Hill Rag

The Hits Keep on Comin'

Print PDF

The Hits Keep On Comin’!

November 1, 2012 - Hill Rag

by Sharon Bosworth

Byron Peck Installs Mural on I 2952013 will usher in a growth spurt on all six blocks of Barracks Row. New restaurants and new retailers are slated to open, and, one big surprise, a farmers’ market is being proposed. Here’s a look at what’s being planned for our corridor in its 112th year of operation.

Believe it or not, the very first Eastern Market was not located where it was today.  The original Eastern Market, developed around 1801, was located where we find Sousa Band Hall today, between 6th and 7th Streets, SE at Virginia Avenue, SE.  It was much later, in 1863, when city fathers moved Eastern Market to reflect demographic shifts in the area. For more than sixty years local families bought their groceries from covered farmers’ stalls near today’s lower Barracks Row. Most goods arrived by boat via canal.

According to area real estate entrepreneur Leon Kafele, a modern farmers’ market is in early planning stages to be located within a block of the initial Eastern Market site, returning the presently under-developed area to its original purpose. The hand of capitalism seems to be at work: precisely when citizens of the 21st century Capitol Hill want to buy local and organic it arrives, and is open at hours when they want to shop – Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. The 2013 farmers’ line would be located along today’s Virginia Avenue, SE, between 7th and 8th Streets, SE, across from a rare public parking area.

Wagtime Opens Near Proposed Truckeroo Site

A few inventions have intervened in the past 150 years. In the early days, farmers from Maryland and Virginia floated their produce and meats up a canal from the Anacostia River to Eastern Market. Instead of sailing ships and horse carts, today we have trucks – a regularly scheduled truckeroo is being considered for the private parking lot, owned by Kafele, at Virginia Avenue, SE, and 8th Street, SE.  The nearby, under-freeway area has come alive with Barracks Row’s handsome, well lit murals which share their glow with the 75-cent-per-hour city parking lot. In above photo, artist Byron Peck is putting finishing touches to the area of the mural on I 295. At 8:30 pm on a Friday night it might soon be possible to grab dinner from an assortment of international food trucks then buy farm fresh ingredients straight from growers for tomorrow evening’s home-cooked repast, all in the shadow of the Navy Yard’s 1815 Latrobe Gate. Then stroll up the Row, have a night cap and toast the best little neighborhood in DC!

In other lower 8th Street developments, Lisa Schrieber and husband Ofer Khal’s Wagtime Too is nearing completion at 9thth and M Street, SE. We’ve all heard how Playseum, 525 8th Street, SE, the children’s play space, came to be locatedon the Row. Playseum owner, Gina Seebachan took one look at the home addresses on her mailing list and realized a dramatic percentage of families were driving from Capitol Hill to her location in Bethesda. Seebachan quickly opened a second play space close to her customers. The same is now true of pet day care - pet play space, Wagtime Too.  If you are used to driving across town to Wagtime’s location at 9th and N Streets, NW, near the Convention Center, life is about to get a whole lot easier for you and your dog!

Adieu, BackStage - Welcome DCanter and Ambar - Sushi Crawls Ahead

Playseum shares its address at 525 8th Street, SE with legendary Backstage Costumes which opened in 1981, when the Row was sketchy on good days. After Halloween, Backstage Costumes will relocate to Virginia to make way for boutique wine and beer retailer, DCanter. Focused on small vineyards and breweries, owners Michelle and Michael Werner will also host tastings and pairings. Just a few buildings north of DCanter, the construction at Ambar (formerly Jordan’s 8), 523 8th Street, SE, is now well underway with a contemporary, Euro style makeover. Ivan Iricanian, who recently returned from a big-chef hunting expedition to Serbia, also owns Masa14 on 14th Street, NW.  At Ambar the menu will be modern rather than traditional Balkan fare. Both DCanter and Ambar will open in early 2013.

At 524 8th Street, SE, (formerly the site of the original Chateau Animeaux) renovation and construction has been plagued with delays and permitting issues. Work began over eighteen months ago, and is still ongoing.. Two restaurants are planned for the building: Nooshi Sushi and Tash (Turkish kebabs). Owned by metro area couple Vanessa Lim and Nari Modanlou, each place will have separate entrances, differing color schemes and décor, distinct wait staffs and chefs and, of course, unique  menus.  Tash will possibly open late 2012 with Nooshi Sushi to follow early in 2013.  As the new year dawns, Nooshi Sushi will be one of three sushi spots on 8th making long awaited sushi crawls a reality.  Yes!Organic, 410 8th Street, SE, is opening a sushi counter, serving by mid November and Old Siam, 606 8th Street, SE, will soon convert the right side of their dining area to specially priced daily sushi.

Eight on 8th in 2013

If you’ve been keeping track so far that’s six new businesses (counting the farmer’s market concept) – all with probable openings in the first half of 2013.  But, there are two more to go.  At 415 8th Street, SE, next door to Chipotle, Kraze Burger, a franchise operation with one store in Bethesda, will open soon.

A kitchen will have to be added to the space, making opening day timing hard to predict.  But baseball crowds returning after the Nat’s 2012 post season run might inspire the owners to aim for April 2013. Kraze Burger is a chain out of Korea with 100+ locations. The name is pronounced in Asia to rhyme with blase’ but the owners of the USA franchise plan to use the English pronunciation ‘crazy’ as in Patsy Cline’s famous hit.

Rounding out the Class of 2013 we have Rose’s Luxury. At 717 8th Street, SE, the owners of Rose's Luxury bring to 8th Street a completely new concept restaurant. Tucked between Homebody and Capitol Hill Bikes, 717 was formerly one of 8th Street's invisible buildings - not decrepit enough to draw attention but an empty hulk nonetheless. This was a building searching for a soul mate.

Enter Chef Aaron Silverman.  Formerly of 2941 in Falls Church, VA, Momufuku and Insieme in NYC, and McCrady’s in Charleston, SC, Chef Silverman will fill this old building with his new concept eatery.  Silverman describes the vibe as exclusively un-exclusive. Rose's Luxury is named after grandmother, Rose, and will feature $46.00 per person dinners. For the fixed price menu tables will order from four lists (one vegetable, one starch, etc)  with one meat dish all to be shared family style... dessert is separate. Or, sit at the bar and order a la carte. Dress in jeans; bring your kids. Rose’s Luxury will feature an interior dining courtyard and opens summer 2013.

 

Happening at 2012 Barracks Row Fall Festival

Print PDF

Barracks Row Fall Festival on Capitol Hill

by Sharon Bosworth

A long time resident of the Barracks Row neighborhood, Joe Snyder is a watercolor artist, gifted at capturing the quirky, colorful architecture around us.  He’s a regular vendor at Eastern Market. On September 22, 2012 Joe participated in the Barracks Row Fall Festival on Capitol Hill and stopped us afterwards to report on the day. “First it seemed like a normal street fair– then I realized I was having a really great sales day – and then it dawned on me that I had not sold a thing to anyone from this area - everything I sold was to people who live in Northwest.  For me that’s a first!”   Barracks Row Fall Festival 2012 was a first in many ways.  Our neighborhood is shifting from being undiscovered treasure hidden deep in the shadow of the US Capitol to becoming a well regarded metro area destination with its own identity.

The 2012 Fall Festival further reflected our emerging sense of place by attracting a new festival partner/sponsor, the DC State Fair.  Just days before the festival DC State Fair’s press release went viral. It seemed everyone in town wanted to view the winning entry for the best new bike accessory contest (a green child seat) as well as witness the judging of the funkiest vegetable grown in DC. That turned out to be Thurgood Marshall High School’s Thai pumpkin. And no one could miss the moment when the best fruit pie in DC was revealed: Emily Dalphy’s Fig and Grape Pie with Cognac and Orange.

Circus Acts - Fire House Olive Oil – Balloon Crowns

Trapeze School New York changed things up, too. This year they brought in not only aerialists on“Silks” but a complete circus trapeze apparatus and performers.  By afternoon the fully costumed troupe was performing one trapeze routine after another as the hushed crowd marveled.  Even with the colorful history of 8th Street, SE, there probably has never been a show quite like it in front of Senart’s Oyster and Chop House.

This year families with children, National’s fans, foodies, couples on day dates, attendees at the book fair on the Mall and anyone who was checking Twitter figured out by mid afternoon that something unusual was going on here and got themselves to 8th Street, SE, for a visit. Many were immediately met by a donkey on a leash. The famous Barracks Row Petting Zoo had stepped out – no political statement intended.

Kids discovered Chesty, the fierce looking Marine Corps mascot, who loves to be petted under a shade tree.  After the pumpkin seed spitting contest, Sidney, the Playseum’s (545 8th Street, SE) wizard-on-stilts spent the afternoon creating balloon crowns that dreams are made of. Free tastings on the midway ranged from Scratch DC’s samplings of home delivered organic meals to Sapore’s booth where owner Renee Farr served a newly created Fire House dipping oil in honor of 8th Street,SE’s, finest, Engine 18 (the store is the olive oil emporium at 605 Pennsylvania Ave, SE). Spring Mill Bakery sampled breads, cookies and cakes to appreciative new customers at its booth right in front of their bakery at 701 8th Street, SE.

Barracks Row Volunteers – The Secret Sauce

The United States Marine Corps has had its home here at 8th and I Streets, SE, since 1801 - before Barracks Row, the corridor, existed.  At Fall Festival 2012, Marine Barracks Washington sent in twelve Marines attired in regulation uniforms representing different conflicts from the long history of the Marine Corps.   At the festival Marines stepped out of recent and past wars including the Korean War, World War II, World War I, the Civil War, War of 1812 and the Revolutionary War to visit with fair goers.

At the stage, Batala, an African-Caribbean female drumming group, performed to a crowd ten deep.  Then Big Sky, a 40’s era swing band delivered the sounds of Frank Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey as dancers filled the intersection of 8th and G Streets, SE.  Blue-blazered college boys, the Georgetown Chimes, harmonized classic oldies barbershop style. Emcees for the day, Beth Fluto and Alex Espinosa kept things moving announcing acts and contest winners as Barracks Row volunteers on the midway sent tweets and texts of breaking news back to center stage. Unseen by fair goers, Barracks Row Main Street volunteers are the secret sauce behind Fall Festival!

The Pentagon Won!

For many years The Military Chef’s Alliance has been a sponsor of our festival, hosting a black box cook off on the midway. This year the trophy for the Best Chefs in the US military was claimed by the Pentagon chef team. Both General Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Redskins Cheerleaders were there to congratulate the winning team. At next year’s Fall Festival the Military Chefs Cook Off is celebrating its tenth anniversary with an appearance by Emeril and a parachute jump into Marine Barracks Washington.

Along with the DC State Fair and the Military Chef’s Alliance Fall Festival sponsors include CSX which linked up this year with the Capitol Hill Garden Club for bulb planting. At the CSX booth kids and adults planted bulbs into large cups of nutrient rich soil. Those cups of bulbs will be planted in Barracks Row tree boxes later in the fall to beautify our street this spring.

Shout Out For Our Men in Blue

The Capitol Hill BID and the Capitol Riverfront BID were also both event sponsors along with National Capital Bank, Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America and the Department of Small and Local Business Development.  The Fall Festival foot print falls entirely within the Capitol Hill BID. Special thanks go to our “men in blue” from the Capitol Hill BID for returning the festival midway back into a sparkling urban corridor in record time.

From the earliest fall festival in 2002 until today we have partnered with United States Marine Corps.  As true believers in this neighborhood they preceded us by centuries. We thank General and Mrs. Amos and Colonel Christian Cabaniss, commander of Marine Barracks Washington, for hosting tours of the Home of the Commandants and Marines Barracks Washington during the festival. And, as ever, we extend our heartfelt thanks and admiration to the Marine Corps volunteers who every year perform the true miracle of set up and tear down.

Next year’s Fall Festival is September 28, 2013. By then Barracks Row will have become even more of a destination. Next year vendors, residents, businesses and visitors will experience fresh prosperity as Barracks Row Main Street continues its remarkable evolution.  Mark your calendars and see you then!

Pop-Up Retail and the Beach on 8th Street

Print PDF

Pop-Up Retail And The Beach On 8th Street by Sharon Bosworth

Though DC has been largely spared, the recession lingering around the rest of the country has created new losers and very few winners.  In these murky financial times many of us have been searching persistently, testing ways to make a buck in the changed financial landscape.  Recently we were introduced to an up-to-the-minute idea that mixes the remains of the old, pre-recession good times with some tricks of the new century. The name of this game is pop-up retail.  And, it’s happening on 8th Street.

Hard to say how it started but certainly at the core it is a very old notion. Then, on the way to its present-day iteration, something happened and a whole new concept emerged. The old temporary concept store (think Christmas tree stands) grew new legs with the spread of social media and the fast-paced recession which shuttered bricks and mortar retail stores creating rows of VACANCY signs. Throw in the growth of Internet shopping and the ability of smart phones to take credit card sales and, voila: pop-up retail stores are now overnight happenings.

tabula rasa In Latin is “Blank Slate”

Riding the crest of this wave here on Barracks Row, we recently welcomed our first event space, an on-purpose empty store front,  just waiting to be rented short term. Its name tells the tale: tabula rasa or “blank slate” in Latin. The concept for tabula rasa, 731 8th Street, SE came from Amanda Clarke, who works with husband, Cable Clarke, at Clarke Consulting, 731 8th Street, SE, Suite 202, which is dedicated to coaching organizations and government agencies through culture change.

For those keeping score, this is the same Amanda Clarke who co-founded Boogie Babes, the group which brings children’s musical performances to Eastern Market’s North Hall on Thursdays and to ATLAS on Fridays and some Saturday mornings.  Amanda and Cable Clarke, who have three small children and a typical space-challenged Capitol Hill household, use venues outside their home regularly for family and social events. Early on Amanda felt the logic of an aesthetically pleasing event and pop-up space.

“Pop ups may be the way of the future” noted Clarke, “especially for online retailers who are challenged to get noticed and to get products to their potential customers to see and feel.  Rents keep going up and pop ups offer product visibility to a new and varied population for a short term at a low price. They also offer established boutiques a chance to test new markets. ” Then there’s the synergy of social media – both her own efforts to promote tabula rasa and the social media reach of those who use her space. “It does not confuse people at all that we are a candy store one weekend, a jewelry store the next,  and last weekend we were Periwinkle - a woman’s clothing boutique. We are tabula rasa, our customers want and expect to be surprised by us and they check our website to see what we have each weekend. With new offerings and events at tabula rasa every week, different groups of consumers who are on the mailing lists of those businesses keep discovering us.”  Up-coming events include a meal planning workshop, a book signing and quite a few grown-up birthday parties.

 

 

White Cork Floors - Lavender Ceilings?

“With the DC parking lot (under the freeway) just a block away plus Metro, the Circulator and regular city bus service all on 8th Street, we are easy to get to,” continued Clarke.  There are many potential customers who spot tabula rasa as they drive or walk by on errands. “We are getting phone calls from political organizations, those who sell products and even non-profits who see our sign and want to use our space for a few hours, or a day or two.”

Though the roots of pop up stores lay in grungy, seedy, long vacant retail spaces, tabula rasa is the polar opposite. First, polar – everything in this space is pristine white. Nothing battered or shabby to be seen, the space glows with chic sparkle. Light filters in through the luminous picture window on 8th Street; the window-wall facing the charming courtyard delivers even more light. The finishes are sustainable, the floors are white cork, the seating is white leather, the ceilings are white but with the twist of an LED button, they can glow red, yellow, green or anything in between.

The Beach on Barracks Row

There must be something to that white-on-white color scheme. This past weekend another new establishment-wrapped-in-white opened on 8th Street, SE.  Pacifico Cantina, 514 8th Street, SE, made its debut on Saturday, June 16.  An investor group led by Xavier Cervera developed the Pacifico Cantina concept. The opening was magical: it was a perfect 75 degrees with full sun and very low humidity.  The happy crowd on the expansive roof deck enthusiastically discovered the delicious Baja inspired menu; as the breeze swayed the red umbrellas you could almost hear the surf! There’s really no place like Pacifico Cantina in DC or for miles around until you hit the bay beaches.

As summer at the actual shore or at its 8th Street, SE, counterpart beckons, here’s a question:  what was the Best DC Party in spring of 2012? We nominate the Barracks Row Garden Party.  On June 7, under a huge tent in the garden, our annual fundraiser unfolded at historic Deer House hosted by Tip and Connie Tipton. Guests had the opportunity to meet the chefs of five of our 8th Street restaurants and sample their best recipes. They also could meet neighbors, local and national politicians, members of the Capitol Hill business community and officers of Marine Barracks Washington.

We Need YOU to Sustain the Momentum

We thank our Platinum Sponsors: National Capital Bank, CSX, Minerva Marketing and the International Dairy Foods Association for their generous support.   We further salute our Gold, Silver and Bronze sponsors. Because of them we are able to continue our mission to bring prosperity to all five blocks of Barracks Row.

To our party guests, along with the entire Capitol Hill corporate and residential community, we send our

 

heartfelt appreciation. By working together we have been privileged to foster the rebirth of the oldest commercial corridor in the federal city.  On our watch 8th Street, SE, has been transformed from a blighted, under-used connector to a destination for boutique shopping and international dining.  Owners of new establishments like tabula Rasa and Pacifico Cantina are attracted to 8th Street, SE, and then add their compelling offerings to Barracks Row’s mix of urban adventures. Together we have built today’s 8th Street experience to new levels of satisfaction.  Visitors return year after year to sample the excitement of our ever evolving transformation.

To learn more about us (maybe the date of next year’s Garden Party?), or to volunteer for one of the events hosted by Barracks Row Main Street, send your contact information to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 202-544-3188. We need you.  It takes a village to make a Main Street!

Celebrate 2012 Barracks Row Fall Festival on Capitol Hill

Print PDF

Celebrate 2012 Barracks Row Fall Festival on Capitol Hill by Sharon Bosworth

It started quietly but summer 2012 quickly earned its place in the record books:  The hottest summer in recorded history, it proved just the right temperature for our neighborhood’s Nationals to become this year’s winningist team in baseball. By August we were spellbound by Phelps, Felix, The Fab Five and Clarissa Shields, American icons of the London Olympic Games.  German, Oscar Pistorious, “blade runner”, the first man to compete in the Olympics with prosthetic legs shattered our perceptions about “limitations” and Bolt, the well-named Jamaican, demonstrated how far we are from knowing our own speed limit. These champions stand for us all - all who dream the impossible dream, and then go out and get it.

Barracks Row Fall Festival hosted by Barracks Row Main Street stands for us all, too.  A local celebration of our complex, beguiling, 212 year old neighborhood, we charge no entry fee and we invite everyone’s participation.  On September 22 arrive at Eastern Market metro plaza and stroll our three block midway; you’ll be impressed and proud to be a citizen of Capitol Hill and The District. We personify the age-old come-back saga: A rundown, decrepit corridor, written off by smart money, we battled the odds and won. Today we’re the go-to street, a destination when your family arrives to visit, the epitome of an urban oasis.

Actually - There Is a DC State Fair

DC State Fair joins our festival this year along with long term partner, the Military Chefs Alliance.  Friends of the Barracks Row Fall Festival always include Marine Barracks Washington, home to Marine volunteers who help set up and breakdown the festival, an Olympian race-against-time:  The fair ends at 5:00 pm and the street must be open to traffic at 6 p.m. for restaurant patrons. We salute Commandant and Mrs. James Amos for graciously opening The Home of the Commandants for hourly tours and to Colonel Christian Cabaniss, base commander of Marine Barracks Washington, for allowing fairgoers, led by docents, to take a generous peek beyond the gates of the “oldest post in the Corps.”

Didn’t know there was a DC State Fair? The organizers managed to overcome that little statehood technicality. Just like in Iowa or Nebraska, there are pie and vegetable judgings. There are best pickles, photography, home brew, and heaviest fruit awards; all contests offer small cash prizes, ribbons and glory.  Eventually the judges face the colossal task of crowning the Funkiest-Looking Vegetable Grown in the District of Columbia.  Inspired by Curiosity, that fresh, multi-talented Mars rover, there is even a Best Bike Accessory in DC championship.  There’s still time to participate - most DC State Fair contests are open until September 20 at www.dcstatefair.org/2012-contests.

Black Box Cook Off Determines Top Chef

This year the Military Chefs Alliance is fielding five cook tents on the midway near the gates of Marine Barracks Washington.  Dishes are prepared live in front of the festival audience. Starting at 7:00 a.m. the first flight of chef teams (3-5 chefs per team) gets a look at their black box of ingredients; the teams cook up a storm until 10 a.m. when sequestered judges are presented with the chefs’ masterworks.  After the winner is declared the next flight of chefs begins at 10:30 a.m.  By 1:30 p.m. winners of the second flight are determined.  By 2:00 p.m. the lightning round begins:  two winning teams cook off to determine the Top Chef in our armed services.

This year, for the first time, our Wounded Warriors will be competing. The Military Chefs Alliance’s mission is to showcase all military chefs including the chef skills of Wounded Warriors. In the Wounded Warrior Cook Off each individual entrant competes consecutively throughout the day to produce dishes to be sampled by that same hard working panel of judges. Winners of all Cook Off competitions will be announced from the festival stage at 4:45 p.m. at the trophy ceremony.

Girl on Trapeze in the Trees

Like the Olympics our Fall Festival requires both participants and an audience.  We are counting on YOU! Don’t let September 22, the first weekend of fall, prime sidewalk café season, slip by without a visit. Over twenty of Barracks Row’s diverse eateries are located inside the festival footprint which begins at E Street, SE, and runs three blocks south along Barracks Row to I Street, SE. Plan a relaxed afternoon in ringside seats enjoying your favorite international fare with inspiring beverages. Watch Trapeze School New York as they work at treetop height, holding impossible poses while wrapped in rivers of flowing silk. Trapeze School performances begin at noon and continue until 5 p.m. See Roller Girls twirl on skates and Marines marching the midway outfitted in Historic Uniforms from 1798 through the Civil War, Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, and onward to today.

Listen, what is that? Not music? Not a machine? Not a human noise at all… of course! It’s a pig. Every year we host a zoo full of baby animals to meet and greet Capitol Hill’s burgeoning population of baby humans.  Our extensive children’s area will be produced by Playseum, 545 8th Street, SE, and The National Community Church, 535 8th Street, SE.  You’ll find crafts, games and an entire air conditioned movie theater so you can catch your breath for another go at the midway. For older kids, theres a full array of games including corn hole, shuffleboard, as well as brain games at the intriguing Labyrinth booth (store location 645 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.)

Essence De Provence on 8th Street, SE

Shop Fall Festival for early Christmas presents: Consider a story book for the grand kids by Little Ned or a smart bib necklace from DC’s own Cara’s Creations. The Med beckons with gourmet oils, vinegars and salts at Sapore’s booth (store location 660 Pennsylvania Ave, SE) and all things lavender at Essence de Provence.  Need something new for your weekend wardrobe… perhaps a T-shirt from Sharp Shirter sporting a message from that other you … or wrist-wear from Fisticuffs?  Love our street? Artist Joe Snyder creates building portraits - many of iconic Barracks Row edifices.

Performers grace our stage located at 8th and G Street, SE, beginning with the opening ceremony at 11:30 a.m. when the Marine Corps Brass Quintet presents patriotic tunes. At noon the Marine Corps Color Guard will present the Colors; then Barracks Row’s president, Tip Tipton, will cut the ribbon to begin Fall Festival 2012.

After eating, shopping, watching our performers and voting in some unusual contests we hope you’ll be inspired to become a full participant in Fall Festival 2012.  How about swing dancing? Seriously!  In mid afternoon, Swing Band Blue Sky takes the stage and brings us back to the 40’s and 50’s with vocals from Frank Sinatra and arrangements by Tommy Dorsey. This year dance teachers are waiting to coach you with the basic steps in swing.  Bring your sweetie and dance the afternoon away at 8th and G Street, SE.  If the Greatest Generation could do this, we can, too, Dancers of all age welcome!

 

 

Celebrate 2012 Barracks Row Fall Festival on Capitol Hill

Print PDF

Celebrate 2012 Barracks Row Fall Festival on Capitol Hill by Sharon Bosworth

It started quietly but summer 2012 quickly earned its place in the record books:  The hottest summer in recorded history, it proved just the right temperature for our neighborhood’s Nationals to become this year’s winningist team in baseball. By August we were spellbound by Phelps, Felix, The Fab Five and Clarissa Shields, American icons of the London Olympic Games.  German, Oscar Pistorious, “blade runner”, the first man to compete in the Olympics with prosthetic legs shattered our perceptions about “limitations” and Bolt, the well-named Jamaican, demonstrated how far we are from knowing our own speed limit. These champions stand for us all - all who dream the impossible dream, and then go out and get it.

Barracks Row Fall Festival hosted by Barracks Row Main Street stands for us all, too.  A local celebration of our complex, beguiling, 212 year old neighborhood, we charge no entry fee and we invite everyone’s participation.  On September 22 arrive at Eastern Market metro plaza and stroll our three block midway; you’ll be impressed and proud to be a citizen of Capitol Hill and The District. We personify the age-old come-back saga: A rundown, decrepit corridor, written off by smart money, we battled the odds and won. Today we’re the go-to street, a destination when your family arrives to visit, the epitome of an urban oasis.

Actually - There Is a DC State Fair

DC State Fair joins our festival this year along with long term partner, the Military Chefs Alliance.  Friends of the Barracks Row Fall Festival always include Marine Barracks Washington, home to Marine volunteers who help set up and breakdown the festival, an Olympian race-against-time:  The fair ends at 5:00 pm and the street must be open to traffic at 6 p.m. for restaurant patrons. We salute Commandant and Mrs. James Amos for graciously opening The Home of the Commandants for hourly tours and to Colonel Christian Cabaniss, base commander of Marine Barracks Washington, for allowing fairgoers, led by docents, to take a generous peek beyond the gates of the “oldest post in the Corps.”

Didn’t know there was a DC State Fair? The organizers managed to overcome that little statehood technicality. Just like in Iowa or Nebraska, there are pie and vegetable judgings. There are best pickles, photography, home brew, and heaviest fruit awards; all contests offer small cash prizes, ribbons and glory.  Eventually the judges face the colossal task of crowning the Funkiest-Looking Vegetable Grown in the District of Columbia.  Inspired by Curiosity, that fresh, multi-talented Mars rover, there is even a Best Bike Accessory in DC championship.  There’s still time to participate - most DC State Fair contests are open until September 20 at www.dcstatefair.org/2012-contests.

Black Box Cook Off Determines Top Chef

This year the Military Chefs Alliance is fielding five cook tents on the midway near the gates of Marine Barracks Washington.  Dishes are prepared live in front of the festival audience. Starting at 7:00 a.m. the first flight of chef teams (3-5 chefs per team) gets a look at their black box of ingredients; the teams cook up a storm until 10 a.m. when sequestered judges are presented with the chefs’ masterworks.  After the winner is declared the next flight of chefs begins at 10:30 a.m.  By 1:30 p.m. winners of the second flight are determined.  By 2:00 p.m. the lightning round begins:  two winning teams cook off to determine the Top Chef in our armed services.

This year, for the first time, our Wounded Warriors will be competing. The Military Chefs Alliance’s mission is to showcase all military chefs including the chef skills of Wounded Warriors. In the Wounded Warrior Cook Off each individual entrant competes consecutively throughout the day to produce dishes to be sampled by that same hard working panel of judges. Winners of all Cook Off competitions will be announced from the festival stage at 4:45 p.m. at the trophy ceremony.

Girl on Trapeze in the Trees

Like the Olympics our Fall Festival requires both participants and an audience.  We are counting on YOU! Don’t let September 22, the first weekend of fall, prime sidewalk café season, slip by without a visit. Over twenty of Barracks Row’s diverse eateries are located inside the festival footprint which begins at E Street, SE, and runs three blocks south along Barracks Row to I Street, SE. Plan a relaxed afternoon in ringside seats enjoying your favorite international fare with inspiring beverages. Watch Trapeze School New York as they work at treetop height, holding impossible poses while wrapped in rivers of flowing silk. Trapeze School performances begin at noon and continue until 5 p.m. See Roller Girls twirl on skates and Marines marching the midway outfitted in Historic Uniforms from 1798 through the Civil War, Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, and onward to today.

Listen, what is that? Not music? Not a machine? Not a human noise at all… of course! It’s a pig. Every year we host a zoo full of baby animals to meet and greet Capitol Hill’s burgeoning population of baby humans.  Our extensive children’s area will be produced by Playseum, 545 8th Street, SE, and The National Community Church, 535 8th Street, SE.  You’ll find crafts, games and an entire air conditioned movie theater so you can catch your breath for another go at the midway. For older kids, theres a full array of games including corn hole, shuffleboard, as well as brain games at the intriguing Labyrinth booth (store location 645 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.)

Essence De Provence on 8th Street, SE

Shop Fall Festival for early Christmas presents: Consider a story book for the grand kids by Little Ned or a smart bib necklace from DC’s own Cara’s Creations. The Med beckons with gourmet oils, vinegars and salts at Sapore’s booth (store location 660 Pennsylvania Ave, SE) and all things lavender at Essence de Provence.  Need something new for your weekend wardrobe… perhaps a T-shirt from Sharp Shirter sporting a message from that other you … or wrist-wear from Fisticuffs?  Love our street? Artist Joe Snyder creates building portraits - many of iconic Barracks Row edifices.

Performers grace our stage located at 8th and G Street, SE, beginning with the opening ceremony at 11:30 a.m. when the Marine Corps Brass Quintet presents patriotic tunes. At noon the Marine Corps Color Guard will present the Colors; then Barracks Row’s president, Tip Tipton, will cut the ribbon to begin Fall Festival 2012.

After eating, shopping, watching our performers and voting in some unusual contests we hope you’ll be inspired to become a full participant in Fall Festival 2012.  How about swing dancing? Seriously!  In mid afternoon, Swing Band Blue Sky takes the stage and brings us back to the 40’s and 50’s with vocals from Frank Sinatra and arrangements by Tommy Dorsey. This year dance teachers are waiting to coach you with the basic steps in swing.  Bring your sweetie and dance the afternoon away at 8th and G Street, SE.  If the Greatest Generation could do this, we can, too, Dancers of all age welcome!

 

 

District of Columbia Main Streets DC Department of Small and Local Business Development

Barracks Row Main Street is a designated DC Main Streets commercial district.  Barracks Row Main Street is funded in part by the Department of Small and Local Business Development.