Clarendon’s biggest annual street festival, Clarendon Day, is back for its 17th iteration this Saturday, and with it comes the return of the D.C. Chili Cookoff.
This year’s festival goes from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the streets outside the Clarendon Metro station, at the intersection of N. Highland Street and Wilson and Clarendon Blvds. There will be 40 bands and musicians playing on five stages throughout the day, headlined by singer-songwriter Amber Rubarth at 2:45 p.m. on the main stage.
While music will fill the air all afternoon long, so will the smell of chili. The chili cookoff, sponsored by the International Chili Society, will see dozens of homemade chili chefs cooking up batches of red chili, chili verde, salsa and homestyle recipes, all competing for the chance to participate in the World Championship Chili Cookoff this October in Palm Springs, Calif. Chefs will be providing tastings of their chili, and those hankering for something else will be able to choose from more than a dozen local restaurants’ tents.
Participants last year were disappointed by the long lines for beer, which often stretched dozens deep. This year, festival organizer Clarendon Alliance said “we have revised our event layout to allow for faster beverage service,” which includes two bars in different sections, with breweries participating in next month’s Courthouse Arts and Craft Beer Festival and wine.
Along Wilson Blvd, there will again be dozens of arts and crafts vendors and exhibitors, and by Clarendon Central Park there will be activity spaces for children. The festival itself is free to enter.
Roads in Clarendon will be closed all day Saturday to accommodate the festival. That includes starting at 5:00 a.m. on Wilson Blvd to N. Lynn Street to accommodate the annual Clarendon Day 5K/10K, which will also close southbound Route 110 from 8:00-10:00 a.m. Wilson and Clarendon Blvds will close from Washington Blvd to N. Highland Street until the evening, as will Highland Street from 11th Street N. to just before N. Hancock Street.
Flickr pool photo by J Sonder