One thing I have come to love about DC is its never-ending activities. Every weekend, there is almost always something to do or something to see. Although personally I don’t get to go to most of these events, I have attended a few.
In September, I went to the Barack fall festival where I got to see and touch animals like the Llama, a tortoise, and fabric paintings.
The previous month, I had attended the fourth annual World Food Festival at the Freedom Park – a day-long celebration that celebrates the food, drinks, and culture of countries around the world.
In this post, I want to share what I have learnt from attending my first two festivals in the United States [and I think, these lessons are also applicable elsewhere].
Attending the festivals allows you to:
- Be Yourself. It also allows you to let loose, have fun, and hang out with friends.
- Decompress: After a busy week at work, outdoor festivals presents the opportunity not only to gather for entertainment but also to connect with the world we live in. Between the food, the bands, and other activities, one of the best parts of attending a festival is that it allows you to meet new people and disconnect from the harsh realities of day to day life.
- Promote diversity and inclusion: One of the most important lessons I learnt at the festivals is that people really have something similar or in common than they actually care to find out. It could be the same love of music, your love for a particular dance or cuisine, or it could be your love for travelling or literature. You will learn that we are more alike than we are different and that the world really strives on diversity and inclusion.
- Learn something new and value new experience: Before attending the World Food Festival in August, I knew almost nothing about Bolivia. My only knowledge of Bolivia was that the country exists and also seeing them at the Olympics. However, at the festival, I got to know more about their country’s history through the Morenada dance [a Folklorico genre dance which goes back to the times of Spanish Colonialism and the exploitation of Africans in Potosi] performed by Morenada Bolivia-USA. I found myself shaking my head to the music, even though I don’t know the meaning of the song and I was fascinated about how the Morenda was used to tell the story of the country’s struggle in spite of flashing costumes and rhythmic dance steps. Attending a festival allows you to get an authentic and realistic experience of different cultures.
- Appreciate the Outdoors: It’s the fall season now and I think there is less or no outdoor festival now [I am not sure there is one happening with winter coming in]. However, if you find yourself attending one soon or you plan to attend one in the next summer, it’s a good time to appreciate nature and culture. It is also the chance to perk around different stands as different vendors are usually around, promoting one product or the other. The good thing about most events in DC is that they are free. So this allows you to save up to buy whatever you want to buy. However, you need to be smart about it as well. Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy the festival!
Finally, don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes (sneakers preferably) and go with your water bottle because you will be walking around a lot!