Exciting Kid-Friendly and Family-Centric Programs in the Capitol Riverfront Neighborhood

Friday night fishing at Diamond Teague Park – fun for fishermen of all ages! Photo: Becky Harlan

As everyone makes plans for the warm months ahead, the Capitol Riverfront will be the center of daily activity and summer celebration. An exciting weekly lineup of free outdoor events is planned throughout the neighborhood. With support from the Near Southeast Community Partners, two new programs include Kids in Canal and the FRESHFARM Capitol Riverfront Farmers Market. Returning events include the Thursday Night Outdoor Movie Series in Canal Park and Friday Night Concerts in Yards Park.

This diverse collection of events amplifies fun for kids, adults, and families. Kids in Canal is a 12-week series of performances that kicks off on Wednesday, June 7, with kid’s music by the Rainbow Rock Band. Locally renowned magician and personality The Great Zucchini makes his Canal Park debut on June 14. Ever-popular Mad Science and a puppet show series round out the performances.

Arrange play dates and bring the little ones to the middle block of Canal Park for these hit shows:

June 7: Rainbow Rock Band July 5: Rainbow Rock Band


Aug. 2: Rainbow Rock Band


June 14: The Great Zucchini


July 12: Magic of John Jenson


Aug. 9: Zig Zag the Magician


June 21: Mad Science


July 19: Mad Science


Aug. 16: Mad Science


June 28: Kaydee Puppets


July 26: Carousel Puppets


Aug. 23: Carousel Puppets


Also new this year is the FRESHFARM Capitol Riverfront Farmers Market. FRESHFARM is a nonprofit that promotes sustainable agriculture and improves food access and equity in the Midatlantic region by operating producer-only farmers’ markets. With popularity growing after a few successful Sundays already, the market will run into the fall and operate every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Come shop for locally sourced fruits and vegetables, meat, cheese, bread, beer, coffee, and much more. The market is currently partnered with Bluejacket to create a beer garden within the market, making it the perfect pre-game pit stop for Nationals game-goers.

City Golf Adventures returns to the south block of Canal Park on June 7 through 10 and will be open from noon to 8 p.m. each day. Friends and families of all ages can put their putting skills to the test and try for a winning score at the nine custom holes. Admission will be $3.50 for nine holes and $5.00 for 18, with putter and ball rental included. Kid-sized putters will also be available. Be sure to check the Capitol Riverfront website for happy-hour deals and other promotions.

The Thursday Night Outdoor Movies will return to Canal Park beginning June 1 through Aug. 17 in the park’s northern block, located at Second and I streets SE. Each film in this year’s lineup was selected and inspired by public demand. Films will roll at sundown (typically around 8:30 p.m.). Moviegoers are encouraged to arrive as early as 7:00 p.m. with a picnic, grab popcorn from the Popped! Republic truck, and enjoy the following movies:

June 1: “Ghostbusters” (2016) July 13: “Moana”
June 8: “Me Before You” July 20: “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
June 15: “Sister Act” July 27: “Arrival”
June 22: “Doctor Strange” Aug. 3: “La La Land”
June 29: “Secret Life of Pets” Aug. 10: “Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them”
July 6: “Grease” Aug. 17: Fan Favorite – “Beauty & The Beast” (2017)

In partnership with the Folger Shakespeare Library, Bard in the Park will be a three-week series celebrating Shakespeare with screenings of Shakespeare-adapted movies and a pre-show interactive performance by Elizabethan entertainers. Bard in the Park will take place on the north block of Canal Park. The performances will start at 6:30 p.m. with movie screenings to follow at sundown.

June 14 – Pre-show: Tooth & Claw Combat Fight Scene Demonstration
Movie screening: “Romeo+Juliet” (1996), directed by Baz Luhrmann

June 21 – Pre-show: Matthew Pauli Shakespearean Wandering Fool Act
Movie screening: “Much Ado about Nothing” (2012), directed by Joss Whedon

June 28 – Pre-show: Nickel Shakespeare Girls performing “Pants & Poise: Meet Many of Shakespeare’s Leading Ladies” Move screening: “10 Things I Hate about You” (1999), directed by Gil Junger

The Rockin’ the Block concert series returns to Canal Park this summer with five family-friendly concerts featuring bands of a variety of genres. Concerts will be held on Wednesday evenings, May 31, June 7, July 12, Aug. 2, and Sept. 2 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the middle block of Canal Park. Rockin’ the Block will also feature food and beverage vendors, a moon bounce, and lawn games for all ages. Concertgoers are encouraged to arrive early with picnic dinners, blankets, and takeout meals from Capitol Riverfront restaurants to enjoy an evening of free live music by the following bands:

May 31: PEO and The Carriers
June 7: South Rail
July 12: Daniel Hill
Aug. 2: Mike McHenry Trio
Sept. 6: Zach Cutler

The Capitol Riverfront Friday Night Concert Series in Yards Park is in its seventh year and is again presented by CSX Beyond Our Rails. Every Friday night from May 26 through Sept. 1, popular performers bring the best of pop, R&B, country, reggae, and more to the Modelo Especial Stage. This year, the concerts will return to the Boardwalk & Terrace Steps. Attendees can pack a picnic or take out from the 38+ neighboring restaurants. A variety of beer and wine options will be available for sale. Face painters and balloon artists will be there to dazzle the kids! Start each weekend of the summer in Yards Park, DC’s top outdoor venue, with the following artists:

May 26:     Jimi Smooth & HitTime (R&B) July 21:         Bachelor Boys Band (pop cover)
June 2:        The Morrison Brothers Band (country) July 28:         Covered with Jam (funk-rock fusion)
June 9:        Jeff From Accounting                    (pop cover) Aug. 4:           Party Like It’s (pop cover)
June 16:      DC JazzFest at The Yards: Lori Williams & Ola Onabule Aug. 11:         Sam Grow (country)
June 23:      Moose Jaw (bluegrass) Aug. 18:         Pebble to Pearl (R&B)
June 30:      Jah Works (reggae) Aug. 25:         19th Street Band (Americana)
July 7:        The Reagan Years (80s) Sept. 1: Burnt Sienna (pop cover)
July 14:      Justin Trawick (Americana) Sept.8: Rain date

Don’t forget that the Yards Park Great Lawn, canal basin water feature, and dancing water fountains are summer staples to enjoy. Canal Park also sports 42 waterjets as a splash pad option just one block away from the Navy Yard-Ballpark Metro stop. All the water features in the neighborhood will remain open beyond Labor Day weekend until the end of the Nationals baseball season.

Explore the neighborhood with Anacostia Riverkeeper and its catch-and-release fishing at Diamond Teague Park from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. every Friday night from June 16 through Aug. 25 (except July 7). Friday night fishing is free and fun for those young and old. Rods, reels, bait, and instruction are included for a wonderful family experience.

For a more relaxed enjoyment of the river, the Anacostia Watershed Society’s Anacostia River Discovery Series has many opportunities to get out on the water and explore. Whether you’re a lifetime resident or brand new to the region, there’s always something to discover. Visit www.anacostiaws.org for more information on Paddle Nights and Canoe Tours and to register for one of the free evening events.

Gather the kids and family and bring everyone down to the Capitol Riverfront to enjoy all of the summer activities here. Visit the Capitol Riverfront events online (www.capitolriverfront.org/things-to-do/events) for a full schedule of performances, movies, events, and festivals.

Robbin Lee is the Parks Events and Programming Coordinator at the Capitol Riverfront BID. She has years of experience as the director of one of DC’s largest food festivals as well as a background in putting together all-around fun at art places like the Phillips Collection in DC and Maryland Art Place in Baltimore. Robbin holds a B.A. in Art History and Media & Communication Studies from UMBC and spends her free time coaching volleyball, Instagramming, and reading restaurant menus. Robin can be found at rlee@capitolriverfront.org