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This is the only time of year when downtown traffic is remotely interesting... primarily because, for one evening, that traffic consists of elephants.
The annual Pachyderm Parade marks the arrival of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus in the District. The elephants stroll into town as part of a parade that includes clowns, motorcycles, horses, donkeys and, rumor has it, a watusi. (A watusi is basically a really, really awesome-looking breed of cattle.)
This year's parade is set for Tuesday, March 13 at 8 p.m. -- so, no, it won't mess with rush hour. The parade will begin on Virginia and New Jersey avenue SE at Garfield Park, will travel west on Independence Avenue SW, north on 3rd Street SW/NW, and arrive on G Street NW at the Verizon Center around 9 p.m.
Local bars and restos will be offering happy hour specials prior to the parade (5-7:30 p.m.), including Carmine's, Co Co. Sala, Graffiato and Ping Pong Dim Sum. See the complete list here.
NOTE: A D.C. resident, Melissa Lane, is currently circulating a petition asking the the participating businesses to stop supporting the circus. The petition reads in part:
"I live in DC. I care about animals. This is not acceptable. Please sign my petition to ask these restaurants and the Business Improvement District to stop supporting elephant cruelty.
According to CNN, "Feld Entertainment Inc., which produces the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, has agreed to pay $270,000 for allegedly violating the Animal Welfare Act on several occasions from June 2007 to August 2011, according to a USDA news release."
That petition is viewable here. A photo on the page may be disturbing.