Celebrations this time of year have probably changed for many of us since having kids. Long wooden tables topped with giant mugs of beer have been replaced by high chair trays strewn with half-chewed bits of food and sippy cups. But ringing in the new month is still loads of fun — just in a different way. And this year is no exception.
As if a free concert by They Might Be Giants, a Washington Wizards FanFest, an Autumn Conservation Festival, and a pumpkin celebration in the country aren’t enough, here are even more ways to share a good time with the kids this first October weekend. (And, FYI… Biergarten Haus on H Street NE is pretty family-friendly during the day.)
Peanuts Family Day
Share the magic of cartoons from your childhood with your kids at the National Portrait Gallery’s Peanuts Family Day. Inspired by cartoonist Charles M. Shulz and the characters he created, the event will include jazz performances, cartoon workshops, and photo ops with Snoopy. A screening of the classic “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” will also take place at 12:30 PM. The free event runs from 11am – 3pm on Saturday, October 2, in the museum’s Kogod Courtyard.
Watkins Regional Park in Upper Marlboro, MD, will host the 30th Annual Kinderfest, a day focused on children that takes place every year on the first Sunday in October. This Sunday, October 3, from 12pm – 5pm, there will be loads of events and activities to entertain the whole family – clowns and costumed characters, singers and dancers, pony and hay rides, carnival games, scarecrow workshops, sweet and savory refreshments, and spins on the famous Watkins carousel and miniature train. Admission to the event is free, but some activities require a fee. Visit the website for more info and directions and check out this post for more on Watkins Regional Park.
KIDS: Room to Play – Build Your Own Infrastructure
I’m going to avoid a bad Ikea joke and just give you the description straight from the website about this exhibit taking place at House of Sweden from October 2 – December 5: ‘Build a skyscraper, construct a highway, launch a ship and play in Pippi Longstocking’s house. We provide the building blocks, vehicles, toys, etc – you provide the imagination. Kids of all ages are invited to House of Sweden to build their own world of tomorrow!’ The exhibit will be open Saturdays 11am – 4pm and Sundays: 12pm to 5pm.
Art on the Avenue
The annual festival in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood area celebrates the community’s diveristy through art. Over 300 vendors, live entertainment, children’s activities, and plenty of food will be part of the festivities. Kids can enjoy arts & crafts, face painting, puppet shows, dance performances, and more. Art on the Avenue takes place on Saturday, October 2, from 10am – 6pm.
Totally Tiny Tots at the Puppet Co.
Head to Glen Echo Park for Totally Tiny Tots, the series of puppet shows by puppeteer master Bob Brown, taking place on the Puppet Co.’s main stage that cater to the youngest audiences. This weekend you can catch a production of “Old McDonald’s Farm” on Saturday at 10am and 11:30am and “Magic Toyshop” on Sunday at 10am and 11:30am. Tickets are $5 and available for purchase online or at the box office.
Shakespeare for Children
This weekend’s Saturday Morning at the National show is a children’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Performed by kids for kids by Stageplay, the play will take the audience on a magical romp through an enchanted forest. Performances start at 9:30am and 11am. Admission is free, but tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, and all guests must be in line to receive a ticket.
Fall for Fairfax
On Saturday, October 2, the 18th Annual Fall for Fairfax Kids Fest will offer a day of autumn fun for children. Attractions will include hay rides, pony rides, carnival rides, slides, moonbounces, model trains, scarecrow making, a climbing wall, festival food, and more. Admission to the fair is free, but many of the activities require a fee. The KidZone, featuring many of the slides and bounces, is $12 for an all-day wristband or $2 per ride. The Festival runs from 9am – 6pm and is located at the Fairfax County Government Center. Visit the website for directions.
Autumn celebrations are taking place all over the area. For suggestions on where to pick pumpkins, hop on hayrides, see barnyard animals, and zip along slides and swings, check out this post about seasonal festivals in the region.