by Jennifer Currier September 24, 2015 at 10:50 am 0

More than 100 people gathered in Dupont Circle park to watch Pope Francis address Congress this morning.

Dupont Festival teamed up with NBC Washington to livestream the speech on a jumbo-sized screen in the park.

“When NBC approached us, I wasn’t sure if we could turn it around quickly enough, but we did and people seem to be very glad for that,” said Aaron DeNu, Dupont Festival’s principal organizer. “It’s a beautiful day and people are taking time out of their work day to come down to the park and see this.”

Crowds waited excitedly in front of the screen and then clapped as the pope entered the chambers.

Some attendees brought along their morning coffee and breakfasts, while other passers-by stopped briefly to hear snippets of the pope’s speech.

ANC 2B Commissioner Mike Feldstein was one of those who gathered to hear the pope speak.

“There’s a mood since he’s been here,” Feldstein said about the pope’s visit to D.C. “He’s generating a level of emotional joy that I’ve never felt before in this city. I look around, and I’ve never seen so many people smiling.”

by Tim Regan September 23, 2015 at 3:45 pm 0

Crowd near Dupont Circle, photo courtesy of Dupont FestivalHad enough pope madness? Brace yourself. We’re not done yet.

Dupont Festival will team up with NBC Washington to livestream the pope’s address to Congress in Dupont Circle at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning.

“We’ll be positioning the screen in the exact same location as the movie night screen,” said Aaron DeNu, Dupont Festival’s principal organizer. “The screen will be a high definition LED rain-or-shine proof screen.”

DeNu suggests bringing breakfast or coffee along to watch the pope’s address.

“This is such a perfect opportunity for folks to literally walk outside their offices and join us by the park,” DeNu added.

Photo courtesy of Dupont Festival

by Sean Meehan August 31, 2015 at 12:45 pm 0

Film screening at Dupont CircleAn upcoming screening of “A League of Their Own” scheduled by Dupont Festival for next Thursday may produce the biggest turnout the film series has ever seen.

More than 5,500 people have RSVPed on Facebook for the screening in Dupont Circle at 8:30 p.m.

“When we first posted it, it was by far the quickest and largest response we’ve gotten for a movie,” said Aaron DeNu, Dupont Festival’s principal organizer. “There appears to be quite a huge fan club for the movie.”

The showing was originally slated for June but had to be rescheduled because of rain. Luckily for the upcoming screening, rain isn’t yet in the long-term forecast.

DeNu encourages attendees to bring baseball mitts and play catch before the film starts.

Image via Facebook / DupontFestival

by Sean Meehan August 21, 2015 at 2:00 pm 0

marmaladeAn internationally known Swedish circus and dance troupe will bring their kid-focused program to Dupont Circle tomorrow.

The Claire Parsons Company will give two performances of “Marmalade,” a dance and circus show aimed at children aged 2-6. The performances will take place at 10 a.m. and noon in Dupont Circle.

The Swedish Embassy and Dupont Festival, a group that brings public events to the Dupont Circle area, teamed up to bring the troupe to D.C. The company is coming off of a string of performances earlier in the month at the International Contemporary Circus Festival in New York.

The performance will be the first Dupont Festival event geared specifically toward children.

“One of the things that we’ve been hearing from our Dupont Festival fans is that we have a lot of families that live in the area and we haven’t done something that 100 percent kids-oriented, and we wanted to fill that void,” Aaron DeNu, principal organizer for Dupont Festival said.

“Marmalade” incorporates music, dancing and juggling, with audience members encouraged to dance and move along with the performers. Families are encouraged to bring blankets and picnic baskets for the performance.

“This is the type of event that produces smiles, laughs and a generally good feeling, and that’s what we try to do with our festivals,” DeNu said.

Though it’s Dupont Festival’s first event geared specifically toward kids, it’s not the first time they’ve teamed up with the Swedish Embassy. In June, they co-hosted a viewing party for the Women’s World Cup and a free concert in the park as part of the Nordic Jazz Festival. DeNu, who says it’s his personal goal to work with every embassy in D.C., says that he thinks its important to use Dupont Festival events to share other cultures.

“It’s a win-win working with international communities,” he said. “It’s great to be able to use our public parks to showcase different cultures.”

Photo courtesy of Dupont Festival

by Tim Regan June 9, 2015 at 3:45 pm 1 Comment

Potomac Phil

Dupont Circle’s beloved taxidermied groundhog will make an appearance in this year’s Pride Parade.

Potomac Phil — the stuffed woodchuck that Dupont residents consult each year on Groundhog Day — will be hoisted from the top of a Pride Parade float made specially for him.

“He’ll be on top of an SUV that will be totally decorated to look like the Popemobile.” says Aaron DeNu, co-founder of Dupont Festival and the man behind the famous whistlepig.

This will be Phil’s first appearance in a Pride-related event.

“He only comes out a couple times a year,” says DeNu. “He’s a humble, unflinching prognosticator.”

by June 26, 2013 at 6:00 am 0


Thomas Circle at Dusk is by Aaron DeNu from the Borderstan Flickr pool.

Photos of the Day are pulled from the Borderstan Reader Photos pool on Flickr.

Today’s photo, Thomas Circle at Dusk is by Aaron DeNu. The photo was taken June 13.

If you don’t already have a Flickr account, you will need to sign up for one, and then join the Borderstan Reader Photos group. Already a Flickr member? Join the group! You can submit up to five photos per day in the Borderstan reader pool. We are looking for photos from DC’s Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods.

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by April 10, 2012 at 6:00 am 1,216 0

"Borderstan""Logan Circle"

“Logan Circle at Dusk” is by Aaron DeNu from the Borderstan flickr pool.

Photos of the Day are pulled from the Borderstan Reader Photos pool on Flickr.

Today’s photo, “Logan Circle at Dusk” was taken by Aaron DeNu on February 27 at Logan Circle.

If you don’t already have a Flickr account, you will need to sign up for one, and then join the Borderstan Reader Photos group. Already a Flickr member? Join the group! You can submit up to five photos per day in the Borderstan reader pool. We are looking for photos from D.C.’s Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods.

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by March 15, 2012 at 10:00 am 2,306 2 Comments


"Borderstan" "Aaron Denu" "Dupont Circle"

Aaron DeNu in Dupont Circle. (Luis Gomez Photos)

By Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]

Welcome to another edition of “Borderstan People,” in which we profile residents-of-interest in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area. Sometimes they are people we simply find interesting, but not in the public eye — and sometimes they are people who’ve gotten some press attention. Aaron DeNu falls into the later category as one of the locals who helps organize events in Dupont Circle as part of the Dupont Festival series (check out other events that have held in the Circle and Borderstan stories on events listed at bottom). Recently, you may have read about DeNu who brought the annual February 2 celebration of Groundhog Day to DC.

Borderstan: You’ve successfully staged a giant World Cup festival that received international attention, organized the first ever feature film (E.T.) screening in the Circle, and convinced a Councilmember to “listen” to a stuffed groundhog in the city’s first Groundhog Day event. What’s the next event you plan to bring to the Circle?

DeNu: Thank you, Michelle. I’d like to think we’ve brought some new life to the Circle. We’re taking notes, assessing outcomes, and working to make improvements. The success of these efforts is due to the team work of Dupont Festival and our board of directors. We’re working towards a number of upcoming outdoor experiences that range from continued movie screenings, a festival focused on jazz, and a table tennis tournament.

Borderstan: Now that we have that to look forward to, can you tell us what precisely it is about Dupont Circle that makes it the natural home for these events?

DeNu: Residents genuinely identify with the location. It’s physically and socially tied to the neighborhoods’ identity. These activities are oriented to be site-specific, they establish a sense of place, and they make up a portion of the community’s character.

Borderstan: Any concerns that the possible Dupont Underground could bring an end or disruption to these events? What are your thoughts on the proposals?

DeNu: Of course, I speak for myself, here. The Arts Coalition for the Dupont Underground (ACDU) proposal is inspiring and thoughtful. I support their vision for the re-opening of the abandoned Dupont trolley station as a world-class gallery space and community hub to promote the arts in DC. I think we’re starting to see a number of inventive projects, across the country, committed to smart, adaptive reuse.

Borderstan: What’s your motivation behind these community events? Is it just a new form of neighborhood socializing or is it driven by a larger goal?

DeNu: I’m driven by this idea of creatively animating public spaces. I consider it a labor of art and collaboration. These endeavors ought to satisfy, so we need to be doing things that bring people together, that improve quality of life, that encourage and promote community identity.

The National Endowment of the Arts define such efforts –towards creatively animating public spaces– as Creative Placemaking (2010). The larger goal is that these efforts ought to satisfactorily impact our city. Honestly, it’s not always easy to accurately assess such goals. How do you measure an ethos? We’re working on it.

Borderstan: How on earth have you been able to work so well with DC government on these projects? What is your advice to others engaged in similar neighborhood endeavors?

DeNu: Networking is key. In the end it’s good ideas and strong relationships that make the difference. Keep at it. Stay focused and positive. You have to put yourself in front of new people, establish trust, and take some calculated risks. I think, it’s a constant learning process, it’s fluid, ever-changing.

Borderstan: What has been the biggest surprise about these events? Any particularly sweet success stories or vignettes to share with us?

DeNu: It was surprising to get a financial donation from Henry Kissinger at one point. He gave the Soccer in the Circle event team a gift towards the implementation of our World Cup festival. As it turns out, Kissinger had served as chairman of the North American Soccer League board of directors back in 1978.

Borderstan: I know you’ve worked closely with ANC 2B/Dupont. If you were a commissioner for a day, what would you put on the top of their agenda?

DeNu: There’s been (unconfirmed) reports of a Sasquatch near the P Street Bridge and Rock Creek Parkway. It would be great if they could check into that for us.

Borderstan: Tell us more about you. What do you do when not planning hijinks in the parks around Borderstan? What brought you to DC?

DeNu: I’m a native of Cincinnati and lived in New York City for grad school before landing in DC for a job at GW. I absolutely love exploring this city on bike. I spend my time around town with friends and with my fiancé, Lauren Rurak, who works as an account executive for Discovery Communications in Silver Spring.

Borderstan: What are your favorite haunts and things to do in the neighborhood?

DeNu: I can’t get enough of the cheese enchiladas at El Rinconcito (11th & M NW). I’ve made a habit of ordering the moules marinière from Café Dupont (19th and Dupont Circle NW). I can confirm that The Gibson makes a mean cocktail (14th and U NW). And I find myself frequenting The Phillips, Long View Gallery, and The Keegan Theatre quite often.

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