Thursday, Sept. 30
Lion Babe at Union Stage: The alternative R&B duo Lion Babe — singer Jillian Hervey and producer Lucas Goodman — released their third album “Rainbow Child” this summer. Hervey’s slightly raspy voice and easygoing delivery of hopeful lyrics combined with Goodman’s often dance-friendly production make for a fun and lively project. “Rainbow Child” confronts the world it was born into — one entrenched in political and pandemic-related uncertainty and angst. Hervey sings, “I’m like Frida Kahlo, making art my motto,” on a song titled after the Mexican artist, with an infectious flute and groovy electric guitar. The album opener is the more subdued “Rainbows” feat. Ghostface Killah. Hervey proclaims, “I see the colors show, I know which way to go,” and later Ghostface un-ironically diagnoses, “We need to hug more.” The sentimental lyric works because he’s right. 8 p.m. $25.
Smoke and Barrel 10th anniversary: What were you drinking 10 years ago? Smoke and Barrel is turning back the clock to celebrate a decade in business, with the Adams Morgan craft beer bar pouring a “2011-ish draft list” and “very 2011 featured cans” as well as pickleback shots. Don’t want to get nostalgic about Avery, Flying Fish and Fat Tire with old beer nerds? Try $10 barbecue plates and $10 all-you-can-drink Narragansett specials. There’s also some good news: The business contracted from two floors to just the basement in 2020, with reports that the street-level dining room was closing. But this week, the bar says, the upstairs is reopening. 5 p.m. to midnight. Free.
Oktoberfests: Oktoberfest is in full swing, with a full slate of community festivals and beer tappings this weekend. But why enjoy the spirit of Gemütlichkeit for one day when you can stretch it out longer? Silver Spring’s Silver Branch brewery, which specializes in old-world beers, takes Oktoberfest to a different level with 12 days of competitions, polka music, pretzels, brats and, of course, Oktoberfest beers, beginning Thursday. NoMa’s Wunder Garten kicked off its Oktoberfest celebrations back on Sept. 17, but this Thursday is the first of two Pridetoberfest parties, organized in conjunction with the Capital Pride Alliance. Look for drag performances, an LGBTQ vendor pop-up, games and other fun from 4 to 11 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 1
Rosslyn Fall Cinema in Gateway Park: Almost all outdoor film series are held during the summer, but the Rosslyn Business Improvement District likes screening movies when there’s a chill in the air. The fall edition of Rosslyn Cinema, held on Fridays during October, includes both family fare (“Coco,” Oct. 8) and murder mysteries (“Knives Out,” Oct. 15). The series kicks off with a local story: “Remember the Titans.” The screening in Gateway Park includes a beer, wine and sangria bar, beginning at 5 p.m., as well as food trucks. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis, with no reservations required. Movie begins at sundown. Free.
Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival at Great Country Farms: With 12 acres of games, slides and giant jumping pillows, plus weekend pig races and a pumpkin-eating dinosaur, Bluemont’s Great Country Farms is one of the area’s most popular fall family destinations. Advance tickets are suggested for weekends, as certain times do sell out and walk-up visitors will not be admitted, but the farm says they are not required on weekdays. Also, admission includes access to the pick-your-own pumpkin patch, but pumpkins are sold separately. Through Oct. 31. $10-$16. Free for children 2 and younger.
March on Washington Film Festival: The annual social justice film festival includes 20 feature and short films centered around the theme “Civil Rights and Environmental Justice for All,” which are all screened online, as well as in-person discussion panels and special events held in locations such as Union Market and Eaton Workshop. Highlights include a presentation on the work of Pauli Murray and a tribute to Fred Gray and his work as a civil rights attorney. A lineup of virtual events focus on emerging student filmmakers and young activists. The festival, now in its ninth year, focuses the impact of climate change on communities, the fight for environmental justice and the changemakers in office and beyond. True to its mission, the festival also offers everyone a chance to access the films and events with a pay-what-you-can pass. Through Monday. $79-$149; $19 for students and educators.
Oktoberfests: The Frederick Oktoberfest returns to the Frederick Fairgrounds on Friday and Saturday with local beers, bratwurst platters and live music, plus a kids zone on Saturday with crafts and performers. As always, wearing authentic lederhosen or a dirndl is good for free admission both days. Most beer drinkers associate Guinness with stout, not festbier, but the Guinness Open Gate Brewery is trying to prove them wrong, tapping five German-style beers, including Helles lager and Berliner weiss, and serving a German-inspired menu Friday through Sunday. German bands, including the Edelweiss band, provide the soundtrack at the Halethorpe brewery. There’s no cover charge.
Georgetown French Market: More than 25 boutiques and cafes take over Wisconsin Avenue’s sidewalks during this 18-year-old tradition, with numerous discount racks for the early-rising bargain hunters, and outdoor tables where you can pause for coffee and snacks during weekend browsing. Watch out for the strolling mime. Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Free.
Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrations in Franklin Square: With Franklin Square finally reopened to the public after extensive renovations, the DowntownDC Business Improvement District is hosting a series of weekly celebrations of Hispanic Heritage Month in the park. The first, on Oct. 1, features salsa and bachata DJ Emerzive and live music from Izis La Enfermera De La Salsa. Upcoming weeks include free salsa lessons and mambo DJs (Oct. 8) and dance demonstrations and bachata and merengue lessons (Oct. 15). 5:30 to 8 p.m. Free.
Look Hear Gallery at Dupont Underground: The “Look Hear Gallery” holds an exhibition of images taken by D.C.-based photographers Shedrick Pelt and Richard Williams, whose work highlights the beauty and intimacy of Black culture in the city, as well as how gentrification has impacted communities. Williams, who was born in D.C. and raised in Prince George’s County, captures Black family in various environments, while Pelt, a native of Alabama who has spent the last five years in the District, has used journalism to illustrate stories of community. Opening night is 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Exhibition runs through Sunday. $5-$8.
Saturday, Oct. 2
Art on the Avenue: Hundreds of artists — painters, photographers, jewelers, potters, clothing designers, printmakers, woodworkers and many more — flock to the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria for the annual Art on the Avenue festival, which shuts down 10 blocks of Mount Vernon Avenue. It’s easy to spend hours browsing their wares, but the 26-year-old festival has much more, including restaurants and food stands, multiple stages packed with live music, an annual pie contest and family-friendly activities, such as stuffing scarecrows and painting pumpkins. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free.
Virginia Wine Festival: Unlimited tastings of Virginia wines and ciders are the reason to visit this festival at One Loudoun in Ashburn, now in its 45th year. Beyond wine, the day also includes a Virginia oyster pavilion, food trucks, local beers and live music. If you find a new favorite wine, bottles can be purchased to take home. Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. $15-$69.
Oktoberfests: Saturday officially sends Oktoberfest into overdrive. In addition to the weekend-long events (see above), it’s a day packed with community festivals and fresh beer. The running of the sausage dogs is a tradition at Oktoberfest at the Wharf, where the Wiener 500 Dachshund Dash is projected onto a 17-foot video screen for a crowd of cheering fans. Other Oktoberfest activities between 2 and 5 p.m. include a DJ performance on District Pier, and a stein hoisting contest for those of drinking age. The Roost, the food hall from the owners of ChurchKey and the Sovereign, is hosting a party focusing on interesting and hard-to-find Bavarian beers, such as Schönram, Hofstetten and Rothaus, served in large souvenir mugs (while supplies last). The Red Apron butcher shop has lager-infused sausages, a “German Potato Salad” poutine, and other specials from noon to 5 p.m.
In Virginia, the town of Vienna closes historic Church Street on Saturday for its annual block party-style Vienna Oktoberfest, filling the area with vendors, a German band, Latin pop music, family performers and children’s activities in addition to a beer garden (with brews from Vienna’s Caboose) and a food court.
On the brewery side, Saturday is Port City’s annual Oktoberfest, with five German-style beers on tap in Alexandria, “Oktoberfest-inspired” food from the Haute Dogs food truck, a costume contest and a stein-holding competition from noon to 5 p.m. The annual Frogtoberfest at Sterling’s Rocket Frog includes a “Best Stein” contest — BYO interesting glassware — and stein-holding competition, in addition to German-inspired food and beer.
Georgia Avenue Open Streets: If you’ve ever tried to imagine a car-free D.C., it might look something like the annual Georgia Avenue Open Streets, which is closing three miles of the major thoroughfare for five hours on Saturday morning and afternoon. Instead of speeding cars, the street will be filled with yoga and fitness classes; blues, Colombian and go-go bands; drum circles; family activities; double Dutch and skating zones; and the Howard University Marching Band. It’s easy to hop from activities to brunch to browsing local boutiques. You’ll probably leave wondering why it only lasts for five hours, and why pedestrians are prioritized more often. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free. A full map and schedule is available on the Open Streets website.
Adams Morgan PorchFest: Adams Morgan welcomes back its annual PorchFest, with more than 60 local bands turning 20 neighborhood porches, patios and stoops into stages. The stacked schedule kicks off at 2 p.m., with performances from groups such as Airport 77s and Bob Schwartz Quartet. The event headquarters is located at the corner of Columbia Road and Adams Mills Road NW, in the plaza of the former BB&T Bank, where you can find event maps and wristbands as well as discounts at local businesses. 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Free.
Tabla’s first anniversary: The Georgian restaurant celebrates its one year anniversary with a party that brings the flavors of the Caucasus to Park View. Stop by the restaurant to try mini bites of the popular ajaruli khachapuri and Georgian-spiced fries, and pick up a wristband to experience Tabla’s Georgian wine tasting stations. Complimentary gifts are also available, as well as certificates for free khachapuri. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free.
Umpukan at Metrobar: The art collective Samasama holds a Filipino American history month celebration called Umpukan. Samasama teams up with the Kam & 46 food truck for the event, which includes local vendors, art and jewelry for sale and OPM+ (Original Pilipino Music+) with Les the DJ. 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Free.
Heartless Bastards at Union Stage: Heartless Bastards owes its name to a wrong answer to a bar trivia question about Tom Petty’s band. Frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom found the incorrect response of “Tom Petty and the Heartless Bastards” funny and thus, Heartless Bastards was born. After several lineup changes the past few years, Wennerstrom sees the newest album, “A Beautiful Life,” released Sept. 10, as more of a solo effort. Hitting on similar existential musings as Fiona Apple’s “Fetch the Boltcutters,” the album oozes a hope for peace and for a happier, more equitable future, while recognizing you can’t control how life shakes out — set against the effortless grooves the band is known for. “I did it all for love and I’d do again,” she sings on closing track “The Thinker,” a sincere cliche that soars and catches in your throat. Heartless Bastards knows the world isn’t perfect, but insists that we enjoy those perfect fleeting moments to their fullest extent. 8 p.m. $30.
Sunday, Oct. 3
Takoma Park Street Festival: The town’s annual festival marks 40 years in 2021, with dozens of vendors filling Carroll Avenue (in a socially distanced way) selling art, jewelry, clothing and personal care products, among other goods. Take a break from shopping with 18 bands performing across three stages, or browse an outdoor food court featuring local restaurants. Adults can join “the Crawl,” with discounted drinks at bars and restaurants up and down the strip. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free.
Southeast D.C. Porchfest: You’ve heard of pub crawls, but Porchfest is a family-friendly “music crawl” with front porches of D.C. homes serving as stages for local artists. Head to the Penn Branch neighborhood for Southeast Porchfest, which will wind its way past porches and front lawns of homes between 35th and 38th streets SE. Catch such musicians as dream pop singer-songwriter Ari Voxx and the League Music Group, a “GoGoNuWave” band. Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes and bring cash to tip the musicians. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free.
McLean Project for the Arts MPAartsfest: The McLean Project for the Arts is bringing back its MPAartfest for the 15th year, filling the town’s Central Park with mini-galleries highlighting 42 juried contemporary artists; the Children’s Art Walk, with works by local students; live music ranging from swing to steel pans; and food and drink vendors. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free.
Rei Ami at the 9:30 Club: Rei Ami’s silky vocals are a perfect fit for her electro-R&B, surprisingly rocker sound. The University of Maryland alum demands attention in the sharp angles of her songs. On “Dictator,” she growls over a warped bass line, “I’m not your queen, I’m your dictator.” But halfway through the song, there’s a sudden spasm of static noise and the mood morphs into a quiet, guitar-plucked ballad. “You say you love me, but I don’t know,” Rei sings. “You got me wishing I was dead, ’cause you’re a meanie head.” Her new album “Foil” is full of juxtapositions: subversive power anthems that transition into painfully vulnerable ballads, sometimes in the same song, fitting together like perfect puzzle pieces. One of the best songs on the album is “Do it Right,” featuring Portland rapper Aminé, an ambient confession of self-hatred and anxiety. Ami wants to live life to its fullest, but begs you not to forget the cry after the high. 10 p.m.; early show is sold out. $35.
Sheila the Band at DC9: The D.C. trio’s music, a blend of rock-and-roll, R&B, sick instrument solos with powerful vocals, begs to be performed live. Sheila the Band’s 2016 album “We Gon’ Be Alright,” ruminates on love, forgiveness and everything in between. Their new album “Protect Your Heart,” released in July, is about how art is anything and everything you need it to be — from the work you create, to your self-worth and more. The trio — Sha’Air Hawkins, Courtney Tucker and Rhea Tucker — creates music that soothes the soul, critiquing systems of power while weaving musical reveries that wash over you anew. On the defiant “With All Disrespect,” the band wants change, asking, “Why you telling me that this life ain’t fair, when my hands were already up in the air?” And in “Land on Your Feet,” there’s a steady drum buildup that explodes in a repeated vocal proclamation with an eternally relevant, universal question: “Do you see the light?” Yes, yes we do. 8 p.m. $12.
Marvin reunion at Funset: From 2009 to 2019, DJs Smudge and Keenan Orr were Sunday afternoon fixtures on the rooftop deck at Marvin, dropping retro hip-hop, R&B and hair-metal hits for sunny summer days. With the future of the 14th Street fixture uncertain, Smudge moved the party to the Dew Drop Inn in July, where he’s been working with a series of guest DJs. This weekend, Keenan is finally joining him at the new location, proving that summer jams aren’t limited by the calendar. 5 to 10 p.m. Free.
Monday, Oct. 4
Virtual O.B. Hardison Poetry Series at the Folger Shakespeare Library: Poetry lovers across the world can listen in to the 2021-2022 season of the Folger Shakespeare Library’s O.B. Hardison Poetry program, which will happen live online this year with virtual readings, workshops and moderated conversations. October’s events include poetry writing workshop on Oct. 4 that will experiment with the form of the sonnet, and a presentation on Oct. 5 from Diane Seuss and T’ai Freedom Ford, as they read their thoroughly modern poetry using the sonnet’s centuries-old rhyme scheme. 7:30 p.m. $5-$75.