Thursday, Sept. 22
Banned Books Week: With attempts to ban and remove books from school libraries at record levels, the annual Banned Books Week is receiving more attention than usual. At Busboys and Poets in Anacostia, best-selling author and MacArthur “genius” grant winner Ibram X. Kendi joins Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) to discuss the impact of censorship and how it shapes what’s read — and what isn’t. (7 p.m. Free.) At the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, a panel of scholars discuss the works of Toni Morrison, whose “Beloved” and “The Bluest Eye” are frequently the subject of bans. The first 100 audience members to register receive a copy of “The Bluest Eye” or “Miss Chloe.” (7 p.m. Free.) In tribute to Banned Books Week, Frederick brewery Flying Dog has been taking over Little Free Libraries around the region, stocking them with frequently banned or challenged titles. One of those libraries is at Brookland’s Finest, which has created a “banned book and beer pairings” menu, encouraging customers to pull a book and pair it with one of its 10 drafts. Suggestions include Soul Mega’s Worldwide Pale Ale with James Baldwin’s “Go Tell It on the Mountain” and Denizens’ Born Bohemian Pilsener with Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” (Through Saturday. Beers $7-$8.50; books free.)
Latin American Film Festival at AFI Silver: The Latin American Film Festival runs for almost three weeks, a crowded slate featuring 41 films from 21 countries — from Argentina to Venezuela, plus Spain and Portugal, too. Highlights include 2023 Oscar selections from Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Uruguay; numerous U.S. and North American premieres; Q&A sessions with filmmakers; and post-screening events sponsored by embassies. (The opening night screening of “Argentina, 1985” features a wine reception with the Argentine embassy; Sept. 30’s screening of “Dos Estaciones” is followed by a reception with a tequila tasting, thanks to the Mexican Cultural Institute.) Through Oct. 12. $15 per film; $200 all-access festival pass.
‘Saved by the Barrel’ at Barrel: After more than two years, Capitol Hill’s Barrel is finally reopening its basement bar, which has previously hosted extended pop-ups dedicated to “Seinfeld” and the 1990s tiki bar Politiki, among other themes. As you can guess from the name, “Saved by the Barrel” has a ’90s theme, with drinks including a Cosmo (“The Carrie Bradshaw”) and an Appletini (“Master of Your Domain”), plus adult Capri-Sun pouched cocktails. Throw in a matching playlist and decor, and you’ve got a night of boozy nostalgia. Thursday through Saturday from 6 p.m. to close. Drinks $13-$15.
D.C. Firefighters Burn Foundation Hot Sauce Contest and Pig Roast at Rocklands Barbeque: The D.C. Firefighters Burn Foundation is a nonprofit that raises money for the recovery and rehabilitation of burn patients and injured firefighters. The group’s annual pig roast features a homemade hot sauce contest alongside all-you-can-eat pulled pork and sides and all-you-can-drink Right Proper beer. The all-ages event includes a firetruck for family photos. 5 to 8 p.m. $15-$45.
Friday, Sept. 23
Art All Night: Art All Night has been a staple of D.C.’s cultural calendar since 2011, but this year’s festival is the biggest yet, with more than two dozen neighborhoods offering after-dark music, food, film, pop-up exhibits and hands-on activities in all eight wards of the city over two nights. Listen to go-go and watch a fashion show in Congress Heights; taste through a beer garden full of Black-owned brands in Shaw; try double Dutch and meet mini-cows and alpacas at a petting zoo in Franklin Square downtown; learn about the history of Mount Pleasant at a talk and film screening; go gallery hopping in Georgetown — every part of the city comes alive with culture. Just pick a neighborhood and explore. Friday and Saturday. Times and locations vary — See dcartallnight.org for links to schedules, organized by ward.
SporcleCon at the Washington Hilton: Washington is packed with pub quizzes, from national chains organizing games at neighborhood bars to weekly events where the hosts write their own questions. But D.C. hasn’t seen anything like SporcleCon, billed as “the biggest trivia event in the U.S.,” with three days of quizzes, scavenger hunts, one-hour single-subject competitions, head-to-head trivia showdowns, game shows and much more. There are even “boot camps” that will fill your brain with answers to common quiz queries, broken into themes like “elements” and “presidents.” While the topics and formats are broad, the spirit of Alex Trebek looms large over proceedings: The official host is 12-time “Jeopardy!” champ Austin Rogers; journalist Claire McNear, the author of “Answers in the Form of Questions,” will discuss the state of “Jeopardy!” with a panel on Saturday; and Sunday begins with “Jeopardy!” auditions, though participants must be preapproved. Friday through Sunday. $99-$129 per day; $199-$299 full weekend.
Lovettsville Oktoberfest: Lovettsville’s two-day Oktoberfest shows the historic small town at its best. The Oktoberfest king and queen are crowned at the fire station on Friday night before a ceremonial keg tapping on the town green and a performance by ’80s cover band the Reflex. Saturday brings a pancake breakfast at the elementary school and races in the community park before Kinderfest welcomes kids to the town green for family activities, including karaoke and chicken dances. The main event is the traditional wiener dog races — “the fastest 30-foot dash on 3-inch legs” — beginning at 2 p.m., while German music continues at locations around town, alongside food trucks, vendors and beer gardens. There’s more music in the evening, plus stein holding and hauling competitions, leading to the annual climax: a “world record singalong attempt” for the most people simultaneously singing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Friday from 5 to 11 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. 6 E. Pennsylvania Ave., Lovettsville, Va. Free.
Oktoberfest celebrations: While the party continues at many German restaurants and bars, there are also some special events taking place this weekend. The Guinness Open Gate Brewery kicks off three weekends of parties on Friday, pouring five exclusive German beer styles and featuring music by the Sepp Walzer Fest Band. Friday through Sunday. Free.
Urban Garden Solar Return release party at City-State Brewing: Urban Garden Brewing celebrates its first anniversary by — what else? — releasing a new beer. D.C.'s first Black woman-owned beer brand has previously made beers at Right Proper and DC Brau, but for the anniversary beer, founder Eamoni Tate-Collier partnered with City-State Brewing in Edgewood to create Solar Return, a sorrel saison. The release party includes a performance by Malcolm Hilton and DJs Bri Mafia and Ethedizzle. 5 to 8 p.m. Free.
D.C. Beer Week: The annual D.C. Beer Week is significantly scaled down this year — its website refers to it as “D.C. Beer All Week(end) — but there are still events worth noting. Friday kicks off with the Karaoke Battle of the Brewers at Metrobar, which features D.C. brewers trying to prove they’re as good at singing as they are at making beer, while the audience gets to enjoy a few pints. (7 p.m. Free.) DC Brau hosts a party as part of Art All Night (see above) with a DJ and the beginning of a mural crawl. (5 to 8 p.m. Free.) For parents, the Lane at Ivy City hosts “Bar and Bounce”: Kids get to spend two hours playing in a bounce house while adults drink beers on the club’s rooftop deck. (5 to 8 p.m. $20.)
Cinema Hearts at Comet Ping Pong: When she started performing as Cinema Hearts, Caroline Weinroth set out to unite two icons of Americana that seemed impossibly far apart: Miss America and the electric guitar. After graduating from college, the singer-songwriter tried to make that fantasy a reality, competing on the pageant circuit and winning a handful of crowns throughout Virginia. Apart from giving her post-college life some structure, the world of pageants allowed her to tango with how girls and women are taught and treated in society. While Cinema Hearts has previously viewed the subject of the female experience through the prism of pageantry, the fixation is most acute on the recently released “Your Ideal” EP. The five-tracker kicks off with two songs from the perspective of a woman ready to be whatever is expected of her: a queen, a princess, a trophy, a fantasy, an ideal. A few years removed from the scene, Weinroth is grappling with the larger societal struggles that pageants underscore. 10 p.m. $15.
‘A Night with Jackie “Moms” Mabley’: The Essential Theatre is showcasing one of last century’s most influential comedians, known to Harlem crowds for generations and to younger crowds for her recent portrayal in Prime Video’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” at its pay-what-you-can Theatre Week celebration. The 1996 comedy cabaret features bits from Mabley’s stand-up routines on race, sexuality and political oppression. For its roughly two-week run, a happy hour begins an hour before showtime. Through Oct. 9. Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 4 p.m. Pay-what-you-can tickets available at the door, one hour before each performance; limited $33 tickets available online in advance.
Back to the Yards at Yards Park: The Yards’ retro party lets parents show their kids what it was like to party back in the 1980s, thanks to a throwback soundtrack, breakdance lessons, and the chance to make slap bracelets and color Rubik’s cubes at the outdoor event. (’80s kids of all ages are welcome to attend.) 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Free.
Washington Concert Opera at Union Market: The Washington Concert Opera’s Opera Outside program strives to make opera accessible and relatable to the masses: no costumes, no props — just the beauty of voice and music in the fresh air. The company ventures to a new location outdoors in front of Union Market this weekend. Grab a picnic from the market, or drinks from the Suburbia cocktail trailer, and settle in to listen. 6 to 7 p.m. Free.
Saturday, Sept. 24
Fiesta DC: What was once a neighborhood festival in Mount Pleasant now takes over a portion of America’s Main Street. The 50th Fiesta DC is the city’s most prominent celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and includes two days of music and dancing on multiple stages, food vendors, and entertainment. Sunday’s highlight is the parade, which fills Pennsylvania Avenue with bands, dancers and groups in traditional costume. Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Parade Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Free.
Mosaic District Fall Festival: The streets of Fairfax’s Mosaic District are filled with music and shopping this weekend during the annual Fall Festival. Browse 90 booths run by local makers and vintage dealers, or pick up dinner supplies at the FreshFarm farmers market. Children can be entertained by the Vienna Singing Princesses, a moon bounce and pumpkin painting, while adults listen to cover bands and hang out in the beer or wine gardens. Free shuttle service runs between Mosaic and the Dunn Loring Metro station. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free.
Pumpkin Festival at Butler’s Orchard: Butler’s Orchard’s 42nd annual Pumpkin Festival is already chockablock with spots for kids to run free — such as a straw-filled hayloft and a 70-foot-long jumping pad — and this year will see three new attractions in addition to the popular mazes, pumpkin cannons and hayrides. Cute little goats will scamper up the 16-foot-tall Goat Mountain, and the very first tractor purchased for the farm will be set out for a tractor pull. “Get your friends together and try to pull this tractor to the finish line,” Butler’s Orchard general manager Tyler Butler says about this new activity spotlighting his grandfather’s old John Deere M tractor. Meanwhile, construction-obsessed kids will love hopping on mini-diggers and actually digging a hole using hydraulic levers with these little machines shipped from Sweden. On the way out, drive to the pumpkin patch to pick your own pumpkins for 75 cents per pound. Open Wednesday through Sunday from Sept. 24 to Oct. 30, plus Oct. 10. $10-$15 online, $12-$17 at the gate; free for children younger than 2. Advance reservations are recommended, particularly on weekends.
‘Harmony in Blue and Gold’ at the National Museum of Asian Art: If you tried to visit James McNeill Whistler’s Peacock Room at the Freer Gallery of Art over the summer, you were greeted by closed doors. From June 1 to Sept. 3, the ornate installation of blue and white porcelain, golden wall paintings, and gilded surfaces underwent conservation work for just the third time in its history. But the Peacock Room has reopened, with the collection of ceramics restored to the way it looked in museum founder Charles Lang Freer’s home in the early 20th century. Join the Modern Flute Ensemble — a unit of the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps — for two performances of “Harmony in Blue and Gold,” a piece by Eric Ewazen inspired by the surroundings. Curators will discuss the room, and its restoration, at noon. 1 and 2 p.m. Free.
Fotos y Recuerdos Festival at National Portrait Gallery: Lil’ Libros, the publisher of children’s books whose “The Life of / La vida de” series tells the stories of such notables as Fernando Llort, Pelé and Celia Cruz, is teaming with the Smithsonian for this Hispanic Heritage Month family festival. Visit the Kogod Courtyard for story time, a Mexican dance performance by Corazón Folklórico and hands-on crafting. 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free.
Clarendon Day: The area around the Clarendon Metro station becomes a giant block party during the Clarendon Day festival. Browse vendors and eateries, let the kids play on an 18-foot-high inflatable slide or run through an obstacle course, or groove to a yacht rock group or ’90s cover band Uncle Jesse. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free.
Oktoberfest celebrations: Crooked Run Fermentation taps its German beers in Sterling this weekend at a party featuring German food, contests and guest taps from breweries including Black Narrows, Ocelot and Vibrissa. (Noon to 6 p.m. Free.) BYO one-liter stein to Dynasty Brewing’s Leesburg taproom Saturday afternoon and it’ll be filled with Fest Marzen for $10. Oliver’s Corner is on hand for all your schnitzel and sausage needs. (Noon to 7 p.m. Free.) All Pizzeria Paradiso locations are featuring Oktoberfest beers between Thursday and Sunday, but Saturday’s party at Dupont is the highlight, with selections from Aslin, Atlas, City-State and DC Brau available. Tickets range from $10, which gets you a branded mug and two pours, to $40 for a large pizza and unlimited beers. (Noon to 4 p.m. $10-$40.)
Professional Bull Riders competition at EagleBank Arena: The once-banned sport of the American Old West rides into Fairfax this weekend, where participants compete for a spot in the Professional Bull Riders’ upcoming Challenger Series championship. EagleBank Arena is being transformed with over 500 yards of steel and 750 tons of dirt to prepare for the teams and individual professionals competing — including Virginia local and reigning event champion Carlos Garcia. Saturday and Sunday at 7 p.m. $25 to $168.
Sunday, Sept. 25
Opera on the Field: ‘Carmen’ at Audi Field: After years of hosting outdoor opera viewing parties at Nationals Park, the Washington National Opera is moving down Potomac Avenue SW to Audi Field. Bring blankets and spread out on the pitch to watch a performance of Georges Bizet’s “Carmen” broadcast on the stadium’s high-definition video screens. Gates open at 2 p.m. with pre-show performances and family arts and crafts. Early arrival is suggested if you want to stake out a spot on the grass. 4 p.m. Free. Registration required.
Celebrate Africa Festival at Bladensburg Waterfront Park: Back for its fifth year, this Prince George’s County festival on the Bladensburg waterfront highlights the artistic contributions of the local African immigrant community. The day, geared toward children and families, features performances from comedian, actor and vocalist Anna Mwalagho and R&B/African pop songwriter TolumiDE. The fashion show — because what cultural festival is complete without one? — is themed “Red Carpet Africa,” and designers will showcase the styles of African stars from film hubs in Nigeria, Ghana and Botswana. Guests can expect drumming and dancing from the Performing Arts Center for African Cultures, crafting demos and 13th-century music of the royal courts of West Africa. Noon to 6 p.m. Free.
Hill Center Family Day: City kids can trade out their Strider bikes, strollers and scooters for a horse-drawn carriage during Hill Center’s annual Family Day. Belgian draft horses from Harmon’s Carriages ferry families around the historic Capitol Hill building from 2 to 5 p.m. as part of this free afternoon packed with activities for all ages. Other draws include a magic show, a fitness class, craft time, face painting, balloon animals and a concert from King Bullfrog geared toward little ones. While tickets are free, they must be reserved in advance for both kids and adults. 1:30 to 6 p.m. Free. Registration required.
Echo Arts Festival: Home to 13 resident artists and organizations, Glen Echo Park hosts galleries, visual and performing art classes, and a social dance program year round — so it’s no surprise that its end-of-summer festival highlights the county’s art scene. The day features live music from Washington Conservatory of Music and Afropop band Elikeh, open studios, art demonstrations, food trucks, and a final chance to ride the park’s famed carousel before it closes for the season. Noon to 5 p.m. Free.
DC Beer Week: The abbreviated D.C. Beer Week(end) wraps up with two interesting events. Metrobar hosts a meet-and-greet with Black brewers from across the area. Attendees will be divided into small groups at tables, and the brewers will rotate every 15 to 20 minutes to chat with each group. Presenters include Eamoni Tate-Collier of Urban Garden Brewing; Leon Harris, an assistant brewer at Port City; Kofi Meroe of Sankofa Beer; and Shaun Taylor of Black Viking Brewing. Beers from participants will be for sale. (4 to 6:30 p.m. Free; registration requested.) The Brau Proper Ramble brings DC Brau and Right Proper Brewing together at DC Brau’s headquarters for an outdoor party featuring live music from Bob Perilla’s Big Hillbilly Bluegrass. Proceeds benefit the D.C. Brewers Guild. (2 to 5 p.m. Free.)
Porchfest DC: Southeast Edition in Hillcrest: Singers, instrumentalists, bands, rappers, poets and other artists turn a neighbor’s porch into their stage during the fourth annual Porchfest DC: Southeast Edition, which takes place on various porches throughout the Hillcrest neighborhood. Join the audience members assembled on sidewalks, yards and front lawns, participate in a go-go cardio dance class, or browse a vendor village with food trucks and local makers. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Free.
Oktoberfest celebrations: The West Annapolis Oktoberfest turns Annapolis Street into a giant block party with a beer garden, live music, vendors, and activities for kids and families. (10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free.) Ballston’s Rustico presents a live performance by the Alpine Players to complement a menu of Märzens on draft, including Ayinger, Port City and Firestone Walker’s barrel-aged Oaktoberfest, and a selection of schnitzel, brats and other food. (1 to 6 p.m. Free.)
Tuesday, Sept. 27
‘37 Words’ at the National Archives: This summer, on the 50th anniversary of Title IX, ESPN released a four-part docuseries called “37 Words” exploring the history and consequences of the prohibition against sex discrimination in education. This screening of the first episode, held in the National Archives’ William G. McGowan Theatre, is followed by a Q&A discussion with director Dawn Porter; Olympic gold medalist and sportscaster Donna de Varona, who was featured in the series; and ESPN Films Vice President Marsha Cooke. 7 p.m. Free.