News & Politics

A Field Guide to Saturday’s Very Busy Day on the National Mall

There's the Juggalo March, pro- and anti-Trump rallies, and many other events. Which ones should you go to?

As has been documented extensively, the National Mall will be quite full on Saturday with a confluence of events, including: a rally in support of President Trump, anti-Trump protests, a charity race, weddings, and—most notably—a march and concert for fans of the Insane Clown Posse.

Many Washingtonians would rather simply steer clear of the Mall rather than get caught up in someone else’s affinity group. But with so many different interests intersecting on one day, it’s quite likely that you, reader, may want to check out one or more of these events.

Here is a quick run-down of what’s happening on the Mall, and whether or not you should drop by:

Juggalo March

What is it? Planned more than a year ago, the Detroit-based horrorcore rap group Insane Clown Posse and their fans are flocking to DC to protest the Justice Department’s 2011 designation of Juggalos—ICP fans’ preferred term for themselves—as a gang, following multiple incidents of violent crimes being committed by Juggalos, who often wear face paint and clothing sporting the “Hatchetman,” an ICP logo. But the incidents that led to the Justice Department’s decision had nothing to do with the band or the vast majority of its fans, who are known more for their love of Faygo-brand soda and body art than organized illegal activity. The band, helped by the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the gang designation in 2014. The Juggalo March will feature several performances, concluding in the evening with ICP itself. Last week, the group released an eight-minute video about their fight against the gang designation, in which Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J (and their lawyer) make a profound, albeit profane, defense of their constitutional rights.

When and where? 2 PM at the Lincoln Memorial

Go if: You’re into ICP, Faygo soda, or fighting prosecutorial overreach. Whoop whoop!

Don’t go if: Horror rap isn’t your thing.

Mother of All Rallies

What is it? Billed as the “Woodstock of American Rallies,” this event seeks to bring together supporters of President Trump and the White House’s nationalist agenda. But unlike past pro-Trump gatherings in DC—like the “Deploraball” during Trump’s inauguration, which drew bigger names from the “Make America Great Again” crowd like Mike Cernovich and Gavin McInnes—the Mother of All Rallies seems to have a lineup of MAGA B-listers. The featured speakers include Marco Gutierrez, the leader of Latinos for Trump, and Omar Navarro, who plans to run against Representative Maxine Waters in California next year.

When and where? 11 AM at the Washington Monument

Go if: You’re into red hats and all that stuff.

Don’t go if: You believe the United States functions best as an open, pluralistic society.

March to Protect American Democracy

What is it? Naturally, the Mother of All Rallies was quick to inspire counter-protests. There are several being planned, the largest of which might be one called March to Protect American Democracy, the organizers of which say is meant to demand that the President and House Speaker Paul Ryan take measures to prevent further attempts by the Russian government to tamper with US elections. There’s also DC Means “Don’t Come” on the Mall, which is aimed at telling “Trump’s racist ‘patriots’ to go home.”

When and where? 10 AM in Lafayette Park

Go if: You don’t like Russian operatives messing with the democratic process, or if you believe the United States functions best as an open and pluralistic society.

Don’t go if: You’re into red hats and all that stuff.

Race to Beat Cancer 5K

What is it? An annual charity race that raises money for MedStar’s Washington Cancer Institute that runs five kilometers, or about 3.1 miles, through Georgetown. Online registration is closed, but same-day registration is available for $70 at the Four Seasons Hotel. While mostly away from the rest of Saturday’s hubbub, the route does dip down to the Mall’s western edge.

When and where? 8 AM, Four Seasons Hotel, 2800 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. (Walk-up registration available from 7 to 7:45 AM.)

Go if: You want to help promote cancer research and enjoy running.

Don’t go if: You can’t be bothered.

Various Weddings

What is it? The union of two people who love each other and plan to spend the rest of their lives together in marital bliss.

When and where? Various times, various locations on the Mall.

Go if: You’re on the guest list, or you’re the one getting married.

Don’t go if: You’re not.


Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.