Things to do in the DC area: Lavender Con, Smithsonian Folklife Festival … and more!

There’s so much to do in the D.C. area in the coming days, and WTOP has you covered with our weekly roundup of area events worth anticipating.

Check back every Thursday for a roundup of Things to do in the D.C. area.

For the first time in the District, a book festival totally focused on LGBT authors is being hosted this weekend. Lavender Con, organized by Little District Books, is celebrating queer authors and stories on June 29 and 30 at the National Press Club. In its inaugural year, there are approximately 75 authors expected.

“D.C. has lots of book festivals, but we don’t have one that specifically caters to LGBT readers [and] readers of LGBT books,” said Patrick Kern, owner of Little District Books and organizer of Lavender Con. “There’s a very large LGBT population in the city … and so I was just trying to create an event where readers could connect with authors and kind of get to see panels that they might not otherwise get to see.”

A few of the many notable authors coming this year include Natalie Naudus, a popular audiobook narrator who recently released her debut novel, “Gay the Pray Away.” Also expected is Terry Benton-Walker, who is the author of “Blood Debts” and “Alex Wise vs the End of the World,” as well as author and illustrator Ethan M. Aldridge, who is known for his gothic mystery novel, “Deephaven.”

Tickets to Lavender Con cost $35 for Saturday only or Sunday only and $95 for a two-day VIP experience.

Here’s what else is happening in the D.C. area:


Smithsonian Folklife Festival
From June 26 through July 1, this year’s annual Folklife Festival highlights living traditions of Indigenous peoples with programs that celebrate stories, songs and dance. Find the full schedule here.

Chamber Dance Project, D.C.’s premiere contemporary ballet company, is presenting “Ramblin'” at the Shakespeare Theatre Company. The performance includes live music and runs from Thursday, June 27 through Saturday, June 29.

Cleveland Park Night Market
This Thursday, June 27, shop from over 20 vendors at the Cleveland Park Night Market. The event is outdoors and open to the public.

TASTE di ISLANDS Block Party
On Friday, June 28, celebrate Caribbean culture, food and music at this block party in D.C.’s Navy Yard neighborhood. This 21-and-over party is rain or shine with DJs spinning dancehall, reggae and soca sounds. The event is also expected to offer food trucks with flavors like jerk chicken, plantains and much more. Tickets start at $15 for general admission.


Hot Joe’s Summer Series
The Proverbs Reggae Band maintains the authentic sound of Rasta Roots Reggae Music. Celebrate their musical talents and spiritual message this Saturday, June 29 at Joe’s Movement Emporium in Mt. Rainier, Maryland. Tickets are pay-what-you-wish.

Live Comedy Show
At Silver Spring, Maryland’s Third Hill Brewing Co., laugh it up with several local comedians at a live stand-up comedy show. The event is on Saturday, June 29. Tickets cost $10.

Drag Bingo
The BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown, Maryland, is hosting this bingo night with drag queen Tula and her friends. The event on Saturday, June 29 costs $50.


Bela Dona Band
At Alexandria, Virginia’s venue, known as The Birchmere, the Bela Dona Band is performing this Friday, June 28 with their funk, jazz, R&B and rock sounds. Tickets cost approximately $40.

Loud & Proud Disco Putt
Costing $65 per ticket, celebrate World Pride Day on Friday, June 28 with mini golf, plus drag queens and disco music. As part of the pre-sale package, guests will enjoy discounted food and drinks and entry into a swag raffle. This event at Perch Putt is located in Tysons, Virginia.

Well Ray
For the eighth year, the Well Ray event is happening on Saturday, June 29 in Alexandria, Virginia’s Del Ray neighborhood. The outdoor festival is highlighting a variety of local health and wellness opportunities with over 40 vendors, plus free fitness and dance classes.

Have an event you’d like featured in WTOP’s Things to do in the D.C. area weekly guide? Fill out this contact form to have your event considered.

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Michelle Goldchain

Michelle Goldchain’s reporting has focused primarily on the D.C. area, previously working as Editor of Curbed DC for Vox Media and Audience Growth & Engagement Editor for Washington City Paper. She is the author of “D.C. by Metro: A History & Guide.” She also reports for 'Artsplained' on YouTube.

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