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Rachel Cooper

Rachel's Washington, DC Blog

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A Capitol Fourth 2014

Sunday June 1, 2014
Independence Day is just a month away! Mark your calendar for A CAPITOL FOURTH, the nation's premier Independence Day holiday concert, performed live from Washington, DC and the U.S. Capitol. The 2014 concert features a variety of celebrity performances and the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Jack Everly. Many of this year's performers have been announced, yet of course there are a few surprises yet to come. See photos of A Capitol Fourth and the lineup of performers for the 2014 concert.

Photo © Capitol Concerts

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  • When Will the Metro Silver Line Open?

    Saturday May 31, 2014
    The Metro Silver Line has had several construction delays, but the first phase is now expected to open sometime this summer (2014). Metro took control of the first phase of the Silver Line on May 27, 2014. The milestone, known as the "Operational Readiness Date" (ORD), marked the point where care and control of the line was formally transferred from the Airports Authority to Metro. An exact opening date will be announced at a later date. The Silver Line (also known as the Dulles Metrorail) is a 23-mile extension of the existing Washington Metrorail system in Northern Virginia, which will stretch from East Falls Church to Dulles International Airport, continuing west to Ashburn. The second phase is expected to be completed in 2018. The opening of this Metrorail line is greatly anticipated with the hope that it will vastly improve the congested traffic in this busy area. See a map and read more about the Metro Silver Line.



    Phase one of the construction of the Silver Line adds four Metro stations in Tysons, Virginia. This expanded transportation is a part of a comprehensive 40-year development plan to transform the Northern Virginia community into a walkable, sustainable, downtown area. The area will see dramatic changes in the coming years. To learn more, see Tysons, Virginia Development - An Overview of Future Plans.

    Photo © WMATA

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  • Washington DC Events - Top Things to Do this Weekend (May 30-June 1)

    Thursday May 29, 2014
    See a guide to the top events going on this weekend in the Washington, DC area, including Maryland and Northern Virginia.

    • Showtime at the St. Elizabeth's Gateway - May 30, 2014, 6-8 p.m. 2700 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE. Washington DC. SynchroniCity and Black Alley Band blends classical string instrumentation "in sync" with melodious sounds of the flute along with African-based funky percussion.

    • Herndon Festival - May 29-June 1, 2014. Downtown Herndon, VA. The free summer festival features live entertainment, international foods, carnival rides and games, children's entertainment, a business exposition, 10k & 5k races, a Fitness expo, fireworks and more.

    • Green Festival - May 31-June 1, 2014. Washington Convention Center. Washington DC. The event focuses on sustainability education and green products and services including authors, leaders and educators, hands-on DIY workshops, green films, kids’ activities, live music and more.

    • Vintage Virginia Wine Festival - May 31-June 1, 2014. Bull Run Park, Centreville, VA. Enjoy samples by more than 50 wineries, educational seminars on food pairing, fine art exhibits, childrens activities, food and live entertainment.

    • Maryland Craft Beer Festival - May 31, 2014. Carroll Creek Park, Frederick, MD. More than 25 breweries present over 175 different brews in a family-friendly festival featuring live music, kids activities, exhibitors and a variety of food.

    • Washington Folk Festival - May 31- June 1, 2014, 12-7 p.m. Glen Echo Park. The free festival features hundreds of musicians, storytellers, dancers, and craft vendors representing the rich cultural diversity of the Washington area.

    • Arlington National Cemetery’s 150th Anniversary - Through June 15, 2014. The cemetery will host a series of special events and tours in celebration of their 150th anniversary. Learn about the history of our nation and its national cemetery.

    • Western Maryland BluesFest - May 29 - June 1, 2014, Hagerstown, MD. Enjoy a taste of the blues by local, regional, and national performers. Great fun, food and music for the entire family.

    • Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon - May 31, 2014. The race winds through lush vineyards, estates, horse farms , historic byways and the rolling countryside that makes up DC's Wine Country. The race includes a halfway wine and water break at Hiddencroft Vineyards and ends at Doukenie Winery with a wine and music festival.

    • Great Tastes of Tysons Festival - May 31- June 1, 2014, noon - 6 p.m. Lerner Town Square at Tysons II, The festival includes food, drink, music, entertainment, art, and more.

    • Washington Jewish Music Festival - June 1-14, 2014, Multiple venues. The festival presents a variety of performing artists who preserve and invigorate Jewish music in contemporary culture.
    More Upcoming Washington, DC Events
  • June Festivals and Events in Washington DC
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  • UniverSoul Circus Comes to Washington DC

    Wednesday May 21, 2014
    UniverSoul Circus will return to the Washington DC area this year to celebrate its 20th anniversary as a unique brand of family friendly entertainment featuring a multicultural, multinational, blend of music, theater and circus arts under the big top. Circus goers will be treated to some of the most breath-taking and sought-after circus acts from around the world. As has become customary throughout its 20 year history, UniverSoul Circus has virtually circled the globe to find the best and most unique talent to showcase under the big top. Tickets are on sale through Ticketmaster.com.

    Performance Schedule:
    May 29-June 16, 2014. Capital Plaza Mall, 6200 Annapolis Rd., Landover Hills, MD

    UniverSoul Circus Acts 2014
    • The Willy Family - High Wire - Colombia, SA
    • The Olate Dogs - Trick Dogs - Chile, SA
    • Men of Steel - Cuban Pole - Cuba
    • Globe of Death - Motorcycle Daredevils - Colombia, SA
    • Lucky - Host - South Africa
    • Zhenjiang Acrobatic Troupe - Head Balancers - China
    • Caribbean Callaloo - Dancers, Stilts, Limbo - Trinidad and Tobago
    • Queens of Sheba - Female Contortionists - Ethiopia
    • Wuhan Flying Trapeze - Flying Trapeze - China
    • Soul Illusion - Quick Change Act - Trinidad and Tobago
    • Andrezej and Tomasz - Hand Balancing Act - Poland
    • The Clown Class - Slapstick Comedy - South Africa and Guinea
    UniverSoul is a highly interactive combination of circus arts, theater, and music that spans genres including Pop, Classic R&B, Latin, Hip Hop, Jazz and Gospel. It embraces and celebrates the unique and familiar aspects of pop culture globally by bringing them center stage with a cast of international performers. UniverSoul Circus is rated as one of the top three circuses in America along with Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey and Cirque du Soleil. UniverSoul's fresh approach to family friendly live entertainment has garnered it a coveted spot as one of Ticketmaster's top ten most requested family events, along with other shows including Sesame Street Live, Disney on Ice, and Radio City Christmas Spectacular. The circus was founded 20 years ago in Atlanta by concert and theatre promoter, Cedric Walker.

    Photo © UniverSoul Circus

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  • Upcoming Concerts and Events at the Verizon Center in Washington DC

    Tuesday May 20, 2014
    The Verizon Center in Washington DC hosts an amazing selection of concerts and events featuring award-winning musicians, renowned athletes, family-friendly performers and more. Here is a schedule of upcoming events. Tickets to all performances are on sale through www.ticketmaster.com.
    • June 24-25, 2014 - Katy Perry The Prismatic World Tour
    • July 20, 2014 - New Edition
    • August 7, 2014 - Jesus Christ Superstar The Arena Spectacular (on sale soon)
    • August 17, 2014 - Arcade Fire: Reflektor Tour
    • August 19 - Rod Stewart & Santana: The Voice. The Guitar. The Songs
    • Sept 4-7, 2014 - Marvel Universe Live!
    • Sept 13, 2014 - Enrique Iglesias & Pitbull
    • Sept 19-20 - Oprah's The Life You Want Weekend
    • Oct 4 - I Still Do - A One Day Marriage Event
    • Oct 31 - Fleetwood Mac
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  • Washington Nationals Patriotic Series and Military Branch Days

    Thursday May 15, 2014
    Each season, the Washington Nationals launch a special series of games that encourages fans to celebrate the American spirit and pay tribute to each of the five branches of our nation's military. The series will begin this year with Armed Forces Day on Saturday, May 17, 2014. The Nationals will offer complimentary tickets to military service members (active duty, dependent, reservist or retiree) for Saturday's game. Service members may claim up to two complimentary tickets for each military ID and purchase additional tickets at a discounted rate. Here is the schedule:

    2014 Patriotic Series - The Nationals will incorporate a variety of gameday elements during each game of the Patriotic Series to encourage fans to celebrate the American spirit while enjoying the national pastime at Nationals Park. Representatives from our nation's military will also take part in the pregame ceremonies.
    • Armed Forces Day - Saturday, May 17 vs. New York Mets
    • Memorial Day - Monday, May 26 vs. Miami Marlins
    • Independence Day - Friday, July 4 vs. Chicago Cubs
    • Heroes Day - Wednesday, September 10 vs. Atlanta Braves
    2014 Military Branch Days - The Nationals will honor each of the five service branches with their own patriotic themed-game during the 2014 season. Representatives from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Air Force will participate in the pregame ceremony and special guests from each respective branch will be in attendance at each designated game. Fans with a military ID can receive a $5 discount at the Nationals Park Box Office for every game.
    • U.S. Navy - Friday, May 30 vs. Texas Rangers
    • U.S. Army - Wednesday, June 18 vs. Houston Astros
    • U.S. Coast Guard - Wednesday, August 6 vs. New York Mets
    • U.S. Marine Corps - Wednesday, August 20 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
    • U.S. Air Force - Thursday, September 25 vs. New York Mets
    For more information or to purchase tickets for the 2014 Patriotic Series, visit nationals.com/patriotic.

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  • National Theatre’s Upcoming Season

    Wednesday May 14, 2014
    The National Theatre has announced its 2014-15 season, which includes four Washington, DC premieres. The coming season's Broadway at the National features Tony® Award-winners Pippin and Newsies, both of which will play multiple-week engagements, as well as Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story On Stage, which begins its North American tour in the nation's capital. Subscription packages start at $245 and are available now at www.thenationaldc.com or by calling the subscription hotline at (855) 486-2516. Group sales are also available by calling (844) 626-8090. Single tickets will go on sale later in 2014.

    Subscription Series
    • Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story On Stage - August 26 - September 14, 2014
      The classic film is now a record-breaking live theatrical sensation. Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds, come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives. Dirty Dancing features hit songs such as "Hungry Eyes," "Hey Baby," "Do You Love Me?," and the heart-stopping "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life."

    • Donny & Marie: Christmas at the National - December 2 - 7, 2014
      In the holiday tradition of the "Osmond Family Christmas" television specials, the legendary Donny and Marie invite families to celebrate the spirit of the season with them in true Osmond fashion. With a dash of Christmas spirit and their trademark show-stopping production numbers, Donny & Marie: Christmas at the National features Christmas songs and cheer plus hits from their illustrious careers all mixed with their irresistible chemistry that made them international stars.

    • Pippin - December 16, 2014 - January 4, 2015
      Pippin tells the story of a young prince on a death-defying journey to find meaning in his existence. Will he choose a happy but simple life? Or will he risk everything for a singular flash of glory?

    • Chicago the Musical - February 10 - 15, 2015
      The record-breaking hit musical full of girls, glitz, and glamour returns to razzle dazzle Washington. Chicago tells the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who maliciously murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago's slickest criminal lawyer to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines, the likes of which might just as easily be ripped from today's tabloids.

    • Dame Edna & Barry Humphries' The Final Farewell Tour - April 21 - 26, 2015
      Dame Edna is one of the greatest stars of the last 50 years - the "housewife superstar" has played the West End and Broadway on numerous occasions, performing to packed theaters, including the Royal Albert Hall at the "Last Night of the Poms." Dame Edna promises to "empower" audiences as she meditates on the big issues of loss, gender, climate change, gay marriage, and ethnicity.

    • Newsies - June 9 - 21, 2015
      They delivered the papers, until they made the headlines. Direct from Broadway comes Newsies, the smash-hit, crowd-pleasing new musical from Disney. Newsies is filled with one heart-pounding number after another, a high-energy explosion of song and dance about the scrappy newspaper boys of Brooklyn.
    Photo: Dame Edna
    Courtesy of the National Theatre


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  • Washington Nationals 2014 Post-Game Concerts

    Tuesday May 13, 2014
    The Washington Nationals will offer several concerts following select Nationals home games throughout the summer. The performances are free, but you must have a valid ticket for that day's Nationals game to attend. The concerts will begin approximately 15 minutes after the final out of each game. Here's the schedule:
    • Plain White T's: Thursday, June 5 - Two-time Grammy Award nominee Plain White T's have come a long way since the group of high school friends formed the band in 1997. Known for the Platinum hits "Hey There Delilah," which reached No. 1 on Billboard's country on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2007, as well as "Rhythm of Love" and "1,2,3,4," the band will release their upcoming album American Nights, featuring the hit song "Should've Gone to Bed," later this year.

    • Austin Mahone: Saturday, July 19 - At just 18 years old, singer/songwriter Austin Mahone is making his mark, having kicked off the year with an MTV VMA win for "Artist to Watch" and MTV European Music Award for "Artist on the Rise." The teen sensation recently released "Mmm Yea" featuring Pitbull, which debuted on the Billboard Hot 100. His previous hit singles "What About Love" and "Banga! Banga!" can be heard on top radio stations across the nation. Mahone is currently on his first headlining tour, "MTV's Artist to Watch Tour," and is gearing up for the release of his new album The Secret in May.

    • Martina McBride: Saturday, August 16 - Over the length of her career, legendary country music artist Martina McBride has been recognized with 14 Gold Records, nine Platinum honors, three Double Platinum Records and two Triple Platinum awards, and sold more than 18 million units. The Country Music Association named her its Female Vocalist of the Year four times, while the Academy of Country Music has presented her with its Top Female honor three times. To date, McBride has recorded 20 top-10 hits and six number one hits, and was ranked the most played female vocalist on country radio between 1999 and 2010. Earlier this year, her new album Everlasting debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's country albums chart.
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  • Washington DC Events - Top Things to Do this Weekend (May 9-11)

    Thursday May 8, 2014
    See a guide to the top events going on this weekend in the Washington, DC area, including Maryland and Northern Virginia.

    • Passport DC - Open Houses at Washington, DC Embassies - Throughout May. The multi-cultural event, sponsored by Cultural Tourism DC, features a wide range of performances, talks, and exhibits. Don't miss the European Union Embassy Tours this weekend.

    • Mother's Day in Washington DC - May 11, 2014. Spend some family time with mom on Mother's Day in Washington, DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia. Find suggestions of some of the top things to do.

    • Georgetown Garden Tour - May 10, 2014, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The Georgetown Garden Club sponsors a tour of eight Georgetown gardens.

    • National Train Day - May 10, 2014. Each spring, Amtrak hosts train focused festivities at Union Station including live entertainment, interactive and educational exhibits, kids activities, model trains and more.

    • Bethesda Fine Arts Festival - May 10-11, 2014. See the works of 140 contemporary artists and enjoy live entertainment, childrens activities and downtown Bethesda restaurants.

    • Susan G. Komen National Race for the Cure - May 10, 2014, Washington, DC. The 5K event raises funds for breast health and breast cancer education, screening and treatment programs for the medically underserved. See a guide to more charity walks around the Washington DC area.

    • DC Design House Tours - Through May 11, 2014. Washington, DC's premiere residential design showcase features a home renovated by the region's top interior designers. Tours are available and raise funds for Children's National Medical Center.

    • Garden Tours in the Washington DC Area - Through June, 2014. A variety of garden tours are available around the DC capital region. Don't miss the tours this weekend in Georgetown, Capitol Hill and Alexandria.

    • The Challenge Festival - May 9-17, 2014. Various locations in Washington DC. The conference and competition focuses on bringing together entrepreneurs, executives, policy makers, investors, social innovators, technologists and creatives who are tackling the grand challenges of our world.

    • Side Yards at The Yards - May 10, 2014, 5-10 p.m. The Yards, Washington DC. Free Admission. Enjoy an evening of amusement and wonder featuring some of the DC area's top sideshow performers; Circus of Wonders. Three side-stages of entertainment will showcase their terrifying talents with contortionists, magicians, jugglers, fire breathers, sword swallowers and more.
    More Upcoming Washington, DC Events
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  • Washington Monument to Reopen May 2014

    Wednesday April 30, 2014
    The Washington Monument will reopen on May 12, 2014 after a 32-month closure due to damage from the 5.8 magnitude earthquake in August 2011. A re-opening ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Al Roker, the TODAY show's weather anchor, will serve as master of ceremonies and will join Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, and philanthropist David Rubenstein, and National Mall & Memorial Parks Superintendent Bob Vogel at the celebration of the reopening of the Washington Monument. Musical performances will be given by American Idol Season 12 winner Candice Glover, the Old Guard Fife & Drum Corps, the United States Navy Band, and the Boy and Girl Choristers of Washington National Cathedral Choir.

    Public tours of the Washington Monument will begin at 1:00 p.m on May 12, 2014. Tickets will be available on a first come-first served basis starting at 8:30 a.m. that day at the Washington Monument Lodge, located on 15th Street, between Madison and Jefferson Drives. Read more about the Washington Monument.

    Photo © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.

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