Image Courtesy of Isabel Love
By Isabel Love
The Adams Morgan neighborhood was filled with music and color for its annual Adams Morgan Day celebration on September 10. Tents lined 18th Street on Sunday morning as artists and representatives from local organizations gathered to share their creations and information with the community.
Vendors displayed street market staples like handwoven fabrics, carefully crafted jewelry, and other homemade goods. For example, Lita+Ro, a home goods business based in D.C., featured handmade candles with evocative names like “tennis in an English garden”, a scent composed of fresh gerbera daisies and cut grass.
Some artists even offered a glimpse into their personal artistic process. Painter Clara Beyer Bower demonstrated her skill in watercolor for onlookers. A common motif was pieces highlighting iconic DC landscapes and architecture as a way for artists to emphasize their DC roots.
However, the celebration was not limited to the visual arts. Festival attendees also had the opportunity to enjoy various live music performances. In particular, the energy of the crowd picked up in the afternoon, when Crush Funk Brass Band performed a lively New Orleans-inspired cover of “When the Saints Go Marching In”. Attendees could be seen dancing along the street in tune with the trumpet and tuba.
For those more inclined to rock or reggae, the Melodies at Kalorama event provided a variety of music from alternative rock artist Karen Culi to the Roots Reggae Band. The lineup also included Swaby, Aviator’s Queenie, and Esha Shaunte, as well as live music from several other artists each hour. DJ Qhill hosted the program from Moonlight DC. Meanwhile, at Moonlight DC’s Dance Plaza, various dance groups performed as well as taught basic choreographies to the audience. Participants got to experience dance through an international lens, with groups ranging from the Indonesian Dance Troupe to the Cuban DC Casineros.
The festival’s musical performances all proved to be interactive experiences. Outside of the club, performer, and educator Baba Ras D hosted an interactive West African drumming session. Children gathered around to participate as Baba Ras D guided them through drumming techniques and encouraged them to feel the music.
In addition to showcasing the culture and artistry of DC, Adams Morgan Day also served as an opportunity for community outreach. One particularly eye-catching attraction was an orange van decorated with bouquets of flowers. Attendees could take advantage of a nearby photo kiosk while they posed beside it. The beautiful display was part of the Spot Her initiative, a campaign intended to raise awareness about and destigmatize endometrial cancer. Festival attendees were encouraged to take freebies, which included a “Spot Her” fanny pack containing informational pamphlets about recognizing the signs of endometrial cancer.
Another popular booth, sponsored by the DC Public Library, promoted access to community resources and encouraged library card acquisition. Books were available for checkout to anyone interested; in addition, the booth displayed a selection of tee shirts and totes in support of the DC Public Library system.
Overall, the festival proved successful, with a significant turnout as residents finally celebrated the event’s return to a fully in-person format. The official lineup for next year’s Adams Morgan Day has not yet been announced, but it is sure to be just as vibrant as this year’s.