By Beth Kormanik Posted August 13, 2012, 4:34 AM EDT
Political events remain the hallmark of Washington's event scene, with the success of some events gauged by whether President Barack Obama attends. First Lady Michelle Obama continues to be a coveted honorary chairwoman for the city's galas, many of which counted record fund-raising totals despite questions about the economy and re-election events making competing demands. Here's a look at events with innovative formats, inventive themes, and targeted fund-raising strategies that have helped the landscape of festivals, benefits, conventions, and other gatherings flourish as well as attract new affairs.
To choose and rank the annual events on this list, we look at several factors, including economic impact, buzz, innovation, and an event's prominence within the communities it intends to serve.