Where & When: What to Do This Weekend

Oktoberfest parties galore, an avant-garde festival, the National Book Festival, and lots more in this weekend's nightlife guide.

By: Emily Leaman, Alejandro Salinas, Eliot Stein, Sarah Zlotnick

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Thursday, September 24: Plenty of fun Oktoberfest parties kick off this weekend around town. So strap on your suspenders, hike up your dirndl, and lift your beer stein for Oktoberfest season with our guide.

The “official” Restaurant Week is long gone, but two great ones are taking place through Sunday. Bethesda Row is having its own Restaurant Week (details here), and there’s a Turkish Restaurant Week going on as well. Eat up!

Friday, September 25: Say adieu to the Modernist Society, one of our favorite DC happy hours/gatherings. Host Jason Mojica would invite an interesting guest to discuss wide-ranging topics upstairs at Bourbon in Adams Morgan while guests sipped on discounted drinks. But he’s leaving town, and so is the series. But don’t despair; you can toast the society at its happy hour to sponsor the documentary Among the Living about Peruvian anthropologists who are trying to identify remains of thousands of people who disappeared during Peru’s civil war. Speciality pisco cocktails will be offered. $5 donation.

Fashion Fights Poverty’s fashion show— featuring designers with international influence—takes place tonight at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel to benefit anti-poverty organizations. This year’s show will debut the fashion-design-scholarship competition for Washington high-school students. $75 general admission, $150 for guaranteed reserved seating and after party. Click here for more information and to buy tickets.

Celebrate the avant-garde, the wacky, and the just plain neat with the Sonic Circuits festival—which kicked off Tuesday and goes through Sunday. In venues all over Washington, you can catch experimental music and multimedia presentations. For more information and a full lineup, click here.

Saturday, September 26: Washington’s back-yard playground sure wears its age well. Come celebrate Rock Creek Park’s 119th birthday at the annual Rock Creek Park Day today from 10 to 9. Park rangers and scientists will offer a variety of family-friendly nature hikes, planetarium shows, and a Cast-Iron Chef Competition to help blow out all 119 candles at this free all-day event. Honestly, the park doesn’t look a day over 118 if you ask us.

Billed as “Arlington’s biggest party,” Clarendon Day is an eight-hour food-and-art extravaganza, complete with belly-dancing performances, skateboarding demonstrations, and two stages for live entertainment. Proceeds of the event will benefit Doorways for Women & Families and the Clarendon Alliance. The festival starts at 11.

Okay, so “Das Best” probably isn’t correct German, but the beers, brats, and bands on hand at Das Best Oktoberfest at National Harbor might make you feel like you’re in Deutschland. Last year, the annual party drew more than 5,000 carousers, and the 2009 edition promises more food, oompah bands, and brews (100-plus) than ever. Especially rotund men can partake in the Beer Belly Contest, while their female counterparts can compete in the Miss Oktoberfest Competition. If you wear German attire (think lederhosen), you’ll get free-beer tickets. Children 12 and under get in free. Open from 2 to 8. Advance tickets, available here, cost $25; tickets at the door are $30. Find out about more Oktoberfest parties in our guide.

Bookworms, rejoice! The ninth annual National Book Festival hits the Mall today with a star-studded lineup celebrating reading, writing, and all things books. The free Library of Congress-sponsored event boasts President Obama and First Lady Michelle as honorary chairs, though Jennifer Gavin, the library’s senior specialist for public affairs, says it’s still unclear whether they’ll attend. Get more info on the festivities here.

George C. Stoney documentaries take over the National Gallery of Art today starting at 2:30. Catch A Reunion of All My Babies, which tracks down people delivered by the same Southern midwife; the model as muse in Flesh in Ecstasy; and the story behind “The Man of Aran” in How the Myth Was Made.
Sunday, September 27: In our household growing up, Sundays always meant some serious football time—and frankly, decades later, not that much has changed! If you want to head out to a bar to watch your favorite team, check our guide that lets you know where fellow fans will be cheering (and drinking).

The Washington Ballet Studio (3515 Wisconsin Ave., NW) is hosting its open house. This family-friendly event features arts and crafts, open-to-the-public dance rehearsals, and the opportunity to peruse the company’s unique Sugar Plum Shoppe. 1 to 5. Call 202-362-3606 for more information.

Get in on the Buffalo Battle & Washington War of the Wings. J. Paul’s Tom Crenshaw battles it out against defending champ Rich Brooks of Old Glory. Tickets to the competition—good for all-you-can-eat wings and two drinks—are $20 in advance, $30 at the door, and benefit the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation. It runs from 1 to 4:50 at the corner of M Street and Wisconsin Avenue, Northwest.

Fiesta DC, Washington’s Latino festival, takes place in Mount Pleasant to celebrate Latino history in DC and the community’s cultural contributions. In addition to food, craft vendors, and musical performances, the festival will hold fairs and a diplomatic pavilion for embassies and consulates.