Cultural Gathering Items (17 total)

Since the wedding in 1812 of First Lady Dolley Madison's sister, close friends and family members of presidents married at the White House. A total of 17 couples tied the knot in the White House, including President Grover Cleveland. Many of these…

Congress occasionally planted Christmas trees on the Capitol grounds, but it was not until 1964 when an annual ritual began. Senator Carl Hayden of Arizona, President Pro Tempore of the US Senate, presided over the first lighting ceremony on December…

On the first night of Hanukkah in 1979, President Jimmy Carter walked from the White House to Lafayette Park to light the first public Menorah near the Mall. Sponsored by the American Friends of Chabad-Lubavitch, Abraham Shemtov and Levi Shemtov…

On December 24, 1923, President Calvin Coolidge lit the first National Christmas Tree on the grounds of the Ellipse. Community volunteers and civic leaders, worked together with local schools and the Society of Electrical Development to organize the…

As soon as the Japanese cherry trees were planted, Washingtonians and tourists enjoyed the blossoms every spring. Although there were cherry blossom fetes in the 1920s, they were mostly held in Hains Point. The first Cherry Blossom Festival, which…

The National Powwows began in September 2002. They were organized by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in anticipation of the opening of the museum. The events were attended by thousands from the US and Canada to celebrate…

The First Annual Smithsonian Kite Carnival (later referred to as the Kite Festival) took place on the National Mall on March 25, 1967. Individuals could compete in contests with homemade kites as well as ready-made ones. The festival also included…

America’s Millennium Gala was the culminating event of a larger three-day project celebrating the millennium. The event was produced by Quincy Jones and George Stevens Jr., hosted by Will Smith, and premiered a film by Steven Spielberg. Festivities…

The DC Latino Festival first began in 1970 as a neighborhood celebration of the diverse Latino community within Washington. Growing each year, the Festival moved to the Mall in 1989 and has also been held on Pennsylvania Avenue. Today the festival,…

The National Black Family Reunion is a cultural event held annually on the Mall. Sponsored by the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), the event celebrates black community, church, and family values. It was first established by Dr. Dorothy I.…
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