That’s a Wrap!

The second annual National Bell Festival is concluded and we couldn’t be more excited by all we accomplished this last year. Even in the face of a pandemic, our intrepid Bell Raisers and festivalgoers came together (safely, of course) to ring in the New Year like never before. Throughout the day, we brought the community together around free and digitally-streamed events, activities, and concerts – and of course, our much-anticipated citywide ringing had the skies over Washington trembling with the resounding tolls of bells.


We kicked-off New Year’s Day and got the blood flowing with a high-energy, full-body, and dynamic kettlebell workout under the tutelage of celebrated personal trainer, host, speaker, and supermom of three: Luwam Tesfaye, who founded the lifestyle brand Luwamé.

Having worked up an appetite, we then prepared a sizzling brunch with award-winning Chef Anthony Chittum of Iron Gate restaurant. His signature ‘Eggs in Purgatory’ were out-of-this-world delicious and – even better! – all ingredients were delivered pre-measured right to festivalgoers’ doors.

Paige Lichens led a yoga and meditation class from 532 Yoga in Alexandria, VA, that helped festivalgoers gain a fresh new perspective, clarify the mind, and channel happy new beginnings. The class even incorporated the soothing tones and vibrations of both crystal and metal sound bowls for a deeper state of relaxation and consciousness (while invigorating the chakra).


In the afternoon, the skies over Washington, D.C., erupted into sound with carillon concerts from the soaring heights of Washington National Cathedral, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and Baker Park. Neighborhood bell towers chimed-in, too! The Armed Forces Retirement Home, Church of the Epiphany, Smithsonian Institution Building, and St. John’s at Lafayette Square were just a few of the bell towers that rang in the New Year with us.

We curated several family-friendly and free bell-themed activities available throughout the day. From building a popsicle bell tower to coloring a bell, these fun activities could be done from the comfort and safety of home. 

We then caught-up with acclaimed illustrator Cris Clapp Logan as she created an original artwork from start to finish. Attendees watched as Cris turned an initial sketch into a stunning, gallery-ready watercolor. Cris was also our official festival artist!


We concluded New Year’s Day with Elizabeth Hill on piano in a program highlighting the rich diversity and history of piano works in America. Each of the featured composers (Florence Beatrice Price, Robert Nathaniel Dett, William Grant Still, and Tatev Amiryan), spanning more than a century of creative exploration, expands upon the musical language of heritage, of folk and sacred music, to forge new and boundary-reshaping narratives in their art. Past meets present. Present challenges expectations and propels the future. This was a concert for the New Year! Streamed from the opulent Perry Belmont House, the concert was both beautiful and dramatic, and one we won’t soon forget!

This second National Bell Festival shined a light on the importance of bells and bell towers to our communities. By bringing Washington, D.C., and beyond together around these amazing experiences, we were able to tell the story of why togetherness is so important. After all, people have been gathering around bell towers for centuries to hear the latest news and solve the problems of the day.

The festival also helped us raise money for our work to preserve and restore historic and significant bells in America. To that end, we are incredibly grateful for the support of Metro Motor, our presenting sponsor for the second year in a row. Through their generous funding, our mission reaches farther and achieves more. 

Want to get involved, too? Become a Bell Raiser! This fun group of $75-donors receives access to behind-the-scenes sites around Washington and invitations to exclusives experiences throughout the year. Come and make it ring with us!