Discover Bethesda, Maryland...365 Days a Year!

Day 337: Bethesda's Winter Wonderland – Dec 2-3, 2011

Student Concert 2010 Photo from Bethesda Urban Partnership

Black Friday is already a distant memory and winter is just around the corner!  It’s time again to get into the holiday spirit and if you’re looking for a great way to do just that, check out the Winter Wonderland Festival in downtown Bethesda today, Dec. 3rd, 2011.

Most of the activities will take place at Veteran’s Park located at the corner of Norfolk and Woodmont Avenues and at Imagination Stage located at 4908 Auburn Avenue.  All the events are FREE, including the concert performances held today.

The a capella and gospel performers will begin today at 1 PM and include the Capital Blend, American University Gospel Choir, The Capital Hearings and Vox Pop DC.

Icy guys from from BUP

Santa's grand entrance in 2010 - photo from BUP

From 1-2 PM there will be a live ice sculpture event at Veteran’s Park.  Using tools like picks and even chainsaws, the sculptor will craft his works of icy art right before your eyes!

Following the ice sculpting event, the afternoon will wrap up with a student choral concert from several local schools and a visit from Santa Claus!  Last year santa showed up in a cute red convertible.  I wonder how he will make his grand entrance this year!

So come on out and get into the holiday spirit.  Meet Santa, sing songs, and have a happy holiday!     ~Amy

Day 128: This One Time at Band Camp….

Bethesda Day Camps

Remember going to camp when you were young?  The anticipation of the fun to be had and the nervousness you experienced wondering who you would bunk with or whether you would make new friends seemed almost overwhelming.  But when it was all said and done, you came home with lots of great experiences and stories to tell.  I remember this one time, at band camp…oh wait, perhaps I should save that story for another time.  Instead, let’s talk about Summer Camps in Bethesda for 2011!

It’s definitely time to make your final decisions about summer camps for the kids and get registered!  We hoped to make it easier for you to conduct your search by compiling our local camps here.  Bethesda is absolutely loaded with options for day camps for kids and some offer sleep away camps too.  But don’t delay, summer camps are filling up quickly!  Here is a list of some of the creative camps offered in Bethesda that we were able to dig up for you:

Adventure Theater at Glen Echo – Musical theatre world in a camp complete with choreography, acting and singing.

Artworks Classes – Ages 6-12.  Check out our blog “Drink and Draw”, artworks classes are for adults too!

Bach to Rock (B2R) – VERY COOL Band Camp!

Big Train Summer Baseball Camp – The fundamentals of the game and the opportunity to play every day.

Camp Olympia – Sports day camp including soccer, horseback riding, swimming, tennis and basketball.

The Center for Movement, Music and Art, Inc. – Ages 1 – 7+

Glen Echo Park Summer Camps – Something for everyone including fine arts, visual arts, dance, movement, writing and more!

The Harbor School Summer Camp – A little bit of everything.  June 20th – August 12th.

Imagination Stage Summer Camp – Performing Arts Camp.  For more information about Imagination Stage, check out our blog entry from Day 88.

Just Cakes Cooking Classes – For your budding culinary genius.  Check out our blog entry about Just Cakes.

Landon Grand Slam Tennis Camp – Boys ages 7 – 17.  More information about Landon School for Boys on our blog, Day 118.

Math Tree – Making math fun!

The Next Level Athletic Performance Center – Sports camp ages 6-12.

Summer at WES – Ages 4 – 14, day camps and sleep away camps.

Summer Camp at Norwood  – Ages 3 1/2 – 14 and something for everyone.  Our Norwood Park blog offers a quick look at the beautiful location.

TIC Summer Camp – Technology and Sports ages 7 – 14.

YMCA Bethesda-Chevy Chase – 29 different one and two-week camps at three local sites.

Whew.  That’s a LOT of camps – and that’s just here in Bethesda!  If this isn’t all of them, please feel free to add more by posting a comment.  We hope that your kids enjoy summer camp – we know YOU will Mom and Dad!  😉

So maybe now I could tell you about this one time at band camp….


Day 99: The 12th Annual Bethesda Literary Festival

Logo from Bethesda Magazine, A Festival Sponsor

Mark your calendars now for April 15th.  No, not just because good ole’ Uncle Sam will have his palm out awaiting your tax returns (and of course any payments that may be due) but this date also marks the beginning of the Bethesda Literary Festival

Beginning at 7 PM on April 15th and continuing on through Sunday the 17th at 2 PM, the Bethesda Literary Festival will offer over 20 events at various locations within our town.  The event was organized by Bethesda Urban Partnership, Inc. and highlights the works of journalists, authors, poets and essay contest winners.

Remember the essay and short story contest whose deadline was mentioned on Day 46 of Bethesda365?  The winners will be presented at the Hyatt Recency on Friday, the 15th at 7 PM at which time they will read their award-winning works. 

Kids stories on Sat. at the Library

On Saturday, events will begin at 9:30 AM and continue on until 8 PM at various locations around the city including the Bethesda Library, Barnes and Noble, Imagination Stage, The Writers Center and Waverly Gallery among others.  Many of Saturday’s events will include readings by well-known authors for children, teens and adults.  For a full list of events, authors, literary works and locations, visit the BUP website.  Plan your schedule as some of the events are running concurrently.

Sunday will mark the final day of the Festival.  One of the highlights is an Author’s Reception at 11 AM at Barnes and Noble as well as an opportunity to hear from Cokie Roberts, political commentator for ABC News and senior news analyst for National Public Radio and her husband Steve Roberts, a political analyst on ABC Radio and National Public Radio at 12:30 PM at the Hyatt Regency.  They will discuss their latest book, Our Haggadah: Uniting Traditions for Interfaith Families.  Check the BUP calendar for additional events of the day.

Here is a list of addresses for the various event locations:

Author Reception on Sat. at Barnes and Noble

Barnes and Noble, 4801 Bethesda Ave
Bethesda Library, 7400 Arlington Rd
Doubletree Bethesda, 8120 Wisconsin Ave
Hilton Garden Inn, 7301 Waverly St
Hyatt Regency Bethesda, 7400 Wisconsin Ave
Imagination Stage, 4908 Auburn Ave
Writer’s Center, 4508 Walsh St
Waverly Street Gallery, 4600 East-West Hwy

Bring your families and enjoy an opportunity to experience the arts through literature.  Meet the authors and hear about the inspiration for their work.  We are lucky to live in a city that appreciates and honors the lost art of writing.   ~Amy

Day 88: A Place to Imagine and Dream

“You see things and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were and I say, ‘Why not?” 

This quote by George Bernard Shaw, a renowned playwright and Nobel Prize Award Winner for Literature describes succinctly the mind of a child.  In a child’s mind, anything is possible. There are no limitations – just possibilities.  There is no skepticism – just open-mindedness.  There is no prejudice – just acceptance.  Children have the ability to imagine all things and create through expressive fun if allowed the opportunity to explore those thoughts and dreams without inhibition.

Imagination Stage 4908 Auburn Ave

We are so lucky in Bethesda to have Imagination Stage, a children’s theater and arts organization which promotes and empowers kids of all ages to explore, create and express themselves through dance, acting, filmmaking and participation in theatrical shows.  Kids ages 12 mos – 18 years old have opportunities to participate in classes or experience interactive, guided play on-stage.   

Imagination Stage offers a spring break camp this season from April 18 – 22nd which includes an after-care program from 3:30 PM – 6:00 PM.  For registration information click here.  Summer camp registration is also available here.

One of the newest features of their program is called “My First Imagination Stage Show” ideal for tots aged 12 months to 5 years old.   Click here to review a video about this highly interactive theater experience for your little guy or gal.  Currently they are running the show, Wake Up, Brother Bear from March 1st – April 10th.  Cost is $10 per person; $5 for little people on your lap (under 12 mos).  Showtimes are 10:30 AM and 11:45 AM various days of the week.

You can find classes for all other ages too – including your teenage thespians (grades 9-12) – in filmmaking, audition coaching, acting and more.  Click here for a schedule of the proposed classes.

Entry to Imagination Stage

The mission of Imagination Stage, which began in 1979 as BAPA (Bethesda Academy of Performing Arts) and renamed Imagination stage in 2001, is to make the arts available to kids of all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.  There is an urgent need for art education in our community and we are lucky to have this professionally recognized, award-winning organization here in our town.  I hope you will enjoy it with your kids or share it with someone you love.  You might just reawaken your own imagination.   ~Amy

Day 50: Let's Dance Bethesda!

Dance Bethesda

Did you get out last night and learn a few new dance moves – or perhaps brush up on some old favorites?  After last’s night’s free dance lessons and parties at local studios, Dance Bethesda culminates this evening at the Imagination Stage (4908 Auburn Ave.) with a dance concert that you don’t want to miss.  This year’s concert will feature modern dance, flamenco, African street dancing, ballroom, Haitian folklore and hip hop performances.  Details are available at  Tickets are on sale for $15 at the door starting at 7 PM.   The show begins at 8 PM.

I attended Dance Bethesda with my daughter in 2009 and we thoroughly enjoyed the range of performances across such a wide spectrum of styles so much so that we were sad when the show ended.  If you have not yet made plans for this evening, groove on down the Imagination Stage and enjoy a dance show extraordinaire!     ~Amy

Day 49: So you think you can dance?

When I was a young girl, I would put on my favorite records (yes, I am showing my age when I admit to listening to records made of vinyl) and I would dance and dance for hours.  There was never an audience, never a mirror and never a purpose to it all.  I just loved to dance and how it made me feel.

I don’t do that anymore but maybe I should.  Somehow when we get older, it feels silly or something.  But when I watch people dance on stage, that little girl in me remembers how it felt to dance without inhibition. 

Photos and logo courtesy of Bethesda Urban Partnership web site

Beginning today, our town is celebrating the art and love of dance with Dance Bethesda, February 18 – 19th.  This annual event begins TONIGHT with free dance lessons and dance parties open to the public at local dance studios and wraps up Saturday evening with a dance concert that you don’t want to miss (more on that tomorrow!).  

So you think you can dance Bethesda?  If the answer is no, it’s never too late to learn!  Take some free lessons tonight.  If you answer yes, this is a great time to cut a rug at a local dance party.  So that means, whether you answer yes or no (that’s everyone!), Dance Bethesda has something for you.   FREE lessons (waltz, cha cha, tango, salsa and more) and dance parties are offered at the following studios from 7 PM – 10 PM (singles are welcome!):

There is also a Youth Dance Party (ages 10-17) courtesy of three local dance studios being hosted at Imagination Stage at 4908 Auburn Ave. from 7 – 9:30 PM.  Their party will include lessons on hip hop, modern and jazz styles of dance.  Get more details on the BUP website.

So let your hair down and Dance Bethesda!     ~Amy