Category Archives: Events

EVENT: Around the World Embassy Tour

By: Paulina Lam

On Saturday, May 5, more than 40 embassies will be opening its doors to the public for the annual Around the World Embassy Tour. The Tour is among the first signature events of Passport DC, a month of cultural celebrations in the District. From 10 – 4 p.m., come join the embassies and learn about different cultures. The open house tour will feature cultural food, music, art, and dance. Admission is FREE, and reservations are not required.

Street parking will be limited, but a complimentary shuttle service will be available. There will be three different bus routes that begin and end at Dupont Circle, between Massachusetts Ave. and P St., NW. (Map of Embassies & Shuttle Routes)

For a little break, stop by the MHz Networks lounge tents along the embassies. They will be having give-a-ways!

For a souvenir, buy a 5th Anniversary Passport DC Souvenir Passport for $5. Get your passport stamped at each embassy you visit. You can purchase a souvenir passport across the street from the Dupont Circle info booth, in front of Colonial Parking lot.

While visiting the embassies, be on the lookout for featured artwork by notable women artists. Some of the embassies are also celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Tip: Many embassies will require photo ID for admission!


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EVENT: Natural Health Festival

Join the community for the first-ever Natural Health Festival on Sunday, April 29 at Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park (map). Come learn about natural, sustainable living and learn how to be more proactive in maintaining your own holistic health and living practices. The festival will feature FREE yoga classes, workshops, presentations, and live music.

Enjoy a free tai chi workshop, or join a group meditation while you’re there. Learn about Ayurveda (alternative medicine native to India) or sit in on a presentation about living stress free. There will be vendors from “yoga teachers, massage therapists, Reiki masters, organic gardeners/herbalists, local health food-focused chefs and restaurants, aromatherapy specialists, organic clothing vendors, organizations promoting environmental sustainability, and much more.”

Enjoy free outdoor yoga
Photo by: Paulina Lam

Don’t forget to check out and join the Drum Circle starting at 4 p.m.! The circle has been a community staple occurring every Sunday evening in the Park since the late ’50s. Come share your hidden talent!

You can see a comprehensive list of the festival events here:

(Register online early, because the classes will fill up quickly.)

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EVENT: National Gallery of Art Concerts

By: Paulina Lam

For all classical-music lovers, the National Gallery of Art (NGA) will be hosting only four more performances for its 70th season of concerts for the 2011-2012 year.

The NGA concerts are open to the public, FREE, and are on a first-come, first-seated basis, with doors opening 30 minutes prior to a show. The final performances are presented in honor of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

East Garden Court, National Gallery of Art
(Photo By: Paulina Lam)

Come out to one or all of the concluding performances:

April 20 at 12:10 p.m.

Claire Huangci, pianist
West Building Ground Floor, Lecture Hall
Music by Chopin, Tchaikovsky, and other composers

April 22 at 6:30 p.m.

National Gallery of Art Orchestra
Chosei Komatsu, guest conductor
Charles Wetherbee, violinist
West Building Main Floor, West Garden Court
Music by Fujiwara, Hisaishi, and Noadira

April 25 at 12:10 p.m.

Robert Henry and Yoshikazu Nagai, pianists
West Building Ground Floor, Lecture Hall
Music by Haydn, Scarlatti, Schubert, and other composers

April 29 at 6:30 p.m.

Kioi Sinfonietta Tokyo
Thierry Fischer, conductor
Yu Kosuge, pianist
West Building Main Floor, West Garden Court
Mozart: Overture to the Marriage of Figaro; Piano Concerto no. 22
Beethoven: Symphony no. 3
(Sponsored in part by Nippon Steel Corporation)

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EVENT: Space Shuttle Discovery

By: Paulina Lam

The space shuttle Discovery made its final flight from Cape Canaveral, Fla. this morning to its final destination in Chantilly, Va., where it will become a permanent museum relic. Piggybacking atop a modified Boeing 747 carrier jet, Discovery flew around the nation’s capital, eliciting cheers and delighting spectators. The space shuttle then made its way to Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia and landed shortly after 11:00 a.m. EDT.

The space shuttle will be undergoing preparations for its debut in the National Air and Space’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., on Thursday, April 19.

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EVENT: Emancipation Day

By: Paulina Lam

This Monday, April 16 marks the 150th anniversary of the end of slavery in the District of Columbia. Emancipation Day remembers and honors more than 3,000 individuals in Washington who were granted freedom on Apr. 16, 1862.

On that day in 1862, President Lincoln signed the District of Columbia Emancipation Act, also known as Compensated Emancipation Act. The act stated:

“… all persons held to service or labor within the District of Columbia by reason of African descent are hereby discharged and freed of and from all claim to such service or labor …”

The act also stated that former slave-owners were to be compensated for their losses, up to $300 per person. Lincoln “compensated” the slave-owners because he didn’t want to lose the support of the slave-owners loyal to the union during the Civil War.

In January 1863, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which ended slavery in the rebellious states only, although he did not have power over these states. Slavery was finally abolished in loyal states following the end of the Civil War.

Although celebrated annually since 1862, Emancipation Day became an official holiday in Washington fairly recently, since 2005. Since then, a parade and many events celebrate the freedom of the enslaved.

You can visit the Capitol Visitor Center to see the original District of Columbia Emancipation Act on display till Sept. 9.

The following are a list of highlights for Emancipation Day 2012: Click HERE for a comprehensive list.

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EVENT: Parade & Sakura Matsuri Fest

By: Paulina Lam

This Saturday, April 14 will be a day full of festivities. The 2012 National Cherry Blossom Parade will be from 10 A.M. – 12:30 P.M., held rain or shine. Giant balloons, elaborate floats, performers, and celebrities will march down Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Street, NW, (Map) in this springtime parade.

This year’s Cherry Blossom Parade will be nationally televised for the first time, with ABC’s Katie Couric as host and Alex Trebek of Jeopardy as a special correspondent. The parade will also be co-hosted by ABC7’s Alison Starling and Leon Harris. You can watch the parade on ABC7/WJLA-TV and NewsChannel8 live, to avoid heavy crowd traffic and enjoy the show from your comfy couch.

Of course, standing on the parade route is FREE and open to the public.

METRO: Metro accessible by Navy Memorial (Yellow/Green lines) or Federal Triangle (Blue/Orange lines)

Photo Courtesy of

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EVENT: National Cherry Blossom Festival 2012


Photo & Story by: Paulina Lam

Spring has arrived and the city is blooming in pink. Cherry blossom decals, lights, and banners are in and around the city to celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival that begins this week.

Chefs are putting the finishing touches on blossom-inspired dishes, while boathouses are opening up their doors to paddlers. This year, the Festival commemorates the 100-year anniversary of Japan’s gift of trees to Washington, D.C. with a five-week celebration.

The Festival will continue until National Arbor Day, April 27. Although this year’s celebration will be extended from its usual six days to five weeks, the “peak bloom” time for the cherry blossoms is still less than a week.

Robert DeFeo, the National Park Service’s chief horticulturist, predicted the peak bloom to be sometime between March 24 and March 31.

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