Fessenden Park became Tenleytown’s own little “French Quarter” on Saturday, July 14 as the Friends of Fessenden Park celebrated Bastille Day, just one day before France took home the World Cup. Local restaurants Le Chat Noir and Matisse, which both overlook the park, served crepes and profiteroles as nearly 150 guests sipped Perrier and Orangina, played the classic French lawn game petanque, and enjoyed French-themed crafts and music.
People of all ages from the greater Tenleytown area enjoyed a temperate summer afternoon in the 110-year-old park. Garden seating loaned by Georgetown Day School created a café setting under the park’s large tree canopy. French flags, provided by Tenleytown’s own Kengla Flag Company, decorated the park, adding a pop of red, white, and blue to the lush lawn.
The festivities even enticed the Tenley Yeti, who normally appears only during Tenley WinterFest, to make a summer sojourn to the park. Dressed in a jaunty beret and French sailor’s shirt, the Yeti posed for pictures with guests. A photo station, replete with mustaches, berets, and parasols, let the young and young-at-heart play dress up for some silly selfies.
After enjoying a sweet bite and all the fun in the park, adults were welcomed to Le Chat Noir’s airy patio to relax with a glass of wine – from France, of course.
“My favorite thing about the event was the guests. There was such a diverse attendance, and everyone seemed to interact with one another,” said Matt Fredericks, one of the celebration’s organizers. “There was a real feeling of happiness, togetherness, and community pride, which I think is the goal of a good public space.”
The Bastille Day Celebration is one of a series of community events planned by the Friends of Fessenden Park, which seeks to revitalize the park as a community gathering space for people of all ages. The Friends of Fessenden Park is an all-volunteer committee of Tenleytown Main Street, which also maintains the park through regular weeding, pruning, and mulching, with plans eventually to re-landscape the park for even greater community enjoyment.
The Friends of Fessenden Park and Tenleytown Main Street wish to thank the many community partners who made the Bastille Day Celebration possible, including Ace Hardware, Fred Productions, Georgetown Day School, Kengla Flag Company, Le Chat Noir, Matisse, and Whole Foods, as well as the Department of Small and Local Business Development. Special thanks go to event organizers Cori Coats, Matt Fredericks, Hilary Oat-Judge, and Patricia Witalka for their work in creating an amazing event for all.
Video Credit: Fred Productions