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Fall Festival Guide
We’ve rounded up the best fall festivals going on in Washington. Enjoy! By Alejandro Salinas, Emily Leaman
Comments () | Published September 9, 2009

Art & Literature | Film | Food & Wine | Neighborhood Festivals | Outdoors & Other

Art and Literature

On October 4, McLean Project for the Arts will take over the town's Central Park for a one-day art show-and-shop featuring the work of 38 artists from a range of disciplines, including oil painting, clay, ceramics, and jewelry. The Children's ArtWalk will showcase the work of young artists from the area, and there will also be live entertainment and food vendors from local restaurants. McLean Central Park is located at the intersection of Route 124 and Old Dominion Drive. Parking is available. For more information on this rain-or-shine event, go here.  

George Mason University’s Fall for the Book festival attracts big names in all literary fields. This year’s lineup includes James Ellroy, E.L. Doctorow, and Sherman Alexie. Film screenings and photo exhibitions will be held alongside author readings and discussions. The festival runs September 21 through 26, with events at George Mason’s Fairfax campus and throughout DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

The DC Jewish Community Center’s Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival runs October 18 through 28. A dramatic reading of Philip Roth’s Goodbye, Columbus (published 50 years ago) opens the festival. On Tuesday, October 20, Notes on a Scandal author Zoë Heller will discuss her latest novel, The Believer, alongside Washington Post Book World editor Ron Charles. Also on the schedule: a poetry slam with artist Jake Marmer (October 24) and a children’s book fair complete with workshops and storytelling sessions (October 25). For tickets and more information, go here or call 202-777-3251. Unless otherwise noted, activities will be held at the DCJCC.

The National Book Festival, put on by the Library of Congress, takes over the Mall with a celebration of reading on Saturday, September 26. Junot Díaz, John Irving, Nicholas Sparks, and George Pelecanos, are a few of the more than 80 participating authors. The Children’s Pavilion on September 26 will feature the launching of an online narrative collaboration between authors and kids titled the Exquisite Corpse Adventure, with a new chapter/Webisode running every two weeks, leading up to next’s year festival. The festival, which is free, takes place at the Mall between Third and Seventh streets, Northwest.

Artists from all over the country gather to exhibit paintings, sculpture, jewelry, photography, ceramics, and more at the annual Alexandria Festival of the Arts. This year, the festival runs Saturday and Sunday, September 12 and 13. Artists and crafters display their work in stations set up along King Street in Old Town, between Union and Washington streets.

The Arts on Foot street festival features food, drinks, art, and live performances—all happening within four blocks in the Penn Quarter neighborhood. There’s an art market with works for sale by local artists, a restaurant-sampling area, and arts and crafts for kids. On Saturday, September 12, F Street, Northwest (between Sixth and Ninth streets), transforms itself into a small market with ceramics, jewelry, glass, and other art available for purchase.

Alexandria’s Del Ray
neighborhood celebrates art and culture with Art on the Avenue on October 3. The festival gathers hundreds of local artists and craftspeople looking to showcase (and sell) their work. Plus, there’s food provided by local restaurants, and live musical performances. The festival runs from 10 to 6 along Mount Vernon Avenue between Bellefonte and Hume streets.

The Takoma Park Folk Festival is a day of music, dance, food, and handmade crafts held on Sunday, September 13, at Takoma Park Middle School. Seven stages will be set up to host performances, dance workshops, and children’s activities. There’ll be craft booths throughout indoor and outdoor spaces, and food from several local restaurants will be available. Just remember to leave Fido home—pets aren’t allowed on festival grounds. 

The 40th Annual Book Festival at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington will feature a slate of events, including lectures and discussions, with authors like Jeffrey Zaslow, Peter Yarrow and Dara Horn. The festival runs November 5 through 15. For more information, visit


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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 09/09/2009 RSS | Print | Permalink | Articles