First Adams Morgan Day and now the Bastille Day Party Departing Too!?!


Tough times for Adams Morgan Festivals (an abbreviated Adams Morgan Day is in the works but still) – now the ‘French Maid Relay Race’ at L’Enfant Cafe is moving to NoMa this year.

From a press release:

“L’Enfant Café is proud to announce the 11h annual Bastille Day party, a cultural celebration of all things French, on Saturday, July 11 from 3pm to 10pm. After celebrating the 10th anniversary on Vernon St last year, the folks at L’Enfant have decided to re-locate the fête to sister venue, Wunder Garten (150 M St NE), the all new beer garden space in NoMa.

Entry to this year’s event and D.C.’s biggest masquerade ball is $7. Advance ticket purchase is required and capacity is limited. Purchase online through or Guests will storm the Bastille via M St NE, just steps from the NoMa metro stop (Red Line).

The memorable performances have also moved to the new location, including can-can dancers, a New Orleans style brass marching band, burlesque dancers and the royal guests of honor, King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette.

The signature folly of the event, the world-famous ‘French Maid Relay Race,’ will take place at approximately 6pm in which racers, men and women, must each wear the risqué black and white maid costume while running back and forth across the street in order to fill a Champagne glass with soup spoons of water. Très chic! Contenders must pre-purchase a costume, with ticket purchase, before the limited supply is sold out.”

29 Comment

  • Seriously? Wunder garten is such a crappy place, you’d be better off finding a parking lot with a decent view.

  • We finally got the hotel project going, only to loose these?! Dang it.

    • I think this is less about any decline in Adams Morgan and more about ownership trying to prop up their crappy NoMa bar. Not that L’Enfant’s all that much better.

  • Wunder Garten is an overpriced sandbox with less than friendly owners. Too bad the Bastille Day event will lose its flavor

    • Isn’t it supposed to be a GERMAN beer garden as well?

    • It seems like a construction lot with $7 beers. Oh wait, it is a construction lot with $7 beers.

    • Could you elaborate on why you think the owners are less than friendly?

      • I actually tried numerous times to get a bartending job before they opened but NEVER had one email or phone call returned even when I stopped up there a couple times to speak with someone they were disorganized and rude.

  • justinbc

    I never actually made it when it was in Adams Morgan, always something else that came up, bummer. I think I’ll pass on this Wunder Garten experiment and hope that they move it back next year.

    • Accountering

      It was a very cool event that closed down Vernon Street for the day. I agree, I will not be venturing to the venue in NOMA for it. Hopefully they move it back.

      • seriously. same here. why would i go all the way across the city to a german beer garden for a bastille day party?

        • Accountering

          Agreed. I have a terrific beer garden (Dacha) a half a block from my house, so I am definitely not going to Noma for a poor beer garden.

        • My view is this is definitely a one year thing where they are trying to draw attention to Wundergarten. There are a ton of people on that side of town that will go to Bastille Day, so I doubt they are going to be too upset that you’re not going to show up. I don’t like Wundergarten myself, but I live close by so would probably go to Bastille Day there before I’d go to it again on Vernon (although when I lived in AdMo, I certainly enjoyed it).

  • Also worth noting: all stations on the Red Line between Farragut North and NoMa will be closed on Saturday, with buses replacing trains…

  • This is a bummer. Looks like a thinly veiled attempt to promote the “sister venue.” A Bastille Day celebration at a German beer garden??

  • I’m willing to give it a try. I’ve gone in past years, and it’s gotten so big that Vernon Street was bursting at the seems. I think the Wunder Garten lot will be perfect for it. There’s only one way to find out.

    As far as historical precedent for holding Bastille Day at a German biergarten goes, let’s not forget that in the wake of the actual storming of the Bastille (the Napoleonic era) there were plenty of French drinking all over what is now Germany.

    • I agree that it has been a bit out of control the past couple of years. Also saw a few fights between some extremely wasted people last year. I really liked the street atmosphere though, so am sad to see this move.

  • This is very sad. This was one of the few events that reminded me of the many neighborhood street fests I used to go to when I lived in Chicago. Putting it in a parking lot/beer garden will really ruin the quirky feel of it.

    • justinbc

      Yeah, all of those parking lot / beer / food truck / etc “festivals” are really indistinguishable from each other for the most part.

  • It’s kind of odd to see the complaints about the historical incompatibility of hosting the event at a “German” biergarten in light of the fact that it’s being celebrated in America mostly by people with no connection to French culture. So does it really matter where the venue is?

  • Bummed that it’s moved. I love Vernon Street and it was great to have it there. No way in hell I’m trekking to the soulless, corporate moonscape that is Noma for this. The whole point was that it was walkable for neighborhood event. FAIL.

  • saf

    Has it really been 10 years?

    OK, who else remembers when it was on Pennsylvania Ave?

    • Different event. The one on Pennsylvania Ave was produced by Les Halles and it was a French waiter race.

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