How was this Year’s H Street Festival?

Photo by PoPville flickr user philliefan99

In horrible planning on my part I was out of town this weekend and missed the festival. From the flickr pool it seems it rained a bit:

Photo by PoPville flickr user caroline.angelo

But it still seems to have rocked:

Photo by PoPville flickr user pablo.raw

So for folks who went – how was it this year?

28 Comment

  • I too am interested in hearing how it went. The threat of rain and the actual rain kept me from making the walk down the street. However, I understand that there were indeed a good number of people out there braving the elements.

  • Mike

    I thought it was great IMHO. There seemed to be a lot more involvement, and having the street closed from 4-14th really helped! The rain sucked, yeah, but it didn’t seem to put TOO much of a damper on the overall event.

  • I don’t know how was the H Street Festival, but the weather and the fun were great at the Latino Festival on Sunday. I just regret that a parade on Constitution Avenue feels less intimate than in Mount Pleasant, but the Carne A La Llanera was delicious, as usually!

  • So crowded. It’s great to see the neighborhood come back but it was near impossible to even walk down the street at some points. This was about 2, before the rain hit. I had fun with my friends on the patio at Biergarten Haus though.

  • I enjoyed the festival. We arrived around 1 p.m. and headed straight to Smith Commons to watch the festivities from the patio. We had perfect viewing area of the Red Bull and Flying Dog tents below and they showed the Flutag event which took place at National Harbor. The festival was very organized (almost overly organized with the separate entires to areas for certain bars and parking lots where you had to get a 21 and up bracelet for entry) and featured many different types of artwork, food and fare.

    It was much more manageable than Adams’ Morgan Day which can be overly crowded. And a number of streets off of H Street had mini street parties and small sales. The rain came in around 4 p.m., but did not put a damper in the mood. Many people just broke out umbrellas and some just braved the rain and continued with their day. My only complaint was that at about 5 p.m. Smith Commons begin to let in hordes of people where you could barely move or walk. Their patio was packed and soaking wet and moving up and down as people danced and we finally decided it was time to leave because the structure of the patio no longer felt safe and the inside was just too packed (this seems to happen often with them on the weekend that they pack in people). Regardless of that, food was great and atmosphere at the bar was filled with happy people. DJ was fantastic.

  • GREAT – lots of stages / music, no crazy long food lines. I think people who didn’t ‘know’ H Street before Saturday got a good introduction and will be back. It was a great Saturday until the rain. (Sunday Fiesta DC / LoC Bookfest made for an almost perfect DC weekend until that dropped touchdown pass in the end zone.)

  • Lots of fun! I had assumed it would be a bunch of drunk kids but it was quite manageable and family-friendly. The sheer size of it helped disperse the crowd, certainly compared to Adams Morgan day which is just too suffocating for my taste. There was a good diversity of food and booze too.

    DC Alerts tweeted “The H Street Festival has ended for today with no arrest and (1) transport ( with a broken Leg ).”

  • It went pretty well. Amazingly well, considering that it is put on by volunteers! I think extending the festival all the west to 4th Street alleviated some of the crowding. There were so many things going on, I missed several things (including all of the eating contests). I think at this point, they need a better communications strategy to let people know the schedule of events, because even in this thread I see I missed an opportunity to see the RedBull event at National Harbor televised (which I was torn about, because I was trying to figure out whether to go there AND to H St Fest). On one hand, I think paper handouts advertising the list of events would be wasteful, but maybe a social media campaign about a week before the festival starts steering people towards a website that outlines all the cool things that the Festival will feature would be great (maybe this happened and I missed it?). I seem to remember Brightest Young Things having a list of “must see” events, but I don’t remember a comprehensive place online where all the events were listed (including the list performers for the various stages…I missed Thaylobleu (sp?)…sad face)

  • pablo .raw

    I was there for only like an hour, enough to get some Puerto Rican food, a free sandwich that fell in my hands and snap a couple of photos. Then it started raining and I left. It was fun though.

  • Really awesome festival. Unfortunately, the rain was torrential and EVERYONE was soaked. Still, many people braved it.

    Spent most of the day sitting on furniture in my friend’s new showroom at H and 8th Street, drinking cheap champagne and listening to the music right out his door of the store. Ended the day at Toki Underground for dinner.

    Stopped by Smith Commons for drinks at 9pm, but the music was SO LOUD and the hostess/waitress was TOTALLY obliterated and could barely stand up while taking our orders. Saw her after dinner and one of the kitchen staff was putting her in a cab. Really weird. I’ve tried going to Smith Commons four times and have never had a good experience there. WTF.

  • It was awesome. Very well organized this year, and the extra blocks helped keep the crush to a minimum. The rain probably also kept the crowds reasonable. If only it had been a day like Sunday… maybe next year! There was so much to do and see one pass down the street wasn’t nearly enough to take it all in.

    • I wonder if it would be possible to schedule a rain day next year. For instance, do it on Sunday if the forecast for Saturday is calling for heavy rain. They’d be able to figure it out a day early, especially if it was as heavy and predictable as it was on Saturday.

  • I spent the earlier part of the day at the DCPL house history workshop (thanks PoP for posting about it!) and the dachshund races, so I didn’t get to the festival until the rainy part. The bars and restaurants (or anything with a modicum of shelter) looked uncomfortably crowded, so we braved the elements out in the street. It was still lively and fun though. Performances were still going on at the bigger covered stages, and we marveled at the people bold enough to tackle the rock climbing wall in the pouring rain. I felt like there was a lot of dead space this year– stretches of nothing but food vendors all selling the same kind of food– but I imagine those areas were helpful in spreading out the crowds earlier in the day. I was a little disappointed the my expat visitor didn’t get to experience the festival at its best, but it turned out about as good as it possibly could considering the circumstances.

  • One more note– I wish they’d bring back the free shuttle from Eastern Market. I tried to take one of the 90 buses but they were totally stuffed with people.

  • It was great!! They expanded it to cover more blocks (down to 4th street), so everything was spaced out more. And the “kids zone” was a wonderful addition – I hope they keep it going and add more to it in the coming years. It helped make the festival more inclusive and not so much just the drinking fest it has been in the few prior years. There was also a dance stage that featured different dancers (e.g. belly dancing, Irish step dancing, etc.) that was really fun. Great job to anyone involved in planning!

  • Okay, so I came here to rant, but I’m totally open to POPers talking me out of being annoyed. I live two blocks south of H Street and parking anywhere within about eight blocks of my house was impossible. So many people decided to drive instead of taking metro or a bus or biking. Some of the people parking were really shitty, too, purposely banging into the car in front of and behind them in order to get into a spot that was way too small (and acting like it was the most normal thing in the world!). I’m as excited as anyone about H Street and the festival, but I wish there was a shuttle or some sort of parking situation worked out for next year. Maybe next year I’ll find somewhere to dump my car for the weekend, away from the craziness.

    • If it wasn’t for the weather, more people would have taken public transport. Everyone knew for two days that there would be big storms on Saturday, so they came in their cars. C’est la vie.

    • PS – Bumper Badger is your friend. People who live in the city with a car are crazy for not having one, IMHO.

      • Except for those of us that don’t care about the fate of our bumpers!

      • oh please. i’ve never had one and my cars have been just fine.

      • This statement only makes sense if you make money from every Bumper Badger that is purchased.

        • Maybe it’s a function of where I live (right off of U Street). Nearly everyday I see folks try to squeeze into any space possible and tap the bumpers of other cars. It’s even worse when you consider that many folks have been drinking and their depth perception is compromised.

          If you have an old car and don’t care about getting your bumper scratched up, then I understand. If you have a new car and want to keep it looking nice, it’s a relatively cheap preventative measure.

    • If it makes you feel any better, that happens on my block every weekend (I live one block from Eastern Market). It’s the price we pay to live in awesome neighborhoods! In your case it’s only one day a year so I think you could just find a workaround. The H Street Festival attracted 75,000 people last year, and probably more this year; even if only 1% of them drive that’s over 750 additional cars in the area. You can have all the shuttles in the world but some people will still decide to drive. The only solution I can think of would be to have temporary resident-only parking on blocks like yours.

    • We secured a good spot the night before and didn’t move our car the next day!

  • Amazing. Way better than in previous years, despite the rain. Kudos to the organizers – this is what makes living in the city so worth it.

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