Mei Xiang’s birthday at the National Zoo
Saturday is a bittersweet birthday for one of D.C.’s most beloved residents. Giant panda Mei Xiang turns 25, and it’s the last celebration for her at the National Zoo, as she, partner Tian Tian and cub Xiao Qi Ji are all scheduled to return to China in December. The pandas usually receive cakes made of frozen juice, fruit, vegetables and leaf-eater biscuits on special occasions — Mei enjoyed a three-tiered ice cake last year — and if you want to watch her devour her treat, remember that you need a free timed-admission pass to enter the zoo. Coming up: Xiao Qi Ji’s 3rd birthday party on Aug. 21, and Tian Tian’s big 2-6 on Aug. 27. 9 to 10 a.m. Free; daily entry pass required.
Visiting the pandas at the National Zoo? Here’s some expert advice.
(D)rafts and (C)rafts at Dock 5 at Union Market
You might have perused a makers’ market pop-up at a brewery taproom, or enjoyed a craft beer while browsing a holiday market, but the worlds of shopping and sipping have rarely come together like this. (D)rafts and (C)rafts is a collaboration between two nonprofits: the D.C. Brewers’ Guild, which focuses on the craft beer community, and the D.C. Makers’ Guild, which represents local artisans. This afternoon event at Union Market’s Dock 5 is full of independent makers: Try unlimited samples from 20 breweries and distilleries from around the area, including Black Viking, Red Bear and Cotton & Reed. Meanwhile, 15 vendors sell homemade goods, such as coconut wax candles from London Wick, leather purses and wallets from Stitch & Rivet, prints of local landmarks from DC Is My City and brightly patterned scarves from All Very Goods. Visitors can also get hands-on in a dedicated crafting area, while food and nonalcoholic drinks are available from Union Market vendors. Noon to 4 p.m. $20-$80.
Grilled Cheese Social at Sandlot Anacostia
As soon as it launched in 2014, the Grilled Cheese Social became one of D.C.’s best day parties. The formula was a no-brainer: Take the Rock Creek Social Club, featuring party-rocking, genre-skipping DJs like Jerome Baker III; put the party outside on a Saturday afternoon; and add a menu of delicious, savory takes on grilled cheese sandwiches. Grilled Cheese Social returns to Sandlot Anacostia this weekend. RSVP for free admission, and come hungry and ready to dance. 4 to 10 p.m. Free-$20.
La Placita DMV at Gateway DC
Experience a bit of San Juan in Southeast at the La Placita DMV Puerto Rican festival, which is packed with music, food, art and family activities stretching over eight hours. Performances feature local bands alongside artists from Puerto Rico, including El Hijo de Borikén, musicians who meld rap and the Puerto Rican musical style called plena, and percussionist Daniel Diaz. Food comes from vendors including Lechonera DMV of Woodbridge, Seventh Street’s Qui Qui and food truck Borinquen Lunch Box. Expect to see arts and crafts, a dominoes tournament and a kids’ zone, as well as a beer garden and vendors selling the Puerto Rican snow cones known as piraguas. Noon to 8 p.m. $45-$55; children younger than 12 admitted free.
International Colombian Festival of Washington, D.C., at Catholic University
Washington’s International Colombian Festival is headed to Brookland, bringing Colombian food, dance performances and folk traditions to Catholic University’s campus. Music is a big part of the festival, and you can expect to hear artists who specialize in everything from salsa and merengue to urban Latin beats, as well as traditional folk music such as vallenato and cumbia. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. $20-$25; free for kids younger than 12.
BabyCat Brewery Summer Fest
Kensington’s BabyCat Brewery has a wonderful outdoor space with furniture, picnic tables and a view of passing trains. Summer Fest means even more room to party, as the brewery takes over the neighboring parking lot. It’ll need it, too, with live music from the indie-bluegrass band the Hackensaw Boys, supported by Vinyl Fever and Caulfields Radio; an activity area for kids; misting tents; vendors selling crab cakes; and, of course, plenty of beer. Adult admission includes one beer. Noon to 11 p.m. $18; $5 for ages 10 to 20; free for children younger than 10.
The Experience Africa conference brings speakers, panel discussions, networking and a fashion show to American University on Saturday, highlighting connections and opportunities between the African and Caribbean diasporas. After the work is done, attention turns to Culture, an event space in Ivy City, where South African amapiano DJ and producer Mr. Jazziq is making his D.C. debut. Amapiano — a jazzy, dubby style of deep house born in South Africa — is blowing up internationally, and Mr. Jazziq, a former member of the popular duo JazziDisciples, whose tagline was “Amapiano is a lifestyle,” is a perfect introduction. 10 p.m. $40-$60.
Discover Summer at the Rubell Museum
If your family hasn’t explored the Rubell Museum — a collection of contemporary art that opened in a former school in Southwest Washington last fall — this weekend is a great opportunity. The D.C. Library’s Discover Summer program stops at the Rubell on Saturday morning for story time and other activities, and admission to the museum is free for all D.C. residents. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free; registration required.
One of the most potent and vital styles of dance music to emerge out of the global underground in recent years is gqom, a sound born in South Africa marked by rumbling bass and shifty drum patterns that don’t play by the four-on-the-floor rules of Western house and techno. DJ Lag is the self-described “king of gqom” and has been the genre’s biggest ambassador. After co-producing the supercharged “My Power” on Beyoncé’s “The Lion King: The Gift” soundtrack album, Lag returned last year with his debut album. “Meeting With the King” showcases the growth of his productions from skeletal club constructions to vocal-heavy dance floor destroyers. 9 p.m. $17-$20.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at Reston Town Center
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy set the soundtrack for the 1990s swing revival, even if its better material, such as “You & Me & the Bottle Make Three Tonight,” was influenced more by the jump blues of Louis Prima than by 1930s big bands. A quarter-century after the band’s breakthrough in the film “Swingers,” Big Bad Voodoo Daddy continues to tour music halls and theaters across the country — and it’s making a stop under the pavilion at Reston Town Center as part of the city’s Concerts on the Town series. See if you remember the steps you learned in a long-ago swing dance class. 7:30 to 10 p.m. Free.
Smithsonian American Art Museum Arcade
The museum continues its celebration of art and video games, with this year’s theme tied to current exhibit “Musical Thinking: New Video Art and Sonic Strategies” — exploring the music in video games that evokes emotional responses and helps to communicate a game’s story. During the Indie Developer Showcase, creators will speak about games that use sound and music design in new ways. Classic video and arcade games are also free to the public throughout the day, and there’ll be a scavenger hunt. At 2:30 p.m., Triforce Quartet performs video game music on string instruments, and around 5:30, DJs Dark Prime and Plynk take the stage. 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Free.
Get Flee Market at the Sandlot Georgetown
The monthly market returns to the event space’s Georgetown location with a promise of one-of-a-kind vintage and thrifted clothing up for grabs. You can also find streetwear, collectibles and home goods at this month’s iteration. Once you’re done shopping, grab some refreshments and enjoy a live DJ set. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free.
Zine workshop and reading at Fantom Comics
The Dupont Circle comic book store has two zine-related events on Saturday. First, try your hand at your own zine with the help of local artists. Supplies are provided, and masks are required. (2 p.m. Free.) Come back in the evening for the store’s summer zine reading, featuring an open-mic approach with area creators. (7 to 10 p.m. Free.)