By Jaylynn Williams
The REACH Opening Festival at the Kennedy Center is a two-week festival that offered over 500 events including a performance by the Nation Symphony orchestra, a screening of The Black Panther, and meet- and-eats with local DC chefs. The festival was free, allowing people from all walks of life to attend, from college students to entire families.
Plenty of people wanted to take advantage of the variety of events available at the festival. The numerous meet-and-eats with local chefs were very popular; the lines for tasting the different dishes were fairly long, but according to CUA student Ellen O’Brien, they were worth the wait.
“It has this smooth, kind of crisp texture and the first flavor you encounter is cool and refreshing followed by kind of tangy,” said O’Brien before taking another bite of local chef Johanna Hellril’s Cambodian Green Mango Salad. “The textures compliment each other really nicely.”
Festival-goers were encouraged to sit or lay on the grass and enjoy screenings of movies, documentaries, and multi-media installations. Some families and large groups of friends took the screenings as an opportunity to have a mini picnic on the grass. Most people, however, simply watched in amazement as David Michalek’s Slow Dancing played, a ten-minute showcase of hyper-slow dancing.
Towards the entrance of the festival was the main stage where various youth and adult dance teams performed Latin dances of different styles and techniques like the Mambo and Afro-Cuban Rumba. The performances were a showcase of Latin culture and were as entertaining as they were educational.
Even as the night went on and the number of events dwindled, a large number of people remained, enjoying the views at the River Pavilion and art sculptures spread out across the festival.
The REACH Opening Festival concludes on Sunday, September 22. Be sure to stop by and check it out if you are a fan of arts, culture, and entertainment.