- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 2, 2007

The District is not always the most desirable place to be in the summer, considering the soaring temperatures and high humidity that tend to drench the city. But what might make staying or visiting the city more attractive — at least to the pocketbook — are the many free activities the capital has to offer.

“D.C. is really known for its free attractions and memorials. The unexpected is how much of that extends into the evening,” says Victoria Isley, spokeswoman for the Washington, DC Convention and Tourism Corp.

For example, the Shakespeare Theatre’s Free for All program at Carter Barron Amphitheatre, which offers its last performance of “Love’s Labor’s Lost” at 7:30 tonight, is a free evening treat.

“It’s supposed to be just hilarious,” Ms. Isley says of the Bard-meets-flower-power production of the old tale of the battle of the sexes.

Also in June is the World Children’s Festival, which takes place June 23 through 25 on the Mall between Fourth and Seventh streets. The event will feature live music, storytelling, drama, poetry, painting and talks on everything from the environmental movement in Kazakhstan to cartoon creations from Brazil.

“It’s a great opportunity to learn about other cultures and broaden one’s global education,” says organizer Ashfaq Ishaq, executive director at the District-based International Child Art Foundation. “We’ll have more than 300 educators. … It’s the world’s largest celebration of children’s art and creativity.”

Also showcased during the festival will be dozens of artistic entries from American children participating in the third Arts Olympiad, also organized by the International Child Art Foundation.

“The Olympiad celebrates the artist-athlete, the ideal of a creative mind and a healthy body,” Mr. Ishaq says. “We have some really great entries.”

The summer also features a Girl Scout singalong, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, a waterlily festival and an American Indian powwow among many, many other offerings.

“There is something going on every weekend, every weekday, every weeknight in this city,” Ms. Isley says. “It’s hard to beat.”

In addition to the listing below of some of the city’s free summer offerings, Ms. Isley recommends that families check in with museums such as the National Archives, the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian museums to find out about free family-friendly summer programs.

“Love’s Labor’s Lost,” 7:30 tonight, Carter Barron Amphitheatre, 16th Street and Colorado Avenue Northwest. Free. Although it’s free, tickets are needed and can be picked up at noon at the amphitheater box office. Lines form early. Information: 202/547-1122 or www.nps.gov/rocr/plan yourvisit/cbarronschedule.htm.

DanceAfrica DC, 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday and June 10. All-day outdoor African dance performances at Dance Place, 3225 Eighth St. NE. Bring lawn chairs or blankets. Free. Also part of this festival are master classes in African dance, which will be taught tomorrow through June 10 for $15 per class. Information: 202/269-1600 or www.danceplace.org.

Girl Scouts 95th Anniversary Sing-Along, 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday on the Mall. More than 100,000 Girl Scouts are expected to participate. Free. Information: www.girlscouts.org.

World Children’s Festival, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 23 through 25 on the Mall between Fourth and Seventh streets Northwest. Free. Information: 202/530-1000 or www.icaf.org.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. June 27 through July 1 and July 4 through 8. Evening activities start at 6. More than 1 million visitors are expected to view the outdoor exhibits and performances and participate in activities celebrating Roots of Virginia Culture, the Mekong River and Northern Ireland at the Smithsonian. Free. Information: 202/275-1150 or www.folklife.si.edu/festival/2007/index.html.

National Archives 4th of July Celebration, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 4, Constitution Avenue between Seventh and Ninth streets Northwest. The celebration will feature patriotic music, dramatic readings of the Declaration of Independence and family activities. Also, meet re-enactors portraying historical figures such as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Susan B. Anthony. Information: 202/357-5000 or www.archives.gov.

Independence Day Parade, 11:45 a.m. July 4; starts at Constitution Avenue and Seventh Street Northwest and goes to 17th Street Northwest. Free. Information: 800/215-6405.

A Capitol Fourth Concert, 8 p.m. July 4, West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. This event features a 90-minute live musical extravaganza with artists such as the National Symphony Orchestra. Free.

Independence Day Fireworks, sundown July 4, Washington Monument. Free.

Waterlily Festival, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 21, Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, Anacostia Avenue and Douglas Street Northeast. The festival will showcase more than 75 varieties of blooming lilies and lotus plants. Miniworkshops will be available on water gardening, along with nature videos and tours of the greenhouses. Free. Information: 202/426-6905 or www.nps.gov/kepa.

Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, National Powwow, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Aug. 10 through 12, Fourth Street and Independence Avenue Southwest. This event will feature dance performances and regalia-making demonstrations. Free. Information: 202/633-1000 or www.americanindian.si.edu.

m 19th annual DC Blues Festival, 1 to 7 p.m. Sept. 1, Carter Barron Amphitheatre, 16th Street and Colorado Avenue Northwest. Free. This annual event features local and national acts. Information: 202/426-0486 or www.dcblues.org.

m National Symphony Orchestra Labor Day Concert, 8 p.m. Sept. 2, West Lawn of the Capitol. This annual event features a performance by the National Symphony Orchestra. Free. Information: 800/444-1324 or www.kennedy-center.org.

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