Hill Rag

February 2012

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February 1, 2012

By Sharon Bosworth

I Heart Barracks Row

If February 2012 finds you in love and living anywhere near Barracks Row you are in luck. There is no better place to be if you want the perfect Valentine’s Day experience for you and your sweetie.

Let’s start with a Valentine’s Day surprise that will be cooked up by students from our first ever Culinary Education Crawl which was held on Sunday, January 29.  The event was based on the premise that the fastest way to the heart is through the stomach.  Ten Barracks Row Restaurants devised a one day cooking school curriculum. The chefs taught students how to make favorite dishes right off their menus and, with two weeks to V- Day, there was still time to go home and practice.  We think their Valentines will be very impressed with dinner at home this year. But, don’t worry if you couldn’t attend, we are planning more learn-to-cook events like this one in the coming year. This year those who did come to class are home with their Valentines showing off their skills. Next year, it could be you!

The Culinary Education Crawl was created by Penny Karas, owner of Hello Cupcake, 705 8th Street, SE and hosted by Barracks Row Main Street.  Hello Cupcake is a can’t-miss stop on Barracks Row when making up your Valentine’s Day itinerary. You’ll find classic Valentine cupcakes to take home in sweet packages that hold from one to one dozen of Hello Cupcake’s adorable creations.  Or drop by with your Valentine on February 14th after dinner for coffee and freshly baked cupcakes for dessert.  As usual, the big question for Valentine’s Day is whether to celebrate at home or with a night out on-the-town. Like Hello Cupcake our entire five block corridor can provide the smartest solution either way you go.

For a Fully Orchestrated Stay-At-Home Valentine’s Celebration

If you are looking forward to a fully orchestrated stay-at-home evening complete with champagne, then you must stop at Chat’s Liquors, 503 8th Street, SE, and have owner Bernie Williams introduce you to grower champagnes.  Brand name champagnes blend grapes from many vineyards together to develop a uniform taste bottle after bottle. But small vineyards, or growers, many hundreds of years old,  produce distinctive champagne adventures all at the same price as the big brands.  You’ll taste the difference right away.

With new discoveries in champagne bubbling up, Valentine’s Day may be the perfect time to add to your collection of champagne flutes at Homebody, 715 8th Street, SE.  A refined plastic-like substance cast in familiar barware shapes is making a debut at Homebody.  These lovely, gleaming flutes are stem-less and non breakable making a stay-at-home Valentine’s romp through the house a much safer adventure. And, what is Valentine’s Day without risqué cards? Homebody has a full collection of these gems for co-workers, friends and loved ones. For the traditionalists, Homebody also features a full display case of locally made jewelry.  For even more cards and gift options shop Groovy DC, which relocated last year to 323 7th Street, SE, right across Pennsylvania Avenue from Barracks Row.

When planning ahead for a Stay-At-Home Valentine’s Day, don’t miss the Preview Samples of heart shaped macarons at Sweet Lobby, 404 8th Street, SE.  Drop by in the weeks before Valentine’s Day to taste the exquisite flavors available. Then order a special box of these decadent French inventions for your Valentine, all pre-tested by you.  Gift boxes start at $9.20.

And, here’s another idea from the French who do know a thing or two about amour: perhaps a bit of role play is in order? Consider a French Country Maid outfit from Backstage Costumes, 545 8th Street, SE.  However, if appropriate accessories are all that’s needed there are also red fish-net tights, saucy mini hats with pretty veil netting and lots of interesting garters.  Then there are wear-with-anything-or-nothing-at-all head bands for $2.95: sparkling, antennae-like hearts will bob above your head as you greet your Valentine at the door.  For an even more dramatic greeting add the almost-full-size, bright red Cupid ’s bow and arrow to your outfit.

 

Red Velvet Whoopie Pie for Your Valentine

To include the kids in Valentine’s Day, drop by the Playseum, 545 8th Street, SE.  Plans are in place to run children’s baking events all day long in the Playseum’s kitchen.  Special art projects will be available for kids the week before to guarantee everyone in the family is remembered with homemade Valentines.

If you are reading this, then it’s already February- still time to make big plans for a night out but don’t wait much longer.  Many Barracks Row Restaurants will serve special fixed price menus for the evening but seating is limited. Chef Bart Vandaele of Belga Cafe, 514 8th Street, SE, is creating a signature five course European feast.  Add in the wine pairing option for an elegant, $120 before-tip splurge per- person.  For reservations at Belga Café call 202-544-0199. At Zest Bistro, 735 8th Street, SE, the $39.00 per person fixed price menu includes Oysters Migonette, Filet Mignon and, for dessert, Red Velvet Whoopie Pies.  For reservations at Zest Bistro call 544-7171. Create-your-own fixed price dinner experience at Lavagna Ristorante Italiano, 539 8th Street, S.E.  Select a three-course meal from their extensive menu of fresh appetizers, main dishes including homemade pastas and delectable desserts - all for $35.00 per person.  Accompany with half price wines all by the glass for a memorable yet affordable celebration. For reservations at Lavagna call 202-546-5006.

Barracks Row For Valentine’s Day - Without Reservation

But what if today is February 14th, Valentine’s Day, and you have nothing for your Valentine- not even a card? There are still wonderful choices on Barracks Row. Make a run to Spring Mill Bakery, 701 8th Street, SE.  You’ll find big heart shaped cookies with fun Valentine’s Day greetings: “Tweet Me” or “Yes” or “Send Me an E-mail” as well as small, heart- shaped Ganache Cakes and organic Cherry Chocolate

Bread. Or go for a gift certificate at Skin Beauty Lounge, 404 ½ 8th Street, SE. The special this month is a facial plus massage for $100, an experience to put a big smile on your Valentine.

If you are really a procrastinator and you are heading out the door to pick up your Valentine as you read this, make Barracks Row your destination- even without reservations a great dining experience is here for you to discover. There are over thirty fine dining restaurants to choose from - and one very unusual after dinner show.  On February 14th at 8:00 p.m. The Ugly Mug, 723 8th Street, SE, is holding their Annual Meet a Marine Valentine’s Day Party.  Ladies pay $1.00 to bid on a Marine and $10.00 (minimum) to buy a Marine of their choice for the evening. Come by and watch the fun. Who knows – maybe there’s a long term relationship in there somewhere! All proceeds from the Meet a Marine event go to Habitat for Humanity.

 

There is parking in the City Lot under the freeway for seventy five cents per hour, the lowest price in DC, with 3 hour limit after 6:30 p.m.

January 2012

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January 1, 2012

By Sharon Bosworth

8th Street, SE, 2012: DC’s Original Commercial Corridor Echoes Founders’ Visions

Thomas Jefferson had it right, of course: in 1801 he personally selected the site where the future Home of the Commandants of the Marine Corps would be built, 801 G Street, SE, just off of 8th Street, SE. Over the years that corner lived up to Jefferson’s vision and has become the indisputable heart of Barracks Row.  As 2012 begins we review the up-coming changes planned for our historic corridor with homage not only to Jefferson but also to John Adams who sited the US Navy Yard at 8th and M Streets, SE, in 1798. Both Jefferson and Adams used the city map devised by George Washington and his urban planner, Pierre L’Enfant.  Washington and L’Enfant created 8th Street, SE, in 1791, the primary commercial corridor and gateway-by-sea into the Federal City.  Two hundred twenty one years later, their planned commercial corridor has become a phenomenal success.

We begin our 2012 overview of new projects about 100 paces west of the historic Home of the Commandants, at the 8th and G Street, SE, intersection. The most recent arrival on 8th Street, SE, is Spring Mill Bread at 701 8th Street, SE, whose Grand Opening occurred in December 2011. After being open just three weeks, owner Katherine Rhurka states matter-of-fact-ly, “We’ve been slammed.”  As down-the-block neighbors, the Barracks Row Main Street office staff is eyewitness to this happy upheaval.  Word is out. These folks definitely know how to bake bread. Because of the tsunami of business, with deep queue’s forming during breakfast and lunch hours, we predict that something is going to have to happen in 2012 to accommodate Spring Mill Bakery’s overnight success.

It May Be Organic But It’s Very Good, Too

All Spring Mill Bread products are made from organic flour which they grind themselves every day.  But really, it’s the taste not the health benefits that brings crowds back again and again.  The most obvious solution to today’s overwhelming business levels is the arrival of the first balmy day in spring.  By then, with outdoor tables added, the shop could accommodate two cashier lines. But if crowding continues after that, we know of some spots along 8th Street where a second, satellite Spring Mill Bread location could be located!

Opening a second store nearby is not such a far stretch either.  Another newcomer to 8th Street, SE, Yes! Organic Market, now under construction at 410 8th Street, SE, seems to be poised to do just that. With several years left on their lease at 658 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, they are also opening one block away on Barracks Row. Yes! Organic Market will have two locations servicing the Eastern Market Metro Plaza from mid 2012 through 2013. Conversations with neighbors about what we need most on Barracks Row always seem to begin with groceries.  Soon, with two Yes! Organic Markets, we will discover if organic groceries will satisfy the demand for a grocery store the way organic breads and pastries have satisfied the demand for a bakery accomplished so masterfully by Spring Mill Bread.

One of the most watched openings planned in 2012 will be right across the street from the new Yes! Organic Market location.  Streetsense, owner of the buildings at 413-415 8th Street, SE, has plans to lease the 413 side to Chipotle Mexican Grill.  The potential Chipotle Mexican Grill opening has a tumultuous background; months of passionate neighborhood participation at ANC meetings addressed the question of whether Chipotle Mexican Grill is indeed a fast food restaurant like McDonalds, or a new breed, a hybrid, “fast casual.” The debate was settled with the recognition that evolutionary change had occurred on our fast food planet, and “fast casual” was more acceptable in our historic overlay area on a case-by-case basis than true “fast food” venues which are not allowed. Chipotle opens in 2012.

Should A Man Wear the Coat That Fitted Him As A Boy?

Thomas Jefferson would have been proud of this neighborhood which he helped shape for the fervent discussions and long meetings we held to decide this point.  Jefferson had a firm opinion on recognizing and accepting change.  He penned these words in a letter in 1816 that apply well to the fast casual vs. fast food situation:  “As… new truths (are) discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy…”

Chipotle Mexican Grill will open only after renovations are completed by Streetsense bringing the circa 1850 building into ADA compliance.  Another start-up fast-casual venue may be opening in 2012 in the 415 8th Street SE side of the building, too.  Steve Salis, an entrepreneur with a concept for customizable, healthy, gourmet pizza (with gluten free choices) plans to take the 415 side and appears to be making progress compromising, adapting his business profile with spirited input from neighbors and the ANC.

Also in 2012 Pacifico, a tapas restaurant is being installed at 514 8th Street, SE, next door to Belga Café of the same address. The Pacifico build-out has been under way for six months.  When complete, it will be joined on the east side of the block by two new restaurants at 524 8th Street, SE, Tash, downstairs which will feature kebabs and Nooshi Sushi, upstairs.  With the opening of these three restaurants the east side of the 500 block will join the west side of the 500 block, home to Lavagna, 539 8th Street, SE; Cava, 527 8th Street, SE; Matchbox, 521 8th Street, SE; Las Placitas, 517 8th Street, SE , Fusion Grille, 515 Eth Street, SE; Teds Bulletin, 505 8th Street, SE;  and The Chesapeake Room , 501 8th Street, SE, to become the true epicenter of Capitol Hill’s restaurant row with fourteen eateries on one block.

Barracks Row Main Street Façade Program At Work

Meanwhile, in the 700 block of 8th Street, SE, just south of the Home of the Commandants,  three new Barracks Row Main Street façade projects are about to begin which will transform the lower end of that block. “Drawings are done; we expect to have the work completed in 2012,” explained Tom Litke, manager of façade improvements for Barracks Row Main Street.  Three buildings on that block will be involved: 725 8th Street, SE, now home to Jackson Hewlitt Tax Service and Chesapeake Bay Foundation;  737 8th Street, SE, Valerie’s Animal Den; and 739 8th Street, SE, where offices of Ex Nihilo, International Center and A-List Nails are located.

In 2012 Barracks Row Main Street celebrates twelve full years of historic preservation and economic revitalization efforts. We are honored to take park in this amazing revival. This year we plan to lead the corridor in joining the city-wide Cherry Blossom Festival, the 100th Anniversary of the gift of Washington DC’s cherry trees from Japan as well as the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War and the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812. Keep up with events and ceremonies on Barracks Row in 2012 by referring to this article in the Hill Rag every month, by receiving our newsletter and by consulting our website www.barracksrow.org or call us at 202-544-3188.

December 2011

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December 1, 2011

By Sharon Bosworth

Try Barracks Row Before You Drive

For some of us the holiday season is a time to unplug from career demands and spend time with friends and family. But for Barracks Row business owners December is the month that can make or break the year. During winter our restaurants typically lose one third of their seats when cold weather forces owners to abandon their distinctive sidewalk cafés. And our retailers miss the foot traffic generated by those patios. But Barracks Row retailers and restaurants, old and new alike, are adapting to the challenges of winter by moving the action inside with spectacular seasonal surprises.

Hats and Scarves and Sprinkles Galore

Erin Mara, one of the owners of Homebody, 715 8th Street, SE, known for contemporary furniture and house wares just announced the arrival of a collection of outerwear accessories for men and women:     “We sell fashion T shirts in the summer, so we decided to sell scarves, hats and gloves this winter for everyone in the family- including our line of Momma’s Hats.” Turns out Mara’s business partner, Henriette Fourcade has a mother who loves to knit and has produced a line of adorable crochet winter hats for the store.  Just for men there is also the best selling Samurai umbrella, styled from a Samurai sword to conquer winter gales. Wake up family members on bitter mornings with a cup of their favorite brew produced by ultra-fast electronic tea kettles for hot chocolate, teas and smart coffee presses – all found in Homebody’s new, museum-like Bodum Shop-Within- a- Shop.

At Hill’s Kitchen, 713 D Street, SE, owner Leah Daniels has a store full of must-haves for easy, at-home entertaining this winter. Shelves are full of holiday paper napkins and decorative paper towels to add festive sparkle to your get- togethers either at home or office. There’s even a line of chocolate Advent calendars and chocolate Gelt .  If cookie making is one of your family traditions Daniels store is brimming with handsome mixing bowls, cookie cutters and sprinkles galore.

Barracks Row Restaurants Become Holiday Dining Rooms

In turn-of-the-century Capitol Hill homes finding space for celebrating with visiting generations can be a challenge but Barracks Row restaurants are here to serve as magical dining room extenders.  For the largest families there are accommodating second floor spaces at Lavagna Ristorante Italiano, 539 8th Street, SE; Match Box, 521 8th Street, SE; Cava Mezze, 527 8th Street, SE; Molly Malone’s, 713 8th Street, SE; Lola’s,  711 8th Street, SE; Trattoria Alberto, 506 8th Street, SE and Banana Café, 500 8th Street, SE. George Aggelis, one of the owners of Cava Mezze suggests early evening dining is best for big family or office groups; calling in advance with a heads up for his staff is really helpful, too. Cava’s charming upstairs gallery is already reserved for some December weekends so call George soon (202-543-9090) if feasting Greek- style with your clan is on your holiday wish list.

For moderate size groups our restaurants can adapt at a moment’s notice linking up tables so everyone in the party can see each other and hear the toasts.  At Lavagna Ristorante Italiano, the second floor can seat over 40 diners for a private party or several large family groups on the same evening in a semi private atmosphere. There’s even another space at Lavagna to consider: the intriguing, twelve-seat, back area on the first floor divided from the main restaurant with beguiling velvet drapery. Lavagna’s owner Stephen Cheung noted his team’s winning approach: “Our staff has created affordable private dining packages with special menus and no room fees. We’re booking up fast.”

 

Relax, Shop Local - Buy Local

If you find the rounds of holiday parties and family gatherings stressful, we have a cure for you on Barracks Row. A number of 8th Street enterprises are focused on delivering short term relaxation, offering well known stress busters and luxurious personal maintenance regimens during the whirl of the holidays.  At Skin Beauty Lounge, 404 8th Street, SE, owner Meka Mathis is ready with facials and Swedish massage at very special prices for Hill Rag readers.  Don’t forget, the password to get big savings on these personal treats at Skin Beauty Lounge is to tell Meka you read it in the Hill Rag. Then, three blocks to the south, at Barracks Row’s newest business, A List Nails, 739 8th Street, SE, owner IveeTrac is offering Grand Opening specials this December on manicure, pedicure, waxing, eyelash extensions and reflexology massage. Go to www.a-listnail spa.com for details on these amazing deals. And, share the bliss with a friend: both Skin Beauty Lounge and A List Nails also offer gift certificates.

Last week, our Barracks Row businesses kicked off the 2011 Christmas shopping season with “Small Business Saturday” on November 26, the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  “Small Business Saturday,”  the small business response to Chain Store’s “Black Friday,” was endorsed by none other than credit card giant American Express, which again this year , came forward to support small, local businesses nationwide with a $25 gift certificate for everyone using their American Express Cards at small businesses that day.

At Barracks Row Main Street we agree with American Express; we believe Shop Local is an idea whose time has come. Our 8th Street businesses are determined to build on the national momentum to Shop Local by making sure you have exactly what you’re shopping for this December right here, minutes from your front door. Like all small businesses everywhere in the country, the businesses on our corridor ask only that before spending hours in traffic driving to suburban malls, shop here first. Our dedicated business owners, most of whom live right in our community, have spent months making plans to meet your expectations, to keep you on the corridor all holiday season and beyond.  It’s been years in the making but here in the shadow of the Capitol dome there is very smart pricing and a rich selection goods and services perfect for our urban life style. This year, shop local; try Barracks Row before you drive!

November 2012

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November 1, 2011

By Sharon Bosworth

Second Floor Super Stars

On Barracks Row our flourishing first floor businesses get the lion's share of attention. Neighbors from miles around are fascinated by the ten-year metamorphosis of 8th Street, SE, lead by Barracks Row Main Street. Where once the street was empty at 8 p.m., today our sidewalks are full each evening as families and couples stroll along under our elm canopy, shopping, people-watching, listening to band music drifting from Marine Barracks Washington either before or after enjoying dinner or dessert. Our corridor has quietly emerged as Capitol Hill’s premiere “restaurant row.” It’s only here, where without reservations, you can be assured that even on the busiest nights, one of our excellent eateries will have a table for you.

But only 12 feet up, above the first floor fray, another world exists. Often the unifying principle driving these second floor operations may be a non-profit cause. Surprisingly, peace, love and serenity are also part of many of their fundamental business models.

Granted, the thought of spirituality on Barracks Row may seem a little unlikely. Other than the old Meader Theater building, 535 8th Street, SE, which became a church years ago and is now about to become a “theater- church” thanks to new owners, National Community Church, our corridor is known for commerce. True, the Cava Mezze T shirts say, "The crazy feta made me do it," but other than drifting blissfully through an afternoon of bottomless mimosas now and then, most visitors to the row are all about the here and now, except for a group of 2nd floor business owners like Sifu Larry Hawkins and his followers.

Yin and Yang Above 8th St. SE

Sifu Hawkins discovered the yin and yang of existence back in the mid 1970's and he brings his school of inner peace, Wu Style Tai Chi Chunan Academy, to us in a second floor suite at 534 8th Street, SE.  His path is not meditative, but rather a way of life based on Tai Chi, the mind-body connection. Generations of Chinese have dedicated themselves to developing these practices which lead to being centered, joyful and naturally relaxed.

According to Sifu Hawkins it takes about six months to learn the basics and another six months to smooth out your style. The development of schools like this one goes back over 500 years and all originated in China. Yet, when Hawkins came upon Tai Chi he was living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, working for the local power company and looking for a deeper meaning to life. After years of dedication to these principles plus study under two masters in the United States and Canada, he is now an advanced instructor himself, converting negative energy into positive force. “The more tension you lose the more calmness you gain,” observed the Sifu.

I watched as he took six adults through the Thursday beginners-intermediate class that starts at 6:30 p.m. I felt calmed just observing pairs practicing their moves. There was mix of age, sex, race and level of accomplishment in the class. With soft, tonal Asian music in the background, it seemed downright otherworldly with a dash of adventure when big wooden swords were added to the exercises. Tai Chi has a reputation of being anchored in self-defense, but in this class only the wooden swords suggested the martial arts. There was a clear spirit of acceptance. Nobody was trying to beat the other guy--it was all about personal centering and perfecting the exercises.

Promotions for Peace and Wellness

Sifu Hawkins likes to keeps things serene and pure but some of his students think he should overcome his mellowness and let the world in on his secret to inner peace. After seven years on the row, he is following their advice and running a special. If you mention this article and sign up for the basic, six month beginner’s package, you will get a substantial discount on his classes. Call 202-546-0665 to learn more.

Unike Sifu Hawkins who is new to promotions, Meka Mathis, owner of Skin Beauty Lounge at 404 ½ 8th Street, SE, Suite 200, has been offering monthly promotions on her signature Swedish massage since the business began in 2004. Mathis’ products, both facials and massage, are all about soothing relaxation, but with her high-energy flair none other than In Style magazine has discovered her.

In October 2011, Skin Beauty was listed in the coveted In Style Black Book, meaning her operation is one of the best spas in the country. Here’s how Meka sums it up: “I am so excited to be on Barracks Row, especially in the first block at the Metro Plaza; business is booming!” When we spoke in October during the mad rush of business brought on by the In Style listing, Meka’s plans on November promotions were not yet final. But, not missing a beat, she immediately offered all Hill Rag readers 25% off any full price service in November!

Volunteer With Your Dog

In the land where water bowls for dogs at the front door are standard for a successful restaurant, it should come as no surprise that another second floor super star operation just-moved to the row is People Animals Love or PAL, located at 731 8th Street, SE, Suite 301.  A local non-profit that recruits and certifies friendly dogs and their owners to visit mentally and physically sick patients, PAL is dedicated to the proposition that as much as animals need people, people need animals.

PAL's posters on 8th Street say it all "You Know Your Dog Rocks, Now You Can Prove it! Volunteer With Your Dog.”  But, as charming as our area is, why locate this non-profit here? Program and Communications Officer, Laurel Edwards, explains: "Barracks Row is a high traffic area, with many dogs that would be perfect for our pet visit program. Having PAL headquarters here is really going to help us visit a greater number of people and involve more dogs"

To volunteer for one of the many opportunities to visit either adults or kids at area hospitals or nursing homes contact Edwards at 202-966 2171. Volunteers and their dogs are always needed to provide that inter species bond, one of the magical connections that make all of us happier human beings.

We find on our second floors architects, designers of both websites and kitchens, a psychic and an artistic tattoo parlor. With a growing number of residential tenants, a quieter, more contemplative side of life is emerging. Next time you’re on Barracks Row, relax, breathe deeply, look up and discover the treasures hidden above you.

October 2011

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Barracks Row Fall Festival Recap

Festivals and fairs crowd the metro area calendar as summer fades into fall. Every neighborhood loves to celebrate this time of year in that delicious four-week moment between the extremes of heat and cold. But, among all the area attractions Barracks Row Fall Festival on Capitol Hill remains a stand out among worthy competitors, a completely authentic snapshot of an historic neighborhood brought back from the brink.

Our Fall Festival is a unique present-tense, 2 block long happening –a sample of the personality and physical reality of our home town commercial hub.  Every day both residents and employees living or working nearby meet, shop, run errands, celebrate a birthday and grab lunch, exactly as DC’s original urban planner, Pierre L’Enfant, intended us to.

Focus on the larger six block long corridor, now known as Barracks Row, and you’ll discover a multicultural group of entrepreneurs and their staffs s traveling to 8th Street, SE every day for jobs as architects, consultants, realtors, insurance agents, dentists and chefs.  We are home to not one but two active military barracks. Beginning in 1798 America’s founding fathers sited facilities for both the United States Marine Corps and the United States Navy on 8th Street, SE. To this day men and women of the military, some dressed in fabulous medaled uniforms, some in everyday camouflage, mix and mingle with all the rest of us as we make our way up and down 8th Street conducting the business of life.

Barracks Row Fall Festival reflects this diversity. It’s the one day in the year we come together, hold up a mirror to ourselves and enjoy and marvel at the reflection. Whether it’s the Home of the Commandant’s, open for tours during the festival or our 8th Street psychic, ready to reveal your future, we have something for everyone at the festival. Here’s a photographic rundown of the cast of characters found along the midway on Saturday, September 24, 2011, starting with Chesty the Marine Corps bull dog mascot who found the heat a bit much and had to lie down for a while.

Hard not to notice the aerialists wrapped in yards of “Silks” as they hold poses twenty feet above the asphalt, silhouetted against the elm trees. They train at Trapeze School New York, located right off of 4th and M Street, SE and walk over to 8th Street every day for lunch.
The Model T Ford and antique truck (where you could have your picture taken) are owned by Capitol Hill Village, the local nonprofit committed to aging in place. Their headquarters is on 7th near E Street, right around the corner from Barracks Row.

How about that giant papier-mache head? The mask and man-behind- the-mask, who greeted fair-goers represent the artists at The Fridge, a gallery and performance space located in the alley right behind Shakespeare Theatre Administration, 516 8th Street, SE.  This classic Second Empire building forms the centerpiece of 8th Street architecture.  At the festival sword fights were performed by Shakespeare Theatre’s actors right in front of the stage- hopefully not causing any long term distress to the under 5 year old set who seemed to think it was very much for real.
We have to admit the petting zoo is not local, but the crowd of children and parents enjoying the zoo live right around us. The zoo is a yearly ritual, an integral part of every single Fall Festival from the very beginning in 2003. Here we see a baby boy learning the word “pig.”
We had a new attraction this year, United Social Sports, a nonprofit organization which runs local bocce, shuffleboard, corn hole, and ladder golf leagues. They set up their games opposite The Ugly Mug and Molly Malone’s and they were busy all day long.  Want to join up? This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Not only does the United States Marine Corps help support our festival by sending Marines volunteers to help us to set up and break down the fair, but Marine Barracks Washington also plays host to the Military Chef’s Cook Off.  Each year, in cook tents pitched on 8th Street, teams of chefs compete in a black box competition as crowds watch the action. After the lightening round a winner is declared, Top Chef in the US Military. This year’s trophy went to a last minute throw together joint services team of Three Gunnies and a Specialist from the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps. The main entrée of their spectacular menu was Pear Glazed Duck Roulande served with Pistachio and Rosemary Crusted Lamb.

The stage at the corner of 8th and G Street was center of action. We began with rock band The West End then, after opening ceremonies including patriotic tunes by the Marine Corps Brass Quintet, we showcased singers from Saint Marks Players, witnessed a rousing Zumba performance,  met the DC Roller Girls,  and by early afternoon, we enjoyed the smooth Big Band sound of the Blue Sky 5.  Staying in that mid- century moment we then had a visit by the Georgetown Chimes, an all male a capella group who sang old favorites from the 50’s and 60’s. A special new treat: the Georgetown Chimes then left the stage and serenaded the crowds at our many sidewalk cafes.
Other good ideas from Festival also continue on- Signature Sponsor CSX was planting daffodil bulbs in cups all day long at their tent.  We will need volunteers to help plant these in the ground in late October! Watch www.barracksrow.org for more information.

For a complete scrapbook of images of this year’s Fall Festival on Capitol Hill see www.barracksrow.org.
District of Columbia Main Streets DC Department of Small and Local Business Development

Barracks Row Main Street is a designated DC Main Streets commercial district.  Barracks Row Main Street is funded in part by the Department of Small and Local Business Development.