Isn’t It Time for a Tenleytown Festival?

This past Sunday, my family and I took advantage of the gorgeous autumn weather to walk up to the Tenleytown Block Party at Wisconsin Avenue and River Road.  The event, hosted by The City Church, was open to the community and drew a solid crowd, pulled in by hot dogs and hamburgers, ice cream, good music and family friendly activities for all ages.  I’m not sure how many residents attended the event, but it was great to feel a buzz in the heart of Tenleytown.

Tenleytown Block Party, September 2013

The block party coincided with the weekend of the Taste of Friendship Heights, an annual event just up the road highlighting local restaurants and benefiting the Community Council for the Homeless at Friendship Place.

And I started to wonder: why hasn’t Tenleytown as a community come together to celebrate all that we love about this neighborhood?  Don’t get me wrong, Tenleytown is home to several, active local groups that host excellent events.  May Fair at Friendship (Turtle) Park and the Fort Reno concert series are but two examples.  But when was the last time Tenleytown celebrated itself? 

Lots of DC neighborhoods host festivals to showcase restaurants, local businesses and artists, build community and attract visitors – Columbia Heights Day, Adams Morgan Day, the H Street Festival and many more.  Some of these may be too ambitious or large scale for what Tenleytowners might want, but in some form it’s time we fêted our special corner of DC and invited others to get to know why we are proud to call it home.

Tenleytown has a diverse and, hopefully, growing restaurant scene, many local performing and visual artists and studios, strong local businesses and a wealth of history. Equally important, this neighborhood was built on and still holds dear a spirit of community.  Yet, it remains one of the unsung gems of the city.

A local festival would allow neighbors to mix and mingle, highlight what Tenleytown has to offer and draw economic activity to this area. Fort Reno, and surrounding blocks, could be an ideal venue for a festival; the summer concert series held there has proven to draw large crowds from Tenleytown and around DC.

I hope the recently proposed business district improvement organization – or one of the many other active Tenleytown associations – will consider organizing a Tenleytown Day to showcase area businesses, build community and put Tenleytown on the map.  I’ll gladly stand up and volunteer if they do.