Every big celebration comes with at least one festival to accompany it. Luckily for us, the DMV has several.Starting on the week of the anniversaries of several Latin American countries, this 55-year-old celebration was not chosen randomly. From September 15th to October 15th, National Hispanic Heritage Month allows us to highlight and embrace Hispanic and Latinx heritage and contributions to the United States’ diverse culture, including art, politics, science and beyond. Making up a large majority of our minority population, it’s important to remember to observe all Hispanic origin, including Afro-Latin Americans. These are the best events in our area that help us celebrate this fabulous heritage and all that comes with it.
Every big celebration comes with at least one festival to accompany it. Luckily for us, the DMV has several.
- Fiesta DC is an annual celebration highlighting the Latino culture throughout the D.C. Metro area. As Latinos become the fastest growing group in D.C., the festival grows with them as a lively and vibrant festival that commemorates the Latinx cultural heritage and embraces the spirit of unity and diversity. Fiesta DC will take place September 23rd and 24th, surrounding the iconic Pennsylvania Avenue. On the 24th, the Parade of the Nations will span from 7th Street to 14th Street!
- Fotos & Recuerdos Festival will be a special treat for families as on Saturday, Sept. 23, the National Portrait Gallery will collaborate with the bilingual children’s book publisher Lil’ Libros on an event is for all ages at the museum’s Kogod Courtyard and surrounding galleries, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Join gallery tours, story times, book signings with Lil’ Libros authors and crafts workshops inspired by the Lil’ Libros book series “The Life of / La vida de,” which features Latinx sitters from the Portrait Gallery’s collection. The Washington Ballet will also present a special performance and workshop inspired by the career of Evelyn Cisneros, the nation’s first prima ballerina of Hispanic heritage.
- Can’t make it to D.C.? The 2023 Manassas Latino Festival highlights the culture, food, music and arts of the Manassas and D.C. Metro area’s Latin American communities just as well. With live music, dance performances, diverse foods and other fun activities for the entire family, you don’t want to miss this on September 30th at the Harris Pavilion.
- Last but certainly not least, La Fiesta Del Barrio sends off HHM with a bang with a cultural block party in Mount Pleasant! Celebrating community through an experience of cultural entertainment, art, food, dance and health activities, they promise you will leave feeling part of a larger, vibrant community. See you on October 14th!
The world of performing arts spans well beyond your mainstream Broadway shows.
- The GALA Hispanic Theatre is putting on multiple shows of “Baño de luna” (Bathing in Moonlight) on Thursdays through Sundays, from September 7th to October 1st. Enter a world where love’s forbidden allure leads to a relationship between Father Monroe, a devout Catholic priest and a beguiling Havana pianist from his parish. This spellbinding drama explores the depths of passion, moral conflict and sacrifice. Will they choose faith or surrender to the irresistible pull of their heartstrings? Performed in Spanish (with English subtitles), step over the borders of language and immerse yourself in this wondrous performance.
- The West End Neighborhood Library kicks off HHM featuring Mr. Lilo and his guitarra with a fiesta of singing, dancing and merriment. If your children ages 0 to 5 have never been introduced to bilingual music performance, now is your chance!
- The Saturday Morning Children Series of Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center at Montgomery College on October 14, 2023, 11 a.m., will present the Pushcart Players Production of Cuentos del Árbol, a delightful bilingual musical drawn from Spanish and Latin America folklore. Recommended for ages 4-9, “Cuentos del Árbol” is designed to bring Spanish to life and make theater accessible to students, parents and grandparents for whom English is a second language. The centerpiece of all the “tales” is a tree (Un Árbol) that has sheltered, shielded and nurtured countless characters who have passed her way over the years. The tree’s caretaker, Arbolita, shares four of these stories with Tomas, a storyteller, who is looking for tales for his collection. A spirited finale is designed to send audiences home with “dancing feet, clapping hands and happy hearts.””
- Casey’s Princess Party (Encanto) lets you meet the youngest daughter of the Madrigal family who was the last to receive her magical gift on September 23rd at Casey Community Center in Gaithersburg. Hear about how she creates her own magic and shows that she is just as special as anyone else in the family. Dress in the bright colors of Colombia for this magical event that includes themed crafts, light refreshments, games, photo opportunities, and a dazzling performance from the down-to-earth girl who saves her family and their magical home. But whatever you do … don’t talk about Bruno!
- Couldn’t get enough of Mr. Lilo and the wonders of a bilingual experience? Wheaton Library & Chevy Chase Library in MoCo are hosting both outdoor and indoor bilingual story times on September 28th & October 2nd, respectively. This is a perfect sit-down moment for your little ones with no registration required.
- DC Art All Night is back for all the older kids who are allowed to stay up. On September 29th and 30th, the festival will take place in all 8 wards with different activations on each night, bringing an immense variety of visual and performing arts to indoor and outdoor public and private spaces, including local businesses and restaurants. This is a chance to find your local Hispanic and Latino community’s artistic contributions to our history and culture!
PARENTS, PASS THIS ON TO THE KIDS
Although we love our kids, a parent’s night out is always good! But that doesn’t mean anything you learn from these events can’t be useful to the little ones.
- Grab your go-to dance partner and join this Cuban Salsa Dance Class & Social Dancing session for all levels! September 16th @ Chevy Chase Baptist Church. (Teach some moves to your kid for the next parent-child school dance!)
- Learn about the Navy’s first and youngest Bandmasters of Hispanic descent in this “Talk: Jose Contreras, Bandmaster Extraordinaire.” October 14th @ the National Museum of the U.S. Navy. (Teach your kids the importance of diversity in the military.)
- Experience an unforgettable night of Latin American cooking with an Empanada Cooking Class. September 21st & 28th @ La Cosecha. (Remake this special dish and share it with friends and family back home!)
The possibilities are endless: find your next go-to Latino-owned restaurant, keep checking the Washington Parent calendar for more events during Hispanic Heritage Month and most importantly, keep learning and celebrating Hispanic and Latino heritage even after the month ends!