10 Things to Do Before Summer’s End

Close out the season with outdoor movies, brass bands, salsa dancing, a book festival, a hip-hop reunion tour and the Arlington County Fair.
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The Arlington County Fair returns to Thomas Jefferson Community Center Aug. 16-20. (Courtesy photo)

Whether you’re sad to say farewell to your flip-flops or excited for sweater weather, the end of summer is approaching. But we’re not there yet! Here are some fun things to do before school starts and D.C.-area traffic resumes its usual gridlock.

Reclining Liberty

“Reclining Liberty” by Zaq Landsberg is now resting on the MoCA Arlington lawn in Virginia Square (Photo by the artist)

“Reclining Liberty” at MoCA Arlington

Lady Liberty is taking a rest on the lawn in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington. The 25-foot statue by sculptor Zaq Landsberg draws inspiration from the giant reclining Buddha statues of Asia, which represent the Buddha in one stage on the path to enlightenment. By merging traditional Buddhist iconography with this quintessential American figurative symbol, “Reclining Liberty” asks the viewer to contemplate the status of the ideals the Statue of Liberty represents. Co-sponsored by MoCA Arlington and Arlington Public Art, the installation will be on display in Maury Park starting Aug. 5. //3550 Wilson Blvd., Arlington

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Cyrano de Bergerac at Synetic Theater (Courtesy photo)

Cyrano de Bergerac

Synetic Theater recently announced that it will be leaving its longtime home in Crystal City in the spring of 2024, which makes this dramatic interpretation of the 1897 play by Edmond Rostand even more of a must-see before the last performance on Aug. 13. Lovelorn poet Cyrano has a big nose and an even bigger heart. Secretly smitten with the beautiful Roxanne, he lives vicariously through the handsome Christian, ghostwriting poetic love letters that Christian passes off as his own. The famous nobleman gets the commedia dell’arte treatment this summer ode to romance and beauty.  // 1800 S. Bell St., Arlington

District Of Columbia National Guard Supports Fourth Of July Mission

The District of Columbia National Guard 257th Army Band (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. G.H. Cureton)

Lubber Run Summer Concert Series

A staple of Arlington culture since the first permanent stage was built in 1969, the Lubber Run Amphitheater is wrapping up its two-month-long summer concert series on Aug. 11 at 8 p.m. with a performance by the 257th Army Band. Known as “The Band of the Nation’s Capital” and the official musical ambassador for the D.C. Army National Guard, the band has roots in the Corcoran Cadets, the D.C. militia that inspired John Philip Sousa to compose “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” // 200 N. Columbus Street, Arlington

Book Festival

The Library of Congress’ National Book Festival returns to D.C. on Aug. 12 (Photo by Elaina Finkelstein)

National Book Festival

The Library of Congress’s annual celebration of all things literary returns to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Aug. 12 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. This year’s theme is “Everyone Has a Story,” and speakers include actor and Pageboy author Elliot Page, NPR journalist Mary Louise Kelly and educator Chasten Buttigieg. Young audiences can enjoy a sneak peek of the upcoming film based on the book White Bird, along with the book’s authors, R.J. Palacio and Erica Pearl. Some presentations will be livestreamed for those who can’t attend in person. The festival is also chockful of family-friendly activities, such as learning about Braille and creating a zine. // 801 Mt. Vernon Place NW, Washington, D.C.

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Spinning up sweetness at the Arlington County Fair (Courtesy photo)

Arlington County Fair 

One of the largest free events on the East Coast, the Arlington County Fair will be held at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center from Aug. 16-20. A nonprofit, volunteer-driven effort since the first fair in 1977, the event promises midway rides, games, live entertainment, exhibitions and food and drink. Expect carnival staples like corn dogs, cotton candy and funnel cake, but also fruit smoothies and gator bites. (Just pace yourself before riding something speedy and spinny.) On Aug. 17 from 5 to 10:30 p.m., check out the Night Market where vendors from the DMV will sell their handmade goods. Got kiddos with sensory issues? Note that on Aug. 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Aug. 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the fair offers sensory-friendly hours. // 3501 Second St., Arlington

Pike Movie Nights

Outdoor movies on the Pike (photo courtesy of the Columbia Pike Partnership)

Columbia Pike Movie Nights

Watch the stars under the stars at free movie nights provided by the Columbia Pike Partnership. Film screenings are Fridays at Arlington Mill Community Center and Saturdays at Penrose Square through the end of August, with upcoming features including Top Gun: Maverick, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Woman King and (major nostalgic throwback) The Goonies. The movies start at sunset (between 8 and 8:30 p.m.) and are shown in English with Spanish subtitles. Moviegoers may bring chairs, blankets and leashed pets, but leave the beer and booze at home, alcohol is not permitted. Looking for additional outdoor flicks in other area locations? Find more outdoor summer movie options in Northern Virginia here.  //Arlington Mill Community Center (909 South Dinwiddie Street) and Penrose Square (2501 Ninth Road S.), Arlington

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The Mosaic Live outdoor concert series in Strawberry Park (Photo courtesy of EDENS)

Mosaic Live Concert Series

Offered in partnership with Fairfax County Parks and Providence District, Mosaic Live is a free, outdoor concert series for all ages. Bring a lawn chair to Strawberry Park – the large turf area in the Mosaic district’s central section – and listen to Tobago Bay Calypso Band on Aug. 12 and Ocho de Basto’s Latin pop on Aug. 19. Both shows start at 6 p.m. (Note that Mosaic also shows free movies in the park at 7 p.m. on Thursdays through Aug. 17. Moana and E.T. are the final two.) // 2910 District Ave., Fairfax

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Hip-hop legend KRS One joins Big Daddy Kane, Doug E. Fresh and other icons of the OG at Wolf Trap on Aug. 17 (Courtesy photo)

Masters of the Mic: Hip-Hop 50 Tour

Hip-hop music was born in a west Bronx house party in August 1973, when DJ Kool Herc used two turntables to invent a “break beat” to keep people dancing. Fifty years later the party is still going: Hip-hop is the world’s most popular music genre and one of the most influential art forms of the 20th century. Luminaries taking the stage for this commemorative performance at Wolf Trap on Aug. 17 at 8 p.m. include Big Daddy Kane, Doug E. Fresh, KRS-One, Rakim and Slick Rick. Roxanne Shante, hip-hop’s first female solo rap artist, and mix-master DJ Spinderella will also join the fray.  // Wolf Trap Filene Center, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna


Billed as the largest transformative bachata, salsa, kizomba and zouk event in the U.S., the 15th annual DCBX is happening Aug. 23 to 28 at the Renaissance Hotel in the District. The five-day gathering includes concerts, contests and workshops where you can learn all the moves. Check out DCBX Fit for workshops on yoga, stretching and wellness and DCBX Remix, where you can train with deejays. // 999 9th Street NW, Washington, D.C.

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The Around the World Cultural Food Festival in Alexandria (Photo by Ethan Yuan Photography)

Around the World Cultural Food Festival

Take a one-day trip around the world with your tastebuds at this third annual festival, offering about 100 traditional food items from 16 countries. Happening Aug. 26 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Oronoco Bay Park in Old Town Alexandria, it’s free to attend, but expect to pay to get a literal taste of places such as Cambodia, Nepal and Turkey. Visitors can also watch folk dances and performances from Brazil and Egypt and shop the works of 110 artisans, crafters and independent consultants from Burkina Faso, Kenya and Mexico, to name a few. About 20,000 people attend each year, and the festival donates a portion of revenue to an organization that supports children’s education. // 100 Madison Street, Alexandria


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Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Things to Do