Most observers agree that D.C. now offers more fun events and exciting activities during the summer than it ever has before. Outdoor movies, live performances and cultural exhibitions will keep your calendar full throughout the season. Below is a sampling of entertainment options at your fingertips in the next few months.
Golden Cinema Film Series
Fridays from June 2 to Aug. 4 beginning at sunset; Farragut Square Park, Connecticut Avenue and K Street NW
Thousands of D.C. residents flock each year to this summer movie series, which boasts a mix of recent releases and older classics every Friday for two months beginning this week with “Hidden Figures,” a 2016 Best Picture Oscar nominee that follows three black female scientists as they navigate the turbulent social politics of 1960s NASA.
The June lineup also includes the winsome romance “(500) Days of Summer,” Disney’s new family musical “Moana,” the uproarious fantasy “The Princess Bride” and the recently remade 1980s favorite “Dirty Dancing.” The July lineup kicks off with two 2016 releases: “Ghostbusters,” an amiable remake of the 1984 comedy, and “Finding Dory,” a heart-tugging sequel to Pixar’s beloved “Finding Nemo.”
The second half of that month will feature hits from a few decades ago: “Big” starring Tom Hanks and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” starring Matthew Broderick. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” a spinoff of the “Harry Potter” series, wraps up this year’s festival on Aug. 4. Rain dates are scheduled for Aug. 11 and 18.
Saturday, June 10, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Fort Reno Park, 40th and Chesapeake streets NW
Joy of Motion Dance Center offers dance lessons at studios in Tenleytown, Friendship Heights and Bethesda. But this summer, it’s taking those dancers outside for the first time with this event. More than 800 young dancers will present 100-plus dance pieces “in a joyous celebration of all they’ve achieved in the studio this year,” according to the event description. Family-friendly activities are scheduled throughout the day.
Concerts in the Parks by the Citizens Association of Georgetown
Sunday, June 18, 5:30 to 7 p.m. (Volta Park, 1555 34th St. NW); and Sunday, July 9, 5:30 to 7 p.m. (Rose Park, 2609 Dumbarton St. NW)
Each summer, the association offers music events perfect for a family evening out. The series began earlier this month with a performance from the neighborhood’s own Rebecca McCabe, backed by Human Country Jukebox. The June event will be a Father’s Day celebration featuring the rock ’n’ roll band The Walkaways and some special treats for the dads in the audience. The series will wrap up the following month with folk from The Market Band.
Each event will boast a food truck from Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Co. and free ice cream from Haagen-Dazs. Picnic baskets are available for $12 to $30 from Via Umbria at viaumbria.com/emporio-baskets.html prior to the event, or on the scene day-of.
Smithsonian Folklife Festival
June 29 to July 4 and July 6 to 9, National Mall
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is celebrating its 50th anniversary in style, with a major exhibition on America’s circus tradition, a program detailing migration over generations and a finale weekend celebration on July 8 and 9 with exhibits and performances for longtime fans of the festival to reminisce about their experiences. A full schedule will be posted at festival.si.edu in early June.
Palisades July 4 Parade
Independence Day, 11 a.m.; starting at Whitehaven Parkway NW near MacArthur Boulevard
The Palisades is a quiet enclave of Ward 3, but it comes bursting to life each year for this community-driven parade, which sets off behind the Lab School at 4759 Reservoir Road NW and culminates in a massive picnic with hot dogs, watermelon, moon bounces and live music at the Palisades Recreation Center, 5200 Sherier Place NW. Keep your eyes peeled for appearances from city officials — including the mayor.
Jane Austen Festival
Wednesdays from July 5 to July 26 beginning at sunset, with gates open at 7 p.m. for members and 7:30 for the public; Dumbarton House, 2715 Q St. NW
There’s nothing to summer without a little romance, and few authors provide it with more convincing gusto than Jane Austen, whose works have endured on the page and on screen for almost two centuries. For the sixth year, Dumbarton will present four screenings of films inspired by Austen’s writing. The opening film in the lineup, writer-director Whit Stillman’s “Love and Friendship” from 2016, is inspired by her epistolary novel “Lady Susan” and the general Austen oeuvre and will be shown July 5. The other three — “Sense and Sensibility” on July 12, “Emma” on July 19 and “Pride & Prejudice” on July 26 — are drawn directly from her works.
Tickets cost $6 per film or $20 for all four and can be purchased at tinyurl.com/AustenFestival. Sales opened Tuesday, and screenings tend to fill up. The event also offers one new twist this year — attendees can pre-order a picnic for $12 to $15 at tinyurl.com/DumbartonPicnic; it will be waiting for them when they arrive on the corresponding Wednesday. Options include an antipasto plate, a cheese plate and miniature French pastries.
Battle of Fort Stevens 153rd Anniversary
Saturday, July 8, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Fort Stevens Park, 13th and Quackenbos streets NW
Each July, Civil War buffs take to the park to recall and raise awareness of the Battle of Fort Stevens — part of the Valley Campaigns of 1864, the only Civil War skirmish that President Abraham Lincoln witnessed in person and the only Civil War battle within D.C.’s borders. Confederate Gen. Jubal Early caused consternation in the Union ranks but retreated after two days thanks to the strong defense at the fort.
This year’s anniversary commemoration, hosted by the Alliance to Preserve the Civil War Defenses of Washington, will begin with an opening program featuring guest speakers, musicians, and military and civilian re-enactors. Meanwhile, interpretive and educational activities at the park and at nearby Battleground National Cemetery, 6625 Georgia Ave. NW, will greet visitors throughout the day.