The Washington, D.C., area and its surrounding communities in Maryland and Virginia host many annual festivals and special events. There is something for everyone, especially in September.
In 2020, many of these September events may be canceled, postponed, or altered, so be sure to check the official organizers' websites for the latest details.
Washington, D.C., Events
The capital of the United States is filled with things to do all year, and September is no exception. Enjoy everything from international film festivals to guided tours of Washington, D.C., and its neighborhoods.
- Adams Morgan Day: Occurring on the second Sunday of September in Washington, D.C., this free annual street festival in the Adams Morgan neighborhood is the longest-running neighborhood festival in the city. Featuring international food, live music and dance, art, and cultural demonstrations, the festive day offers something for all tastes. It's also full of sidewalk cafes and vendors, and in 2020 mixes in virtual events on September 13, 2020.
- DC Beer Week: The DC Brewers' Guild puts on a beer festival each year in the middle of the month, with hundreds of venues involved. Local breweries, bars, and restaurants throughout Washington, D.C., and metropolitan Virginia and Maryland host a variety of beer-related events. You'll have lots of fun with everything from beer dinners to craft beer tastings to educational panels to glassware giveaways and more. This festival was extended in 2020, with events stretching from September 13 to 26.
- The DC Shorts International Film Festival: For several days, this Washington, D.C., event showcases one of the biggest short film collections in the United States, along with discussions with filmmakers. Shorts from approximately 30 countries around the world are in the spotlight, bringing a global view to the city. The festival is virtual in 2020 from September 10 to 23.
- Fiesta DC: This annual event held on the third Saturday of September in Downtown Washington, D.C., brings the fun with a parade, a beauty pageant contest, arts and crafts, international cuisine, a children’s festival, and more. The fiesta is part of National Hispanic Heritage Month which starts in the middle of September. The month celebrates the culture and traditions of Spanish-speaking residents who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. This event was canceled and not rescheduled in 2020.
- Labor Day Capitol Concert: The free concert on The West Lawn of the United States Capitol, in Washington, D.C., is an annual tradition on the Sunday of the holiday weekend. Enjoy the National Symphony Orchestra's typical patriotic song performances in honor of the holiday. In case inclement weather arises, the concert will be moved to the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. The 2020 concerts were canceled.
- Taste of Georgetown: This long-running event on the fourth Sunday of the month provides locals and visitors with sample dishes from over 30 Georgetown restaurants. Beer, wine, and live music are enjoyable parts of the event for adults, but children's activities are also available. This event has not been rescheduled for 2020.
- Turkish Festival: Celebrate the art and culture of Turkey with a variety of family-friendly activities, crafts, and more on the final Sunday of the month. Organized by the non-profit American Turkish Association of Washington, D.C., the event is held in front of Freedom Plaza. Highlights include Turkish coffee, cuisine, and desserts provided by local restaurants. The festival lasts from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on September 27, 2020.
- Unity Walk: On the second Sunday of September in Washington, D.C., the Unity Walk's opening ceremony and resource fair are held at Washington Hebrew Congregation, while other event components are at the Islamic Center and the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial. In commemoration of the September 11 attacks, the walk allows the diverse faith groups in the Washington, D.C., metro area to come together and support each other. Each house of worship will teach the public about their religion and offer building tours and traditional foods. The event will be held virtually on September 13, 2020.
- WalkingTown DC: Starting in mid-September, enjoy over 50 free guided tours of the city's neighborhoods in this annual nine-day event led by licensed tour guides, historians, business owners, community leaders, and other experts. While you check out the nation’s capital, you'll learn about the history, art, and culture. Options range from happy hour tours to lunchtime and weekend tours. No in-person tours are scheduled for 2020, but virtual tours are available.
- ZooFiesta: Start off the Smithsonian-wide Hispanic Heritage Month with a celebration of Latin American culture and wildlife through a variety of family-oriented activities, live music and dance, and special keeper talks. Taking place on the third Saturday of September in Washington, D.C., this event is held at Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. The 2020 ZooFiesta was canceled, but the zoo reopened at a limited capacity.
Maryland offers numerous fun activities in the month of September, including county fairs, street and art events, and a 16th century Renaissance festival.
- Anne Arundel County Fair: This event at Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds in Crownsville, Maryland, runs for five days and offers activities for the whole family. Whether you are looking for carnival rides, farm animals, pig races, or even an antique sawmill, you will find it here. You could even enter the pie-eating contest or the talent show. This event has been canceled for 2020.
- Calvert County Fair: This Prince Frederick, Maryland, event has a rich history dating back to 1886 when men gathered to show cattle and tobacco to each other. The four-day fair taking place at the end of the month includes a wide range of activities including farm animals, exhibits, musical entertainment, carnival rides, and contests. Look for Southern Maryland cooking and baked goods. The 2020 fair was canceled.
- Charles County Fair: Head to this event in Charles County Fairgrounds, La Plata, Maryland, if you and your family love seeing farm animals, playing games, and going on carnival rides. The four-day fair also has entertainment, demonstrations, and activities for all ages, plus food. The event has been postponed to 2021.
- The Great Frederick Fair: This week-long event in the middle of September has a long history dating back to 1862 and is held at the Frederick Fairgrounds. Attendees can experience musical entertainment, tractor pulls, fair food, and all sorts of other fun features. Like any agricultural fair, there are animal-related activities such as an equine expo and showcase and a workshop teaching kids up to age 10 how to make stick horses. The fair has been canceled for 2020.
- Hyattsville Arts and Ales Festival: On the third Saturday of September, more than 100 artists and performers will span three streets in the Gateway Arts District of downtown Hyattsville, Maryland. This free event is family-friendly, providing activities for children as well. The festival has been officially canceled for 2020.
- In the Streets Festival: This Frederick, Maryland, festival around since 1982 usually has over 75,000 people attending. The festivities take over the downtown area with live entertainment and you can enjoy food and craft beverages, arts and crafts, four stages of music, kids' activities, and additional fun. The festival has been postponed until 2021.
- Maryland Renaissance Festival: Explore a 16th century English village in Crownsville, Maryland, with crafts, food, live performances, games, and plenty more to do on weekends through late October. Held on the grounds of the Anne Arundel Fairgrounds, the festival attracts more than 14,000 visitors each day. Rent Renaissance-era costumes if you like, while you stroll around to see more than 140 artisans exhibiting crafts. This event has been canceled for 2020.
- Maryland Seafood Festival: In Sandy Point State Park, Annapolis, Maryland, this annual gathering held on a weekend early in the month offers fun for the whole family. Check out The Capital Crab Soup Cook-off, live music performances, craft booths, a sand soccer tournament, and other activities. This event has been postponed until 2021.
- Prince George's County Fair: The fair in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, dates back to 1842, making it the oldest running fair in the state. Enjoy carnival rides, a family circus, fireworks, live entertainment, and food at Show Place Arena for four days in early September. The event also features live animal and craft competitions. The fair has been postponed to September 9 to 12, 2021.
If you are in Virginia in September, you'll find something appealing to all tastes with events ranging from a home decor show to a jazz festival to a Scottish heritage celebration.
- Alexandria Old Town Art Festival: Every September, Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, features award-winning U.S. artists specializing in everything from paintings to ceramics to life-size sculptures, photographs, glass, jewelry, and more. Formerly the King Street Art Festival, this free outdoor art event takes over John Carlyle Square on September 12 and 13, 2020.
- Capital Home Show: See what's new in building, remodeling, and decorating at this event at Dulles Expo Center taking place on the fourth weekend of the month in Chantilly, Virginia. You'll be able to shop, compare, and save on all of your home improvement projects. Famous local and national experts will provide guidance on design, remodeling, home improvement, and more. This event has been postponed to September 24 to 26, 2021.
- Mount Vernon's Colonial Craft Fair: On the third weekend of September, get to Mount Vernon, Virginia, for a fair that recreates an early U.S. marketplace with artist demonstrations, family entertainment, and 18th-century amusements. The marketplace is set up in a 12-acre field on George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate. You'll hear colonial music and be able to see Mount Vernon's costumed interpreters making an authentic chocolate recipe that's over 200 years old. In 2020, Mount Vernon is open and hosts the craft fair on September 19 and 20.
- Rosslyn Jazz Festival: Enjoy a day of free jazz concerts the first Saturday of the month at Gateway Park in Rosslyn, Virginia, during the largest outdoor music festival in Arlington County. This lively event has been taking place for nearly 30 years. Many 2020 events organized by Rosslyn BID were canceled, but the jazz festival has adapted to accommodate limited in-person seating and virtual viewing of Rosslyn Jazz Supper Clubs on September 23 and 30, 2020.
- Virginia Scottish Games: Celebrate Alexandria's Scottish Heritage with live music and dance competitions, a British Car Show, children's games, Celtic crafts, and foods. The two-day event takes place at the Grounds of Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia, with one highlight being the Highland Athletic Competition, in which athletes test their strength on the field of honor. This event has been postponed to September 4 and 5, 2021.