Photo: Rey Lopez

From Mosh Pit to Peak Foodie: Outdoor Music Venues Step Up The Gourmet Goodness

Here’s a game: free associate “summer music festival.” Sunscreen, superstars, mud, Insta, #squadgoals…

Have you gotten to “gourmet mosh pit” yet? Didn’t think so. But that’s changing fast, and summer 2019 is set to be peak foodie season. The days of cardboard pizza are fading. Concertgoers are walking in with elevatexpectations, and music venues are responding with thoughtful menus that range from creatively healthy to Instagrammable decadence.

“The words extraordinary and unexpected should describe everything, including the food,” says Audrey Fix Schaefer, communications director of I.M.P., the legendary DC-based group that owns 9:30 Club and took over operations for the Merriweather Post Pavilion in 2004, waving goodbye to airline service-style food options. “We would rather err on the side of ambition.”

And ambition is absolutely the defining word for festival menus this year. Sean Kenyon, a globally acclaimed bartender and cocktail master, has been refining his processes for large-scale cocktail batching and is ready to debut his libations at Jiffy Lube Live.

“Well-executed cocktails are the result of well-executed systems,” Kenyon observes.

To make it happen, he constructed a system where the event bartenders are simply executing the final step: blending a spirit and a fresh mix.

“I look at it like we are opening a new cocktail bar every night in terms of experience expectations for bartenders, prep and visible instructions,” he says.

With a few spirits – tequila, gin, vodka – and a few mixer options that are all interchangeable, the guest gets to personalize the glass.

“We can change the ingredients within the system to maximize the guest experience without disrupting the overall operation,” Kenyon adds. “We are not just creating a cocktail menu. We are creating a system that lets us be nimble.”

Systems are also front-of-mind at Merriweather. I.M.P. ditched the previous corporate foodservice distributor – which according to Schaefer tasted like airline food because it was made by the same folks – and hired local caterers.

“We wanted the tastes of a neighborhood restaurant with an ambitious menu,” she says. “We want people to arrive hungry.”

In 2017, Wolf Trap overhauled its own menus and also broke away from corporate foodservice distributors; the venue now independently runs its own concessions.

“We took a major leap and selected a small, family-owned business that focuses on local sourcing,” says T.J. Pluck, director of food and beverage at Wolf Trap.

But well-executed systems still require a fresh feed of great ideas to execute.

“I’m a guy who likes change,” Pluck says. “We spruce up the menu every year.”

This season’s inspiration comes from a range of sources including social media, according to Pluck.

“Concertgoers love Instagrammable edibles that make people say, ‘Wow.’”

And people have a lot more exposure to strong flavors now, Schaefer adds, which means that spicier and funkier flavors are in play. Dietary restrictions can complicate menu planning but Pluck notes that “we always work hard to be sensitive and incorporate those into a concession stand environment.” Nearly all concert venues in the DC area now offer gluten-free and vegan options – something almost unheard of a decade ago at all but the most granola of festivals.

“I never thought that people would eat salad at a concert,” Pluck says.

So what can fans expect on their plates this summer?

“This year, we’re focusing on funky, fun, fair food that’s spiced up with flavors like raspberry and chipotle and funnel cake sandwiches,” is how Pluck describes the new menu at Wolf Trap.

Pluck is tapping into happy memories of growing up in the Midwest and enjoying Ohio State Fair food like elephant ears: funnel cakes, rolled, pulled, and topped with cinnamon and sugar.

“We’re always asking, ‘How can we do this better?’ and ‘What sets us apart?’ We’re always looking to raise the bar [at Wolf Trap]. For example, we’ll always serve hamburgers – but ours are made with prime beef and served on a top-of-the-line French brioche bun with arugula, aged cheddar and chipotle aioli.”

Over at Merriweather, Cathal Armstrong (of the legendary Restaurant Eve, and now The Wharf’s Kaliwa) has come on board as Merriweather’s food advisor.

“Cathal lives and breathes food creativity,” Schaefer says admiringly. “People will be coming as much for the food as for the performance.”

Guests will get to explore a menu that includes everything from freshly roasted, husk-on corn topped with Cotija cheese to a house-made jumbo lump crab cake on fresh brioche.

“They’re honestly better than in some fine dining places,” Schaefer says of Merriweather’s crab cake (her personal favorite).

Over at Jiffy Lube Live, in addition to fresh craft cocktails, fans can enjoy the buzzy Impossible Burger: a plant-based patty that bleeds and sizzles when it cooks.

“We have partnered with some great brands including Art Smith’s Art Bird, Questlove’s Impossible Cheesesteak, Guy Fieri’s burgers and new hot dog concept Dog Haus,” says Matt Rogers, Jiffy Lube’s GM and SVP for music.

“My personal favorite is the Art Bird Fried Chicken,” he says. “It is off-the-charts good.”

The folks who are overhauling menus and updating concert dining experiences are riffing off their own memories and tastes to create the perfect concert experience. Pluck is a musician and self-described band geek who says his dream job is working at Wolf Trap; he channels epic memories of concerts with Genesis (the 1992 reunion tour at Cleveland Stadium), The Police and Muse. 

Rogers finds the most fulfilling part of the job to be a providing people with an escape for two hours. Kenyon is also a musician; he pursued band life before committing himself to becoming one of the greatest bartenders in America, and his ideal festival night inspires his Jiffy Lube menu.

“It’s right at dusk, your favorite band is just coming on, the day is fading, your drink is complex and you’re surrounded by friends. Perfection.”

Learn more about the elevated fare and summer lineups at these three venues below.

Jiffy Lube Live: 7800 Cellar Door Dr. Bristow, VA; www.livenation.com/venues/14407/jiffy-lube-live

Merriweather Post Pavilion: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; www.merriweathermusic.com

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts: 1551 Trap Rd. Vienna, VA; www.wolftrap.org

Photo: Courtesy of Adams Morgan Day

Festival Makers: The Creative Minds Behind DC’s Iconic Events

Festivals can often be sensory overload for attendees. With food, drinks, art and whatever else you can think of all interlinking to create a vibrant atmosphere for those who participate, it’s no doubt that putting all these moving pieces in place takes a ton of work. Who are the masterminds behind are favorite local events? We caught up with a few of the creatives behind the scenes at some of the most iconic DC festivities.

Funk Parade
David Ross, Festival Organizer
Jeffery Tribble Jr., The MusicianShip Executive Director

On Tap: Why did the MusicianShip decide to start running Funk Parade?
Jeffery Tribble Jr.:
I’ve been a volunteer for a couple years so I was already promoting it and knew how effective it was. With our organization being all about creating musical experiences to benefit young people in underserved communities, it seemed like another great way to bring exposure to our cause.
David Ross: I was legacy. I was with Funk Parade last year. I was the third person. I was the first official hire. [Founders] Justin [Rood] and Chris [Naoum] had done it so long. When they wanted to take a step back, the MusicianShip seemed like an amazing opportunity to continue the tradition.

OT: What new things did you all want to implement and what was the festival already doing well that are you looking to accentuate?
JT:
As an educational organization, our emphasis is more on education this year. We’ll have a conference and an extension on the academy of funk, and we’re also going to have a marching band exhibition. We don’t only want to entertain and have a good time; we want to educate and for people to be better than they were when they first came. There have been some talks of Funk Parade East [at entertainment and sports arena St. Elizabeths East], but it’s more likely to be a 2020 effort if it happens based on conversations we’ve had with other interested parties and sponsors.
DR: There’s some interesting activations we haven’t done before. I’m most proud in the way we’ve creatively used U Street. We’re not using the big theatre settings for our showcase. We’re using the environment. We’ve adjusted because we’re using smaller venues like SXSW.

OT: How did the collaboration beer with Aslin Beer Company come to be?
JT: We brainstormed different ideas to raise the profile of the festival and by extension, raise the profile of Aslin. Because we are attached to so many venues, it made a lot of sense to offer the Funk Parade beer in said venues, and we are also using it as a fundraiser.

OT: Is this year more about sustaining the momentum of festivals past as opposed to putting a new stamp on Funk Parade?
JT:
You hit the nail on the head. This year is about sustainability and [maintaining] what has been done historically. After we do it successfully, then we can look at how to grow it. To be honest, I don’t have substantial thoughts on what we might do differently in the future. We’re so focused on making this Funk Parade [that] given the ecosystem of the parade and all of the [participating] venues both big and small, it fosters opportunities for growth.
DR: From having worked on it last year, the MusicianShip asked the right questions immediately. Any hiccups that came along the way, we were able to adjust them. This year, what I’ve seen is stronger preparedness and because of that, you’re allowed to grow.

OT: Why do you think the Funk Parade is so impactful for the local community?
JT:
Music changes lives and is a powerful platform, drawing young people to achieve in all areas in life. Music is a way to advance conversations about social justice and any other movement across time. It also doesn’t hurt that it facilitates a good time. We bring a lot of the city’s and the nation’s best musical acts to perform on this day. When people come out and experience it, it’s always new and friendly and the spirit of it is all about unification – which we need, especially now.
DR: I think this is a festival where DC allows itself to let loose. So often as a city, our identity is tied to what happens at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. People don’t know about the rich culture we have here. People really want to celebrate the city they live in, and this is a great place to do so – maybe more than any other event we have.

The sixth annual Funk Parade takes place on Saturday, May 11. The festival is free to attend and features music from 1-7 p.m.,a parade from 5-6 p.m. and a featured showcase at 8 p.m. Various locations on U Street in NW, DC; www.funkparade.com

AFI Silver Film Festivals
Todd Hitchcock, AFI Silver Theatre Director of Programming

On Tap: How does the AFI balance so many festivals? What goes into planning each?
Todd Hitchcock: We’re mindful of what we’re going to do throughout the year. [They’re] what we call curated festivals. [Our staff] attends major festivals throughout the year beginning with Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and Toronto; at least two of us are attending and seeing as many films as we can, which is typically 50-plus. In all of these cases, you have to whittle it down and make a decision on what we’re going to include.

OT: How important is the balance of countries included to the authenticity of the festivals, particularly the Latin American Film Festival and the European Union Film Showcase?
TH:
When you embrace that identity and focus, that means that films from smaller countries are going to have an opportunity for inclusion and to get screened. It’s wonderful when you find a film from say the Baltic countries or in Eastern Europe; for instance, we’ve had a lot of success with Hungarian films. In Latin America, you could say that the region as a whole doesn’t get enough representation in the film world. We’re going to push to include Ecuador and Paraguay. We’ve had some terrific films from those countries.

OT: How do you approach the festivals in fresh ways?
TH:
I think our audience has a strong association with these festivals. If you graph it out, there’s been a growth spurt. These are new films from these countries, and in many cases, this is the only chance [the audience will] have to see them. The DC area has people from all these countries living here because of its diversity; it works out for everyone.

OT: Why do you think film is a medium that lends itself well to a festival setting?
TH:
I would say year in and year out, we find exciting films. There’s more than enough to be excited about as far as quality and exciting, innovative films. It’s an opportunity to see something that they might not otherwise see. The newness factor: that’s the huge reality of the film business. It’s exciting.

Upcoming Film Festivals at AFI Silver Theatre include the DC Caribbean FilmFest from June 6-12, the Latin American Film Festival from September 12 to October 2 and the European Union Film Showcase from December 4-22. For more information on these and other festivals screened at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, visit www.afi.com/silver. 8633 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD; www.afi.com/silver

By the People Festival
Nicole Dowd, Program Director of the Halcyon Arts Lab

On Tap: There are a lot of moving parts with the By the People Festival. How do you select a curator and then work with them on the theme?
Nicole Dowd: We identify a curator a year in advance of the festival. We ended up with Jessica Stafford Davis [this year] because her focus hasn’t really been present in the art world over the last decade. I think that we definitely knew that we wanted to work with her in some capacity and some of the qualities other than her own amazingness are finding people with a strong vision.

OT: How far out do you plan?
ND:
We move pretty quickly. We’re quite nimble in the way we produce programs and events. In two to three months, we were pretty set on who we wanted to showcase. For myself, coming from the art and museum world, it’s a very quick timeline. Artists are very excited to be part of it and we work heavily with them to make something impactful in a relatively short amount of time.

OT: How do you balance the mediums of the work presented? 
ND:
A lot of it is dictated by the specific site. There are two roads working together. One is thinking about what would be most appropriate for the site: is it going to be performative or a painting? And then we think about who is going to look at the artwork: what’s most accessible and impactful?

OT: Tell us a little bit about this year’s new gallery feature.
ND:
People asked us last year where they could buy the art, so we’re trying to create an environment for artists who identify with the DMV to exhibit and sell their work to new [or local] collectors. That will take place at a location in Georgetown, and it’ll be open from June 8-23. It extends the festival and makes it more inclusive for some of the artists in the location.

OT: Why do you think a festival is such an effective way to deliver art, and what has the response been from attendees?
ND:
There are so many people [who view museums as] a barrier to appreciating art. So for us to meet people where they’re at – whether they’re in a public square or on the river or in their neighborhood – it’s a good way to get people engaged with art.

The 2019 By the People Festival takes place in various locations around DC from June 15-23. For information about the participating artists and locations, visit www.bythepeople.org.

Adams Morgan Day
A. Tianna Scozzaro, Festival Organizer

On Tap: When you took the reins of the festival four years ago, did you think it would be where it is now?
A. Tianna Scozzaro:
I knew that the festival and the community were too strong for it to die. I’m so proud of what’s grown out of that really desperate place. We had two years where it was on the sidewalks and it was pretty lean, but last year was our 40th anniversary and this year, we have committees ready to go for September.

OT: Why did you feel so strongly about Adams Morgan Day continuing, and what are some of your favorite aspects?
ATS:
I think it’s eclectic and diverse in a way that is [true] to its identity. It was one of the [first] few neighborhood festivals in DC. In the past few years, we’ve seen the demographics of the city change [and] a lot of other great festivals have risen up. There’s a history of Adams Morgan Day that’s really special.

OT: What is surprising to people that may not know AdMo very well? Why is it important to introduce it to people who may be less familiar?
ATS:
I think the number of locally owned businesses that have been around for decades. Some people go to Adams Morgan for dancing and a jumbo slice but may not know of the great bookstores and the most delicious churros in town. It’s important for these local businesses to have an outlet that spotlights them. The funkiness as a whole is great: there’s been graffiti arts and hula hoop contests and [other] interactive, creative opportunities for people to participate in. We always need more of those activities in DC.

OT: Where do you think it’s going in the future? How do you see the festival evolving?
ATS:
The festival started as a park potluck [and] grew to its heyday in the 80s. That’s when DC was less safe, but this provided an opportunity for people to get out, celebrate and listen to go-go music. My desire would be to see the festival become sustainable with sponsors that support the festival as an intrinsic part of the neighborhood business and community cohesion.

Adams Morgan Day takes place Sunday, September 8. 18th Street in NW, DC; www.admoday.com

What’s On Tap: May 2019

Greetings, beer nerds! As you likely know, there are a number of fantastic spots in the DMV where you can grab a pint, and their menus are always evolving and adapting to your tastes. If you’d rather avoid the guessing game, check out what’s coming up at a few of these fine establishments.

THURSDAY, MAY 2

Caboose’s Fourth Anniversary Beer Dinner
Don’t miss this spring beer dinner in honor of Caboose Brewing Company’s fourth anniversary. The evening will include a five-course meal and beer pairing created by executive chef David Rabin and Caboose’s wonderful brewing team. 7:30 p.m. Tickets $75. Caboose Brewing: 520 Mill St. NE, DC; www.caboosebrewing.com

The Kapittel Farewell Party
Join The Sovereign as they bid a fond farewell to the beers of Kapittel. On this day, they will feature five classic ales from Watou, Belgium. All Kapittel beers will be priced individually by the glass and in 4-oz. tasting pours. 5-11:30 p.m. Free to attend.The Sovereign: 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.thesovereigndc.com

FRIDAY, MAY 3

Slaters Lane Socials: Spanish Tapas
Join Rustico Alexandria for their next installment of the Slaters Lane Socials series. On the first weekend of each month, the restaurant will showcase a few fun and exciting food specials paired with one of their favorite craft brewers. This month, Rustico is celebrating the cuisine of Spain with executive chef Stephen McRae’s delicious tapas menu. 5-11:30 p.m. Free to attend. Rustico Restaurant and Bar: 827 Slaters Ln. Alexandria, VA; www.rusticorestaurant.com

SATURDAY, MAY 4

Dawn Patrol Release Party on the Patio
Join Lost Rhino Retreat for a party on the patio for the release of Lost Rhino’s Dawn Patrol Session IPA. Taps open at 2 p.m. and the event will feature live music, barbecue, seafood boil, beer bucket specials and more. Join for a great opportunity to bring in the summer a little early with the release of this new brew. 2-10 p.m. Free to attend.Lost Rhino Retreat: 22885 Brambleton Plz. Ashburn, VA; www.lostrhino.com

The First Annual Brewer Spring Art and Culture Crawl
Enjoy a beverage from each of Silver Spring’s three breweries while slurping up new knowledge about the art, architecture and culture of Silver Spring’s blossoming urban community. The ticket price includes a pint of your choice at each brewery, a T-shirt and a chance to win some prizes along the way. 1-4 p.m. Tickets $50. The Rotary Club of Downtown Silver Spring: 923 Ellsworth Dr. Silver Spring, MD; www.silverspringrotary.org

Rocket Frog 1st Anniversary Party
It’s been one year since Rocket Frog opened its doors to the public. This will be a festival-style event inside the brewery. The festival features their 12 taps behind the main bar, an additional 10 taps in the brewing area, and one firkin (TBD), all with your favorite Rocket Frog beer. There will be several variations from beers served throughout the first brewery’s first year. 12-6 p.m. Tickets $30-$48. Rocket Frog Brewing Company: 22560 Glenn Dr. #103, Sterling, VA; www.rocketfrogbeer.com

WEDNESDAY, MAY 8

Calvert Woodley’s DMV Brewery Night
Join for a walk-around tasting featuring breweries from DC, Maryland and Virginia, who will be showcasing their favorite brews. Come sample their flagship offerings as well as some seasonal specials. As an added bonus, all the brews will be available for purchase at specially discounted prices. You’ll also receive a complimentary glass for the tasting. 6 p.m. Tickets $25. University of the District of Columbia Heritage Hall: 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.calvertwoodley.com

SATURDAY, MAY 11

Cheers for Babies
Join Sauf Haus in Dupont Circle for a happy hour fundraiser supporting the Maternity Home and Pregnancy Center programs of The Northwest Center. Since 1981, The Northwest Center has served over 57,300 women and babies in the DC area. With your help they can continue in their mission of empowering women and strengthening families. 6-9 p.m. Free to attend. Sauf Haus Bier Hall: 1216 18th St. NW, DC; www.saufhausdc.com

WEDNESDAY, MAY 15

Horizontal Tasting: Cider, Beer and Wine
Celebrate spring by exploring cider, beer and wine together! Your ticket includes a guided, five-part horizontal tasting. For each course, Capitol Cider House will pair a different cider with a similar beer or wine. To sweeten the night, the fifth and final course will pair a dessert wine with Capitol Cider’s house made North Columbia – essentially, the apple version of port wine. Capitol Cider House: 3930 Georgia Avenue NW, DC; www.capitolciderhouse.com

FRIDAY, MAY 17

SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience
What happens when celebrated chefs team up with some of America’s finest craft breweries? The answer: an unforgettable night of sensory delight. Set amidst the grandeur of the National Building Museum, SAVOR is the premier beer and food pairing event in the country. Discover your new favorite craft beers and pairings and meet the people behind the beer, including owners and brewers, who will be personally serving their beer. Starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $135. National Building Museum: 401 F St. NW, DC; www.savorcraftbeer.com

SATURDAY, MAY 18

Sour Mania!
Pucker up and join Mad Fox for their 2nd Annual Sour Beer Festival. Sample special and limited-edition sour ales from around the region and across the country at this indoor event. Enjoy live music and fantastic food while sipping some truly tart ales. Admission to the brewpub is free and space is available on a first come, first served basis. Please call the restaurant for table reservations. Tasting begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Check out the samtpler package offer available online only. 11 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. Tickets start at $20. Mad Fox Brewing Company: 444 W. Broad St. Falls Church, VA; www.madfoxbrewing.com

The Ultimate Beer Pong Tournament
Are you the master of beer pong? Do you want to help a good cause while also consuming libations? Well, this is the perfect event for you. Join Town Tavern with your best beer pong partner and drink and play for a cause. The bar is hosting a beer pong tournament to raise money and awareness for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. 6:30 p.m. Tickets $5-$25. Town Tavern DC: 2323 18th St. NW, DC; www.towntaverndc.com

SUNDAY, MAY 19

Bingo with the DC Sisters
Come to the DC Sisters’ monthly bingo night. They will be at Red Bear Brewing with games, raffle tickets for the 50/50 raffle, extra game books, and food and beverages will also be available for purchase. 1-4 p.m. $20 will get you six rounds of bingo, each with a $100 cash prize and potentially a door prize. Red Bear Brewing: 209 M St. NE, DC; www.dcsisters.org

Pups N’ Pints
Join Fairfax Dogfish Head Alehouse for a fundraiser in an effort to raise money for the HART Organization. Kick off the day with the annual 5K run and then enjoy the outdoor bar and grill. 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. 5K registration is $40. Dogfish Head Alehouse: 13041 Lee Jackson Memorial Hwy. Fairfax, VA; www.dogfishalehouse.com

SATURDAY, MAY 25

Rivershed Run
Kick off your long weekend with a fast and flat run that starts in urban Alexandria, cools down through beautiful Cameron Run Park and finishes at the Port City Brewery. After the 5K, you will have earned your fair share of calories.  So, plan to stay for the ultimate Virginia Memorial Day BBQ. Live bluegrass all afternoon, All American food trucks with a pig roast, burgers and apple pie. All that and the release of Port City’s new Rivershed Ale. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.5K registration is $45. Port City Brewing Company: 3950 Wheeler Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.portcitybrewing.com

Stone Carving at the Brewery
New District Brewing Company has had paint nights and food pairings, but now it’s time for stone carving. Come in empty handed and walk out with a small stone creation made with your own two hands. The instructor will guide you through a class to give you the basics of stone carving while the brewery will provide plenty of beer to coax out your muse. 2 p.m. Tickets $30. New District Brewing Company: 2709 South Oakland St. Arlington, VA; www.newdistrictbrewing.com

Woodbridge Beer Fest
This beer event is taking over the main drag of Woodbridge for the second year, filling it with beer, food and even wine. There will be 12 breweries providing the best of local and regional craft breweries, food vendors, live music and other entertainment. Want to stay late? The Brew Republic taproom will host an after party. Festivities begin at 11 a.m. Tickets start at $39. Brew Republic Bierwerks: 15201 Potomac Town Pl. Woodbridge, VA; www.brewrepublic.beer

Photos: Courtesy of SweetWater

SweetWater’s New Guide Beer: New Four Percent Lager Gives Back to Nature’s Best Stewards

Freddy Bensch first rolled through Atlanta in the summer of 1996 to find the city at a vibrant peak while hosting the Olympic Games. With a freshly inked environmental sciences degree in his pocket, Bensch embarked upon a cross-country road trip, leaving University of Colorado Boulder with his friend Kevin McNerney and dog Badger. When their truck broke down in Atlanta, the crew decided to stay and play.

Enamored with Atlanta’s glittery city appeal and Southern downhome charm, their stay kept getting extended. The one thing lacking? A great craft beer scene. Bensch and McNerney had worked in breweries while in college in Colorado and saw an opportunity to introduce Atlanta to the tasty West Coast-style ales they loved. One small business loan later, and SweetWater Brewing Company was born.   

Craft enthusiasts are likely familiar with SweetWater’s 420 Extra Pale Ale – the first batch was brewed 22 years ago on April 20 – and their heady, hoppy portfolio of IPAs. This year, the Atlanta-based brewery introduced a lighter lager to the mix: Guide Beer. At 4 percent, it’s a crisp and refreshing cooler-filler, with all the robust flavors you’d expect from a craft.

But it’s more than just a great liquid: Guide Beer has a greater mission. Of Guide Beer’s profits, 11 percent will be given back to nature guides in need, whether they’ve suffered devastation from a hurricane, a broken limb, an illness or anything that keeps them from working. Why guides? 

“SweetWater has always been about creating a company and brand that exudes the same core values we hold as individuals, and that includes a deep love of all things outdoors,” Bensch says. “Whether it was water conservation, habitat protection or just straight-up stocking streams, this was who we were and this was what we were going to support. Guide Beer has become a natural extension of this philosophy: a light, easy drinking lager specifically designed for days in the outdoors that also gives back to the best stewards of the great outdoors – guides.”

Bensch says he and McNerney developed a great sense of gratitude for the guides they befriended along the way.

“Always taking a sliver of information or heightened respect from each experience, we came to understand that these guys and gals are the true stewards of nature. Guides are the keys that unlock outdoor experiences for the greater masses.”

He points out that the past several years have seen devastation to the guide community from Hurricanes Irma, Florence and Michael.

“It hit me that we as a company need to step up and formally give back to guides who’ve impacted so much of who we are as a company and frankly, who I am as a person and outdoorsman,” he says. “That’s what Guide Beer is: in honor and support of those who show us the way.”

In order to make Guide Beer an authentic representation of the folks it’s meant to honor, SweetWater worked with guides from all over the nation to develop it.

“We reached out to some of the nation’s most well-known and revered guides and started asking them, ‘What kind of beer do you like to drink after a long day out guiding?’” says Guide Beer Brand Director Tucker Berta Sarkisian. “The answer was nearly unanimous: a crisp, light, easy drinking, low-ABV beer.  We continued to work with the guides to develop the liquid and the concept around it – getting their input on everything from cans versus bottles to artwork to a philanthropic program that would be authentic to SweetWater and this new beer.”  

What guides told SweetWater they wanted aligned with industry stats: a shift toward a lighter profile among craft drinkers and proven success in the top 10 drinkable styles. It also brings to the table new consumers: craft enthusiasts looking for a crisp 4 percenter, plus a new base of lighter profile beer consumers who may be new to SweetWater but appreciate the outdoors and aspirational nature of the guide lifestyle. Men’s Journal recently named Guide Beer one of the “Five Best Lagers for Day Drinking.” 

“Our hope all along was that Guide Beer would spark conversation and inspire people to get outside and enjoy all that nature has to offer,” Sarkisian says. “And we’re seeing that, from consumers talking about the maps on the cans and the locations they’ve visited or want to visit to planning an excursion with a guide.”   

Check out videos from guides, booking links and more at www.guidebeer.com and follow Guide Beer on Instagram @guidebeer. Find out where to pick up the brew in the DMV at www.sweetwaterbrew.com/find-sweetwater.

This article is sponsored by Virginia Eagle Distributing Company.

Photo: Rey Lopez

Game-Centric Bars Offer Next-Level Experiences

With a reputation for attracting the Type A working crowd, DC is a hardworking town deserving of a well-needed break from time to time. Enter bars with plenty of distractions in the way of arcade games, social sports and communal entertainment that also provide elevated dining experiences over the typical pub grub. In the past year, the city has seen a wave of bar openings that go beyond the usual food and drink offerings whether they be sport, arcade games, or providing a place to gather and unplug from the 9-5 grind.

DC newcomer SPIN recently opened its eighth location a hop, skip and a jump away from Metro Center, a hub for the downtown working crowd. Malin Pettersson, SPIN’s grand opening manager, reflects on what makes the ping-pong club an attractive destination for District denizens.

“You have to disconnect a little bit after work,” Pettersson says. “Everyone is so busy doing big, important jobs. SPIN is a place where you can really disconnect. We’re in the basement too, so you kind of have to disconnect.”

An oasis from the burdens of office life, the social sport club is an ideal refuge.

“When you play [ping pong], you can’t really focus on anything else but the ball,” he continues. “You can’t think about your issues at work or what you have to do. You just have to let go and watch that ball. I think that’s something that DC needs: a place to disconnect.”

At its core, SPIN is all about offering a place to create relationships on a personal, individual level.

“I think it’s great that [we] don’t want to sit still and want to have an activity, because it’s so much easier to connect with people that way.”

Beyond the escape aspect, SPIN offers an easy environment for folks to let loose and connect over an elevated bar menu and brews.

“Our chef is Filipino so he’s putting a little bit of an Asian twist on some of the items there and it’s been very well-received.”

Notable menu items include the fried chicken banh mi and crispy shrimp bao buns.

The Eleanor in NoMa is another bar raising the game when it comes to menu offerings and entertainment. When owner Adam Stein took the menu into consideration, he focused on comfort foods with some seasonal twists.

“We try to be super eclectic,” he says. “Even though a lot of our stuff falls into the bar category, we make as much as we possibly can in-house.”

Inspiration for some dishes came from the kitchen’s collective history of working together (think elote loco-style hush puppies or whimsical dishes from Stein’s childhood like the spaghetti sandwich.

“It was really important to us to elevate the food, the drinks and the service.”

Another important factor in his decision-making process? Keeping a sense of DC authenticity on the menu. 

“We definitely made sure we involved a lot of the local producers. A lot of our spirits [and beers] are from DC, Maryland and Virginia. In terms of food, we try to be seasonal, so we use a lot of local purveyors.”

Branded as a bowling lounge, bar and grill, The Eleanor caters to a multitude of crowds. No matter who walks in the doors, the mini-bowling lanes, arcade games and pinball machines ensure that anyone and everyone will have a good time.

Players Club on 14th Street offers an approachable cocktail program with throwback games in an environment where guests can have a “laid-back and entertaining time at the bar.”

“The venue works cohesively as a bar, a place to watch sports and an entertainment venue with plenty of options,” says director of operations Scott Herman.

Guests mostly fall into the category of “young professionals to bar and restaurant industry friends that stop by on their night off,” according to Herman. Although the retro basement bar doesn’t offer its own food menu, patrons can have items delivered from nearby Shake Shack.

“People love being able to order Shake Shack without having to leave the bar.”

At the end of the day, it all comes back to building an authentic connection.

“It’s been interesting to see how much people enjoy the games,” Herman notes. “We see lots of couples on dates – having games to play is an easy icebreaker for people that are just getting to know each other.”

Learn more about these game-centric bars below.

The Eleanor: 100 Florida Ave. NE, DC; www.eleanordc.com
Players Club: 1400 14th St. NW, DC; www.playersclubdc.com
SPIN: 1332 F St. NW, DC; www.wearespin.com


Game-Filled Watering Holes

Looking for a quick escape with friends? Whether you live in DC proper or across the bridge, the surrounding areas have plenty to offer in the way of social activities and fun distractions to take you away from the daily grind.

Bar Elena
Adam Stein also co-owns the H Street spot focused on eclectic comfort food (think fancy nachos topped with cotija, radish and black bean puree and General Tso’s wings), local shellfish, and a seasonal cocktail program with diversions that come in the form of pinball machines, skee-ball and classic video games like Ms. Pac-Man. Rounding out the bar’s offerings are two happy hours to draw in the after work and late-night crowds. 414 H St. NE, DC; www.barelenadc.com

The G.O.A.T.
The Arlington sports bar is home to 50-plus HD TVs to catch all the live sports action, plus a gaming lounge complete with the newest arcade games and throwback favorites like shoot-to-win basketball and skee-ball. Snack on next-level bar food such as filet mignon skewers, bulgogi wonton tacos and pastrami egg rolls. 3028 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.thegoatva.com  

Jackie Lee’s
Brightwood Park’s Jackie Lee’s has fun on the forefront of its bar offerings. Patrons of the neighborhood spot can partake in vintage arcade games while chowing down on comfort pub fare like bacon-wrapped jalapeños and knocking back cold brews. Communal tables, Art Deco décor and an assortment of throwback games add to the social bar experience. 116 Kennedy St. NW, DC; www.jackieleesdc.com

Kraken Axes
What better way to let loose than by satisfying the primeval urge to hurl axes? The indoor axe-throwing haven recently relocated to Penn Quarter where guests can take a less traditional route to bar games. Throw back some brews while throwing axes and order up beer, wine at the bar and small plates from Kraken’s next-door neighbor Cedar Restaurant.
840 E St. NW, DC; www.krakenaxes.com

Pizzeria Paradiso Game Room
The local pizza chain’s Georgetown location debuted its game room early last year. The basement bar’s walls are splashed with colorful murals and it’s filled with familiar games like pinball, shuffle ball and skee-ball in addition to a rotating list of popular arcade games. As one can expect from Pizzeria Paradiso, the beer offerings are on point with 60 cans and eight taps featuring rotating craft brews. 3282 M St. NW, DC;
www.eatyourpizza.com/game-room

Punch Bowl Social
An adult playground of sorts, Arlington’s barcade features 25,000 square feet of restaurant, games, outdoor patio space and social activities galore. At the tri-level entertainment destination, guests can take part in all kinds of amusements including karaoke, bocce, bowling, table games (think Giant Scrabble, ping pong, billiards and foosball) and arcade favorites. Bar offerings include plenty of shareable items like sheet nachos and green chorizo fries to go along with boozy punch (of course), craft brews and signature cocktails. 4238 Wilson Blvd.  Arlington, VA; www.punchbowlsocial.com/location/arlington

Photo: Ernie Tacsik // Haute Phototure

DC Festival Guide 2019

As the clouds dissipate from the sky and make way for the sun to illuminate the world, tents and stages begin to roll out for perhaps the most vibrant time of the year: festival season. From big to small, festivals represent inviting areas for people to mingle in areas meant to incite enthusiasm and joy. Luckily for us, residents of the DMV live in one of the most fertile grounds for these events in the country, whether you’re looking to chow down on fare at the Giant National Capital Barbecue Battle or want to dance to pure exhaustion at Funk Parade and DC101’s Kerfuffle. Over the next few pages, we’ve collected an extensive list of some of the very best the region has to offer with details on what to expect from each, plus interviews with local festival makers and some of our top picks.


THURSDAY, MAY 2 – SUNDAY, MAY 12

Pow! Wow! DC
Since 2016, artists from the DC region and around the globe – a different mix each year, lead by DC’s very own Kelly Towles – have come to NoMa for 10 days in May to create larger-than-life murals that enliven buildings and streetscapes. The 10-day celebration of art features a kickoff event at Wunder Garten, mural walking tours and more. Various dates, times and locations; www.nomabid.org/pow-wow-dc

FRIDAY, MAY 3 – SUNDAY, MAY 5

M3 Rock Festival
Now in its 11th year, M3 Rock Festival has grown from up-and-comer to a definitive way to party like it’s 1989. Start with the annual Kix-Off Party on Friday, and head into the festival on Saturday and Sunday. M3 features enough hard rock and hair metal bands to make your head spin. Lineup includes Dokken, Whitesnake, Autograph and Vince Neil. Various times. Tickets are $80-$255. Merriweather Post Pavilion: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; www.merriweathermusic.com

Sleepy Creek Spring Dig
Returning for its sixth year, this annual campout offers a stellar line up of local roots music and national superstars. Other attractions include playgrounds, parades, face painting, food, arts and crafts, late night bonfires and open jam circles. Sleepy Creek events remain dedicated to providing fun for all ages and creating memories that last a lifetime. Early arrival party with Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers starts at 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday 12:30 p.m. – 1 a.m. Sunday open mic party. Exit by 5 p.m. Tickets are $60-$100. Free admission for kids 15 and under. Sleepy Creek on the Potomac: Joshua Lane in Berkeley Springs, WV; www.sleepycreekpresents.com

SATURDAY, MAY 4

Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival
Join DC’s signature folk festival in its 10th year with headliners Dustbowl Revival, The Ballroom Thieves and Hackensaw Boys, along with a host of other featured artists. Celebrate spring at this Best of DC 2018 award-winning festival with amazing local talent, tremendous local merchants and the natural beauty of the nation’s capital. 12-8 p.m. Tickets are $35-$100. Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival: 575 Oklahoma Ave. NE, DC; www.kingmanislandbluegrass.info

SATURDAY, MAY 4 – SUNDAY, MAY 5

National Wine & Food Festival
A world class, waterfront culinary event! Join in the excitement of the 11th annual Wine and Food Festival at National Harbor; bringing together world-renowned chefs, artisanal craftsmen and culinary pioneers with thousands of Metro DC’s foodies. 12-6 p.m. Tickets begin at $40. National Harbor Waterfront: 804 National Harbor Blvd. National Harbor, MD; www.wineandfoodnh.com

SUNDAY, MAY 5

Fiesta Asia Silver Spring
Fiesta Asia Silver Spring brings together diverse Asian cultures on one street, where participants can experience the richness of the arts and tradition the region has to offer. Happenings include live performances, open market exhibitors, interactive displays, dance, music and much more. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Free to attend. Fiesta Asia Silver Spring: 916 Ellsworth Dr. Silver Spring, MD; www.fiestaasia.org

FRIDAY, MAY 10 – SUNDAY, MAY 12

Preakness Balloon Festival
The Howard County Fairgrounds will brighten the skies this year as the centerpiece venue for the long-running balloon festival. Spectators will enjoy the wonder of hot air balloons, specialty crafts, entertainment and good food during this family-friendly festival. Friday  4-9 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday Mother’s Day Morning Balloon Flight 6:15-7:45 a.m. Balloon ride tickets are $250. Howard County Fairgrounds: 2210 Fairgrounds Rd. West Friendship, MD; www.preaknessballoonfestival.com

SATURDAY, MAY 11

Maryland Craft Beer Festival
Celebrate your favorite Maryland breweries at the Maryland Craft Beer Festival. More than 40 local breweries will present nearly 200 unique, finely crafted ales and lagers. There will be live music, delicious food and fun craft vendors. 12-5 p.m. Tickets are $40, with $15 designated driver tickets available. Carroll Creek Linear Park: 44 South Market St. Frederick, MD; www.mdcraftbeerfestival.com

Of Ale and History Beer Fest
Find more than 50 beers available for tasting including European imports, American craft brews, hard ciders and specialty beers at the longest running beer festival in Virginia. Enjoy live music all day from Mojo Mothership and The Robbie Limon Band. Admission includes a souvenir glass, eight tastings and access to all vendors. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. At the gate, tasting tickets will be $30. Designated drivers or guests under 21 may purchase admission tickets for $10, including two non-alcoholic beverages. Belle Grove Plantation: 336 Belle Grove Rd. Middletown, VA; www.bellegrove.org

SATURDAY, MAY 11 – SUNDAY, JUNE 9

Virginia Renaissance Faire
Find music and dancing, shops filled with the finest crafts, and a variety of foods and beverages at the Virginia Renaissance Faire. Join the militia in pike drills or present a case in the Court of Common Pleas. Entertainment and vendors to be announced. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets are $12. Free admission for kids 6 and under. Lake Anna Winery: 5621 Courthouse Rd. Spotsylvania, VA; www.varf.org

THURSDAY, MAY 16 – SATURDAY, MAY 18

Domefest
Head to the lineup page to view all of the bands playing at Domefest 2019 alongside Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Aqueous, Magic Beans, Litz, Mungion, Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers, The Fritz and more. Stay tuned to social media for fun updates including themes, late night acts and workshop information. Gates open Thursday at 1 p.m. and close Sunday 2 p.m. Tickets are $135. Marvin’s Mountaintop: Masontown, WV; www.domefestival.com

FRIDAY, MAY 17

SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience
A must-attend for craft beer aficionados and foodies alike, SAVOR offers a memorable craft beer and food experience to a limited number of guests in a truly unique atmosphere. At SAVOR, 90 small and independent craft breweries from around the country showcase 181 beers, each one thoughtfully paired with a small plate that will dazzle your palate. 7:30-11 p.m. Tickets $135. National Building Museum: 401 F St. NW, DC; www.savorcraftbeer.com

FRIDAY, MAY 17 – SUNDAY, MAY 19

Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival
Festival attendees will enjoy viewing inspiring and innovative art in a wide variety of media and styles, interacting directly with artists from around the country, and exploring their own creativity in the Family Art Park, featuring free face painting and balloon animals. Expect to get a festival guide with more than $100 worth of coupons. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free to attend. Reston Town Center: 11900 Market St. Reston, VA; www.restonarts.org/fineartsfestival

Riverrock
From music to mud pits, bikes to beer, SUPs to pups, and climbing to kayaks – it’s uniquely Richmond! Rock the day and night away, watch professional athletes thrill the crowd, and maybe even get a little dirty yourself.  Friday 5-9:30 p.m. Saturday 8 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Sunday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Ticket prices vary. Historic Tredegar: 500 Tredegar St. Richmond, VA; www.riverrockva.com

Spring Wine Festival & Sunset Tour
Celebrate the history of wine in Virginia with exclusive evening tours of the mansion and cellars, more than 20 Virginia wineries, and live music overlooking views of the estate and the Potomac River. 6-9 p.m. Tickets are $42-$48. Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy. Mt. Vernon, VA; www.mountvernon.org

SATURDAY, MAY 18

Adventure Brewing Company 5th Anniversary Festival
This brewery birthday party features live music and local vendors. Event is pet-friendly. Check the website for daily updates on festival details. 12-10 p.m. Free to attend. Adventure Brewing Company: 33 Perchwood Dr. Fredericksburg, VA; www.adventurebrewing.com

Fiesta Asia Street Fair
The 13th annual National Asian Heritage Festival’s signature event, the Fiesta Asia Street Fair, features more than 1,000 performers on five stages representing more than 20 cultures. Enjoy outdoor craft exhibits, live performances, food and open market vendors, interactive displays, martial arts demonstrations, talent shows, cooking demos and many more. 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Free to attend. Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 6th Streets, NW, DC; www.fiestaasia.org

InfieldFest
InfieldFest is a full-day music festival that takes place amid one of the most anticipated and attended annual sporting events, the Preakness Stakes. The 2019 lineup features Norwegian DJ Kygo, Maryland’s own Logic, Diplo, Juice WRLD, Fisher and Frank Walker. 8 p.m. Tickets are $79-$199. Pimlico Race Course: 5201 Park Heights Ave. Baltimore, MD; www.infieldfest.com

SATURDAY, MAY 18

Pearl Street Preakness Party
Join Pearl Street for an official Preakness party, infield style. Party to live music from Lovely Rita, enter our hat contest, then catch the race on the big screen. The bars will be open and they’ll have plenty of Stella Artois and Black Eyed Susans. Must be 21 and over to consume alcohol. 4-7 p.m. Free to attend. Pearl Street in SW, DC; www.wharfdc.com

Sour Mania! Sour Beer Festival
Pucker up and join the 2nd Annual Sour Beer Festival. Sample special and limited edition sour ales from around the region and across the country at this indoor event. Enjoy live music and fantastic food while sipping some truly tart ales. Starts at 11 a.m. Admission is free, samplers and snacks available to purchase. Mad Fox Brewing Company: 444 W Broad St. Falls Church, VA; www.madfoxbrewing.com

Virginia Wine & Craft Festival
Grab a drink and hit the caves. Relax and enjoy shopping for handmade crafts from over 100 vendors, artists and crafters from all over the East Coast, listen to live music, play games and try wine from 20 different wineries. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Free to attend, $25-$30 for wine tasting. Historic Downtown Front Royal: 106 Chester St. Front Royal, VA;www.wineandcraftfestival.com

SATURDAY, MAY 18 – SUNDAY, MAY 19

Wine in the Woods
The 27th Annual Wine in the Woods is the largest wine festival in Maryland and continues to rank among the best festivals in Howard County. Sample a variety of Maryland’s finest wineries from a souvenir glass, purchase food from an abundance of high quality restaurants and caterers, attend wine education seminars, purchase art and specialty crafts, and revel in continuous live entertainment from the Unified Jazz Ensemble, Bad Influence and I&I Riddim. Saturday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $25-$44. Symphony Woods Park: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; www.wineinthewoods.com

SUNDAY, MAY 19

Porchfest DC – Southeast Edition
Porchfest is a festival of mini-concerts held on front porches. The Southeast Porchfest embodies the life and soul of DC, spotlighting the region’s top emerging talent and is an outing for the entire family! With well-manicured lawns, tree-lined streets and super friendly residents, Hillcrest is the perfect choice for the 2019 Southeast Porchfest. This year’s line-up includes spoken word performances and bands representing all music genres, including: jazz, folk, rock, hip-hop and go-go. There will also be food trucks, vendors and more! Please bring a lawn chair, walking shoes and cash to tip the performers. For updates, follow @porchfestdc on Instagram. The map of the final performance route will be published the second week of May. 12-6 p.m. Free to attend. The Hillcrest community in SE DC; www.porchfestdc.com

SUNDAY, MAY 19

DC Polo Society
Are you on the list?
www.dcpolo.com

THURSDAY, MAY 23 – SUNDAY, MAY 26

DelFest
With acts like The Del McCoury Band and The Travelin McCourys, this family-friendly music festival is pure bluegrass bliss. You’ll find incredible music all day long on multiple stage, intimate artist playshops, late night shows, a fun-filled kidzone, a quality art and craft faire, delicious food and drinks, plentiful camping space and RV hookups, and much more. Various times and performances each day. Various ticket packages available. Allegany County Fairgrounds: 11400 Moss Ave. Cumberland, MD; www.delfest.com

FRIDAY, MAY 24 – MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 2

SummerFest at Gaylord National
The Capital Region’s premier waterfront resort, Gaylord National, comes alive with Summer FUN!  Overnight guests can enjoy resort entertainment and activities as part of their annual SummerFest. From outdoor events and great music to campfire stories, scavenger hunts, seasonal cocktails and more, there is something for everyone. Whether you are visiting the DC area to sightsee, a family looking for a getaway or a great night out with friends, you will find everything you need to make your summer getaway memorable. Various times. Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center: 201 Waterfront St. National Harbor, MD; www.marriott.com

SATURDAY, MAY 25 – SUNDAY, MAY 26

Caribbean Wine, Music and Food Festival
Listen to steel drums and reggae beats while enjoying arts and crafts, great food and the island vibes of this wine festival. Open your palate to unique Linganore wines and take home a souvenir wine glass. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets are $25. Linganore Wine Cellars: 13601 Glissans Mill Rd. Mt. Airy, MD; www.linganore-wine.com

WEDNESDAY, MAY 29 – SATURDAY, JUNE 2

Focus on the Story Festival
Focus on the Story is an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit organization based in DC, founded on the driving principle that photography can spark meaningful conversations at the intersection of policy, civic engagement and visual storytelling. Join in the nation’s capital as they celebrate the art of photography and the stories behind the images with talks, workshops, portfolio reviews, exhibits, contests and photo walks about everything from Brutalist architecture to the White House. Various times and locations. Registration is $225-$245. Student rates available. www.focusonthestory.org

THURSDAY, MAY 30 – SATURDAY, JUNE 2

Mountain Music Festival
Mountain Music Festival is an annual celebration of the best outdoor adventures West Virginia has to offer, with live music to match. Situated on a 1,500-acre outdoor adventure resort in the New River Gorge, Mountain Music Festival brings the spirit of Appalachia to life through its two greatest exports: music and wilderness. This year, Mountain Music Fest welcomes Tyler Childers, The Floozies, Big Something and many more to the stage atop Wonderland Mountain. Tickets are $79-$329. ACE Adventure Resort: 1 Concho Rd. Minden, WV; www.mountainmusicfestwv.com

SATURDAY, JUNE 1

Great Grapes Wine & Food Festival
Great Grapes! has grown to be Baltimore’s premier casual Maryland wine festival with live music, fun festival eats, arts and crafts, and a free kids’ area. Grab a souvenir glass and stroll from tent to tent, sipping and savoring selections from more than 150 different international and local wines, beers and spirits at Oregon Ridge Park. 1-8 p.m. Tickets are $40-$75. Oregon Ridge Park: 13401 Beaver Dam Rd. Cockeysville, MD;www.uncorkthefun.com

Takoma Trukgarten
Don’t miss Takoma Trukgarten featuring local beer, food trucks and live music. This one-day beer festival features local breweries pouring over 20 different craft beers plus cider and a new wine tent. There will be local restaurants and food trucks plus live music all day! 12-5 p.m. Tickets are $25-$45. City Parking Lot: 201 Ethan Allen Ave. Takoma Park, MD; www.mainstreettakoma.org

SATURDAY, JUNE 1 – SUNDAY, JUNE 2

FSGW Washington Folk Festival
The 39th Annual Washington Folk Festival showcases the diversity of traditional music in the DC area. All musicians, storytellers, dancer and craftspeople live in the greater DMV metropolitan area and volunteer their talents to put on a first-class festival of national renown. 12-7 p.m. both days. Free to attend. Glen Echo Park: 7300 MacArthur Blvd. Glen Echo, MD; www.fsgw.org

Vintage Virginia
Since 1982, Vintage Virginia has offered an opportunity to taste from nearly half of Virginia’s homegrown wineries, from the most renowned to the new and exciting. Saturday 12-6 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets cost $40-$65. Bull Run Special Events Center: 7700 Bull Run Dr. Centreville, VA; www.vintagevirginia.com

SUNDAY, JUNE 2

Taste of Peru DC
Taste of Peru celebrates the cultural influences and the creativity of Peruvian chefs all over the United States. The event promotes the unique culinary perspectives of local and international chefs. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets are $15-$40. University of the District of Columbia: 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.tasteofperudc.com

FRIDAY, JUNE 7 – SUNDAY, JUNE 9

Capital Jazz Fest
Come see Gladys Knight, Babyface, Gregory Porter, India.Arie, Marsha Ambrosius and more jazz and soul musicians at Merriweather Post Pavilion’s Capital Jazz Fest. Enjoy fine arts and crafts at the festival marketplace and culinary treats from the food court, plus artist workshops, plus meet and greets. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Doors open at 10 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $59.50-$129.50. Merriweather Post Pavilion: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; www.merriweathermusic.com

FRIDAY, JUNE 7 – SUNDAY, JUNE 16

DC JazzFest
The DC JazzFest invites you to explore the exceptional array of renowned masters and emerging artists from across the jazz spectrum and beyond. Find your favorite artists and various performances located throughout the District, including The Wharf and even in your own neighborhood through the Jazz in the ’Hoods concert series. Various showtimes, ticket prices and venues. Various locations in DC; www.dcjazzfest.org

SATURDAY, JUNE 8

Breaux Vineyards Cajun Festival
Come join your Cajun cousins at Breaux Vineyards the 22nd Annual Cajun Festival.  Enjoy wine tastings, craft vendors, Cajun fare for sale, and more at this annual celebration. Starting off the day, the festival will feature live music with the Voodoo Blues followed by The Dixie Power Trio for the rest of the afternoon. Kid-friendly activities will be available. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets are $20. Breaux Vineyards: 36888 Breaux Vineyards Ln. Purcellville, VA; www.breauxvineyards.com

Summerfest DC
Get your own tasting glass and enjoy more than 80 carefully selected craft beers in a single afternoon. Enjoy live music, unlimited wine and cider tastings and amazing food selections. Then get active with outdoor games, arts and activities. This is a 21 and over only event. Various times and ticket prices. The Bullpen: 1201 Half St. SE, DC; www.summerfestdc.com

SUNDAY, JUNE 9

Capital Pride Festival
Join the LGBTQ+ community, on America’s Mainstreet for the 2019 Capital Pride Festival presented by Live! Casino & Hotel. Enjoy a full day of entertainment, music, food, drink, education and celebration. The Pride Festival includes three stages of national and local talent, and will host 300 exhibitors including local community groups and businesses, food vendors, and organizations looking to promote their products and services to our community. 12-10 p.m. Free to attend, VIP packages are available for purchase. Pennsylvania Avenue & 3rd Street in NW, DC; www.capitalpride.org

SATURDAY, JUNE 15

5th Annual Baltimore Wine Fest
Join b Scene Events for the 5th Annual Baltimore Wine Fest at the picturesque Canton Waterfront Park. Experience 160+ wines from around the world, gourmet eats provided by local eateries, live music, chef cooking demonstrations, wine seminars, craft beers and spirits, unique shopping and a family zone. 12-7 p.m. Tickets are $15-$89. Canton Waterfront Park: 3001 Boston St. Baltimore, MD; www.baltimorewinefest.com

Beer, Bourbon and BBQ
Enjoy beer, bourbon, music, cigars and barbecue. Admission buys you a souvenir glass, so you can enjoy an all-you-care-to-taste sampling of the 60 beers and 40 bourbons on tap. The amazing barbecue selection includes the Shrine of Swine, featuring pulled pork right from the source. There’s also live rock and blues music all day. Additionally, the event comes to Leesburg in October. Tickets are $75-$119. 12-6 p.m. on Saturday. The Plateau at National Harbor: 165 Waterfront St. National Harbor, MD; www.beerandbourbon.com

FreeState Beer, Wine and Seafood Festival
Find the area’s best seafood, Maryland craft brewers, Linganore wines, awesome live music, and a special appearance by Justin Schlegel of Justin, Scott and Spiegel on 98 Rock at the Freestate Beer, Wine and Seafood Festival. Purchase a VIP ticket and receive a larger souvenir glass and access to an exclusive private area that includes indoor bathrooms. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets are $35-$50. Linganore Winecellars: 13601 Glissans Mill Rd. Mt. Airy, MD; www.linganorewines.com

Silver Spring Blues Festival
Enjoy this all-day blues block party with two stages, a fountain to cool off in and plenty of places to eat and shop at the music-filled celebration in downtown Silver Spring. 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. Free to attend. 921 Wayne Ave. Silver Spring, MD; www.silverspringbluesfest.yolasite.com

SATURDAY, JUNE 15 – SUNDAY, JUNE 23

By the People
By the People is a new, inclusive, international arts and innovation festival that facilitates connection and celebrates creativity. Enjoy fun and free arts installations, performances, talks and programs about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Smithsonian will have extended evening hours on June 23, and augmented reality art at each of the festival sites. Various times. Free to attend. Various locations in DC; www.halcyonhouse.org/by-the-people

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19 – SUNDAY, JUNE 23

AFI DOCS
AFI DOCS is the nation’s documentary film festival known for showcasing the best in documentary filmmaking from the US and around the world. AFI DOCS is also the only film festival in the United States that offers the unique opportunity to connect film audiences with national opinion leaders, filmmakers and intriguing film subjects. With conversations and experiences you won’t experience at any other film festival, AFI DOCS harnesses the power of this important art form and its potential to inspire change. Screenings during this annual five-day event take place in landmark venues in DC and the world-class AFI Silver Theatre, the independent film hub of the metropolitan region. Tickets are $50-$275. Various locations and times; www.afi.com/afidocs

THURSDAY, JUNE 20 – MONDAY, JUNE 24

Capital Congress
Capital Congress is the largest Salsa Festival in the DC area. Since 2005, thousands have come to DC to dance Salsa and other Latin styles in this family-friendly environment. Instructors from around the world teach daily dance workshops to all levels. All ages welcome. Various times. Tickets $110-$350. The Hilton Mark Center: 5000 Seminary Rd. Alexandria, VA; www.capitalcongress.com

FRIDAY, JUNE 21 – SUNDAY, JUNE 23

Firefly Music Festival
Your favorite summer weekend is just around the corner. Three days, several stages and countless bands. Artists include Panic! At The Disco, Tyler, The Creator, Courtney Barnett, Travis Scott, Passion Pit, Post Malone and many more. Various show times and ticket prices ranging from single-day camping passes to weekend passes. The Woodlands in Dover, DE; www.fireflyfestival.com

SATURDAY, JUNE 22 – SUNDAY, JUNE 23

27th Annual Giant National Capital BBQ Battle
Kick off summer at America’s barbecue party, the 27th annual Giant Barbecue Battle. Pennsylvania Avenue will be smokin’ with rock, reggae, jazz and blues from 30 bands on three stages. Cookbook authors and celebrity chefs like Myron Mixon, Moe Cason and Tuffy Stone of Destination America’s popular “BBQ Pitmasters” will entertain and educate with cooking demonstrations on the popular Giant Demonstration Stage. Enjoy free barbecue and grilled food samples in the Taste of Giant sampling pavilion while witnessing America’s best eaters onstage at Nathan’s famous hot dog-eating contest. Other activities include Anheuser-Busch beer gardens, and Giant Corks to Caps Microbrew and Wine Tasting tent. This year’s Capital BBQ Battle will raise funds for USO of Metropolitan Washington with the Capital Area Food Bank. Saturday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tickets are $12-$155. Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 7th Streets in NW, DC; www.bbqindc.com

SATURDAY, JUNE 29 – SUNDAY, JUNE 30

Smithsonian Folklife Festival
This festival honors contemporary living cultural traditions and celebrates those who practice and sustain them. Produced annually by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the festival has featured participants from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. This year’s festival will focus on the social power of music. Experience living traditions from around the world, as the festival works with communities to strengthen and preserve their cultures and share them with you on the National Mall. Festival hours and events TBD. Free to attend. The National Mall: www.festival.si.edu

TUESDAY, JULY 9 – SUNDAY, JULY 28

Capital Fringe Festival
Capital Fringe will showcase seven venues with 13 stages, all within walking distance of each other in Southwest DC, presenting more than 94 highly-ambitious productions with 60 percent of the participating artists residing in the DC Metro area. With countless performing groups, there’s bound to be something for everybody from theatre to dance, including risky art and nontraditional acts. Tickets are $72-$500 and go on sale June 17. The Logan Fringe Arts Space: 1358 Florida Ave. NE, DC; www.capitalfringe.org

SUNDAY, JULY 14

Silver Spring Arts & Crafts Summer Fair
Check out the Silver Spring Arts & Crafts Fair this summer, featuring arts and crafts, food and beverage vendors, a cultural dance show with performances from different countries around the world and many fun family activities. 2-8 p.m. Free to attend. Silver Spring Veterans Plaza: 1 Veterans Pl. Silver Spring, MD; www.chiceventsdc.com

FRIDAY, JULY 19 – SUNDAY, JULY 21

ARTSCAPE 2019
Check out fashion designers, outdoor sculpture, photography and art cars at America’s largest free arts festival. Experience the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and other incredible live music on outdoor stages. Expect to see a delicious international menu of food and beverages available throughout the festival. Times TBD. Free to attend. Various locations in Baltimore, MD; www.artscape.org

SATURDAY, JULY 20 – SUNDAY, JULY 21

Summer Reggae Wine Festival
Shop the open-air market with hand-crafted and imported goods from around the world. Enjoy a day sampling delicious wines and listening to live bands. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets are $20-$25. Linganore Winecellars: 13601 Glissans Mill Rd. Mt. Airy, MD; www.linganorewines.com

 WEDNESDAY, JULY 24 – SUNDAY, JULY 28

FloydFest
FloydFest 19: Voyage Home is five days of music, magic and mountains in the picturesque paradise at Milepost 170.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd, VA. The festival features outdoor adventure, vibrant and varied vendors, quality brews and chews, healing arts, workshops and whimsy, children’s activities and a lineup featuring more than 100 artists on eight stages. Various times for each day. Single, multi and camping passes available for various prices. 894 Rock Castle Gorge Rd. Floyd, VA; www.floydfest.com

 SATURDAY, JULY 27

Trifecta Food Truck Festival
More than 35 of Maryland’s best food trucks will transform the racetrack into a festive playground with live bands, local craft beer tents, mechanical bull rides, a dunk tank, a pie-eating contest, a kids’ play land, moon bounces, a local artist village and more. 12-11 p.m. Tickets $15. Maryland State Fairgrounds: 2200 York Rd. Lutherville-Timonium, MD;
www.mt.cm/trifecta-food-truck-festival

SATURDAY, AUGUST 10 – SUNDAY, AUGUST 11

Moonrise Festival
Since its debut in 2014, Moonrise Festival has grown into one of the most anticipated East Coast festivals of the summer, touching all corners of the dance floor with styles spanning from heavy-hitting bass to hip hop, live electronic acts to house music, and everything in between. The event also features art installations, a sprawling vendor village, amazing food and beverages, stylish VIP lounges and more. 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. both days. Tickets are $149.50-$239.50. Pimlico Race Course: 5201 Park Heights Ave. Baltimore, MD; www.moonrisefestival.com

SUNDAY, AUGUST 11

Taste of Linganore
Presented by Linganore Winecellars & Red Shedman Farm Brewery, this event will showcase some of the area’s favorite restaurateurs and caterers, featuring samplings of small plates made with Linganore Wines. Stroll the grounds to shop unique local vendors while enjoying this foodie paradise, paired with great wines and craft beers.  11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets are $10-$15. Linganore Winecellars: 13601 Glissans Mill Rd. Mt. Airy, MD; www.linganorewines.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 17

Around the World Cultural Food Festival
Around the World Cultural Food Festival brings together diverse, authentic, living traditions from different countries around the world. Their mission is to preserve and strengthen the culture of each country by giving all participants a chance to learn from one another and understand their cultural differences. Expect to see one restaurant for each country. Saturday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Free to attend; VIP tickets are available for $25-$35. Freedom Plaza: 1455 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC; www.aroundtheworldfestival.com

Hot August Festival
The exciting music lineup this year includes Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Turkuaz, Billy Strings, Dirty Grass Players and more. Gates open at 11 a.m. Tickets are $58-$199. Oregon Ridge Park: 13401 Beaver Dam Rd. Cockeysville, MD; www.hotaugustfestival.com\

Kegs and Corks Festival
Head to the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds for the 8th Annual Kegs and Corks Festival, a beer and wine festival featuring 16 craft breweries and 16 Maryland wineries along with great music, good food and a variety of arts and crafts vendors. Unlimited samplings, live music and souvenir glass included. 12-7 p.m. Tickets are $25-$120. Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds: 1450 Generals Hwy. Crownsville, MD; www.kegsandcorksfest.com

THURSDAY, AUGUST 22- SUNDAY, AUGUST 25

LOCKN’ Festival
Jam band fans: it may not get better than this. Two nights and four sets of Dead & Company, and three nights of awesome music from Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Revivalists, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Old Crow Medicine Show, Gary Clark Jr. and so much more. The stellar lineup is only matched by the beautiful setting in the mountains of Virginia. Various times. Tickets are $229-$289. Infinity Downs Farm: 1510 Diggs Mountain Rd. Arrington, VA;www.locknfestival.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 24

Chesapeake Crab & Beer Festival
This annual festival is an all-you-can-taste extravaganza complete with over 30,000 crabs, lots of beer, arts and crafts, live music, family fun and more. 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. for session one, 5-9 p.m. for session two. Tickets are $40-$125. The Waterfront at SouthPointe National Harbor: 804 National Harbor Blvd. National Harbor, MD; www.mdcrabfest.com

Cigar, Bourbon and Beer Festival
Join for an amazing day of cigars, bourbon and craft beer. Hogshead Cigar Lounge will be showcasing all kinds of different cigars from their lounge. Explore a showcase of bourbons from all across the country and some from right there in Virginia. Check out some of their fine spirits they offer like Jack Daniel’s, Wild Turkey and Old Forester, plus craft beers from local Fredericksburg breweries sampling some of their award-winning beers. 4-9 p.m. Tickets are $10-$50. Fredericksburg Fairgrounds: 2400 Airport Ave. Fredericksburg, VA; www.cigarbourbonbeer.com

World Heritage Festival & Festival of Kites
Taste delicious ethnic food, get refreshed with a scoop of ice cream or shaved ice or even a fresh smoothie while enjoying a cultural show on the main stage. You will have an array of vendors to choose from with more than 60 artists displaying everything from fine art to jewelry, ceramics to crafts and every creative item in between. Other vendors include area nonprofit organizations, entrepreneurs and local businesses. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Free to attend. Ida Lee Park Recreation Center: 60 Ida Lee Dr. Leesburg, VA; www.chiceventsdc.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 31 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1

Virginia Scottish Games
You can wear a kilt and bring your dog! The Scottish Games are one of the few places inside the Commonwealth where you can experience authentic Scottish culture and traditions, including spectacular highland dancers, bagpipes, adorable Scottish dogs, cool British cars and sheep herding. Gates open at 9 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $20-$30. Great Meadow: 5089 Old Tavern Rd. The Plains, VA; www.vascottishgames.org

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14

6th Annual Baltimore Seafood Fest
Baltimore loves its seafood, but Charm City also loves all the wonderful local restaurants that truly make Baltimore one of the best places for foodies to visit. Baltimoreans are so proud of their crab cakes, crab soup, shrimp salad, local oysters and of course, Maryland blue crabs. It seems fitting to host a waterfront festival showcasing some of Baltimore’s favorite restaurants serving their signature seafood dishes. 12-7 p.m. Tickets are $15-$95. Canton Waterfront Park: 3001 Boston St. Baltimore, MD; www.baltimoreseafoodfest.com

DC Wine Fest
Specially curated wineries serve patrons tastings over a multi-session, all-day, all-night vino experience. You’ll have the chance to sample premium wine to your heart’s content, while live entertainment keep the party lively during this one of a kind experience. 12-10 p.m. Tickets are $35-$60. National Union Building: 918 F St. NW, DC; www.dcwinefest.com

Virginia Cider Festival
At the Virginia Cider Festival, you and your friends will be surrounded by hard ciders from all across the country. The event will also feature even more Virginia Cider this year from cideries like Cobbler Mountain, Potter’s, Winchester CiderWorks and Bold Rock. There will be a list of more than 25 Cider producers who will be pouring over 50 ciders. Check out the local live music on the Safford of Fredericksburg stage for your listening pleasure. Be sure to check the weather for what to wear. The event will take place rain or shine. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets are $10-$30. Fredericksburg Fairgrounds: 2400 Airport Ave. Fredericksburg, VA; www.vaciderfest.com

SATURDAY,  SEPTEMBER 21

Arts & Ales: Downtown Hyattsville Arts Festival
Enjoy more than 100 exhibiting artists and artisans, Maryland breweries, food trucks and vendors and live entertainment block by block in Downtown Hyattsville. 12-6 p.m. Free to attend. Farragut Street, Gallatin Street and Church Alley in Hyattsville, MD; www.hyattsvilleartsfestival.com

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29

Devils Backbone Hoopla Festival
Devils Backbone Brewing Company’s Hoopla Festival features live music, award-winning beer, camping and fun for the whole family. The weekend includes pop-up beer tastings, outdoor adventures, property tours, crafts, great eats and tons of incredible live music. Come check out the award-winning beer and bands, including Robert Walter’s 20th Congress, Kat Wright and the Jon Stickley Trio. Tickets $50-$340. Basecamp Brewpub and Meadows: 200 Mosbys Run, Roseland, VA; www.dbbrewingcompany.com

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5

Hops & Harvest Festival
A beer festival on the Columbia, MD lakefront with unlimited tastings of more than 50 beers from Maryland brewers. The festival also features cideries, artisans and live music. Tickets are $15-$40. Columbia Lakefront: 10275 Wincopin Cir. Columbia, MD; www.hopsandhavest.com

CONCERT SERIES

WEDNESDAY

Wednesdays at the Wharf Concert Series
June 5 – August 21
Head to The Wharf each Wednesday evening this summer to listen to live music on Transit Pier. Don’t miss DC favorites such as Collective Dellusion, Jarreau Williams Xperience, Brent & Co. and more playing on the floating stage. From indie rock to Latin fusion, there’s something for everyone. Enjoy ice cold beers and food from Cantina Bambina and take a mid-week break. 6-8 p.m. Free to attend. The Wharf: 700 Water St. SW, DC; www.wharfdc.com

THURSDAYS

Bethesda Summer Concert Series
May 16- June 13
Bask in the sweet melodies and the summer air as you catch the music in Veterans Park. Featuring local favorites like Brent & Co., Moxie Blues Band, 19th St. Band and more. 6-8 p.m. Free to attend. Veterans Park: 7898 Woodmont Ave. Bethesda, MD; www.bethesda.org

THURSDAYS

Rosslyn Rocks
June 6 – 27
Grab your friends and head to Central Place Plaza on Thursdays in June to listen to live music. Each week will be a new cover band, featuring Party Like It’s, White Ford Bronco, The Jarreau Williams Xperience and Driven to Clarity. Enjoy the concerts while sipping on a glass of wine or having a beer in downtown Rosslyn’s outdoor space. Must be 21+ (no outside alcohol). 6-8 p.m. Free to attend. Central Place Plaza: 1800 N Lynn St. Arlington, VA; www.rosslynva.org

FRIDAYS

Budweiser Terrace Pregame Concerts at Nationals Park
Select Fridays May to September
Every Friday home game, the best place to pregame is at the Budweiser Terrace inside the ballpark. Enjoy cold Bud and Bud Light and great tunes from local bands like Lovely Rita, Uncle Jesse  and Hand Painted Swinger. Concerts run from 5-6:50 p.m. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. Nationals Park Bud Light Terrace: 1500 S. Capitol St. SE, DC; www.nationals.com

Farragut Fridays
May 31 – September 27
Farragut Fridays are a full day of getting outside in the Golden Triangle. Starting at 9 a.m., drop in for an outdoor “office” that includes free Wi-Fi, tables and chairs, and games to get your creative juices flowing. At noon, the picnic in the park begins. Grab a bite to eat, play lawn games (cornhole, foosball and table tennis), hang out with puppies and listen to live music. Then, head back after work for the Golden Cinema movie series. Pre-show fun starts at 7 p.m. Free to attend. Farragut Park: Connecticut Avenue and K Street in NW, DC; www.goldentriangledc.com

Fridays at Fort Totten
June 7 – Aug 23
The Fridays at Fort Totten Summer Concert Series is every Friday through August 23. Come out and enjoy delicious bites from a featured food truck each week, and amazing live music from Of Tomorrow, Sol Roots, Cecily, Oh He Dead and so many more. There’s a new band and tasty food truck each Friday. We hope to see you there. In partnership with The Modern at Art Place. 6-8 p.m. The Modern: Corner of South Dakota Avenue and Galloway Street, NE, DC; www.fridaysforttotten.com

Friday Night Concerts in Yards Park
June 7 – August 30
Spend your Friday night relaxing in the Capitol Riverfront, voted one of DC’s best places for live music!  Spread a blanket, grab a cold one and get down with some great local music. Enjoy bands like the Shane Gamble Band, 7 Deadlies, Brent & Co., Aztec Sun and more on the boardwalk stage. The featured artists are fun for the whole family, and ice cold Corona beers and wine will be available on-site at the outdoor tented bar. 7-9 p.m. Free to attend. Yards Park: 355 Water St. SE, DC; www.capitolriverfront.org

Herndon Friday Night Live!
May 3 – August 23
Enjoy another year of Herndon Rock’s cold beer, hot tunes and fantastic food during the summer. Featuring party favorites Garden State Radio, Here’s to the Night, The Stormin’ Norman Band and more, Herndon takes you through the summer with the best local and regional talent from the East Coast. 6:30-10:30 p.m. Free to attend. Town Green: 777 Lynn St. Herndon, VA; www.herndonrocks.com

Lubber Run Amphitheater Summer Concert Series
June 14 – August 11
This year’s 50th anniversary summer concert series features a diverse lineup of internationally renowned musicians and regional favorites. Friday and Saturday shows at 8 p.m., and Sunday shows at 11 a.m. Free to attend. Lubber Run Amphitheater: North Columbus and 2nd Streets, Arlington, VA; www.arlingtonarts.org

Rio Concert Series
May 25 – September 28
Every Saturday night, the party is lakeside at the Rio Center boardwalk. Just outside the Union Jack’s and near the paddle boards, enjoy live music from Handpainted Swinger, Soctt Kurt & Memphis 59, City Groove and more. 6-9 p.m. Free to attend. Rio Washingtonian Center: 209 Boardwalk Pl. Gaithersburg, MD; www.riowashingtonian.com

Rock the Block
May 24, June 28, July 26, August 23, September 27 and October 25
Rock the Block at Old Town Square in Fairfax is back this summer. Each fourth Friday of the month from June through October, walk, run, ride your bike or drive because you don’t want to miss out on The Rockets, JunkFood, The Reflex and more. Food and drink vendors will be onsite. Bring chairs or blankets to sit on, and kids can wear swimsuits and bring towels for the splash pad. No pets allowed except service animals. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Old Town Square: 10415 North St. Fairfax, VA; www.fairfaxva.gov/government/parks-recreation/rock-the-block

Tarara Winery Summer Concert Series
May 25 – October 5
Named the Best Music Festival by Northern Virginia Magazine, the Tarara Summer Concert Series celebrates 20 years in 2019 as one of the most eagerly anticipated outdoor events of the season in Loudoun. Dance under the stars on Saturday nights this summer to the sounds of your favorite cover bands, such as The Reflex, Gonzo’s Nose, The Legwarmers, Bruce in the USA, Crack the Sky, Three Sheets to the Wind and more. Tarara Winery: 13648 Tarara Ln. Leesburg, VA; www.tarara.com

MOVIE NIGHTS

TUESDAYS

Adams Morgan Movie Nights
May 21 – June 18
The Adams Morgan BID is excited to announce this year’s Adams Morgan Movie Nights lineup as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing by collaborating with the National Air and Space Museum to bring you five great space-themed titles, including Armageddon and Spaceballs, and a few surprises along the way. Each movie starts at 8 p.m. Free to attend. Marie Reed Soccer Field: 18th and California Streets, NW, DC; www.admodc.org/movies

WEDNESDAYS

NoMa Summer Screen
June 5 – August 21
This season marks the 12 of NoMa’s Summer Screen series, one of the longest-running free public events in the neighborhood. This year features a fun lineup of sports-related films including The Karate Kid, Bend It Like Beckham, Remember the Titans and Bring It On. Each film begins at approximately 8:30 p.m. Free to attend. 1150 First St. NE, DC; www.nomabid.org

THURSDAYS

Canal Park Movies
June 13 – August 22
From classics to the latest Academy Award winners, the people spoke and the movies will be shown! Join the Riverfront community for free movies at Canal Park on Thursday evenings. Films this year include: Crazy Rich Asians, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The Goonies and more. Movies begin at sundown. Free to attend. Canal Park: 200 M St. SE, DC; www.capitolriverfront.org

Tunes in the Triangle
May 30,  June 6, June 20, August 6, September 5
Stop by Milian Park on select Thursdays this summer with your friends, family and/or pets for free live concerts from great local bands. 499 Massachusetts Ave NW, DC; www.mvtcid.org

FRIDAYS

Burgeoning Crystal City Bid
Crystal City has been in the news a lot lately, and there’s definitely plenty to talk about. Just minutes from downtown DC, the greater Crystal City area (consisting of the Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard-Arlington neighborhoods) is the largest walkable downtown in Virginia, with 12-million square feet of office, 15,000 residents, 5,900 hotel rooms, and almost 500 restaurants and retailers. In addition to experiential retail like Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and Bowlero opening in the near future, Crystal City has more than 250 events each year. From weekly live music outside at the Crystal City Water Park to the Twilighter 5K, there’s always fun to be had in Crystal City. For more information on events and happenings, visit www.crystalcity.org.

Rosslyn Cinema with Pub in the Park
June 7 – July 12
Every Friday this summer in Gateway Park, bring a blanket or low chairs and a group of friends to enjoy a night under the stars with your favorite movies. Movies start at dusk, but the fun starts at 5 p.m. with games and the Pub in the Park. Movies this year include Spider Man: into the Spider-Verse, Crazy Rich Asians and more. This event is kid- and dog-friendly. 5 p.m. Free to attend. Gateway Park: 1300 Lee Hwy. Arlington, VA; www.rosslynva.org

FRIDAYS

Union Market Drive-In
May 3 – October 4
The drive-in at Union Market is back for a new season! The first Friday of every month will feature classics like Con-Air and Jaws,  and recent films like Coco. There’s a film for everyone. The lot opens at 6 p.m., and films will start at 7:30 p.m. $15 parking fee; free walk-ups. Union Market: 1309 5th St. NE, DC; www.unionmarketdc.com

Off the Beaten Path Events

No matter where your interests lie, you can bet there’s a festival catering to the more specific interests of DMV denizens. Our list below points you in the direction of the cool, the quirky and the oddly specific for prime opportunities to celebrate with fellow whatever-your-thing-is enthusiasts.

SATURDAY, MAY 4

Unicorn Festival at Hogback Mountain Pony Rides
This festival has been voted Most Loved Place to Go by Leesburg-Ashburn Hulafrog for 2018 and  2019. It includes Pony rides, unicorn photos by Chris Weber Studios, face painting with Painted Sunshine, vendors and so much more.11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets begin at $20. Hogback Mountain Pony Rides: 19732 Hogback Mountain Rd. Leesburg, VA; www.hogbackmountainponyrides.com

National Math Festival
Don’t miss the 2019 National Math Festival. This all-ages event brings today’s most fascinating mathematicians together for a variety of presentations, performances, short creative films, and hands-on puzzles, games, art-making, mathletic competitions and more. See how math connects to what you love.Film animation, pro football, magic, music, dating, dance, art, cryptography, planet earth….whatever your interest, they’ve got the math for that. Free to attend. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Walter E. Washington Convention Center: 801 Mount Vernon Pl. NW, DC; www.msri.org

SATURDAY, MAY 11

Baltimore Hot Sauce Festival
Sample 30+ of the region’s tastiest hot sauces. This event also features spicy Maryland indie and alternative rock on stage, with performances by Outcalls, Thunder Club, Sgt Gusto and more. Don’t miss delectable food, themed drinks and saucy games. 12-8 p.m. Tickets are $15-$45, and there is a $5 surcharge at the door for guests under 21 years old. All guests will be carded upon entry, so don’t forget your IDs. Power Plant Live!: 34 Market Pl. Baltimore, MD; www.powerplantlive.com

Taiwan Bubble Tea Festival
The Taiwan Bubble Tea Festival is a family- and kid-friendly fun event, open to all. The festival will be held at the Rockville Town Square. In addition to providing a variety of name-sake bubble teas, the festival will have education and outreach opportunities that strengthen social connections in the community. The festival will display rich Asian culture through live performances, crafts, arts and delicious traditional cuisines. This year, six different bubble tea vendors will be coming from the DMV area including Bubble & Tea, Sharetea, Bobapop, Gong-Cha, Tea-Do and Momo’s Cafe. 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Free with registration, and tasting cards are available to purchase on-site for $5, cash only. Rockville Town Square: 30 Maryland Ave. Rockville, MD; www.rockvillemd.gov

SATURDAY, MAY 18

Smile Herb Festival
Join Smile Herb Shop celebrating 45 years of herbs, gardens and herbalism education this May. Enjoy plants in our garden center, live music, food, garden tours, plant walks, lectures, natural product vendors and more. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free to attend. Smile Herb Shop: 4908 Berwyn Rd. College Park, MD; www.smileherbschool.com

Chesapeake Sea Glass Festival
With over 30 sea glass artisans from all over the area, this event is a fun-filled day of lectures and shard identifications. It will be a great way to see what people collect from each area and to have your shards identified and listen to lectures. Chesapeake College: 1000 College Cir. Wye Mills, MD; www.visitmaryland.org

SUNDAY, MAY 19

Maryland Psychic Fair
Many of the best psychics, mediums, healers and readers of all types, along with related arts and crafts vendors from Maryland and the surrounding areas, will come together for the Maryland Psychic Festival. For both those who are serious or for those who are just curious, this event can be anything from a life-changing experience to just a fun time. Three out of four tables offer some type of readings, one of the four tables offer related arts, crafts, books, oils, crystals, information and more. Snacks and soft drinks will be available to purchase. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets $5-$10 at the door, cash only. Bowie Elks Lodge No 2309: 1506 Defense Hwy. Gambrills, MD; www.fb.com/EventPsychics4u

THURSDAY, MAY 23 – SUNDAY, MAY 26

Maryland Deathfest 2019
A celebration of the best of death metal in the region. Performances take place across all major Maryland venues like Rams Head Live! and Baltimore Soundstage. Don’t miss the pre-festival party on Wednesday at Ottobar, featuring artists like Church of Misery, Yellow Eyes, Cro-Mags and more. Tickets $23-$249. Various times and locations; www.deathfests.com

FRIDAY, MAY 24 – SUNDAY, MAY 26

Museum of Science Fiction Gallery Opening at Escape Velocity 2019
The Museum of Science Fiction and NASA are partnering to bring Escape Velocity 2019 to Washington, DC. The event is a futuristic world’s fair to promote informal STEAM educational activities within the context of science fiction using the fun of comic cons and fascination of science and engineering festivals. Escape Velocity 2019 seeks to make a measurable positive impact to boost informal learning on the more conceptually challenging academic areas. Escape Velocity’s mission is to attract young people to science, technology, engineering, art, and math by producing and presenting the most compelling, exciting, educational, and entertaining science festival in the United States using science fiction as its primary engine. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free to attend. Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center: 201 Waterfront St. National Harbor, MD; www.escapevelocity.events

SATURDAY, MAY 25 – MONDAY, MAY 27

The FantasyWood Festival
The FantasyWood Festival hosted by ManneqArt and Circus Siren Pod is a magical three-day experience over Memorial Day Weekend. Join for a walk in the woods with surprises around each corner. Meet mermaids, fairies, watch live knights duel and even see a live unicorn. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m each day. Tickets $5-$20. The Chrysalis Theatre, Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods: 10431 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; www.visithowardcounty.com

Photo: Rey Lopez

New and Notable: Hot Lola’s, La Betty, Punjab Grill and More

On Tap keeps locals in the know about the hottest new food and drink spots around town and the top culinary happenings of the month. Read on to get the inside scoop on what’s new and notable in the DC area.

New

Hot Lola’s
Open:
March 10
Location:
Ballston Quarter
Lowdown: Himitsu’s “sauce boss” Kevin Tien has entered the hot chicken game, but he’s put a Sichuan spin on Nashville’s spicy fried specialty. Hot Lola’s is one of the highlights of Ballston Quarter’s new food hall Quarter Market. The streamlined menu makes decisions easy: sandwich, tenders or “tenderdog.” Then the question is: how hot do you want it? The scale goes from zero to 10, or from not hot to too hot. The middle of the scale is perfectly manageable, but it only gets hotter from there. The pickles, slaw and sauces (like comeback sauce and secret sauce) add an extra punch of flavor to the already punchy chicken, and then you can add sides like crispy seasoned curly fries. Even if your mouth is on fire, you can feel good about eating at Hot Lola’s thanks to the 4 percent equity surcharge Tien has opted to add to every order. This goes to ensure a fair wage and health coverage for employees, both in the kitchen and at the counter. This pacesetting provision is something Tien hopes to scale and implement at all of his current and future restaurants.4238 Wilson Blvd. Level C, Suite 112, Arlington, VA; www.hotlolaschicken.com

La Betty
Open:
March 15
Location:
Mount Vernon Triangle
Lowdown:
The family behind Baked & Wired and A Baked Joint have expanded their portfolio to include a full-service restaurant. Chef and owner Teresa Velazquez saw a need for “feel-good food” in the neighborhood and decided she wanted her kitchen to be the place where people could come for a nostalgic, home-cooked meal, even if home is thousands of miles away. The space was designed to be cozy and welcoming, with warm woods and Turkish rugs. The menu is short and sweet, with less than 20 items between shareable starters, hearty main courses and family-style sides. The recipes are inspired by Velazquez’s German heritage and the food she grew up on. She learned to cook from her mother and grandmother and by the age of 12, she was regularly making dinner for her five siblings. The dishes at La Betty are simple and familiar, like corn dogs, deviled eggs, breaded chicken schnitzel with arugula salad, glazed ribs, currywurst and a roasted root vegetable galette. The beverage program is similarly concise and straightforward, offering just two beers, three wines, a cider, a draft cocktail and a few of spirits. The name of the restaurant is an homage to strong women – Velazquez says everyone has a Betty in their life. If you’re still confused, she’ll refer you to the Urban Dictionary definition.420 K St. NW, DC; www.la-betty.com

Punjab Grill
Open:
March 11
Location:
Penn Quarter
Lowdown:
People love to talk about how restaurants transport them to other places, but in the case of Punjab Grill, that idea is more literal than you would expect. The space is a slice of India that journeyed across the ocean to make it to Washington. Almost all of the design elements – walls, tables, floors, ceilings – were handmade in India, from the massive tile mosaics and the brass screens to 12,000 pounds of carved sandstone and semiprecious stones laid in marble like at the Taj Mahal. Everything had to be disassembled, carefully packed and shipped, and then reassembled upon arrival. After nearly two years of construction, the restaurant now invites guests into the opulent space for fine dining. The menu showcases the heritage of Punjabi cuisine while also experimenting with modern and global interpretations. You’ll find familiar dishes like palak paneer and chicken makhani alongside more unusual selections like jackfruit biryani and chana masala hummus. There’s also the even-more-luxurious Maharaja Menu fit for royalty, with a Punjabi version of Peking duck and a caviar service with tandoori naan. Take it one step further and book the private dining room – the Sheesh Mahal – where nearly every surface is covered in mirrors and food is served on Hermés dishware. 427 11th St. NW, DC; www.punjabgrilldc.com

Stellina Pizzeria
Open:
April 2
Location:
Union Market District
Lowdown:
You probably know them from Lupo Verde, but now Antonio Matarazzo and Matteo Venini have a spot of their own. “Follow the star” to find Stellina (little star) Pizzeria, an upscale, fast-casual concept where you can get to know the Southern Italian street food and pizza they’re dubbing neo-Neapolitan. The goal of the restaurant is to take their experience in formal dining and translate it to a casual atmosphere without sacrificing flavor or quality. Venini has developed his own style of pizza with an out-of-the-box dough that uses more water and ferments for almost three days, resulting in a lighter pie that’s easier to digest. He hopes this means you’ll eat more than one. Between traditional toppings and creative combinations, you’d be hard-pressed to choose just one anyway. Highlights include the schiacciata with mozzarella, mortadella, stracciatella and pistachios, and the cacio e pepe, which is the beloved pasta in the form of a pizza. The menu also offers street food classics like paper cones of fried vegetables and seafood, oven-fired paninis like il cuzzetiello stuffed with eggplant parm, and of course, pastas. The bright, colorful space includes a full bar, a small market, and a painting of Italian comedian and actor Totò wearing Dolce & Gabbana. 399 Morse St. NE, DC; www.stellinapizzeria.com

Notable

Kazoku Sundays at O-Ku
Location:
Union Market District
Lowdown: This chic Japanese newcomer recently debuted a family-style tasting menu available on Sunday nights. Kazoku Sundays is an eight-course meal that takes diners through izakaya-style dishes, sashimi and crudo, makimono (sushi rolls), an entrée, and dessert. It’s the perfect way to explore the entire menu at a surprisingly affordable price point. The chef changes the offerings regularly, but previous dinners have included edamame, marinated squid with wakame salad, wagyu beef gyoza, crispy vegetable egg rolls, pork donburi (rice bowl) and mochi ice cream. The menu is $35 per person. Drinks are not included.. 1274 5th St. NE, DC; www.o-kusushidc.com

New Location of TTT Mexican Diner & Buena Vida
Location:
Clarendon
Lowdown: Serbian restaurateur Ivan Iricanin ventured into Mexican cuisine in May of last year by opening Tacos, Tortas & Tequila and Buena Vida in Silver Spring. Now, he’s debuted a second location of the concepts in Clarendon, this time with acclaimed Mexico City chef Gerardo Vázquez Lugo at the helm. Vázquez Lugo is known for his cooking at Nicos, named one of Latin America’s 50 best restaurants. Like their Maryland sister restaurants, TTT and Buena Vida Clarendon are two levels of the same building. Downstairs, find Mexican street food – tacos and tortas – featuring house-made bread and tortillas. Upstairs, Buena Vida focuses on traditional, indigenous fare like aguachile, dry soup and shellfish pozole. Both offer beer and wine from Mexico as well as a wide range of tequilas and other agave spirits.2900 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.tttdiner.com and www.buenavidaclarendon.com

Photo: Taste of Reston

Your Guide To DC’s Neighborhood Festivals

The diverse neighborhoods of DC, Maryland and Virginia are ready to showcase all they have to offer now through the fall. Food, drink, art, dance and music abound in every corner of the DC area, giving you an excuse to check out a new pocket of your extended neighborhood every weekend. Read on to get the inside scoop on some of our staff picks for the 2019 festival season.

SATURDAY, MAY 11

Funk Parade
Funk Parade celebrates DC’s vibrant music and arts, the history of Black Broadway, and the spirit of funk that brings DC together. From the first year in 2014 to now, hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians from all corners of the District have come together for Funk Parade. This year’s event features countless acts such as the Chuck Brown Band, Michelle Blackwell, Reesa Renee and more. Festivities begin at 1 p.m. Free to attend.Along U Street in NW, DC; www.funkparade.com

SATURDAY, MAY 11 – SUNDAY, MAY 12

Bethesda Fine Arts Festival
This year’s Bethesda Fine Arts festival features 130 artists in various genres including live rock, jazz and reggae music. Walk through the festival and peruse unique jewelry, clothing and furniture on display. Then stop by local restaurants to enjoy pizza, barbecue, sandwiches and ice cream. Saturday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free to attend. Bethesda’s Woodmont Triangle: Along Norfolk, Auburn and Del Ray Avenues in Bethesda, MD; www.bethesda.org

SATURDAY, MAY 18 – SUNDAY, MAY 19

Quarterfest
Enjoy a food, beer and wine festival showcasing the diversity of Arlington’s food scene as Taste of Arlington becomes Quarterfest. This festival transforms Wilson Boulevard into a vibrant dining, shopping and family-fun festival for all ages. Experience a restaurant crawl showcasing eateries of the neighborhood and an extended two-day outdoor concert and pop-up street pub. 12-6 p.m. Free to attend, but tickets ($46.35-$123.60) are required for food and drinks. Wilson Boulevard between N. Taylor and N. Quincy Streets; www.quarterfestballston.org

SUNDAY, MAY 19

Old Town Festival of Speed and Style
The lower three blocks of King Street will be blocked off and vintage cars from the 50s, 60s, 70s and select luxury race cars will be there. Join special fashion events and pop-ups around Old Town that make the event great for everyone. All proceeds will benefit charity partner ACT for Alexandria, a community foundation focused on increasing charitable investment and community engagement. Festivities begin at 10 a.m. Free to attend. 200 King St. Alexandria, VA; www.festivalspeedstylealex.com

SATURDAY, MAY 25 – MONDAY, MAY 27

Rockville Hometown Holidays
Enjoy several dozen live performances on four different stages featuring rock, reggae, country and Americana artists. There will be marching bands, floats and more. The Memorial Day Parade starts at 10:30 a.m. Various times. Free to attend. Rockville Town Square: 30 Maryland Ave. Rockville, MD; www.rockvillemd.gov

THURSDAY, MAY 30 – SunDAY, JUNE 2

Herndon Festival
The Herndon Festival takes place in historic downtown Herndon and attracts an average of 80,000 people each year. This outdoor festival provides a fun-filled experience by combining the joy of an outdoor concert with the thrill of a summertime carnival. There’s something for everyone. Thursday 6-10 p.m. Friday 5-11 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. Sunday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Free. www.herndonfestival.net

FRIDAY, JUNE 7 – SUNDAY, JUNE 9

Celebrate Fairfax!
This annual festival features concerts on eight different stages with headliners like Better Than Ezra, Smash Mouth and more. The festival features an abundance of other attractions like a petting zoo, carnival rides and a karaoke championship along with nightly fireworks and plenty of great food. Friday 6 p.m. – midnight, Saturday 10 a.m. – midnight and Sunday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Various ticket packages and admission prices available. Fairfax County Government Center: 12000 Government Center Pkwy. Fairfax, VA; www.celebratefairfax.com

FRIDAY, JUNE 14 – SATURDAY, JUNE 15

Taste of Reston
Taste of Reston, produced by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, is the largest outdoor food festival in the area and was voted Northern Virginia’s Best Food Festival multiple times in recent years by Virginia Living. Reston Town Center will host the event’s restaurants and community vendors, plus live entertainment on three stages. Friday from 4-11 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Reston Town Center: 11900 Market St. Reston, VA; www.restontaste.com

SUNDAY, JULY 14

Silver Spring Arts & Crafts Summer Fair
Check out the Silver Spring Arts & Crafts Fair this summer featuring arts & crafts, food and beverage vendors, and many fun family activities. 2-8 p.m. Free to attend. Silver Spring Veterans Plaza: 1 Veterans Pl. Silver Spring, MD; www.silverspringdowntown.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 24

17th Street Festival
Since 2010, the 17th Street Festival has been celebrating 17th Street and its diversity of restaurants and retailers. There are 100 vendors with more than 60 artists and makers displaying everything from fine art to jewelry, ceramics to crafts, and every creative item in-between. Other vendors include area nonprofit organizations, politicians, entrepreneurs and local businesses. The kids’ zone has activities for children including a large slide, soccer, snow cones, face painting and games throughout the day. All-day event. Free to attend. 17th Street from P Street to R Street in NW, DC; www.17thstreetfestival.org

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8

Adams Morgan Day
As DC’s longest-running neighborhood festival, Adams Morgan Day celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. The event is a family-friendly celebration with music, art and activities for all ages. Adams Morgan welcomes residents and visitors alike to meet neighborhood businesses, artists and service organizations. Attendance and entertainment are free, and local businesses and restaurants offered deals for the day. 18th Street to Kalorama and Columbia Roads in NW, DC; www.admoday.com

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21

Clarendon Day
At this year’s Clarendon Day, there will be tons of arts and crafts vendors featuring everything from apparel to jewelry to art and photography and more. There will also be a number of food purveyors including many of Clarendon’s favorites. With local in mind, there also be several local nonprofits in attendance to make it easy for the community to connect with its service providers. Times TBA. Free to attend. www.clarendon.org

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6

Takoma Park Street Festival
The 38th annual Takoma Park Street Festival will once again host a talented mix of local artists offering paintings, photographs, pottery, silk-screening, bath and body care, stained glass, jewelry, woodworking, textiles, ceramics, kids’ items, and much more. Nonprofits, local companies and a variety of food vendors will also participate. In addition, Takoma’s indie businesses will be open and welcoming visitors. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Along Carroll Avenue in Takoma Park, MD and Carroll Street in NW, DC; www.mainstreettakoma.com

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13

H Street Festival
H Street Festival is one of the most anticipated and highly attended single-day festivals in DC. The festival is 11 blocks long and has 14 staging areas that are diversely themed and programmed to target the different segments of audiences. The staging areas feature music of different genres, dance, youth-based performances, interactive children’s program, fashion, heritage arts, poetry and much more.Along H Street in NE, DC; www.hstreetfestival.org

Budweiser Music Series at Nationals Park: Pebble to Pearl

Every Friday night home game at Nationals Park, the best place to pregame is on the Budweiser Terrace, and last week featured live music from Pebble to Pearl. Photos: Kayla Marsh

Pancakes & Booze Art Show at The Howard Theatre

Washington DC’s underground pop-up art show returned this year, hosted at The Howard Theatre, featuring over 100 local artists, all-you-can-eat pancakes, live audio performances from local DJs and producers, live body painting and more. Photos: Mike Kim Photography