SATURDAY, SEPT. 4:
- D.C. Blues Festtakes over the Carter Barron Amphitheatre (16th Street and Colorado Ave. N.W.). Performers include Bryan Lee & The Blues Power Band, Cheryl Renee with Them Bones Blues Band and Big Boy Little Band. Noon-7:30 p.m.; free.
- The Middle Eastern Food Festival runs Saturday and Sunday at Holy Transfiguration Melkite Greek-Catholic Church (8501 Lewinsville Road, McLean, Va.). Chow down on Middle Eastern food and Arabic desserts; you'll also find live music, dancing, and activities for both adults and kids, including chess or backgammon. A roast lamb dinner will be served in the afternoons. Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun. noon-6 p.m.; free admission.
- The Page-to-Stage Festival at the Kennedy Center (2700 F St. N.W.) features free readings and open rehearsals of plays and musicals in development. The fest runs through Monday. 2–10 p.m.; free.
- Black Cat (1811 14th St. N.W.) celebrates its 17th anniversary with (duh) a party. The party features acts such as Above the Silence, Bruise Riot, The Guilt, Hot Mess and Triangle Shirt Factory. "[Seventeen years] may not seem like much -- but remember, club years are different than human years. The Black Cat is really 112," says the venue's website. 8 p.m.; $5.
- The Virginia Scottish Games and Festival happens both Saturday and Sunday at Great Meadow (5089 Tavern Road, The Plains, Va.). You'll find Highland dance demos, antique car shows, craft vendors, a pub soccer tournament and more. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; $5-$25.
- Star and Shamrock (1341 H St. N.E.) celebrates the approach of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, with freebies from JDUB Records and tunes from DJ Kosher Stylee. Drink specials include $1 off He’Brew Draught Beers, $1 off Manischewitz Sangria, and $6 L’Chaim Vodka mixed drinks. 8 p.m.; no cover.
- First Saturday means extra fun -- including special performances, historic tours and art exhibits -- in five D.C. neighborhoods. The participating spots: Barracks Row, Deanwood Heights, Dupont, H Street Northeast and Shaw. See schedule here.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 5:
- The Trinidad Neighborhood Block Party and Potluck Cookout is a great way to get to know your neighbors... at least, if you live in Trinidad. Otherwise it could get a little awkward. Anyway, it's happening in the 1200 block of Morse Street N.E. (in front of the Joseph Cole Recreation Center). Expect DJs, dance presentations and grills; bring along something to grill or a side dish. 1-6 p.m.; free.
- The Blackout Dance Party is a party in the dark -- with go-go dancers, of course -- at Cobalt (1639 R St. N.W.). Go for the blacklights and glow stick opportunities. DJs Xtasis and Pete Glow are spinning. 10 p.m.-3 a.m.; $5 before 11 p.m., $7 after.
- It's "Mad Men" Night at Toyland (421 H St. N.E.). Stop by the perfectly retro bar for throwback cocktails and music, and catch up on the latest in the world of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Deck yourself out in a skinny tie or pillbox hat while you're at it, would ya? 8 p.m.; new episode 10 p.m.; no cover.
- The Shakespeare Free-for-All is ending this weekend, so this is your last chance to score free "Twelfth Night" tickets. Enter the online lottery here; you'll be notified via e-mail if you win. For evening shows, enter between midnight and 1 p.m. on the day of the performance. For matinees, enter between midnight and 1 p.m. the day before. If selected, you'll be notified by e-mail. The show is at Sidney Harman Hall (610 F St. N.W.). 2 and 7:30 p.m.; free.
- The Yacht Party on the Pelican is also a Virgo birthday bash. Your first Chairman's Reserve Rum cocktail is free, and a buffet is included in your ticket price. The boat leaves from the National Harbor Marina and Pier (168 National Plaza, National Harbor, Md.). Boarding 8:30 p.m.; cruise 9 p.m.-midnight; $55.
- The National Symphony Orchestra performs the Labor Day Capitol Concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol. Remember your picnic blanket or lawn chairs. In case of rain, the concert will move to the Kennedy Center; call 202-416-8114 after 2:30 p.m. on Sunday if the weather's bad. Gates 3:15 p.m.; dress rehearsal 3:30 p.m.; concert 8-9:30 p.m.; free.
MONDAY, SEPT. 5:
- There's a Labor Day Pig Roast/BBQ Sauce Cook Off at Cafe Saint-Ex (1847 14th St. N.W.). Expect live music, local barbecue sauce makers and activities. The event will benefit the Fillmore Art Center for public elementary school students. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; no cover.
- The Maryland Renaissance Festival means you get to party like it's 1499. Stake out a spot in a pub, shop for crafts and listen to old-time music. The festival runs every weekend through October, plus Labor Day, at 1821 Crownsville Road, Annapolis, Md. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. ; $18.
- The Herndon Wine & Jazz Fest pours out offerings from a dozen Virignia wineries. You'll also find crafters, other refreshments and plenty of live music on the Town Green (777 Lynn St., Herndon, Va.). Noon-6 p.m.; $5-$15.
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