Summer Happenings in the DC Metro

There are still some summer events in DC!
There are still some summer events in DC!

There’s always a lot going on in the DC Metro.  While summer is part way over, there are still plenty of summer events going on.  Here are just a few of the things you can do in August in the DC area.

The Screen on the Green outdoor summer film festival still has a few events left.  August 8 is “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” while August 15 is “Cool Hand Luke.”  The movies are shown at the National Mall between 14th and Ninth Streets.

If you love Tennis, the Legg Mason Tennis Classic is going on right now!  It continues until August 7th at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Stadium.  Favorites include James Blacke and Andy Roddick.

The Chekhov play “Uncle Vanya” featuring Cate Blanchett runs every Thursday through Sunday from August 4th to the 27th at the JFK Center for the Performing Arts.  Tickets are priced starting at $59.  The production also stars Hugo Weaving.

Fair season is coming up, and there are a lot of different county fairs in the area around DC.  The Fairfax fair is this weekend (Aug. 6 and 7), followed by the Howard County Fair (the 6th through the 13th).  Then there’s the Montgomery County Fair, which starts on the 12th and ends on the 20th.

The Shakespeare Theater Company’s annual Free For All event this year is Julius Caesar.  The tickets are free for these performances, which run August 18 through September 4 on Tuesdays through Sundays.  Because the tickets are free, expect a line for entry, so get there early.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial will open to the public on August 22.  The official dedication will be held on August 28th at 11 am.  The memorial is located at 1964 Independence Ave. on the four-acre Tidal Basin site.

Finally, August and the summer wrap up with Jimmy Buffy and the Coral Reefer Band playing at the Jiffy Lube Live.  The event will be on Saturday, August 27th at 8:00 pm.

Beat the Summer Heat

It's hot out there!
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It’s summer, and it’s hot!  With the temperatures continually to rise outside, we’re all looking for ways to beat the summer heat.  While staying indoors in front of the blasting air conditioner can be one way, we don’t always have that option.  Here are a few things you can do to beat the summer heat.

Try to run all of your errands in the morning or late evenings when the temperature is a bit cooler.

Don’t water your yard during the day.  Do it in the evening so the water has time to seep into the ground.  If you do it during the day, most of it will evaporate, leaving your grass and flowers still thirsty.

If you do need to go out and tend to your flowers or do other outdoor tasks, be sure to wear a hat to avoid getting sunburn on the top of your head.  Also wear a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt to keep your arms protected, and put sunscreen on any exposed skin.  While it might seem counter-intuitive to wear long sleeves in the summer, you want to keep the sun off your skin.  A light weight, long sleeved shirt can actually keep you cooler than a tank top.

Use ceiling fans to help keep your house cool and your air conditioning bill down. 

While you always want to drink a good amount of water each day, it’s even more important during the summer to avoid getting dehydrated.  While cold soda might taste better, water hydrates better.

To help keep your car cooler, park under shade and use a windshield sun screen. 

Make sure your windows are securely shut and that there are no gaps or leaks around them or around your doors.  Any small gap can let out your cold air and make your air conditioner work harder.

Summer

Summer is here!
Summer is here!

Summer is here!  While the thermometer and electric bill are battling it out to see which one climbs the highest, you’re making plans to spend time outdoors, take a vacation, and maybe even do a little gardening if you have time and can take the heat.  Summer brings with it many different opportunities, but there are also many different challenges in the summer.

First, the challenges.  Obviously the heat is the biggest.  Depending on where you live, you may face temperatures of over 100.  In some cases, it’s actually pretty unsafe to go out in the middle of the day and do strenuous labor because you can end up with heat stroke.  If there’s no breeze blowing and it’s really humid, it’s especially horrible.  But you can overcome this challenge with a little bit of planning.  Be sure your air conditioner is ready for the summer by cutting down any weeds or grass growing up around it.  You can even use the garden hose to wash out gunk from inside the unit.  Make sure your ceiling fans are rotating the right way (counterclockwise to pull down cool air). 

Sunburn is another issue we deal with during the summer.  Spending a lot of time outdoors also means spending a lot of time in direct light, and you may end up looking like a lobster the next day if you don’t prepare.  First, wear a wide hat to avoid sunburn.  Also wear sunscreen with at least SPF 15 or higher, especially if you’re going to be out for a long period of time.  Some face moisturizers include a low level sunscreen, so you can protect your face from sunburn every day.  If you’re going swimming or will be out around the water, you might want to get waterproof sunscreen that won’t easily wash off. 

One last summer challenge: boredom!  Not your boredom, since you’ll most likely still have work (even teachers often look for summer employment), but your kids will soon find themselves without much to do.  Even if your kids are going to camp or doing some other summer activity, there will still be plenty of days when they’re home.  Plan some activities for them to do during the day if they are old enough to stay home by themselves.  If they aren’t, plan ahead for daycare or other supervision.

While there are challenges, there are also a lot of opportunities in the summer.  You get to spend more time with your kids since they’re out of school, and there are many great summer activities.  Concerts, festivals, outdoor theater…the list goes on and on.  Take time to plan a few little weekend family trips if possible.  The local zoo, aquarium, beach, or even spending the day flying kites at a local park can be a lot of fun.

Dog Days of Summer Fun in DC

The dog days of summer are here
The dog days of summer are here

The last month of summer is here, and while the kids are getting ready to go back to school, there’s still some time for family outings.  If you’re wondering what to do during the dog days of summer in Washington, DC, here are a few ideas.

If you’re a football fan, you can drive over to Ashburn, Virginia, to watch the Washington Redskins train.  The training camp runs through August 19 and is free to watch.  You may even get the chance to meet your favorite players and get their autographs after practice.  August 7th is fan appreciation day at noon, and the team is sure to have a few surprises for anyone who comes to see them practice that day.

August 7th is also the Friendship Firehouse Festival at the firehouse museum in Old Town Alexandria.  The festival features live music, free giveaways, crafts, hands-on activities for the kids, and much more.

August 7-8 and August 14-15 is the Arts on N Street Festival at the Washington Convention Center.  This free art festival features work by local artists, organizations, and businesses.  While there’s plenty of art for the adults to check out, there are also many activities for the kids.

Starting August 13th and running through August 30th is the Comcast Film Festival.  This outdoor film festival is held at the Universities of Shady Grove in Rockville, Maryland.  Films begin at 8:10 each evening, but you can arrive as early as 6:30.  Some food and snacks will be available for purchase.

Love good food?  If so, you’ll enjoy Restaurant Week.  Starting on August 16th and ending August 22nd, you’ll find more than 100 of the top restaurants in DC participating in this event.  Each restaurant will offer a three-course lunch for $20 and a three-course dinner for $35.  It’s a great opportunity to try a new place to eat or a new entrée.

The Alexandria Cambodian Community Day Festival is August 22nd from noon to 6:00 p.m.  Visitors to this event will get to explore the Cambodian culture via food, arts, crafts, and much more.

Finally, the Maryland Renaissance Festival kicks off on August 28th and runs through October 24th.  Visit this 16th century English village to see live performances, play games, eat great food, and much more.  It’s located in nearby Crownsville, Maryland.