Plans Advance for Months of Celebrating Eastern Market Anniversary

Eastern Market stakeholders and community members met last night to plan the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Eastern Market. Here, Eastern Market Main Street Chair Mary Quillian Helms (center with back to camera) addresses the group. Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee representative and chair of the Planning Group is Brian Pate (center in red coat.)

CM Charles Allen said, “It’s going to take all of us…I envision this group growing as we think about who to bring in…this will be exciting…a celebration and creation of a vision coming out of civic pride…a great way to bring people back together again after what we’ve been through over the past two years.”

Plans Advance for Months of Celebrating Eastern Market Anniversary

by Larry Janezich

Posted March 1, 2023

Tuesday night, a group of stakeholders convened to plan the eight month celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Eastern Market.  The meeting was chaired by EMCAC Board Member Brian Pate.  Some 20 community members turned out, including Councilmember Charles Allen. 

Allen provided an overview of the goal which, he said, was an opportunity to determine how to celebrate, promote, and advance Eastern Market… not just a celebration but a determination of “what we are and what we want to be.” 

Pate called it a celebration of Eastern Market but also of the community and the arts.  He announced that Eastern Market Main Street had applied for a $400,000 grant for funding a series of events which will begin on March 20 and stretch through the actual birthday of the Market on November 12. 

Allen was optimistic about receiving assistance from EventsDC, saying decision makers appeared to be excited by the prospect of participating in funding, designing, and marketing the anniversary. 

Mary Quillian Helms, Chair of the Eastern Market Main Street Board of Directors, and Barry Margeson, Co-chair, discussed some of the items on the preliminary calendar of events.  Additional details were provided by Eastern Market Main Street Executive Director Ann Blackwell

Among those items: 

  • March 20: 150th Market Banner Installation.
  • March – 20 April 9:  The Cherry Blossom Experience – which will include filling the North Hall with cherry blossoms.
  • March 26:  Capitol Hill Arts Workshop celebrates Eastern Market with events throughout the day.
  • March 30:  Capitol Hill Restoration Society presents an Eastern Market History Lecture by Capitol Hill author Robert Pohl.
  • April 1-2: Capitol Art Book Fair in North Hall.
  • May 6:  The History of Eastern Market Book Launch in association with The Literary Hill Event.
  • May 19:  Market Day – A 150 table community picnic set up on 7th Street.  Family activities all day.
  • November 12:  An Anniversary Celebration with all day family activities and cerebration in the North Hall that night.

Allen said that the events calendar – currently heavily weighted in favor of April events – would continue to be built out by the efforts of the group as they focus on the summer and fall. 

A brainstorming session which followed produced a number of ideas, including a kick-off media event featuring Mayor Bowser, a food shopping tour, the sale of an anniversary beer, additional programming related to the history of the Market, soliciting community restaurants to provide cooking demonstrations with Eastern Market products, and creation and sale of an Eastern Market jigsaw puzzle. 

The first event is 20 days away, and the group will meet again before then, though a date has not yet been set. 

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