From summer festivals and July 4 celebrations, our Great Places are always taking advantage of their excellent infrastructure and community programming. These five Great Neighborhoods, Streets, and Public Spaces are celebrating the final days of summer with art, music, and tasty treats.
1. Living Asheville Arts Festival, September 4
Lexington Avenue, Asheville, North Carolina
Great Street 2015
Living Asheville Arts Festival, 2008. Photo by Flickr user Frank Merenda (CC BY-SA 2.0).
LAAF (Living Asheville Arts Festival) is a fun street festival that showcases the creative personality of Asheville with a focus on local artistic and musical communities. Each year, three blocks of North Lexington Avenue in downtown Asheville brim with all local art, food, beer, music, street performers, and spontaneous acts of creativity.
At the heart of Asheville, North Carolina's downtown, Lexington Avenue serves as a creative corridor, something of a distilled version of the city itself. It offers an eclectic mix of more than 200 small businesses and shops ranging from fashionable retro boutiques to a brewpub.
At street level, Lexington Avenue is lined with beautiful brick sidewalks that are complemented by the street trees dotting this urban thoroughfare. The tree canopy helps to reduce heat in the summer months, curb pollution from stormwater runoff, provide habitat for birds in the city, and create a pleasantly leafy street festival experience.
2. Fell’s Point Fun Festival, September 30–October 2
Fell’s Point, Baltimore, Maryland
Great Neighborhood 2012
Fell’s Point Fun Festival 2006. Photo by Flickr user sneakerdog (CC BY 2.0).
The Fell’s Point Fun Festival is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. This annual free event will feature more than 10 live artists on two different stages, plenty of food vendors, and craftspeople will be selling their wares.
With stunning views of the inner harbor and impressive late-18th and early-19th century architecture, the pedestrian-friendly Fell's Point is one of the most charming historic waterfront neighborhoods to peruse on a late summer’s evening.
The Fell's Point Main Street Program, initiated in 2004, helps local businesses upgrade facades and organize public events like the Fun Festival, which brings nearly 700,000 visitors to Fell's Point to support neighborhood preservation.
3. King Street Arts Festival, September 19–20
King Street, Alexandria, Virginia
Great Street 2011
King Street Arts Festival in Alexandria, Virginia. Photo by Howard Alan Events.
The King Street Art Festival transforms Alexandria’s historic main street into a world-class outdoor art gallery. Festival booths line King Street between Washington and Union streets, featuring over six blocks of paintings, life-size sculptures, jewelry, photography, and ceramics by more than 250 artists.
The festival also features Art League's popular Ice Cream Bowl Fundraiser, where local artisanal ice cream is paired with handmade ceramic bowls for $15 per bowl.
Historic, vibrant, and eclectic, King Street has been enhanced by active planning and implementation through its evolution from an 18th century colonial seaport, to a 19th century center of trade, and finally to the center of 21st century commerce and tourism it is today. Compact blocks, attractive sidewalks, interesting storefronts, visible crosswalks contribute to street's walkability.
The free King Street Trolley provides service between Metro Station and waterfront every 15 minutes to provide city dwellers with access to the festivities.
4. Adams Morgan Day, September 11
Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.
Great Neighborhood 2014
Adams Morgan Day Festival 2012. Photo by Flickr user S Pakhrin (CC BY 2.0).
Since 1978, Adams Morgan Day has taken over the streets of lively northwest Washington, D.C., every second weekend in September with live music and international food from around the world.
Though the festival risked cancellation last year, the community worked together to ensure the sidewalk cafes, colorful vendors, cultural demonstrations and dances would fill the streets once more.
The festival boasts a Kids Fair with interactive science exhibits, a full block designation to sell the wares of artisans, and a dance plaza featuring performances that highlight the neighborhood’s rich Latino heritage.
Adams Morgan is exceptionally friendly to pedestrians and bicycles, particularly with the 2012 completion of the Streetscape Project, which improved the streets for pedestrians and added bicycle lanes, Capital Bikeshare stations, and bike racks.
Even for festival-goers who do not want to hop on a bike, excellent public transportation infrastructure makes it easy to get to the festival. The D.C. Circulator provides frequent service connecting Adams Morgan to other neighborhoods, and two Metro stations — Woodley Park and Dupont Circle — are within within walking distance of the neighborhood.
5. Cooper-Young Festival, September 17
Cooper-Young, Memphis, Tennessee
Great Neighborhood 2012
Crowd enjoying music from Lucero at the Cooper-Young Festival in Memphis. Photo by Flickr user Lindsey Turner (CC BY 2.0).
The Cooper-Young Festival is Memphis's single largest annual event. In its 29th year, this event has grown tremendously and is one of Memphis's most highly attended Festivals, with over 130,000 guests will enjoy an appealing mix of art, music and crafts presented by more than 435 artisans from around the country.
Located in the Midtown area, Memphis's largest historic district, Cooper-Young boasts a booming art scene and newly developed downtown area. The neighborhood stands out in Tennessee for its pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, and the Cooper-Young Festival takes advantage of this.
Its pedestrian plaza and other improvements at intersection of Cooper and Young streets in 1989 helped spur commercial development and made the space more conducive to festivities.
About the Author
Samantha Schipani is APA's Great Places in America communications intern.
Top image: Adams Morgan Day in Washington, D.C. Photo by Flickr user Ted Eytan (CC BY-SA 2.0).