It’s far from a usual New Year’s weekend given the ongoing pandemic and associated public health restrictions, but we’ve still managed to put together a top 10 list with a variety of ways to enjoy the first few days of 2021.
Rain is expected on and off throughout Friday, followed by partly cloudy conditions on Saturday and rain again on Sunday. Temperatures are predicted to range from 38 to 59 degrees, according to the forecast.
1. Environment: Spend the first day of 2021 in nature with Seekers Church’s free First Day Hike. The gathering is organized by the church’s Earth & Spirit Mission Group as a way to bring in the new year “amidst the glory of God’s creation,” the description says. It takes place Saturday from 10 a.m.?noon on Rock Creek Park’s Boulder Bridge Trail, which is just over 3 miles and rated easy/intermediate with an elevation change of 270 feet. Participants will gather at the Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium, 5200 Glover Road NW. Masks and social distancing are required.
2. Culture: The National Bell Festival is an annual New Year’s Day celebration. In DC, bell towers across the city will chime on Friday at different intervals from 12:30?3 p.m. Other free activities from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. include a virtual piano concert and online classes on watercolors, yoga, cooking and fitness. Local artist Cris Clapp Logan is the official artist for the fest. Her paintings have featured landmark bells throughout the city at spots like the Smithsonian Institution Building, the Robert A. Taft Memorial, the U.S. Capitol and Union Station. Logan is teaching a free class on watercolors from 3:30?4 p.m. on New Year’s Day.
3. Community: Uptown Main Street is organizing a Community Clean-up along Kennedy Street NW from 1st Street to 7th Street. Volunteers will meet for registration between 9:30?10:30 a.m. at La Coop, 5505 1st St. NW, and finish around noon at Mita Cafe, 703 Kennedy St. NW. The organizers will provide supplies, personal protective equipment, and free coffee and treats. The event is produced in partnership with the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development, La Coop and Mita Cafe.
4. Culture: The Washington Tattoo is a Virginia-based nonprofit organization that supports veterans and first responders by producing programs in the Washington area that promote cultural literacy, global unity and goodwill. This Sunday, the group is hosting “A Call to Arms and Arts” from 4?4:45 p.m. The online “march” includes international acts such as the acclaimed Australian dance team OzScot Highland Dancers and The Steel Band of the Royal Dutch Marines, as well as U.S. musicians like Bill Bachman and Kit Chatham. Tickets cost $10 for general admission and $8 for veterans and first responders.
5. Theater: Friday is the last chance to listen to the radio adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol produced by Ford’s Theatre and WAMU 88.5 FM. The hourlong program features acclaimed Washington actor Craig Wallace as Scrooge. It is recommended for ages 5 and over. The Ford’s website includes downloadable materials like holiday recipes from Clyde’s and coloring pages featuring sketches by costume designer Alejo Vietti. The radio play is free to listen to; donations are welcome to support the theater.
6. Fitness: Mayor Muriel Bowser’s seventh annual Fresh Start 5K is happening virtually this year. Participants are invited to run or walk anywhere, including on suggested 5K routes: Hains Point, Rock Creek Park, the Shaw neighborhood, Union Station to the U.S. Capitol, and the White House to the National Mall. Participants are reminded to wear face masks and maintain social distance. Friday’s event is free to attend. Those who register get a free commemorative T-shirt and medal.
7. Animals: The Humane Rescue Alliance is hosting a New Year’s Party with dogs and cats available for same-day adoption. The outdoor event is on Saturday from noon?3 p.m. at the organization’s location at 1022 M St. SE. Adoption events are typically held here from noon?3 p.m. on the first Saturday of every month.
8. Arts: Touchstone Gallery’s virtual exhibition Bold Colors by Rosa Vera is up until Jan. 10. The online experience provides an opportunity to click on each artwork and learn about the details. Vera’s colorful paintings depict scenes that the artist encountered during the pandemic. Subjects include nature, imagined places, and indoors to highlight “the reality of confinement and the narrowness of living spaces,” the description notes.
9. Relationships: A New Year’s Day Virtual Speed Dating event presented by Professionals in the City on Friday night for heterosexual men and women calls itself “a new form of online dating.” Via Zoom, pairs of the opposite sex will be placed in virtual rooms for a few minutes, then switched to a new partner until everyone meets all attendees of the opposite sex. Afterward, participants will be connected through an online dating system with the option to send messages without releasing last names or email addresses. The program is from 8?10 p.m. Tickets cost $20.
10. Arts: Capital Photography Center is offering a four-part online photography class — the Lightroom Classic Develop Module, taught by Marie Joabar. Students will learn how to enhance image files using Adobe Lightroom Classic (which participants need to have installed on their device prior to the class). Course materials are available starting on Friday. The class sessions are on Jan. 6, 13, 20 and 27 at 7 p.m. The cost of all four sessions is $160 for full participation or $110 for self-study, an option that allows you to move through the materials and watch the classes at your own pace.