Water Lilies, 100 degrees & a Crowd Unpleased

Posted on Jul 17, 2016

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Saturday was the Lotus and Lily Festival at D.C.’s Kenilworth Park Aquatic Gardens. The park is located in NE D.C., along the South bank of the Anacostia River. This was my first time visiting the park, but it has been on my list for quite some time. It is truly is spectacular, a must-see in D.C., and my pictures barely do the sights justice — a word of advice, bring a picnic.

The annual festival celebrates the Lotuses and Lilies in peak bloom, and exhibits a variety of performances from Latin American, African an Asian cultures. After over an hour of travel via metro, ¬†we showed up to the festival around 1 p.m. with no lunch and an empty water bottle. The day’s weather featured a high of 97. I passed a food truck selling Korean BBQ just outside the park, looking strange on the residential block. I found the refreshments tent directly inside, beside “the lotus stage,” where I had the option to buy a $7 veggie wrap and overpriced water.

The park has two overlooks where one can lose themselves in a view of Kenilworth Marsh. The cultivated lotus and lily gardens are like nothing I had ever seen before. 2 p.m. came and after traversing the entire park my water bottle remained dry. I was willing to break the bank for a snack and hydration. We had not passed a single water fountain, and returned to the main area only to hear that the refreshments tent and food truck were out of water and practically sold out of food. I knew we had to leave in search of nourishment and H2O. Which we did, but not without realizing that a majority of the people there (including children) were like us — not from the neighborhood, and caught off guard by the lack of food/water.

Within a mile radius of Kenilworth Park one will find 2 gas stations, 1 dollar store and a Wendy’s. We walked back to the nearby Deanwood metro, but only after each guzzling a blue gatorade from bp; 35 grams of sugar per bottle. Next door, high-school age kids left the dollar store with ice cream and soft drinks, passing an empty Lunchables package which littered the sidewalk.

Who knew? Lotuses and Lilies would bloom in a desert.