This weekend marks the official beginning of Oktoberfest, and bars and breweries across the area kick off their celebrations — even if the real stars are more than 100 dachshunds participating in the annual races at the Wharf. Elsewhere, there are hip-hop dance lessons and performances at the Kennedy Center for National Dance Day, the ever-popular H Street Festival closing 12 blocks of H Street NE, a weekend-long food and culture festival at Chinatown Park, a literary festival with local authors at Eastern Market, farm festivals celebrating the great outdoors in Virginia, and the latest project from artist Jenny Holzer, which turns two Smithsonian museums into monumental canvases.
Thursday, Sept. 14
Lotus Festival of Food and Culture at Chinatown Park
The six-day Lotus Festival kicked off Tuesday, but its second half brings a movie night, a food festival and, on Friday, a Park(ing) Day, during which the westbound lane of Fifth and I streets NW will be repurposed as a public park, with mah-jongg lessons and La Colombe coffee (10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Free.). A showing of “Lumpia With a Vengeance” on Thursday is hosted by the Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs. Free popcorn is available, and RSVPs are required. (7 p.m. Free.) The festival wraps on Sunday with a fair featuring a range of Asian street food, plus live DJs. (11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Free.) Through Sunday.
Oktoberfest at Atlas Brew Works
The Navy Yard branch of Atlas brings back its popular Oktoberfest party, which includes unlimited pours of its sweet, bready Festbier — or anything else on tap — while the Prost! Polka Partei band performs. Brats and giant pretzels are for sale, as are special liter and half-liter mugs, for $10 and $5, respectively. 6 to 8 p.m. $35.
Ethiopian New Year Gala at the Embassy of Ethiopia
The Ethiopian Embassy celebrates Enkutatash, the country’s New Year, with an evening of culture and cuisine. Traditional music, dance and costumes provide entertainment, and the many food offerings include sambusas, stews and defo dabo bread. Expect a coffee ceremony and traditional drinks, such as the beer-like tella. 6:30 to 9 p.m. $75.
Great Lakes Brewing 35th Anniversary Party at ChurchKey
Cleveland’s Great Lakes Brewing is one of the country’s most important craft breweries, and while Great Lakes turns 35 this year, it wasn’t available in the D.C. area for most of that time. Beer lovers of a certain age remember when Great Lakes made its local debut at the Big Hunt in 2010, and the line of homesick Midwesterners stretched almost all the way to Dupont Circle. Celebrate the brewery’s anniversary at ChurchKey, where the 10 featured taps include some rare drafts, such as a keg of the 2014 Blackout Imperial Stout aged in Four Roses bourbon barrels, and the crowd favorite Nosferatu Imperial Red Ale. (Thankfully, all beers are available in four-ounce tasters.) 4 p.m. Free admission.
Squeeze and the Psychedelic Furs at Wolf Trap
New wave titans Squeeze and the Psychedelic Furs are bringing memories of the ’80s to an amphitheater near you. The former is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a band, commemorating a songbook that bridged the gap between the Beatles and Britpop. Meanwhile, the Furs’ hits have become stand-ins for the decade, with Richard Butler’s sneering vocals on songs like “Love My Way” and “Pretty in Pink” synonymous with the period. 7:30 p.m. $79-$99.