An ambitious community festival designed to promote tourism and celebrate the city's identity as an international capital will be held this month in a part of Washington far from the monuments and memorials that are the usual haunts of Washington's visitors, a local community group announced yesterday.
The First Annual Washington D.C. Community Festival was organized as a response to Mayor Marion Barry's drive to promote Washington as a tourist center, according to Betsy Tibbs, president of D.C. Concerned Citizens Caucus Inc., a nonprofit organization that attempts to help senior citizens and disadvantaged youths. The festival is scheduled for July 16 at Fort Slocum Park in upper Northwest Washington. Organizers said in a news conference yesterday that they hoped to attract about 10,000 participants.
"The purpose of the festival is to promote city pride, to encourage neighborhood identity through neighborhood and ethnic festivals and to create more tourism in the upper northwest Washington," Tibbs said. "Our aim is to promote community participation with all segments of the Washington community such as businesses, churches, the government, both the federal and the city, schools and colleges." In addition, Tibbs said, she hopes the festival will help her group raise funds for its own community-based projects through contributions from local businesses and other organizations solicited to be festival sponsors.
The festival will cost between $60,000 and $70,000, Tibbs said. So far, the caucus has raised about half that amount, which includes a $2,500 grant from the D.C. government. The group plans to raise the rest of the money in the form of both monetary contributions and in-kind donations from the nearly two dozen organizations it has asked for support, Tibbs said.
The day-long festival will begin with a motorcade and will feature music, athletic games, and booths offering a wide variety of ethnic foods, organizers said. Entertainment will run the gamut from hair-styling demonstrations to a chess tournament and a food contest.
A job fair will also be held where unemployed youth can learn how to fill out job applications and seek assistance in finding work, Tibbs said.