National Acolyte Festival • October 12, 2024

Washington National Cathedral is delighted to welcome acolytes from across the country each year to celebrate this vital ministry of service and faith. The festival is a time-honored tradition for many congregations, and we are already eager for this year’s edition. Read below for details on the day and register your group now!

national acolyte festival at a glance

The day begins as participants join in the longest and most colorful procession imaginable—the Grandest of Processions—as we prepare to gather around Christ’s table for a festival Holy Eucharist.

Following the service, participants are invited to spend the afternoon exploring the Cathedral, the grounds, or join a variety of fun workshops and offerings: perfect your thurible techniques, help build the LEGO® Cathedral, create a liturgical streamer, take a look at Cathedral treasures, or peruse exhibitors.

Lunch is available for pre-purchase during the registration process, or you are welcome to bring your own.

Register Now

Please register your group below. You may also pre-purchase lunches and any extra tours/activities. Have planning questions? Jump to FAQ.


2024 Acolyte Festival Schedule

8:30 am

Doors open and registration begins

10:00 am

Festival Holy Eucharist with Grandest of Processions

11:30 am

Prepaid lunches available

12:00 – 2:00 pm

Workshops and Cathedral Activities (those with specific start times are noted)


  • Thurible training (1:00 – 2:00)
  • The history of vergers (1:00 – 2:00)
  • Hands-on fall flower arranging workshop (1:00 – 2:00, prepaid fee; space limited)


  • Cathedral LEGO® exhibit open (All registered acolytes will have the opportunity to add a brick to the LEGO® Cathedral now under construction as a part of their registration fee.)
  • Cathedral treasures on view
  • Kite and streamer making
  • Now and Forever Windows display/puzzles
  • Organ Demonstration (12:30 – 1:00)
  • Bishop’s Garden Tour, 1:30 (donation; space limited)
  • Tower Climb; 1:00 (prepaid fee; space limited)
2:30 and 3:30 pm

Spotlight Tours (prepaid fee; space is limited)

Planning FAQs

To help your group's planning, tap the items below for more information. Should you have any additional questions, please email us at [email protected].

All acolytes, vergers, servers, and clergy are invited and encouraged to vest and participate in the Grandest of Processions. Clergy should wear white/festive stole. All are welcome to bring crosses and torches, banners, streamers, umbrellas, and other appointments from your parish. You are also welcome to bring thuribles, but for safety reasons they cannot be lit.

A local vendor will have boxed lunches available immediately after the services. You can pre-purchase lunches on the registration page. Lunches must be ordered and paid for in advance by October 4. Box lunches will not be available to purchase on-site.

Free parking for cars and vans will be available in the on-site parking garage.

Parking reservations are required if your group is coming by bus, and there is a $50 fee for bus parking. Please contact [email protected] for parking procedure and payment information.

We encourage groups arriving early on Friday, October 11 to take advantage of available pre-festival tours and activities. Those that have limited space can be reserved during the registration process or on-site (space allowing).

  • Spotlight Tours: 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, 3:30 pm (prepaid fee; space limited)
  • Holy Eucharist: 12 pm, Great Choir
  • Bishop’s Garden Tour, 1:30 (donation; space limited)
  • Tower Climb: 3 pm (prepaid fee; space limited)

Registration is open now! You can register your entire group and pre-purchase lunches here.

When you register, can also reserve any extra tours/activities that require a fee or a donation, or you can reserve on-site at the festival (space allowing).

Acolyte Festival 2023

Re-experience the Grandest of Processions and the rest of the 2023 Acolyte Festival Holy Eucharist. We can't wait to see you back for next year's Acolyte Festival on October 12, 2024!