Best 2014 Summer Festivals in Washington, D.C.

April 21, 2014 9:00 AM

(credit: Capital Pride/Facebook)

With the winter D.C. had, everyone is looking forward to the summer. The summer means warm weather, but it also means fun summer activities. From water parks and theme parks to road trips and vacations, there is a lot to do in the summer. Here are some great festivals coming to the District this summer. Get out to enjoy each one.

Sweetlife Festival
Merriweather Post Pavilion
10475 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, MD 21044
(410) 715-5550

Date: May 10, 2014

The Sweetlife Festival is one of the most anticipated festivals of the year, especially for D.C. residents. The young festival, founded by the creators of the popular Sweetgreen restaurants, is more than a music festival; it promotes sustainability, buying locally and proceeds go to charity. While you can dance your feet off to acts like Chromeo, Capital Cities and Foster The People, you can also visit the farmers market for local goodies. Columbia might not be the most centrally located place for a festival in D.C., but for many this festival is worth the trip.

Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle
The Ronald Reagan Building
1300 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 488-6990

Date: June 21-22, 2014

Barbecue stalls that span multiple blocks are a dream for some people, and a reality every year for those in D.C. The national barbecue battle pits serious grill masters against each other, while attendees stuff their faces with all of the barbecue they desire; including free food samples. On top of that, there are three stages of music featuring 30 live bands, cooking demonstrations, contests and more. And the battle continues to raise money and donate food for various charities. Go for the barbecue and stay for the entertainment.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival
The National Mall
Washington, DC
(202) 633-1000

Date: June 25-29, 2014 and July 2-4, 2014

There are many traditions around the world that are dying or have died. The Smithsonian Folklife Festival strives to prevent the extinction of these traditions by promoting them; including music, dance, storytelling and more. Over the years, the festival has presented Tibetan traditions, dairy traditions, Hungarian traditions, African immigrant folklore and much more. Every year, residents and tourists discover traditions they never knew existed, learn more about those they did and have fun doing it. This year should be another successful year of cultural exploration.

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Capital Fringe Festival
Various venues
(202) 737-7230

Date: July 10-27, 2014

The Capital Fringe Festival has produced some excellent theater productions that have gone on to have runs on main stages. Theatergoers are exposed to some unique, raw, creative and groundbreaking work. You will laugh, cry, learn and, in some cases, leave scratching your head in confusion. Theater lovers look forward to the Fringe Festival every year in anticipation of what next great theater they may see.

Capital Pride
The U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 719-5304

Date: June 6-8, 2014

Pride is an international celebration of the LGBTQ community. Members of the community, family, friends and supporters gather together to celebrate love. Every year there is a week of events, including community discussions, parties, a parade and the big festival. The festival includes live entertainment, several vendors, food and giveaways. It is a time for the community to have fun, but it is also a time to remember and learn about important issues regarding the D.C. community.

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Folashade Oyegbola is a freelance writer covering all things D.C. Her work can be found on