Published On: Sat, Jun 24th, 2017

Keeping Najwa Entertained at This Year’s BBQ Festival

It’s the middle of the summer, which means BBQ Festival time in DC.  This year’s sponsor is Giant, though we keep calling it the Safeway BBQ Festival.  It’s all semantics; everything was the same as every other year.

Najwa was reluctant to go.  She kept saying how bored she was going to be.  Last year we came out with her friend Alani, which always helps keep Najwa more entertained, but once tickets are bought, there’s no turning back.  Let’s see if there was enough to keep her entertained.

Aporkalypse Now BBQ Festival - Washington DC
Team Meat Coma - BBQ Festival - Washington DC

Najwa said she’s done rock climbing at school.  I’m not a big fan of heights, and the rock they were climbing didn’t look all that stable, but if she wanted to climb…

BBQ Festival - Washington DC
BBQ Festival - Washington DC
BBQ Festival - Washington DC

Though she wasn’t wearing rock climbing shoes, she did well.  Though it wasn’t me up there, I got queasy seeing her that high up, but she was determined.  At the top there’s a bell or button or something to show you made it to the top.  Najwa was only feet away when, for some reason, she had an epiphany — getting up was easy, but she had no idea how to get down!

When given instructions, she missed the part where they said just jump off the rock and the rope will catch and slowly lower her to the ground.  Najwa looked down, thought about it, and started wailing!  How do you tell a six year old, a dozen feet in the air hanging by a rope, to remain calm, just trust that if you let go, you’ll float down safely?

Any parent can tell you.  There’s a tiny piece of you that dies when your kid is terrified.  Especially when there’s not much you can do, but be calm for them.  Somehow, Najwa heard whoever was yelling at her to let go, and did as such, and slowly came down to earth.  I’m sure the rock climbing at school isn’t that high so those thoughts of falling so far probably squeezed out all other thoughts in her head, like be calm, relax, and don’t start screaming.

Anyway, she got her composure, and we kept it moving.

Dept of Parks & Recreation had a bunch of cool stuff out for kids (and adults) to play with.  Najwa didn’t do well with the pogo stick.  But she was decent with the hula hoop.  Mommy helped give a demonstration.

BBQ Festival - Washington DC
BBQ Festival - Washington DC
Shaved ice is always a favorite for kids.
BBQ Festival - Washington DC
Najwa’s cornhole game could use some practice.  She did get one after a dozen attempts.
BBQ Festival - Washington DC
BBQ Festival - Washington DC

Spinning the wheel always catches kids’ attention.  Most of these types of events has the wheel spinning.  Najwa’s won many prizes like shades, koozies, stickers, knick knacks, whatever; she usually loses interest before we get home.  This time she won a DC National Guard water bottle.  She’ll probably find more use with that.

BBQ Festival - Washington DC
Another spin the wheel. Can’t remember what she won.

GEICO always has one of the better booths.  They’re always more interactive with plenty of opportunities to win a bunch of GEICO-branded gear.  We have the GEICO gecko stuffed toys, koozies, shades, string bags and bunch of other stuff I’ve tossed out.

This year was a memory game.  Najwa loves games; Nduku is highly competitive.  I sat outside waiting for them to finish up, but they kept it going, determined to reach the score to get a free t-shirt.  We got two of them.

BBQ Festival - Washington DC
BBQ Festival - Washington DC
One day Najwa will be able to get the ball in the hole.

Nathan’s also has a good booth, targeting the kids of course.  There’s the carousel, a few games, plenty of chances to win Nathan’s-branded stuff, and of course, the massive slide that always has a line of kids.

BBQ Festival - Washington DC
BBQ Festival - Washington DC

Of course, the whole reason we were there was for the BBQ.  We all got ribs.  We tried something a new, a local company, but weren’t entirely impressed.  Najwa, though, hasn’t developed a scale for good versus bad ribs.  She ate everything.

BBQ Festival - Washington DC

When we were finally heading out, Najwa volunteered that she had a good time.  That’s all that it takes for me to have a good time.  My favorite part of the festival.

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About the Author

David Gaines

- David Gaines is a Washington, DC, resident transplanted from North Carolina whose dream career was a newspaper writer but settled for the recruiting industry and simply blogging about whatever thoughts crosses his mind.

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