September 18, 2011, Washington, DC: It’s festival month in Washington, but yesterday’s festival on H St. NE blew the rest of them out of the water. There’s a few reasons why…
-The timing. Yesterday’s festival showcased H St. NE at an optimal time in a dramatic neighborhood transformation. Ten years from now, it’s easy to imagine we’ll see “Before” photos of this street circa 2001, featuring run-down storefronts on down-and-out streets alongside “After” photos of a reinvigorated corridor with a reconstructed DC Streetcar operating on these blocks, circa 2021. The changes will be stark, for better and for worse. Today, however, midstream in that transition, we see H St. NE at its best, due entirely to the mix of people, commerce, music, cuisines and personalities converging here in a way we don’t see right now in any other area of the city.
-The contrast: The intersection of people on H St. this weekend gave way to wonderful contrast. Case in point: Baltimore’s Rock Opera Society focused intently on heavy metal air guitar ten yards down the block from a gospel band reminiscent of New Orleans.
-The originality: This area of the city feels artistic and creative. That originality was on display at this weekend’s festival, with art cars from Gallery O on H, the DC Shorts Film Festival at the historic Atlas Theater, and various performances in front of the Joy of Motion Dance Center and the H St. Playhouse.
-The disproportionate number of redheads. This one I can’t explain, but I know it helped make this festival great.