Fireworks Festival Highlights Weekend
Peak bloom may be over, but the National cherry Blossom Festival is entering its second-to-last weekend with plenty of free events across the city, including the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival and the SAAM Cherry Blossom celebrations on Saturday and the Japanese Stone Lantern Lighting Ceremony on Sunday.
This is the next-to-last weekend that Metro will be work- and closure-free for the National Cherry Blossom Festival and the thousands of tourists it brings to the DMV. All lines will be running on normal weekend schedules.
Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival
There’s something for everyone at the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival, part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival: Grown-ups can enjoy the beer-and-cider garden, while kids will get a kick out of the face painting and paper-bag puppets, decorate t-shirts and make Kasa hats, paper gliders and koi windsocks. Attendees of all ages can check out dragon boats, sailboat making and a food truck rally and get temporary blossom ink tattoos. There will be live entertainment on two stages. The best viewing points for the fireworks, which are set off from a barge on the channel, are near the Titanic Memorial or at Hains Point.
April 9 from 1-9 p.m. with fireworks at 8:30 p.m. at Waterfront Park and Titanic Memorial, 600 Water St. SW. Admission is FREE!
Bethesda Art Walk
The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District presents Bethesda Art Walk the second Friday of every month. This month’s Art Walk participants include Consider It Done, 7806 Old Georgetown Rd.; Gallery B, 7700 Wisconsin Ave.; Studio B, 7475 Wisconsin Ave.; Waverly Street Gallery, 4600 East-West Hwy.; and “Tunnel Vision” Public Art Exhibition at the Bethesda Metro station tunnel. The galleries showcase artwork created locally, nationally, and internationally including painting, photography, sculpture and mixed media.
April 8 from 6-9 p.m. at the five exhibits listed above. Admission is FREE!
Cherry Blossom Chase
Get dolled up in your hottest pink and brightest florals for D.C. Bike Party’s fourth annual Cherry Blossom Chase. Roll through D.C. with 1,000 for your best friends on two wheels. The ride ends with an after party at 9 p.m. at the Milk Cult warehouse, 79 Hanover Place NW. There will be free tunes, free bike parking and $5 PBR.
April 8 starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Dupont Circle Fountain, 1 Dupont Circle NW. Admission is FREE!
Explore the Universe Day
Explore the Universe Day every April at the National Air and Space Museum. Visitors can learn how different cultures see the sky, learn about telescopes and do some daytime observations, weather permitting. There is a free planetarium show at 10:30 a.m., astronomy-themed music from The Chromatics at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and story times at 11 a.m. and 12:15, 1:30 and 2:15 p.m. All-day activities include chats with astronomers, members of NASA’s LRO team, astronomy stations and hands-on activities including making a pocket solar clock, building an astrolabe out of paper, recreating a Nebra Sky Disk, creating a tactile start pattern, constructing a tactile picture of Jupiter, decorating a Greek sun sign and discovering your Tibetan sun sign. Telescopes will be set up outside the Phoebe Waterman Hass Public Observatory, weather permitting, to observe the sky.
April 9 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the National Air and Space Museum, 600 Independence Ave. SW. Admission is FREE!
Cherry Blossom Celebration
The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Cherry Blossom Celebration celebrates the arrival of the cherry blossoms with a day of taiko drumming, Japanese music and dance performances, face painting, cherry-blossom themed crafts such as making a loinoboir windsock and more. Visitors can make a Japanese fan with staff from the Freer and Sackler Galleries.
April 9 from 11:30 a.m.-3 pm. At the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Eighth and G Streets NW. Admission is FREE!
Rainbow Youth Alliance 10 Year Celebration
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington’s Rock Creek Singers and Gen OUT LGBTQ Youth Chorus will perform a concert to help the Rainbow Youth Alliance celebrate its 10th anniversary. There will also be a raffle with prizes including a two-night stay at the Atlantic Sands Hotel in Rehoboth Beach. RYA is a non-profit that provides a twice monthly, adult-facilitate, peer-to-peer support group for high school youths ages 13-18. Meetings include discussions as well as games and activities.
April 9 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville, 100 Welsh Park Dr., Rockville. There is a $20 suggested donation at the door to help support RYA programs.
Japanese Stone Lantern Lighting Ceremony
Jointly sponsored since 1954 by the National Conference of State Societies (NCSS) and the National Park Service National Capital Region, the official Japanese Stone Lantern Lighting Ceremony opens the NCSS Cherry Blossom Princess festivities. The ceremony features traditional Japanese music, by the Toho Koto Society of Washington, D.C. and songs by the Washington Japanese Choral Society. The ceremony includes the presentation of the United States and Japan Cherry Blossom Queens and remarks by a number of dignitaries. The Japanese Stone Lantern was carved nearly four centuries ago to honor the Third Shogun of the Tokugawa period. It stands 8.5 feet tall and weighs 4,000 pounds. In 1954, the lantern was moved from Japan and presented to Washington D.C. as a gift commemorating the 100th anniversary of the first treaty between the two countries. Since then, the Stone Lantern has been lit once each year by the Cherry Blossom Princess representing the Embassy of Japan — and only during the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
Makers’ Mart Arts and Craft Show
The Makers’ Mart Arts and Craft Show transforms the National Museum of Women in the Art’s Great Hall into a pop-up artisan market featuring the handmade work of more than 40 women artisans. Participating designers will sell everything from jewelry and paper crafts to soy candles and wooden wares.
April 10-12 from noon-5 p.m. at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, . Tickets costs $10 for general admission, $8 for seniors and free for members and children under 18 at the door. Tickets include admission to the museum.
Home Rule IPL Beer Launch
Eleanor Holmes Norton can’t vote on the floor of the House of Representatives, but she can pour you a beer at Atlas Brew Works. Norton, who has served as D.C.’s delegate to the House since 1991, is a guest bartender at Atlas’s seasonal Home Rule IPL Beer Launch to raise money for the nonprofit D.C. Vote. Order a hoppy lager from Norton, D.C. Councilman David Grosso or other volunteers, and D.C. Vote receives a portion of the sales as well as all tips.
April 10 from 1 to 8 p.m. at Atlas Brew Works, 2052 West Virginia Ave. NE. Admission is FREE!
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.