Playful Regression: FART in D.C.



ALLISON FEIGEN got a few startled stares on the Metro a few weeks ago when she had an unexpected run-in with a familiar face.

“Someone had recognized me from an event,” explained the 23-year-old. “It was a little funny to say, ‘Oh, I met you at FART.’ That was kind of awkward.”

FART stands for Faux Athletic Recreational Tournaments — gatherings in which adults play games most of us remember from the playground: Connect Four, shuffleboard and even four square.

From that blithe spirit came the group’s cheeky name. “The thought was ‘FART’ or ‘FART in D.C.’ is something you can remember,” said group president Dave Band, 29.
Since founding FART in September, Band and his board of directors — four close friends ranging in age from 26-29 — have been steadily planning monthly activities. They’re starting their spring season April 18 with a citywide game of hide and seek ($15 donation, Fartindc.org for details).

According to Band, the inspiration for FART grew out of D.C.’s kickball leagues, whose participants often unwind after games by packing local watering holes like Adams Mill Bar & Grill or Kelly’s Irish Times.



“I had played on a kickball team and a bocce league,” Band said. “Initially, playing kickball was this interesting concept, like adults are playing children’s games. [Now,] it’s not really a creative choice since so many people do it.”

It’s tough to match the creative lengths to which Band and his merry batch of brainstormers will go to gin up a rollicking good time.

“The next big idea coming down the pike is we want to do a FART-Float-Tah-Tah,” he said. “We’d take different blowup floats and find some body of water in D.C. that we’re allowed to have people race in pool floats. I’m not sure if that’s possible. It seems like it might be difficult to get [permission from] the National Park Service to use the Reflecting Pool.”

The esprit de corps found in other sports leagues is still a big part of FART, as are happy hours, such as the fete at the Hawk ‘N Dove (5:30-8 p.m., 329 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, 202-543-3300) that’s scheduled to follow Saturday’s hide and seek event.

And there’s an extra layer of goodness to these outings: All of FART’s proceeds benefit local charities ranging from Bread for the City to the Capital Breast Care Center.

It’s this mix of camaraderie and do-goodery that’s made 24-year-old Taylor Leake a FART fan.

“Going out and meeting new people was the first attraction,” he said. “But the fact that they’re trying to do something for the community and donating to causes is what has me coming back.”

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Clinton Yates · April 14, 2009