Emancipation Day 2022: What’s open, what’s closed in DC

The District celebrates Emancipation Day every year on April 16, which commemorates the 1862 act that abolished slavery in D.C. and freed 3,000 slaves.

The holiday falls on a Saturday this year, but you should still expect modifications to some city services in recognition of it.

What’s closed

This year’s Emancipation Day pushes back Tax Day. Since the District is recognizing the holiday on Friday, that means the deadline for taxpayers across the country to file their returns is shifted to Monday, April 18.

There will only be one public library open in each ward on Friday, and all libraries will be online only throughout the weekend.

D.C.’s Department of Motor Vehicles will be closed all day on Friday.

The District’s COVID-19 call center will be closed on Friday.

Meal distribution sites offered through the Department of Parks and Recreation will be closed Friday, as well as those through D.C. Public Schools, which have been closed all week for spring break.

Pennsylvania Avenue NW (North and South) between 13th and 14th streets NW will be closed for the city’s Emancipation Day festivities.

What’s open

The District’s Emancipation Day parade kicks off at 2 p.m. on Saturday. After that, there’s a concert starting at 3 p.m. and a fireworks show at 8:30 p.m., all of which will take place at Freedom Plaza in downtown D.C.

One cause for excitement among the D.C. area’s libation-loving residents is that over 200 bars have been granted a special exemption to serve alcohol until 4 a.m. from Thursday through Saturday.

The DC Circulator bus service will operate its normal schedule for Emancipation Day.

The District does not require that parking meter fees be paid on holidays, including Emancipation Day.

DC Central Kitchen’s mobile meal truck has been making stops at select public schools throughout spring break. The free lunch bags — which include two days’ worth of proteins, fruit and milk — are distributed on a first come, first served basis. Check out the schedule below:

(Courtesy Office of Mayor Muriel Bowser)

Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

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