Things to Do

Books in Bloom Festival, Outdoor Music, and an All-Black Opera Film: Things to Do in DC, October 7-10

Plus: Make your own hot sauce

Illustration by Melissa Santoyo.

Hey y’all!

We’ve got the Books in Bloom Festival, outdoor music performances, and the premiere of a new all-Black opera film.

Listen to Nikole Hannah-Jones speak at the Book in Bloom Festival this Sunday!

Here’s what you should check out this weekend:

Trying something new: American artist Hunt Slonem is best known for his neo-expressionist paintings of butterflies, bunnies, and tropical birds. More recently, the painter has been experimenting with new mediums, such as hand-blown glass and neon, to portray his wildlife muses. A collection of Slonem’s paintings and sculptures are now on display at the Merritt Gallery in Chevy Chase. Thursday 10/7 through Saturday 11/6; learn more here.

More glass art: The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s new exhibit, “Sargent, Whistler, and Venetian Glass: American Artists and the Magic of Murano,” is an expansive collection that examines the Venetian glass revival of the late 19th-century, American tourism, and art collecting in Venice.The exhibit features rarely seen Venetian glassware, as well as, paintings and prints from American artists John Singer Sargent, James McNeill Whistler, and others who were inspired by Italian glassmakers. Friday 10/8 through May 2022; learn more here.

Black excellence: Local opera company IN Series holding a free premiere of their new opera-film Black Flute at the Sylvan Theater on the National Mall. The film, which features an all-Black cast, reimagines Mozart’s Magic Flute in the iconic neighborhoods of the District and explores what it means to be young, Black, and gifted in today’s opera world. Friday 10/8 at 7 PM; Free, register here.

Wine with Washington: Head to George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate this weekend and sip on wines from 18 Virginia wineries while gazing upon the Potomac River. Shops and concessions will be open, and the mansion’s first floor and cellar will be open for a portion of the night. Friday 10/8 through Sunday 10/10 from 6 PM-9 PM; $43-$63, buy tickets here.

Shop vintage: Local vintage shop URBNmarket is having a fall pop-up market at Pike & Rose in North Bethesda this weekend, featuring a variety of vintage and handmade products, from jewelry and soaps, to clothing and specialty foods. Friday 10/8 through Sunday 10/10 (times vary); find out more here.

It’s live: The new and improved Franklin Park will kick off its first-ever weekly concert series, Rock the Park DC, this weekend. Jam out to live performances and DJ sets by jazz musicians Luke Stewart and John Murphy, as well as house DJ Joe Clausell. Other performances through the series will cover a wide range of genres including jazz, soul, hip hop, and reggae. Saturday 10/9 from 4 PM-10 PM; Free, register here.

Get (chest)nutty: When there’s food, wine and Balkan music nearby, it’s likely that the Balkan Chestnut Festival is back. There will be performances from Eastern European acts, such as Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band and Orfeia, as well as snacks and drinks from Rockville’s Mezehub and Wines of Illyria. Saturday 10/9 from 12 PM-4 PM; $20-$35 (free for kids under 12), buy tickets here.

A bittersweet goodbye: Children’s book author Mo Willems will mark the end of his tenure as the Kennedy Center’s Education Artist-in-Residence by painting a giant floor mural at the REACH’s “We Are All Connected” Opening Festival. He will be joined by theater artist Erika Rose, his successor Jacqueline Woodson, and other local community artists. There will be musical performances, a dance party, and a giant inflatable Willems pigeon. Saturday 10/9 from 10:45 AM-4 PM; Free, register here.

Sauce it up: Anyone who likes an extra kick in their meals is in luck— Cultivate the City is hosting a make-your-own-hot-sauce workshop this weekend. Attendees will get a glimpse of their farm, insider knowledge of their sauces’ “secret ingredients” and advice on how to make your hot sauce sufficiently hot, but still with compassion for your taste buds. Sunday 10/10 at 1 PM; $30, buy tickets here.

Books are back: Head out to the Color Burst Park in Columbia for Books in Bloom, a book festival that features author readings, children’s activities, and a pop-up bookstore from Busboys & Poets. This year’s festival will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and creator of the 1619 Project Nikole Hannah-Jones as the headliner with CNN anchor Jake Tapper, NPR’s Maureen Corrigan, and other progressive authors as guest appearances. Panels will focus on topics, such as diversity, racism and culture. Sunday 10/10 from 11 AM-5 PM; Free, register here.

Just hang on a little longer! It’s almost the weekend!

That’s all for this week! Thanks for reading, and don’t hesitate to reach out to me at to let me know what you’re up to.

Damare Baker
Research Editor

Before becoming Research Editor, Damare Baker was an Editorial Fellow and Assistant Editor for Washingtonian. She has previously written for Voice of America and The Hill. She is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she studied international relations, Korean, and journalism.

Jason Fontelieu
Editorial Fellow