffy Lube Live. Tickets are $29.25-$54.


Miranda Lambert hits Jiffy Lube Live. (Photo by Randee St. Nicholas)

Saturday: Trillectro, the District-born festival that connects the dots between electronic dance music and new-wave hip-hop is heading into its third year and to a new venue — the festival grounds at RFK Stadium, a move intended to make room for its growing fan base. Rap up-and-comers such as Big Sean; “Versace”-loving trio Migos; and trap DJ Baauer, whose “Harlem Shake” spawned a zillion clicks, top the eclectic bill. Tickets are $49-$130. 

Saturday Sunday: The Capital Dragon Boat Regatta attracts teams from throughout the East Coast to paddle along the Washington Channel in what has become a summer tradition in the Washington area. Guided by the cadence of a pace-setting drummer, the 20-person boats gliding across the river is a sight to behold. Races begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 4 p.m. at the Southwest Waterfront, Water and Seventh streets SW.

Sunday: Sunday afternoons in August were made for booze and bocce – and, if you believe City Dogs Rescue, adorable, adoptable puppies. The Dogs and Tails happy hour on Vinoteca's patio will feature adoptable foster dogs, special cocktails, punch, a cookout and a bocce tournament. It's all for a good cause: Donate $10 to City Dog Rescue and you'll get happy hour prices from 4 to 8 p.m. Vinoteca will donate $1 from every glass of punch and hot dog to City Dog Rescue. Entry to the bocce tournament costs $25 for a team of four players, with proceeds also benefiting your four-legged friends.

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Maura Judkis · August 21