Women led D.C.’s temperance and prohibition movement 100 years ago. Today, women and booze-free beverages lead the way in D.C.’s growing wellness scene, Booze Free in DC founder Laura Silverman says. On Saturday, July 17, A Tour of Her Own (TOHO), District Fray Magazine and Booze Free in D.C. will join to explore the historical connection at zero-proof cocktail hour Mix It Up.
The outdoor garden salon will take place in Takoma Park and feature a conversation with Silverman, a historical presentation by TOHO’s storyteller Rebecca Fachner, music, a raffle which features tour tickets and booze-free cocktails.
“My hope is attendees walk away empowered by knowledge,” Silverman says. “Maybe that’s learning something new about the prohibition and temperance movements in Washington, D.C. or about the benefits of booze-free beverages.”
TOHO, a female-owned women’s history tour company, will lead the prohibition history portion of the event. Founder Kaitlin Calogera says the collaboration with Silverman was only a matter of time since she is a TOHO supporter and local advocate with contagious energy.
“Women were at the front of the prohibition movement,” she says. “They were the same activists fighting at the intersections of temperance, suffrage and abolition.” “While women’s rights and opportunities were limited, alcohol was easily accessible. Husbands were drinking excessively and spending irresponsibly.”
The event comes as the buzz around the D.C. zero-proof cocktail scene is growing. Silverman says this can be seen in the growth of zero-proof beverage makers and new non-alcoholic cocktails at bars and restaurants in the area. Now, she says the conversation is shifting to create a future where bartenders will ask, “With alcohol or without?”
“Zero-proof doesn’t mean zero fun, and I think D.C. is catching on to this finally,” Silverman says. “It’s about inclusive socialization. Someone might be a designated driver, pregnant, abstaining for religious or medical reasons, training for a marathon, in recovery, sober-curious, or happier without hangovers.”
Another aspect of the booze-free scene on display at Saturday’s event is how it celebrates diversity and creates inclusive spaces. This feeling will also be explored in the garden’s natural setting, which TOHO’s director of community engagement, Ella Schiralli, says will be a “lovely place to celebrate, collaborate and create new experiences.”
“Plan on having fun, laughing, joking, exploring new boundaries and making new friends,” Schiralli says. “There is no better way to spend a summer weekend afternoon.”
Schiralli, Calogera and Silverman are excited about how the event allowing them to connect with and teach the community. Silverman hopes Mix it Up! is just the beginning of many ongoing conversations about being booze-free in D.C.
“When I go to Merriweather Post Pavilion, Nats Park, The Anthem or Wolf Trap, I want to be able to get a grown-up beverage without booze,” Silverman says. “No soda, no kiddie table drinks — this is a new era and deserves new thinking.”
The event takes place July 17 4-6 p.m. in Takoma Park, Maryland. Tickets begin at $15 and can be found here. Mix it Up! will feature zero-proof products by Lyres, Element Shrub, Mocktail Club and NOPE. There will also be a musical performance by Krista O’Connell, a local singer-songwriter with folk and rock influences.
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