September 5: DC Blues Festival
This free annual festival at Carter Barron Amphitheatre celebrates DC Blues Society founder John Cephas. Now in its 21st year, the festival will feature performers Teeny Tucker, Eugene “Hideaway” Bridges, Eddie Turner, and more. There’ll also be an instrument “petting zoo” and vocal and instrument workshops. Festivities start at noon.
September 5 through 7: Page-to-Stage Festival at the Kennedy Center
This free three-day event features readings and open rehearsals of plays and musicals developed by local, regional, and national playwrights and composers. More than 30 local and national theater companies participate. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis and opens 30 minutes before performance time. For more information, visit kennedy-center.org.
September 10 through 13: Prince George’s County Fair
Dating back to 1842, this is Maryland’s oldest county fair. It’s held at the Prince George’s County Equestrian Center and includes rides, animals, arts and crafts, and contests. It costs $6 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 to 11; kids under 6 free. Fair hours are 4 to 10 on Thursday, 5 to 11 on Friday, 11 to 11 on Saturday, and 11 to 6 on Sunday.
September 10 through 17: DC Shorts Film Festival
This festival includes screenings and moderated discussions of international short films. To qualify, movies must be 20 minutes or less—including credits. On the last day, there’s an awards ceremony for the winning entries. Screenings will take place at Landmark’s E Street Cinema and the Burke Theater at the US Navy Memorial. Tickets are $12, or $30 for a package of three.
September 12: Arts on Foot Festival
This rain-or-shine event kicks off the fall arts season in DC’s Penn Quarter neighborhood. Expect visual art, music, theater, dance, film, and food. There’s also a juried show and market, and neighborhood restaurants will offer bites to sample. The festival takes place throughout Penn Quarter, with many of the outdoor activities happening along F Street between Sixth and Ninth streets, Northwest.
September 12: Silver Spring Jazz Festival
Head to Silver Spring for free outdoor jazz from 2 to 10:30. The festival will be held at Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street. If you’re looking for more to do in Silver Spring, check out our guide to the suburb.
September 12: Rosslyn Jazz Festival
Held annually at Gateway Park, the Rosslyn Jazz Festival will feature performances by Holly Cole, the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Frédéric Yonnet, and more. Admission to the festival is free, but nearby garage parking is $5.
September 12 and 13: Black Family Reunion Celebration
Head to the National Mall for the annual Black Family Reunion Celebration, a cultural event celebrating the African-American family. During the day, sample food and check out the arts and crafts, international marketplace, and kids’ activities. Each night, there’ll be a free R&B concert. The festival is held at 15th Street and Constitution Avenue.
September 12 and 13: Alexandria Arts Festival
Artists from across the country descend on Old Town for this annual juried festival. The massive art show, which includes the work of more than 200 artists, is set up along King Street, Old Town’s main thoroughfare. Art on display includes sculpture, painting, photography, glass, and jewelry. For more ideas of what to do in Old Town, check out our guide to the neighborhood.
September 13: Adams Morgan Day
This daylong neighborhood festival celebrates the cultural diversity of DC’s Adams Morgan community. It takes place on 18th Street between Florida Avenue and Columbia Road and on side streets in between. Live-music stages bookend the festival at Florida and Columbia, and there are food vendors, an art show, dance workshops, and a kids’ fair. Festivities start at noon. For more to do in Adams Morgan, see our guide to the neighborhood.