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Barracks Row Fest Is Saturday

The third annual Barracks Row Fest will offer shopping, music performances and children’s activities this Saturday along the revitalized Capitol Hill corridor.

The festival is “a way to bring more attention to the community” and to “showcase all the new businesses in the neighborhood,” said Bill McLeod, executive director of Barracks Row Main Street, which has led efforts to revitalize the corridor along Eighth Street Southeast.

The festival will take place between the 500 and 700 blocks of Eighth Street Southeast from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday.

Over the past three years, the festival has “quadrupled in size,” McLeod said. The first year “there were a few vendors in a parking lot; last year there were 45 businesses in one block; and this year there are 60 businesses in two blocks,” he said.

“More vendors know what Barracks Row Main Street is and what we’re about,” McLeod said. “They know it’s a place to come to now.”

In addition to a few vendors who will set up carts in the street, many businesses will set up displays in front of their stores to attract customers to come inside, McLeod said.

“Most of the businesses will open up their stores and make it special for that day,” he said.

McLeod said that “there will be a lot of diversity” in the music performances. “We hope to appeal to a lot of different people with different tastes.”

Among the music groups performing are the Marine Corps Brass Quartet, a hip-hop group called Ar-sin, the Hine Junior High School marching band, the People’s Church Youth Choir, and a country group called Bourbon Dynasty, McLeod said. They will perform on a stage in front of the Marine Barracks gate.

There will be more activities for children this year since “everybody in the Capitol Hill area has kids,” McLeod said. Children’s activities will include a moon bounce, face painting, pony rides, a sword-fighting show put on by a Shakespeare Theatre group and exhibits from the National Children’s Museum, he said.

Children’s activities will have “a nominal charge of about a quarter” to keep track of how many children attend the festival, McLeod said.

McLeod said he is expecting about 5,000 people to attend the festival. Citing the 4,000 people who attended last year’s festival, he said, “If we can top that, it will be great.

“This is really a community event,” he said. More than 25 businesses are sponsoring the festival, he said.

The festival is open to the public and free of charge. To learn more, see www.barracks

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