Prepare to ring in the New Year like never before with the National Bell Festival (BellFest) in DC, taking place this New Year’s Day. BellFest celebrates the history of our nation through the lens of DC’s often-overlooked bells and bell towers: the jubilation of independence, the pain of civil war, the sacredness of community, and the resounding hope of tomorrow. Bells will sound overhead in a city-wide ringing at 2 p.m. with participating towers including the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Old Post Office Tower, Washington National Cathedral and more. The festival is designed to reignite an appreciation for bell towers as sentinels of our city, and to raise critical funding for the care and restoration of historic bells. For its first service project, BellFest will refurbish the old bell at Georgetown Lutheran Church on Wisconsin Avenue. Cast in 1780, the bell was lost in the Civil War and recovered decades later, but hasn’t rung since. In commemoration of the congregation’s 250th anniversary, BellFest will fund the restoration and installation of this bell as a historic artifact of the Georgetown community.
The festival will literally ring in the New Year with historic bells tolling throughout the city as free yoga at the Eaton Hotel, warm up stations, tree plantings, musical performances and a whisky tasting take place.