17th Street Festival Promises to Be Bigger and Better

More than 5,000 people attended the first 17thStreet Festival , which was planned in only seven weeks  last year.  Organizers hope to make this year’s event  on Saturday bigger and better with more vendors, entertainers as well as activities for children and even pets .

“One thing that is so much different from last year is that we now have businesses coming to us to be a part of the event,” said Stephen Rutgers, co-chair of the 2011 festival and vice president of the Urban Neighborhood Alliance. “Last year we had to go out and pitch the event to the local businesses. We also have a lot more support from local government, like the D.C. fire and police departments.”

The Second Annual 17thStreet Festival, sponsored by the alliance and Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets, takes place from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday on 17th Street N.W., between P Street and Riggs Place.

In addition to local businesses, vendors will include painters, photographers, potters and non-profit organizations. The Kids Zone will have activities and children’s vendors. The Pet Zone will also offer activities and a K-9 demonstration from Metropolitan Police Department. A local shelter will bring animals along for adoption as well.

The concert headliner will be House music recording artist Inaya Day. Other performers include local D.C. band The Silver Liners and a drag show from Drag City: D.C.

The festival was created after the 17thStreet corridor went through a major renovation as a part of the 17thStreetscape Project. Once completed, the community wanted to celebrate the renovations and showcase local businesses. The project focused on improving traffic for pedestrian, bikers and drivers.  It included reconstructing sidewalks, creating bicycle lanes, adding metered parking, and upgrading traffic lights and crosswalks. 

“We really want to keep the day focused, which is why we only have vendors from the businesses on the street,” Rutgers said. “That’s what really makes this festival different from others.”