The entryway to Fort Fringe, the home base for the annual Capital Fringe Festival, is decorated with show posters and fliers advertising upcoming performances. While an intern puts the finishing touches on a colorful awning outside the building at Sixth Street and New York Avenue NW, festival Executive Director Julianne Brienza sits at her desk on the second floor of the building that once housed a restaurant.

If you go For more on the Capital Fringe Festival, including show times, venue information, ticket prices and festival passes, visit, or swing by Fort Fringe at 607 New York Ave. NW.

The fifth annual Capital Fringe Festival runs through July 25. "I think it's already a success, and we haven't started," Brienza said when asked what would make this year's event a success. "To me, if the large majority of the artists participating in the festival have a good time and feel rewarded from doing the festival, that is a success."

The Capital Fringe Festival debuted in 2006, featuring an array of performances at venues in the heart of the District. The first two years offered performances every day before scaling back to five days a week. This year, the festival has shows Tuesday through Sunday. Mondays are reserved for training sessions and workshops.

"We're hoping that maybe our audience will come along with us and be adventurous and come out on Tuesdays," said Brienza, a festival co-founder.

Edinburgh, Scotland, hosted the first Fringe Festival in 1947 as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival. The concept of fringe festivals took off from there.

"Then that mindset in a very organic way just began to spread throughout the globe," Brienza said. She clarified that being fringe doesn't necessarily mean pushing the envelope. "Fringe does not mean it's risque or scandalous. It does sometimes lend itself to that because of the style."

Most shows tend to last about an hour and don't have an intermission. Performers are accepted on a first come, first served basis. Brienza says she received 250 applications this year, of which 137 are being staged, up from 113 last year.

Roughly a quarter of patrons are from out of town. Brienza says that the festival sold 25,000 tickets last year and had 11,000 attendees. Twelve venues in D.C. play host, including Fort Fringe. The Baldacchino Gypsy Tent Bar in Fort Fringe's parking lot features free entertainment, food and drink.

"It's all really centralized," Brienza said, likening the festival to a train schedule. "It's pretty easy to run to shows."

The festival stresses "uncensored storytelling," which is at the core of what fringe is about.

"We don't censor anybody," Brienza said. "That's a big part of what it is. We're not censoring people. We're not curating. We try to keep it fair."