Staff Editorial: Free fall festivities foster a sense of community

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The Celebrate Petworth event took place Sept. 9 on Upshur Street NW. (Brian Kapur/The Current/September 2017)
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Among the many perks to living in Northwest D.C. is this area’s access to a host of lively community activities.

Like thousands of other area residents, we attended the 39th annual Adams Morgan Day celebration on the afternoon of Sept. 10, where lively and diverse crowds flooded the neighborhood’s storied 18th Street NW strip. Organizers once again pulled off an outstanding program, and even raised the funds necessary to shut down a stretch of roadway — a laudable effort that added further life to the party.

Adams Morgan Day is just one of many community festivals that take place across Northwest. On the same weekend as Adams Morgan Day, Ward 4 residents filled Upshur Street NW for the Celebrate Petworth festival. Meanwhile, this past Saturday, neighbors enjoyed Chevy Chase DC Day in the Connecticut Avenue corridor, featuring a host of family-friendly and community-building activities. And Art All Night is coming up this Saturday, with a host of events in six locations that include Dupont Circle and Tenleytown. The Taste of Georgetown festival along the waterfront is planned for Sunday, as is a celebration of McLean Gardens’ 75th anniversary.

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These events and others represent the diversity of free activities, in many cases organized mainly by volunteers and funded heavily with donations, that Northwest residents can enjoy — both in the center of town and in more outlying neighborhoods. We applaud the organizers for their efforts, and the attendees for the energy they bring to the table. Such events can define the character of a neighborhood, increasing its desirability. Adams Morgan is more than its collection of nightclubs, and Chevy Chase is more than its quiet streets of pleasant homes.

We would like to see the District government do more to foster, rather than stifle this type of event. Adams Morgan Day is the leading example. For two years, organizers were unable to raise the estimated $16,000 in city fees associated with closing 18th Street. This year they pulled it off, but we’d rather have seen that money go toward the event’s activities. While we wouldn’t want the District to provide free road closures willy-nilly, we hope officials can find a way to relax fees for popular longtime events such as Adams Morgan Day.