Every year around this time, I get antsy with anticipation. After months of cultural estivation, fall brings with it not only cooler weather, shorter days, and the chance to pull out a sweater, but international family cultural fairs and festivals that remind me of why I love the D.C. area.
This year, sadly, two of our favorites have closed their doors. The Kennedy Center’s Open House, which had been ongoing for 26 years, was cancelled due to decreasing attendance and competing fall events, according to a Kennedy Center spokesperson. The 40-year-strong International Children’s Festival at Wolftrap, sponsored by the Arts Council of Fairfax County, has also shut its doors, a victim of the poor economy and dwindling student attendance.
But mourn not, there are plenty of other global cultural options:
Virginia Scottish Games and Festival- This Labor Day, don your kilt and head over to beautiful The Plains, VA, for the 22nd annual Scottish Games. The cornerstone of the event is the highland athletic competition, in which top athletes and amateurs compete in traditional highland games, including the sheaf toss, caber toss, and heavy hammer throw. The Virginia Scottish Games also feature piping and drumming, highland dancing, and fiddling competitions, along with sheep-herding demonstrations, an antique car show, crafts, clan and society exhibits, a living history encampment, children’s activities, live entertainment and plenty of Scottish food and drink. September 3 and 4, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Great Meadow, 5089 Old Tavern Rd., The Plains, VA.
China: The Art of a Nation- This celebration of Chinese art will feature over 300 Chinese artists spanning all genres of contemporary and traditional performing arts, from opera to improv to sculpture. Many of the events are free, including a Millennium Stage performance by the Tangshan Shadow Puppet Theatre, a landscape painting exhibit, and an outdoor exhibition of sculptures by some of the nation’s best artists. September/October, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC. www.kennedy-center.org/programs/festivals/11-12/china/
Fiesta DC- Celebrating its 40th year, Fiesta DC will feature five stages of music, folklore, theater, and other performing arts. The parade of nations will include hundreds of dancers from 30 performing groups from Latin America, Spain, and the Caribbean. The event will also have a children’s festival, a science fair, arts and crafts, and international foods. September 25th, noon to 7 p.m., Mount Pleasant Street, NW, Washington, DC.
Turkish Festival- The annual Turkish Festival offers a full day of free activities that range from lively folk dancing and musical performances to arts and crafts activities for children and adults. Visitors will also get a taste of Turkish cuisine, learn about the tradition of coffee fortune reading, and shop in a bustling Bazaar. Hands-on children’s craft activities will include weaving, mosaics, decorating your own Evil Eye bracelet or key chain, puppet-making, and coloring.
October 2, 2011, 11 a.m. to 7p.m., Pennsylvania Avenue between 12th and 14th Street, Washington, DC.