D.C. National Guard band, photo via 257th Army BandThe D.C. National Guard’s army band is set to entertain locals for free this weekend.

Musicians carrying trumpets, trombones and tubas will perform at the D.C. Armory Ellipse (2001 East Capitol St. NE) this Saturday at 3 p.m., according to a Facebook post.

The army band’s members will play songs “classics from almost every musical genre,” according to a press release.

The performance, which just one stop on the 257th Army Band’s summer concert series, is free and open to members of the public.

Photo via Facebook / 257th Army Band

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potato giveaway (Photo via Helping Hands)Hundreds of gently used winter coats and other clothing and more than 11 tons of potatoes will be distributed for free Saturday at the D.C. Armory.

The potato and coat giveaway is one of several annual events held by Helping Hands Inc, a local charity that also gives away food for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This is the first event that Helping Hands has hosted at the Armory at 192 19th Street SE. Helping Hands have collected a large amount of gently used winter clothing and at least 450 50 pound bags of potatoes, more than 11 tons.

Greg Baldwin, the president of Helping Hands, said the organization gets bulk shipments of food and other donated items and distributes them for free whenever it can.

There is no need to pre-register for the event, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and everything will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Those interested in volunteering to help set up the event can arrive between 7:45 and 8 a.m. to help sort the clothes into men’s, women’s and children’s areas.

Photo via Helping Hands, Inc.

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Capitol Building

Over the past few weekends, the Capitol Hill area has weathered the peak of D.C. street festival season and the empty, but persistent, threats of a hurricane.

This Columbus Day weekend in D.C. should be a little quieter, with the major exception of Taste of D.C., which will take over Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 3rd and 7th streets NW Saturday and Sunday. On the east side of the Capitol, the D.C. Armory will hold a two-day expo to celebrate the Army Ten-Miler. The expo will have performances, interactive exhibits and workout gear sales.

Columbus Day on Monday could shake things up for commuters who don’t have the day off or people who are planning to use their day off to run errands.

Here’s everything you need to know to make the most of a two or three day weekend in the Capitol Hill area.

Columbus Day

  • Schools, libraries and local government offices will be closed.
  • Parking enforcement only will take place along the H Street NE streetcar route.
  • No Trash and recycling collection will occur. All collection will move back one day.
  • Metrorail will open at 5 a.m. and close at midnight. There is planned maintenance that will cause single-tracking on the Red and Green lines
  • Metro buses will operate on a Saturday schedule, with some post-midnight trips cut.

Weather

The forecast for this weekend is a welcome turnaround from the gray days of last weekend. It’s expected to be sunny all weekend with temperatures in the high 60s and low 70s.

Events

Army Ten-Miler Race Expo
Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (8:30 – 10 a.m. for U.S. military and Defense Department workers)
D.C. Armory (2001 East Capitol St. SE)

D.C. residents don’t have to have run in Sunday’s Army Ten-Miler to stop by the race’s expo, held all day Friday and Saturday. Vendors inside the D.C. Armory will have sales on running clothing, shoes and accessories. Old Guard Drill Team and Fife and Drum Corps performances will happen throughout the day inside the armory, while Army special operations soldiers will host interactive exhibits outside the expo. The displays may include helicopters, trucks and a tank. The expo is free.

Southwest DC Waterfront Boat-Home Tours
Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Gangplank Marina (600 Water St. SW)

Meet the “liveaboard” community at Gangplank Marina as they open their doors to the public in the name of charity. The tour is self-guided with the opportunity to see up to 18 boat homes and learn about the residents’ lifestyles. Tickets are available for $20 online, and proceeds will benefit local southwest charities. The tours will happen as scheduled rain or shine.

Metrorail

  • Additional Metro staff will work Saturday at Union Station, Capitol South and Federal Center Southwest during the “Justice or Else” 20th anniversary of the Million Man March rally on the National Mall.
  • Metrorail will open at 5 a.m. on Sunday for the Army Ten-Miler. Additional Blue Line trains will run between Franconia-Springfield and Stadium-Armory between 6 a.m. and 8:40 a.m. and between 11:15 a.m. and 12:40 p.m.

Metrobus

  • Several buses, including buses on the 30N, 30S, 32 and 36 lines, will detour around the Taste of D.C. on Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 7th streets.
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Spirit of America (Photo via U.S. Army Military District of Washington)

D.C. residents have three more chances to see the U.S. Army’s Spirit of America show for free at the D.C. Armory before it moves on to Fairfax.

The Spirit of America, a performance that traces the history of the U.S. military from the Revolutionary War to today, had not been performed in Washington in four years when it debuted on Thursday. The three remaining performances will be held at 7:30 tonight, and Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. at the Armory at 2001 East Capitol St. SE.

The two-hour show includes traditional military music and marches as well as reenactments of scenes from past wars. The performers are active-duty soldiers from the Army’s ceremonial units.

Doors for the show open 90 minutes before show start times. No tickets are required, but all seats are first-come-first-served. The U.S. Army Military District of Washington, which is sponsoring the show, invite people of all ages, though they warn that the reenactments include loud simulated gunfire.

After Saturday, the performance will move to EagleBank Arena in Fairfax where shows will be held next Friday and Saturday.

Editor’s Note: The Spirit of Washington is a Hill Now advertiser

Photo via U.S. Army Military District of Washington

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RFK Stadium (Photo via Google Maps)Capitol Hill area residents will get a chance to weigh in on the future uses of the RFK stadium campus at a community meeting next week.

Events DC, which manages the property, is holding the meeting to give residents a better understanding of the redevelopment process and give them a chance to voice their preferences for the campus, which includes the stadium, the Armory and the surrounding lot. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16 at St. Coletta of Greater Washington (1901 Independence Ave. SE).

Officials from Brailsford & Dunlavey, a property management company hired to help plan future redevelopments at the stadium will also be at the meeting.Pete Kirschner, a spokesperson for Events DC says that Brailsford & Dunlavey are tasked with coming up with short and long-term plans for the future of the site.

“We’ve tasked them with getting a better understanding of what this community wants and what this market can bear,” he said.

Representatives from Events DC say they hope to use the meeting to give community members a better understanding of the redevelopment and planning process, which is limited by restrictions on the property’s lease. The property, which is owned by the National Parks Service, is under a 50-year lease to the District which requires that the land be used for public spaces.

However, Kirschner also stressed that the event is not only an informative meeting for community members, but also a chance for community members to voice their wishes directly to the company in charge of future plans for the site.

“We’ve always had an ongoing conversation with the neighbors and we definitely have an open-door policy with them,” he said. “We’re more than willing to take their suggestions because they’re the ones that are actually in this area.”

In the past, neighborhood groups have voiced support for putting sports fields at the property or using some of the parking lot space to set up a weekend market. Pete Kirschner, a spokesperson for Events DC, says that they hope to find a balance between these smaller projects and larger, more long-term plans for the site.

Next week’s meeting will be the first of two meetings to discuss the future of the stadium area. Those interested in attending the event are asked to RSVP online.

Photo via Google Maps

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Hundreds of Stevie Wonder fans descended on a field near RFK Stadium this morning to hear the Grammy-award winning artist perform “Sir Duke,” “I Wish” and some of his other hits for free.

The pop-up show, which was announced just hours before Wonder took the stage, drew more than 500 singing and dancing concertgoers, despite the late notice. Many of the attendees said they left work or switched their schedules to catch the five-song set.

“I just messaged my boss and said, “It’s my birthday. I don’t have any meetings today, and this is happening so I’m going to go,'” Fairlawn resident Rebecca Wyatt said. “Stevie Wonder is an American institution. Asking if you’re a Stevie Wonder fan is like asking if you’re a fan of pie.”

About 40 teachers and administrators from the Kingsman Academy Public Charter School in northeast Capitol Hill walked to the show together.

“We had a full day of [professional development] scheduled, but we put that aside and said, ‘Let’s have some fun,'” said Karimah Ware, the school’s director of interventions. “We’ll do a working lunch and catch up.”

The audience also included several National Guard members who work in the D.C. Armory building and a group of people brought to the show by D.C. General homeless shelter.

The surprise concert was a promotional event for Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life” tour, which was just extended to include 20 more U.S. dates, including an Oct. 3 performance at the Verizon Center. Tickets for the D.C. show go on sale tomorrow.

The performance, which started at 10 a.m. and lasted about an hour, was the first of three free performances that Wonder performed on Monday. After finishing his set in D.C., Wonder left for Philadelphia, to perform a similar surprise show. He also will head to New York later today to play in the city’s Central Park.

On stage, Wonder talked about his new “Curb the Bullet” campaign against gun violence, and also brought out his children in between a set that included “Sir Duke,” “I Wish” and “As.”

The pop-up concert was the second such show hosted by Events DC, which also put on a surprise concert by local rapper Wale on the H Street corridor in April. Erik Moses, senior vice president and managing director of Events DC, said he hopes the success of the shows will encourage more organizations and performers to come to the District.

“All of us are interested in making certain that brands and event organizers know that D.C. is open for business,” he said. “We didn’t become the coolest city in America by telling everybody no.”

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SneakerCon (Photo via Twitter/SneakerCon)

Looking for limited-release Air Jordans or other rare sneakers? The D.C. Armory might have them next month.

Sneaker fans can buy, sell and trade shoes at the building near RFK Stadium on April 18. The annual D.C.-area SneakerCon will feature more than 2,000 vendors from 12 to 7 p.m. that Saturday.

Tickets cost $25 online and at the door.

“We can’t wait to invade the nation’s capital by bringing together vendors with the hottest gear and collectors from across the DMV,” event organizer Alan Vinogradov said in a statement.

Photo via Twitter/SneakerCon

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