Summer Spirit Festival
If you haven't yet gotten to an outdoor concert this season, it's time to get into the summer spirit with some of R&B and hip hop's most soulful performers. On Saturday, head to Maryland's Merriweather Post Pavilion for the Summer Spirit Festival hosted by Mike Epps, a stand-up comedian and rapper known for appearances in "The Hangover" and other films. The festival's headliners include D'Angelo, the R&B and neo-soul singer/songwriter/instrumentalist heavily influenced by Marvin Gaye and Prince, as well as Erykah Badu, who won the 1998 Grammy for best female R&B vocal performance and best R&B album and boasts hits including "On & On," "Bad Lady" and "Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip Hop)." Busta Rhymes, the 11-time Grammy nominee known for his fast rapping and clever rhymes, also will perform, was will Rare Essence, Black Alley and Hiatus Kaiyote. Saturday at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, Md. 410/715-5500. Web: merriweathermusic.com.
Young Contemporaries Exhibition
The dozens of small art galleries throughout Washington's Dupont Circle neighborhood don't get the same attention as those on the Mall — all the more reason to give them a visit. This weekend is the perfect time to explore Hillyer Art Space, a contemporary gallery featuring works by local artists founded in 2006 by International Arts & Artists, a nonprofit organization devoted to cross-cultural arts. With a reception Friday evening, the gallery will open an exhibit featuring art of all mediums by young artists and recent art school graduates in the Washington area, with a cash prize to be awarded to one artist. The event is part of the neighborhood's First Friday initiative to promote the galleries on the first Friday of each month with exhibit openings and other special events. Through Aug. 30 at the Hillyer Art Space, 9 Hillyer Court NW. 202/338-0680. Web: artsandartists.org.
Howard County Fair
The Washington area's numerous summer county fairs may not be famous for butter cow sculptures or straw polls, but they certainly feature plenty of old-fashioned family fun. Now in its 68th year, the Howard County Fair opens Saturday for a week full of traditional fairground activities ranging from produce displays and bingo games, to pig races and rodeos, to music performances and magic shows. The highlights of opening day include the 19th annual tractor pull and a pay-one-price deal for unlimited rides and games on the midway, as well as tributes to our armed forces. Throughout the week, hear bands including Alexandria's King Street Bluegrass Band, the Rock & Roll Relics, who cover the Beatles and Beach Boys, and country star Richie Fields — or if you're a performer yourself, compete for $500 in Thursday's amateur variety talent show. Through Aug. 10 at the Howard County Fairgrounds, 2210 Howard County Fair Road, West Friendship, Md. 410/442-1022. Web: howardcountyfair.org.
The Nine Lives of Wonderland
Before the big box stores and gastropubs popped up in recent years, the Wonderland Ballroom was one of the few destinations for hipsters and yuppies alike in Columbia Heights, the Northwest Washington neighborhood east of 16th Street. Though the neighborhood has rapidly gentrified, the local dive bar in a residential part of the area has remained an institution for nine years now for its beer selection (including Pabst Blue Ribbon) and dance parties. After your Sunday afternoon run to Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond, head to the Wonderland Ballroom for its ninth anniversary party, which features all-night food and drink specials as well as live music by Ian and Friends. Sunday at the Wonderland Ballroom, 1101 Kenyon St. NW. 202/232-5263. Web: thewonderlandballroom.com.
OneRepublic with Mayer Hawthorne and Serena Ryder
Got a case of the Mondays? Make your way to Wolf Trap for an evening of the pleasant sounds of OneRepublic, the American pop rock band from Colorado Springs, Colo., that has taken the music world by storm with hits "Apologize," "Good Life" and "All the Right Moves." Founded in 2003 by Ryan Tedder and Zach Filkins, OneRepublic found fame via MySpace. They released their debut album, "Dreaming Out Loud," in 2007 and quickly soared to chart-topping success. In March, the band released a third album, "Native," which features the hit single "Feel Again." OneRepublic will be joined by Mayer Hawthorne, a singer, instrumentalist and DJ from Ann Arbor, Mich., whose retro sound has been called "Steely Dan meets the Beastie Boys." Serena Ryder, a Canadian singer-songwriter compared to a "teenaged Aretha Franklin," will round out the feel-good evening. Monday at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna, Va. 877/WOLFTRAP. Web: wolftrap.org.
One for the Bay
Oysters are incredibly important to the Chesapeake Bay. The little shellfish not only maintain the health of the Bay by sucking in pollutants and spitting out clean water, but are also, depending on your taste buds, a culinary delicacy. Yet oyster reefs, especially in the Bay, are highly endangered due to pollution and overharvesting. For the past 20 years, the Nature Conservancy and the Oyster Recovery Partnership have teamed up to plant healthy oysters back in the Bay, recycle oyster shells, restore oyster reefs and sea-grass meadows and create a happy, healthy Bay for oysters and humans alike. On Wednesday, both organizations will host One for the Bay, a happy hour to provide an opportunity to learn more about their efforts, with a portion of oyster sales from the event going toward their joint project to restore a 350-acre oyster reef in the Chesapeake Bay. Future happy hours will take place on the first Wednesday of each month through October. Wednesday at McCormick & Schmick's, 1652 K St. NW. 703/841-5300. Web: nature.org/oneforthebay.
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