Anacostia River Festival brings dancing, games to Anacostia Park

WASHINGTON — It was a picture-perfect day for the third annual Anacostia River Festival at Anacostia Park on Sunday. Families played outdoor games, bicyclists paraded and then explored the riverfront trails. Some people took out canoes on the river, while others danced on the deep-green lawn.

People admired the spring day and strolled the grounds, checking out informational booths including those on conservation, clean water and the arts.

“You see it with the beauty of all the people, the mixture of people — young, old, black, white,” said Bishop Rainey Cheeks of Inner Light Ministries Church of Southeast D.C. as he and some of his congregants handed out palm fronds to commemorate Palm Sunday.

On stage, D.C.’s official dance — hand dancing — was capably demonstrated by the National Hand Dance Association. Several senior couples held hands and partner-danced — either gracefully swirling to old school rhythm and blues or rocking to old school soul.

“When we grew up back in the ’50s and ’60s that was the only kind of partner dances that we did,” explained Maxine Grant of D.C.

“The Twist, the Jerk, the Boogaloo — those are dances from the ’50s and ’60s,” she said.

Anacostia Park is 99 years old, with a rich history and a growing future ahead. About 40 acres will be added to the park with construction of the 11th Street Pedestrian Bridge Park.

“It’s going to be more than a pedestrian bridge,” said National Park Ranger Vince Vaise.

“There’s going to be an ecological center on it, there’s going to be meeting space on it, kayak docks under it. It’s going to be community space that spans this river and brings two communities of Washington D.C. together.”

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