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Soul of the City Holiday

Main Street Businesses Bring Holiday Cheer to Congress Heights

Featuring Go-Go Santa Express mobile concert featuring Backyard Band and Ms. Kim and Scooby Holiday Lights on MLK and Giveaways from the Museum

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the afternoon of Saturday, December 19, holiday cheer will bloom through a special visit from the Go-Go Santa Express, which will travel through the streets of Congress Heights with gifts for community members from the Museum. Celebration Partners include:​ Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services,​ Deputy Mayor’s Office on Planning and Economic Development, Councilmember Trayon White, STE Development Associates (Redbrick LMD and Gragg Cardona Partners), Emerson Collective, Don’t Mute DC LLC, The Museum, Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative, the Congress Heights Main Street – Destination Congress Heights, and Monumental Sports & Entertainment.

The Congress Heights Main Street organization and Congress Heights Community Association have invited Community-Based Organizations from all over Ward 8 to come together to create a driving route accessible by families in their cars to view themed decorated Christmas trees across St. Elizabeths. Themes will include an Angel Tree to memorialize our loved ones lost to violence, The Cat in the Hat, Healthy Food, Harley Davidson, Women Who Lead, and many more. Residents and visitors alike are invited to drive through the Winter Wonderland, between 4th Street SE and Sycamore Street, specially curated to bring some socially distanced joy during a tough season.

At 2:00PM, two Go-Go Santa Express caravans will depart the Parcel 15 parking lot on St. Elizabeths and travel throughout the neighborhood to bring music and holiday gifts to Congress Heights residents. Santa and the other celebration hosts will make a special drop-off of care packages at 801 East Men’s Shelter & Housing before the event ends at 4:00PM.

  • Go-Go Santa Comes to Congress Heights
  • DATE: Saturday, December 19
  • TIME: 2:00 PM – 4:00PM
  • WHERE: Congress Heights/Ward 8 

Produced and staffed by local residents to honor the spirit of the St. Elizabeths development, the activation captures the overarching goal of the future space, designed by David Adjaye, who also served as lead architect of the National Museum of African American History. The planned mixed-use development built around a town square will have roughly 600,000 square feet of retail, residential, and office space, as well as a hotel. Affordable and workforce housing will be combined with neighborhood-serving and incubated businesses to meet the needs of and provide opportunities for the residents of Congress Heights.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Congress Heights residents at a disproportionate rate of DC residents, proper safety measures will guide the activation, including strict social distancing practices and a required mask policy to receive a gift. 

From the Event Collaborators:

Councilmember Trayon White noted, “The struggle for equity is real. Those families who struggled before COVID-19 are struggling even more. This is not life changing, but we simply want to put a smile on the hearts of those feeling left out and hopeless, because somewhere along the way someone did the same for us.”

“The District of Columbia remains committed to the smart development of Congress Heights so that families in the neighborhood can continue to thrive. There is so much to celebrate in Ward 8, and we are thrilled to partner with the community to safely commemorate the holiday season,” said Latrena Owens, Executive Director, St. Elizabeths East Redevelopment.

“We are so happy to finally see the vision of a redeveloped St. Elizabeths coming to fruition. After such a tough year for so many in our community, we are excited to be a part of bringing a little cheer to the Soul of the City. The Go-Go Santa Express is sure to brighten the spirits of our residents,” said Monica Ray, President of Congress Heights Community Training & Development Corporation. “We hope this will become an annual celebration in Congress Heights while we move our larger community vision forward to preserve and expand opportunity for all families in Ward 8.”

“This is an important moment to amplify the connective power of music and celebrate the history of Ward 8 through one of DC’s cultural cornerstones––Go-Go” said Ron Moten, Don’t Mute DC.

“The Redbrick team is excited to celebrate alongside the Congress Heights community this holiday season as we gear up for our future collaboration on St. Elizabeths, creating new opportunities for the community through a new Town Square,” said Louis Dubin, Managing Partner, Redbrick LMD.

“Our commitment to preserving opportunities for the Congress Heights community is stronger than ever, and this celebration captures the spirit of our ‘Congress Heights Families-First’ approach as the St. Elizabeths development comes to life,” said Juan Cardona, Partner, Gragg Cardona Partners.

For more information, please visit

For the Soul of City Go-Go Holiday CURE Route, please click the following link.

For the Soul of City Go-Go Holiday Builders Route, please click the following link.

Map for Christmas Tree Lane