Despite the dreary weather preÂdiction and overcast skies, the ConÂgress Heights Civic Association put on its 30thCongress Heights Day on Saturday, May 14. As the rains lifted and the skies brightened on Saturday morning, the ConÂgress Heights community was bustling with activity. The boom of drums and children laughing were heard throughout the comÂmunity as local high school bands gathÂered and began to tune their instruments. Commuters parked their cars along AlaÂbama Avenue to watch the renowned Ballou Majestic Knights warm up and young girls mimicked the rhythmic moves of the dance troupes. Dancers, baton twirlers, and cheerleaders alike stretched their limbs to warm up for the parade march. Mr. Nate Howard was busy with the line-up for what we learned was his 30thyear of coordinating the dayâ€™s activiÂties. Mr. Howard should be applauded for his dedication and commitment to this community activity.
As the first rays of sunlight breached the cloudy skies, those assembled at Malcolm X elementary school began their slow march down the parade route led by Civic Association President – Phil PanÂnell proudly carrying the Congress Heights Day banner. Mr. Pannell was followed by the Grand Marshall, Mr. Phinis Jones, a 42 year resident of the Congress Heights commuÂnity and business owner. Mr. Jones was selected as the Grand MarÂshall as a result of his latest business venture The CapiÂtal News NewsÂpaper which he proudly distributed along the parade route. The parade route beginning at Malcolm X School meandered along Alabama Avenue, SE towards Martin L. King, Jr. turning briefly on 6th Street to cross Malcolm X Avenue and exited on Martin L. King finally ending up at its final destination – the newly renoÂvated Old Congress Heights School.
At the parade conclusion, onlookÂers were entertained with a battle of the bands. The two ward high schools – BalÂlou Sr. High and Anacostia – were joined by Garfield, Terrell, and Friendship Public Charter School along with hosts of other local groups and even one out-of-town group, the Christian Warriors. After the bands faced off, the crowds were encourÂaged to visit various groups that were poÂsitioned on the Imagine SE Public Charter School parking lot to partake a vast array of activities from a moon bounce sponÂsored by Coca-Cola to cotton candy/ popcorn station sponsored by Allen ChaÂpel AME Church. Information booths were also available and included HIV testing on-site. As the events culminated, as if on cue, light rain showers returned and famiÂlies slowly made their way to cars, but only after a wonderful Congress Heights Day.