Page-to-Stage New Play Festival
Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW; Sat.-Mon., various times, free.
Spend Labor Day weekend enjoying the labor of others and not paying for it. The 16th annual festival features more than 60 D.C.-area theater companies in a variety of activities. There are performances, of course, but also open rehearsals of works in development, improv shows and “script karaoke,” where you and your friends are given scripts and put onstage so you’ll feel an appreciation for what actors do. Some performances have limited seating, so you might want to show up early for those.
Labor Day Capitol Concert 2017
West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, East Capitol and First streets SW; Sun., 8 p.m., free.
The Capitol Building is a stirring backdrop on any day, but even more so when there’s a concert to watch. For the National Symphony Orchestra’s annual Labor Day concert, the group welcomes singer, songwriter and guitarist Aoife O’Donovan, left, for a night of American music with a folk and bluegrass influence. O’Donovan’s “Red & White & Blue & Gold” and “Magic Hour” are on the program, as is Bob Dylan’s “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol.” If you want to get up close, the gates open at 3 p.m. (and there’s an open rehearsal at 3:30).
Rosslyn Jazz Festival
Gateway Park, 1300 Lee Highway, Arlington; Sept. 9, 1-7 p.m., free.
Nearly every Thursday in New Orleans, The Soul Rebels host an intimate, sweaty and raucous show at Le Bon Temps Roule. (The party is so small that if you’re in the front row, you’re probably getting hit with trombone spit.) The brass band brings its show to Rosslyn’s annual jazz festival, with a mix of originals, NOLA standards and inventive covers of songs like “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” Also on the bill: Baltimore funk act Joe Keyes and the Late Bloomer Band, songwriter-on-the-rise Xenia Rubinos and the Motown-indebted Lee Fields and the Expressions. There will be plenty of food trucks and booze options to keep you grooving, too.
H Street Festival
Fourth Street to 14th Street NE; Sept. 16, noon-7 p.m., free.
This annual festival lines the street with 11 blocks of booths hawking food and drink, stages for performances (and karaoke!) and vendors selling locally made art for a giant block party — plus there’s a parade at 2 p.m. It’s the most fun you can have on H Street short of taking the streetcar.
Sept. 16 & 17
Joint Base Andrews Air Show
Joint Base Andrews, Md., Sept. 16 & 17., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., free (VIP tickets: $25-$125).
The show, once a D.C. standard, has been off and on in the past few years, so take your chance before budget cuts hit again. In addition to viewing the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds flight show, you can crawl around in various airplanes, watch the Army’s Golden Knights parachuting team, gasp at stunt pilots and watch military dogs bite the crap out of guys wearing those big beige Gumby suits. Insider tips: You cannot drive onto the base, so you must park at FedEx Field and take a shuttle; there is very little shade, so sunscreen up; if you’re not paying for the VIP seating and want to watch a lot of the flying, bring chairs.
Various locations; Sept. 16-24, various times, free, schedule at culturaltourismdc.org.
For once, take a walk around the city without your head buried in your phone. One week a year, WalkingTown DC stages guided and themed walking tours of the D.C. area, held during lunchtime, after work or throughout the day on weekends. Lace up your sneakers and stroll through historical moments like the Watergate scandal, the March on Washington or the Civil War era.
Art All Night
Various locations; Sept. 23, 7 p.m.-3 a.m., free; more information at artallnightdc.com.
For the night owls and literal owls among us, all these daytime festivals can really cut into sleeping time. Enter Art All Night, which is exactly what it sounds like. For one night, bars, shops, art studios, outdoor spaces and libraries across D.C. will be open and putting on music and dance performances, fashion shows and interactive art exhibits. Red Bull not included.
Opera in the Outfield
Nationals Park, 1500 S. Capitol St. SE; Sept. 23, 5 p.m., free.
Sure, Max Scherzer can throw a ball really, really fast, but could he play Radames? Probably not. But Yonghoon Lee can, and you can see him in the Washington National Opera’s production of “Aida,” this year’s selection for Opera in the Outfield. The show will be broadcast live to Nationals Park and, unlike that stuffy Kennedy Center, will be preceded with activities, including a showing of the Bugs Bunny cartoon “What’s Opera, Doc?,” more commonly known as the “kill the wabbit” one.
National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW; Sept. 24, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., free.
Consider this blurb a formal cute animal alert. At ZooFiesta, a shindig in celebration of the Smithsonian’s Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15), animal keepers and scientists at the National Zoo will hold demonstrations and host talks about animals native to Central and South America (like sloths, which, again: cute). And, like any good party, there will be activities, live music and gourmet food from the region.
DC State Fair
Waterfront Station, 375 and 425 M St. SW; Sept. 24, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., free.
In the seven years since the first DC State Fair, the District has marched no closer to statehood, but hey, a city can dream, right? Like most state fairs, D.C.’s exists to show off our artistic and agricultural prowess, with vendors and booths throughout Waterfront Station. There’s also a pet parade (companions on leashes, in cages, in tanks or in aquariums are welcome to join), music, demos, workshops and contests — many of which you can join day-of. If nothing else, the fair is worth attending so you can pretend — for one day — that D.C. is just like its neighbors to the north and south.
Written by Express’ Bryanna Cappadona, Rudi Greenberg, Lori McCue and Kristen Page-Kirby.