Metro Weekly

Editor’s Pick: WinterFest at Wunder Garten

Wunder Garten is steeped in all the holiday spirit with its annual three-week ode to nightlife and joy, WinterFest.

Wunder Garten Winterfest -- Photo: Sam Kittner
Wunder Garten Winterfest — Photo: Sam Kittner

Over the next two weeks at Wunder Garten, you can get your view on with a slew of World Cup Watch Party matches, a number of them presented with a competing team’s home embassy. Of course there are also other events hard-wired for all the athletic supporters among us, including the back-to-back attractions for pigskin lovers with NFL Sundays and Monday Night Football after Monday Night Trivia.

Another notable upcoming attraction at everybody’s favorite, biggest, and surely most boisterous beer garden is slated for Tuesday, Dec. 6, between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. The European Union’s Holiday Food Tour celebrates the release of the third EU Holiday Cookbook with a culinary spread featuring samples of holiday dishes, desserts, and drinks from the EU and participating member states, among them tortelli di zucca from Italy, kulebiak from Poland, sarmale from Romania, kringel from Estonia, risalamande from Denmark, Advocaat from the Netherlands, and Commandaria from the Republic of Cyprus. The same day also offers a European Holiday Market in the venue.

Among the many holiday attractions to come in the sprawling 13,000-square feet venue, few top WinterFest, at least in terms of getting one’s pure festive festival jollies on.

During this three-week seasonal sensation, which continues through Friday, Dec. 23, you’re sure to find glitter and garland, balls and all, from top to bottom in the sprawling space, “a completely holiday-decorated Winter Wunderland” open to all revelers gay and nay, lit or legit.

Wunder Garten Winterfest
Wunder Garten Winterfest

This year’s signature WinterFest event for all those falling under the LGBTQ rainbow is the Holi-Gays Onsie Pride Night, a party co-presented by DC Fray and the Capital Pride Alliance, with proceeds benefiting the latter organization. It’s set for Thursday, Dec. 8.

Two nights later, the gay-owned and -operated venue hosts another event with clear LGBTQ appeal. Named after a monster from German folklore and adapted from an Austrian and German tradition of parents dressing up to spook their little tykes good, Krampusnacht is an annual inclusive holiday fundraiser presented by Krampusnacht DC.

This year’s outing, set for Saturday, Dec. 10, will benefit the Wanda Alston Foundation and its efforts to help and support homeless- and at-risk-LGBTQ youth. Expect a night of sights, many with frightful intent, ranging from several attendees dressed up as Krampus, to assorted others engaged in circus-like antics, including stiltwalkers and LED performers.

Other WinterFest events to check out include a Holiday Card Making for Veterans event with Clock Out DC on Tuesday, Dec. 6, a Night of 1,000 Santa’s Dance Party on Saturday, Dec. 17, and a Paint & Sip event with Creative Flavor on Tuesday, Dec. 20. All that plus recurring DJ dance parties closing out Fridays and Saturdays and the Yappy Hour bark-friendly boozefest that opens the bar at noon on Sundays.

Wunder Garten Winterfest: Sam Kittner
Wunder Garten Winterfest — Photo: Sam Kittner

While cozying up to a fire pit or in a heated cabana, you can get still toastier with a special hot and boozy WinterFest beverage, be it a candy cane-adorned, peppermint-spiked hot cocoa, cinnamon whiskey-spiked hot cider, hot toddy, or mulled wine.

And don’t even think of going home tree-less, as the Giving Tree Project returns to raise more money for the fight against homelessness in D.C. by selling a wide variety of fresh-cut evergreens — various firs and pines, as well as blue spruce — in a range of sizes, from tabletop to over 10 feet tall.

Launched in 2016 by Wunder Garten and the landscaping company Sherman Gardens, the Giving Tree Project donates proceeds from every tree sold to the homelessness-fighting organization the h3 Project. Last year’s effort raised more than $46,000 for the cause. The tree lot hours are 4 to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 4 to 9 p.m. on Fridays, and noon to 9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Winterfest is free and runs through Dec. 23. Wunder Garten is at 1101 1st St. NE. Visit

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