Category Archives: All ages

Join the Alma Thomas Community Celebration at the National Gallery of Art this Weekend!

 

The National Gallery of Art reopened its doors last spring, and it’s been wonderful to return to one of our favorite museums again.  Even better, it’s open daily, making it a go-to any day of the week.  But this coming weekend, September 24-26, will be an especially great time to visit, as the museum hosts a Community Celebration honoring late pioneering artist Alma Thomas!

The in-person, on-site event will feature a variety of activities and experiences that explore Thomas’s life and her wide range of creative endeavors, all of them self-guided for Covid safety.  Plus, there are extra goodies and discounts to enjoy while you’re there!  The weekend offerings and festivities include:

·    Free art kits with a coloring book of National Gallery works by local artists, coloring materials, and a cutout doll designed by Brittany Jackson, illustrator of the acclaimed children’s book Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment.

·     A special flower display inspired by Alma Thomas’s Pansies in Washington (1969)  

·     A display showcasing works by local community members, celebrating Alma Thomas’s art and legacy 

·     50% discount on Alma Thomas-inspired gelato at the Espresso & Gelato Bar  

·     15% discount on shops purchases with the code ALMA15 (onsite and online) 

·     A pop-up performance from Howard University Bands at 4pm on Sunday 

 

Thomas’ painting, Tiptoe Through the Tulips, inspired by sights, sounds, & smells of DC

 

The event is part of a larger citywide celebration featuring a symposium with virtual sessions September 22-23. Geared toward adults, it will bring together noted scholars, artists, and curators to discuss Alma Thomas’s life and legacy, including an introduction by Michelle Obama.

The National Gallery of Art’s Community Celebration will take place in the East Building from 1-5pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Admission is free.

Alma Thomas Community Celebration
Where: National Gallery of Art | National Mall, DC
When: Friday – Sunday, September 24-26, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

 

This post is sponsored by the National Gallery of Art, however, I only promote events, programs, and places that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2021, All ages, Art, DC, Fall, Free, Museums, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: September 17-19

Riding the trails at Cosco Regional Park in PG County

 

Happy Weekend!

Bookmark-worthy posts full of ideas and info for ongoing activities:
Best Outdoors in the DC Area
* Pick-Your-Own Ops
* Local Hikes with Kids
* Indoor Outings
* Bike Rides
* On the Water
* Swim Spots
* Peaceful Places
* Baltimore with Kids

“Fall” Fun
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

It’s almost officially fall (September 22!), and there are so many great ways to get into the spirit of the season, from city streets to country farms. Cox, Great Country, Montpelier, Clark’s Elioak, and several more farms around the area are welcoming visitors for all kinds of autumn-inspired fun. The annual H Street Festival is back to celebrate the thriving corridor in northeast DC. Ren Fest gets medieval every weekend through October. And there are even more autumn fests happening. Details on all of them are in the 2021 KFDC Guide to the Fall Festival Season.

National Dance Day
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Friday & Saturday
Admission: Free

Break out those dancing shoes for fun in-person activities for National Dance Day! Presented through a partnership between the Kennedy Center, American Dance Movement (formally the Dizzy Feet Foundation), and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), this annual event invites people of all ages and abilities, from the littlest dancers to professionals, to participate in a free celebration of the joy of dance and movement. See the website for specfics!

In America: Remember
Where: 14th St. & Constitution Ave. | National Mall, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

There’s another (temporary) memorial on the National Mall.  This one honors all Americans who have died from COVID-19 with a small, white flag planted for every life lost. A similar installation by artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg was on display last fall just outside of RFK Stadium. Over 260,000 flags were planted then. Less than a year later, more than 660,000 will blanket the grounds of the Mall next to the Washington Monument. The public is welcome to walk among the flags… it’s a powerful, heartbreaking sight to see.

Downtown DC on Wheels
Where: F St btwn 7th & 8th NW | Downtown DC
When: Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Admission: Free

Lace up your skates and show off your moves at Downtown DC’s premier roller skating event. Join for free skating and performances, movie screenings with silent disco headphones, food offerings by Shake Shack, and live DJs. Sign up in advance! Skates provided on a limited basis, but BYO skates is encouraged. Be sure to arrive within 15 mins of your scheduled registration or your spot will be released.

H Street Festival
Where: H Street NE, DC
When: September 18, 12-7pm
Admission: Free

The annual festival on northeast DC’s thriving hip corridor is returning! This one is always huge — so beware that there could be a crowd — and there is tons to see and do.  In past years, the event has featured loads of live entertainment, including a kids stage; cool art exhibits; food trucks; crafts for sale by local vendors; fashion shows; dancin’ in the street; and children’s activities, including face painting, story telling, and moon bounces. Public transportation is highly recommended, as parking is always difficult.

Ride On
Where: Around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

There’s a quick link to bike routes above, but this is a stronger recommendation to get out for a family ride — it should be great weather for it! And you’ve got your pick of good rides around the area. Take in the almost-fall scenery, get some exercise, and have fun, all while easily social distancing. This post has a bunch of pedal-worthy recs, with something for riders of all levels, and this route is particularly ideal with kids.

Bike+
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free
Add some extra adventure to a bike ride and go mountain biking. There are several MTB trails to ride around the area, a few miles even right here in the District at Fort Dupont Park in Anacostia — a good place for newer mountain bikers. Cosco Regional Park in PG County and  Schaffer Farms in Gaithersburg are also great for those just starting. And for even more recs, the post about biking around the DC area includes a list of places to hit the mountain biking trails (scroll down).  [Note: This activity is better for older kids with more experience riding.]

Take a Hike
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

The nice weather this weekend also makes it a great time to hit the trail on foot. Enjoy the not-blazing-hot temps, walk in places with scenic views, see the start of fall foliage, and savor a sunny day outdoors. This post has a a bunch of recommendations for places to walk in the woods with the kids. Some specific recs for right now:  Great Falls, Patapsco Valey State Park, Huntley Meadows, Sky Meadows State Park, and Calvert Cliffs State Park.

Luchadora!
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo Park, MD
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: $20.50
It’s opening weekend of Adventure Theatre’s newest production!The discovery of a worn pink wrestling mask prompts Nana Lupita, a Wisconsin grandmother, to share her tale about growing up in 1960s Texas. As her tale unfolds, Lupita’s life as a teen tomboy comes alive — bike riding with her friends Leopold and Liesl, working at her father’s flower stand and lucha libre. When a World Championship match is announced, Lupita anticipates seeing it until she discovers her ailing father is one of the wrestlers. With the help of a magical mask maker, Lupita secretly trains to take her father’s place. She soon finds it difficult keeping her secret from her friends and, most importantly, her father. This production will take place outdoors in the grassy field next to ATMTC and the Irish Inn (BYO blanket!).

Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day
Where: Museums Around the DC Area
When: Saturday
Admission: Free

There are some museums in the DC area that actually charge admission. But on Saturday, Smithsonian Magazine is hosting its annual Museum Day, when those that require us to open our wallets to visit are free. Take advantage at the College Park Aviation Museum, Dumbarton House, Baltimore Museum of Industry, and many more fantastic museums in the area.  KFDC Tip: Some already-free museums are also participating, including the National Museum of African American History & Culture, where you usually have to get passes well in advance!  You must reserve a free ticket —  and it’s good for admission for two people.

Ren Fest
Where: Revel Grove | Crownsville, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 7pm
Admission: $28/age 16+, $13/age 7-15, free/6 & under

Enjoy the bounty of merriment at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. The annual faire recalls medieval times with a village full of fun and entertainment for the whole family. This is one of my very favorite events in the DC area, and it could very well become one of yours, too. Read more about Ren Fest here. (PS: Admission prices go up after this weekend.)

Colonial Market & Fair
Where: Mount Vernon, VA
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $26/adult, $13/age 6-11, free/5 & under

At George Washington’s old stomping grounds, they re-create a lively early-American marketplace with demonstrations, crafts, and entertainment. Take in the sights and sounds of it all on Mount Vernon’s 12-acre field and chat with colonial artisans selling traditional handcrafted food and wares. Colonial music transports you back to the 18th century as experts demonstrate period crafting techniques. And you can see General Washington in the General’s Tent. There’s plenty of fun for the whole family!

Artsfest ’21
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Lusby, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $10, free/age 11 & under

Enjoy a fabulous weekend of the visual and performing arts with 160+ artists booths, 35 performers on four stages, activities for kids, great food, wine & beer, and much more. Set amidst the spectacular backdrop of the 30 acre sculpture garden, explore the excitement of the Tent Circle and the Arts Building, then wander the shady Wooded Path to find artists and activities nestled in the beautiful woods. Read more about Annmarie Sculpture Garden here and here.

Homecoming at Abe’s Place
Where: President Lincoln’s Cottage | Petworth, DC
When: Saturday, 9am – 3pm
Admission: Free for Family Day, $35-40 for the 5k

Lincoln’s Cottage is once again combining their two popular events, the Freedom 5K and Family Day, into one full day of racing and family fun: Homecoming! During the Civil War the Lincoln family called the Cottage home. This year they welcome everyone back “home” to join in a full day of activities where you can run, walk, and play like Lincoln. There will be arts and crafts, pony rides, hands-on activities for young learners, cottage tours, and picnic ops. Go for just the race, just Family Day activities, or stick around to enjoy both!

Nats vs. Rockies
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Tickets prices vary

The Nats are hosting the Rockies all weekend and there are some extras to enjoy along with the baseball action. Friday night’s game will be followed by firework. Saturday is Pups in the Park, and while those tickets are sold out, you’ll get to see lots of pooches (ie, cuteness) at the ballpark, too. And at Sunday’s afternoon game, there will be Nats blanket giveaway.

NSO in Your Neighborhood
Where: Several communities in DC & MD
When: September 3-22
Tickets: Free

For another weekend, NSO musicians will perform free concerts within the uptown DC neighborhoods of Ward 4, Takoma Park, and downtown Silver Spring. This year’s IYN has 17 events, including two full NSO performances. Events will be offered both indoors and outdoors — at parks, coffee shops, taverns, schools, and more local venues. All concerts and events are free to the public with first-come, first-served seating. See the website for the full schedule.

Olympic Village
Where: Czech Embassy |
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

The Czech Embassy is hosting a fun-filled day of activities for kids and adults, all in the spirit of the Olympics. Learn about the Czech Tokyo 2020 Olympic Team and its individual athletes’ medals. And in the true spirit of games, join in sport activities such as soccer darts, basketball shootouts, racket battles, moon bounce, and more on the Embassy’s grounds. There will also be live music, a beer garden, and food. Cash only for beer & food. RSVP required.

Theatre Open House
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts | Gaithersburg, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

BlackRock Center for the Arts, is hosting a day of celebration as they reopen their doors! Enjoy free family programming that includes a variety of free performances, demonstrations, workshops, and exhibits — plus a showing of Shrek The Musical at 8pm. No tickets are necessary for the events, but registration is required for all educational opportunities — visit he website to see the schedule of activities and to sign up. All persons regardless of age must be masked when entering our facility, and all persons ages 12+ entering our facility must show proof of vaccination status.

Model Trains + Thomas
Where: Historic Vienna Train Station | Vienna, VA
When: Saturday, 2-7pm
Admission: Free (donations accepted)

Chug on down to the Historic Vienna Train Station for their first Open House since the pandemic  began. See and hear HO scale model trolleys and trains, including Thomas and some of his friends on display and in operation. It’s a great family fun and activity for the young and young at heart. The Station is at 231 Dominion Road NE, Vienna, VA along the W&OD trail just past the Caboose. Masks are optional if fully vaccinated but recommended. Please wear a mask if you are not fully vaccinated. Hand sanitizer will be available.

Rosslyn Jazz Fest
Where: Locales around Rosslyn, VA
When: Saturday, 1-5pm

Admission: Free
Jazz is back in Rosslyn with local artists, food trucks, drinks, merch ,and more! Enjoy three local acts on the Gateway Park stage, plus an afternoon of food, music, and fun. Entertainment will feature Three Man Soul Machine, Aaron Myers and Sin Miedo.

Blairs Mural Festival
Where: The Blairs District | Silver Spring, MD
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate public art in Silver Spring! With eight new murals to explore in the Blairs District. You can also enjoy art activities especially for kids, concessions from foods trucks, live music, hula hoops, corn hole, face painting, garden tours, and more. This all takes place at Sonny’s Green Park at The Blairs (180 High Park Lane, Silver Spring).

Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day
Where: Waterfront Park | Alexandria, VA
When: Saturday, 11am – 7pm
Admission: Free

The Ballyshaners are back, live and in person with the 2021 version of their Irish Festival, the Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day Celebration! All kinds f vendors, food, beer, and the best Irish music and dancers in town will make up the day’s fun and craic! See the website for details and the entertainment line-up. Waterfront Park is located on the Potomac River between King and Prince Streets.

Sukkah City x DC: Community Day
Where: National Building Museum | Judiciary Square, DC
When: Sunday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free, but registration requested

Meet the architects and explore the public display of creative sukkahs on view outdoors at the National Building Museum’s west lawn while you learn about Sukkot and participate in an arts workshop, holiday activities, family story time, and a letter-writing campaign in support of eradicating homelessness in our city. Refreshments will be available for purchase. Register here, and be automatically entered into a drawing for museum swag and four complimentary club tickets for Nats vs Red Sox on Oct 3.

Children’s Day
Where: Brookside Gardens | Wheaton, MD
When: Sunday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Gardening is a form of art, and Brookside Gardens is the perfect place to see some outdoor art and get creative! Children and families will be inspired as they explore Art in the Gardens and make some art too! Small groups will rotate through four outdoor stations where the children will participate in fun garden activities, artful crafts, kids’ yoga, and more. Registration is required for all children age 3 and up.

Fun at Fairfax Parks
Where: Parks in Fairfax, VA
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The Fairfax County Park Authority hosts all kinds of events on weekends for guests of all ages.Learn what happens in Nature at Night at Riverbend Park. Gather around the Campfire Saturday at Burke Lake Park. Catch a Critter at Huntley Meadows Park on Sunday. Get more details on these activities and see what else is going on here.

***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* In case you hadn’t heard, there will be a right-wing rally in DC on Saturday. Best to stay clear, even if it’s small. Fencing has already gone back up at the Capitol.
* A new post with info and scenes from a pop-in at the National Postal Museum is a great reminder to visit the just-reopened, beloved Smithsonian venue.
* Washingtonian’s round-up of where to celebrate Oktoberfest around DC. (Note: Some are more for sans kids.)
* Potomac Overlook Park has a lot of fun programming for kids coming up — read about the Arlington park here.
* Found a perfect gift for my bird (& puzzle) loving friend!
* 20 new works of fiction coming out this fall.
* Disturbing but not surprising news of the week.
* One of the best.

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Filed under 2021, All ages, DC, Fall, Maryland, Virginia, Weekend

Scenes from a Pop-In at the National Postal Museum

 

The National Postal Museum just reopened in late August for the first time since March 2020, the last of the DC Smithsonians to once again welcome visitors.  I was running an errand nearby yesterday, so I decided to pop in for a little museum fix and see what is/isn’t currently on view, and to enjoy what I think is one of the most stunning spaces in the city.

The museum is in the Postal Square Building, which was DC’s main post office from 1914 to 1986

I’ve always recommended the museum as a particularly great one to visit with young children.  Located in the Postal Square Building between Union Station and North Capitol Street, it doesn’t draw the big crowds that its Smithsonian counterparts on the Mall often do, which is especially nice right now.  And the space isn’t huge, making it easy to explore with little ones.   That said, it’s appealing to all ages and fantastic to visit without kids, too, like I just did…

Mailboxes from around the world

 

Since there’s already a whole KFDC write-up about the museum,  this post of scenes is really just a reminder that it’s open again and a strong recommendation to go, plus a quick update of what’s on display and some highlights. The Pony Express area is closed, but most other exhibits are currently open.  You can digitally design a stamp and start a collection in the Stamp Gallery,  learn how the post office serves cities and  scan and sort mail, read letters sent to and from soldiers in WWI, and go Behind the Badge to explore the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.  And the lofty atrium featuring airmail planes, mail trucks, a train car, a horse & buggy, the trailer of a semi that you can climb aboard, and other large-scale modes of mail transport is as stunning as ever.

The National Postal Museum
Where: 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE | Union Station Area, DC
When: Friday – Tuesday, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free
COVID Guidelines

 

Click for larger images…

The first glimpse of the atrium

 

The Stamp Gallery is located on the Main Floor of the building

 

Stamps available to start collection

 

Design your own digital stamp

 

Learn about the U.S. Postal Inspection Service

 

An old Ford Model A mail truck

 

A modern one

 

And a trailer of a semi mail carrier that you can sit in

 

View from the inside

 

A digital image and transcription of a moving letter from WWI

 

Scanning (pretend) mail is one of many hands-on ops

 

Wes Anderson vibes?

 

A last look at the space

 

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Filed under All ages, DC, Museums, Reopened, Weekdays, Weekend

The KFDC Guide to the 2021 Fall Festival Season

Autumn delight at Clarke’s Elioak Farm

 

Fall is right around the corner, and so are the many festivals that come along with it. They celebrate everything from the season to city neighborhoods to art to historic times. You can have a blast on a farm, savor local food and culture, go medieval or colonial — all amidst gorgeous autumn scenery in the cool, crisp air. This list of celebrations, ordered by start date (and mostly reprised/updated from previous years — I’ve been posting fall fest round-ups for a decade!), will help you plan for it all. Happy Fall!

Maryland Renaissance Festival
Where: Revel Grove | Crownsville, MD
When: Weekends through October 24
Admission: Thru 9/12: $21/age 16+, $11/age 7-15
9/14-10/20: $28/age 16+, $13/age 7-15 | free/6 & under

This medieval time trip began in late August and gets a huge endorsement from me as one of the best annual events in the area. You just can’t beat the amazing variety of entertainment — exciting jousting matches, cheeky comedy shows, fire eaters, sword swallowers, tight rope walkers and other balancing acts, jugglers, musical performances, puppetry, plus slides, play areas, and games. And walking among knights, maidens, pirates, and villagers in Revel Grove, the charming location that resembles a 16th-century tudor village, as you chomp on turkey legs and down cups of “mead” is an immensely fun and interesting jaunt back in time that any age can enjoy. Huzzah!

Corn Maze & Apple Harvest
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: Through September 30
Admission: $12-16/adult, $10-14/child, free/2 & under

September may mean back to school for many, but at Great Country it means back to the farm for freshly pressed cider and apple picking. You can celebrate it with apple picking, award-winning apple cider donuts, a romp in our 12-acre play area, and some educational fun in the What’s Regenerative Agriculture Corn Maze. As you meander the paths, learn about how the deep roots in the soil can keep the farm’s food and environment as healthy as possible. On weekends, there’s live music, marshmallow roasting, pig races,  and cider pressing demos, too!

Fall at Clark’s Elioak Farm
Where: Ellicott City, MD
When: Tuesday – Sunday through November 7
Admission: $8

This fairytale of a farm doesn’t have a special fall festival per se, but with so many activities, including seasonal delights like pumpkins, cider, and Halloween fun, it’s like a celebration all the time. And it all takes place on the sprawling grounds adorned with installations practically straight out of a storybook (they were actually salvaged from The Enchanted Forest, an old Ellicott City amusement park). Kids can sit on a wall with Humpty, Peek in the Three Bears’ windows, climb aboard Cinderella’s pumpkin coach, explore the Old Woman’s shoe. If that’s not enough, there are hayrides, cow train rides, slides, farm animals to pet, a pumpkin patch, the pine tree maze, and even more. Hours are 10am – 5pm Tuesday – Friday; 10am – 5:30pm Saturday & Sunday. Closed Mondays.

Fall Fun Festival
Where: Gaver Farm | Mt. Airy, MD
When: September 3 – October 31
Admission: $11/weekdays, $15-17/weekends, free/2 & under

Celebrate the arrival of fall in Frederick, MD, with farm activities for the whole family family and other great seasonal traditions. Conquer twists and turns of the corn maze, jump on the giant pillow, pet and feed farm animals, and cruise down giant slides. There are over 50 attractions appropriate for any age including mini mazes, playgrounds, duck races, ball games, photo centers, and much more. Dates to note: September 11-12: Military and First Responders Appreciation Weekend | September 18-19: Touch a Tractor | September 25-26: Apple Harvest Festival | October 1-31: Pumpkin Harvest Festival.

DC Walls
Where: NoMa, DC
When: September 8-18
Admission: Free

For six days, this international mural festival brings together local, national, international artists for a 10-day outdoor festival to create larger than life works of art. The goal is to “make the city a brighter and more vibrant place, while sharing art and creativity from around the world.” Find wall locations on this Google Map to see works in progress, and plan to join the family-friendly opening event at Alethia Tanner Park (227 Harry Thomas Way NE) on September 12 from 12-4pm.

Falls Church Festival
Where: City Hall Campus | Falls Church, VA
When: September 11, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free, but tastes and rides are a fee

The 45th Annual Falls Church Festival returns to The Little City with plenty of family fun. It features The Taste of Falls Church, a beer garden, live music, children’s entertainment, plus booths of local crafters, businesses, and civic organizations.  This year’s event also includes a COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic inside the Community Center (223 Little Falls St.). Fairfax Health will offer the first or second dose of the Pfizer Vaccine to anyone ages 12 and up from 11am – 4pm.

Adams Morgan Day
Where: Throughout Adams Morgan, DC
When: September 12, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate one of the city’s most diverse communities at the 41st Annual Adams Morgan Day, offering a day full of music, art, culture, dancing, and more. The family-friendly celebration will have activities for all ages, including free crafts, multiple stages of entertainment, all kinds of demos, a whole Family Fun Zone, and tons more. More details and the schedule of performances are available on the website.

National Dance Day Festival
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: September 16-18
Admission: Free

Celebrate the joy of dance and movement at the Kennedy Center! Head to The REACH plaza for the 12th year of the National Dance Day Festival which includes free performances, interactive dance routines and lessons, live music, and more from local organizations.

National Book Festival
Where: Online
When: September 17-26
Admission: Free

This may be the event that I’m most bummed won’t be back in person this year, but it’s one that definitely warrants inclusion here. The Library of Congress’ wonderful annual National Book Fest will be virtual, but offering an extended 10 days of book-related events and opportunities onlines. Audiences are encouraged to create their own festival experience during the “Open a Book, Open the World”-themed event. Over 100 authors, poets, and illustrators will be participating — view the list of them here.

Harvest Festival
Where: Belvedere Plantation | Fredericksburg, VA
When: September 17 – November 7
Admission: $14.95

This heritage farm has loads to keep the whole gang entertained for hours. The Maize maze, slides, hayrides, ziplines, pumpkin patch, playground, flower picking, jumping pillow are just some of the attractions that little ones will love. This year’s Sunflower Spectacular, a pick-your-own sunflowers field will be open September 17-26 (closed Monday). Plan to eat there — the Red Rooster Grill offers a variety of grilled favorites to satisfy all appetites.

H Street Festival
Where: H Street NE, DC
When: September 18, 12-7pm
Admission: Free

The annual festival on northeast DC’s thriving hip corridor is returning! This one is always huge — so beware that there could be a crowd — and there is tons to see and do.  In past years, the event has featured loads of live entertainment, including a kids stage; cool art exhibits; food trucks; crafts for sale by local vendors; fashion shows; dancin’ in the street; and children’s activities, including face painting, story telling, and moon bounces. Public transportation is highly recommended, as parking is always difficult.

Cox Farms Fall Festival
Where: Centreville, VA
When: September 18-19, September 25 – November 7
Admission: $7-20 depending on dates

This festival is enormous! So big I recommend giving the website a good look to help prepare and navigate your way around the sprawling grounds that contain multiple slides, swings, games, mazes, pumpkins, picnics, live entertainment, farm animals, and much more. Expect some lines, especially for the giant slides that take you swooping down several humps over a hillside. There is also a Kiddie Zone just for little ones aged 5 and under. Be prepared for a crowd, especially on weekends.

Colonial Market & Fair
Where: Mount Vernon, VA
When: September 18-19
Admission: $26/adult, $13/age 6-11, free/5 & under

At George Washington’s old stomping grounds, they re-create a lively early-American marketplace with demonstrations, crafts, and entertainment. Take in the sights and sounds of it all on Mount Vernon’s 12-acre field and chat with colonial artisans selling traditional handcrafted food and wares. Colonial music transports you back to the 18th century as experts demonstrate period crafting techniques. And you can see General Washington in the General’s Tent. There’s plenty of fun for the whole family!

Montpelier Farms Fall Festival
Where: Upper Marlboro, MD
When: Weekends September 18 – November 7
Admission: $12, free/2 & under

Enjoy all of the staples of a fall festival on the farm — pumpkins, hayrides, animals, hill slides, farm-themed games and rides, and much more. Some of the festivities are add-ons, so plan to spend extra.  They also offer field trips and birthday parties, something to keep in mind for autumn-born children. And a tip based on our experience there: Do not miss the big corn maze. It’s EPIC.

Homecoming at Abe’s Place
Where: President Lincoln’s Cottage | Petworth, DC
When: September 18, 9am – 3pm
Admission: Free for Family Day, $35-40 for the 5k

Lincoln’s Cottage is once again combining their two popular events, the Freedom 5K and Family Day, into one full day of racing and family fun: Homecoming! During the Civil War the Lincoln family called the Cottage home. This year they welcome everyone back “home” to join in a full day of activities where you can run, walk, and play like Lincoln. There will be arts and crafts, pony rides, hands-on activities for young learners, cottage tours, and picnic ops. Go for just the race, just Family Day activities, or stick around to enjoy both!

Pumpkin Village Fall Fest
Where: Leesburg Animal Park | Leesburg, VA
When: September 18 – Ocotber 31
Admission: $15.95-19.95/adult, $13.95-16.95/child, free/2 & under

The animals are usually the main draw at the park, but this time of year, there are activities galore that bring visitors to enjoy some seasonal fun. Year after year, families, groups, and schools spend a crisp fall day enjoying loads of great activities such as giant hill slides, hay rides, moon bounces, pedal carts, and more. It’s also a great place for a fall birthday party. Get $2 off Mon-Thurs admission after 2pm by subscribing to their email list!

Fall Adventures at Summers Farm
Where: Frederick, MD
When: September 18 – October 31
Admission: $12.50-$17.50, depending on time/day

With so much farm fun, there undoubtedly will be something to excite every kid. A pumpkin patch, giant jumping pillows, live entertainment, hay rides, hay slides, pig races, rubber ducks races, straw mountains, a mini obstacle course, even a campfire area if you want to “chill” out. Be sure to check the calendar for any special events going on.

Artsfest ’21
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Lusby, MD
When: September 18-19
Admission: $10, free/age 11 & under

Enjoy a fabulous weekend of the visual and performing arts with 160+ artists booths, 35 performers on four stages, activities for kids, great food, wine & beer, and much more. Set amidst the spectacular backdrop of the 30 acre sculpture garden, explore the excitement of the Tent Circle and the Arts Building, then wander the shady Wooded Path to find artists and activities nestled in the beautiful woods. Read more about Annmarie Sculpture Garden here and here.

Corn Maze & Fall Festival
Where: Winterbrook Farms | Thurmont, MD
When: Weekends September 24 – October 31
Admission: $10

The farm in Frederick County claims the largest corn maze in Maryland, and it comes with loads of other farm fun, including slides, a pumpkin patch, animals, the moo choo train, cornhole, zip lines pedal karts, apple cannons, a tractor tire mountain, and lots more! Note: They are now offering Farm Fun Fridays with hours 1-6pm.

Farm Market Fall Fest
Where: Reston Farm Market | Reston, VA
When: September 24 – October 31
Admission: $28/child, $6/adult

Celebrate the season and have fun at the Reston Farm Market. Bring the whole fam for all kinds of activities, including train rides, a petting zoo, a learning maze,  bouncy fun, and more. Get ready to pick a pumpkin, pansies, and mums as well. Seasonal produce will be available for purchase, and food trucks will be there with concessions on weekends. Visits will be offered in 90-minute sessions.

Celebrate Petworth
Where: 800 block of Upshur St. NW | Petworth, DC
When: September 25
Admission: Free

This free neighborhood festival is organized by and for the residents of Petworth, but all are welcome to enjoy. Celebrating the creativity, diversity, culture, and people of Petworth and its surrounding neighborhoods, festivities include Petworth history storytelling, live music and performers, kids activities, tasty food, and a dog show. View the schedule here.

PYO Pumpkins & Fall Fun
Where: Berryville, VA
When: September 25 – November 7
Admission: $12, free/2 & under

The whole family can enjoy hours of farm fun for visitors of all ages. Get lost in the corn maze, watch piggies race, pick out a pumpkin, visit farm animals and check out the goat walk, whiz down slides, romp in the play yard. Admission covers all of those activities and even more. Plan on lunch from the Feed Trough and stock up on fresh farm goods from the Food Stall.

Jumbo’s Pumpkin Patch
Where: Middletown, MD
When: September 25 – October 31
Admission: Free/weekdays, $8/Friday, $10/weekends

Pick out a pumpkin and enjoy other fun activities for little ones at this 131-acre farm. A 15-acre corn maze, pony rides, a petting zoo, face painting, and wagon rides will delight young farm-goers. Concessions and craft shopping are part of the offerings, too. Some activities may cost extra, and note that only pumpkin picking and pony rides are available Monday – Friday.

Occoquan Fall Arts & Crafts Show
Where: Mill Street in Occoquan, VA
When: September 25-26
Admission: Free

Plan for a day of family fun as the streets of Occoquan come to life with beautiful art, live music and great food! For the 50th year, the historic town will close its streets and host over 300 contemporary and country crafters and artisans from across the US. Find one-of-a-kind, hand crafted items galore! Located just 20 minutes south of Washington, DC, but far from the hustle and bustle of a big city, exhibitors and shoppers alike will enjoy the small town oasis nestled along the Occoquan River.

Butler’s Orchard Pumpkin Festival
Where: Germantown, MD
When: Wednesday – Sunday, September 25 – October 31
Admission: $10-15/weekdays, $12-17/weekends 

Enjoy a country outing and join Butler’s in celebrating the harvest with traditional autumn activities. An area favorite, kids love jumping in the hayloft, heading out on hayrides, the tube slide, a rubber ducky derby, animal petting area, pony rides, pumpkin picking, corn maze, face painting, and much more. Some activities and food cost extra. Purchase there or bring along a picnic, but be sure to treat the kids – and yourself – to a yummy caramel apple!

Autumn Activities
Where: Larriland Farm | Woodbine, MD
When: Late September thru October
Admission: Free (fee for some activities)

Larriland is best known for their PYO fields, but in the fall, they offer a little more for farm-goers. Take a hayride out to the pumpkin patch to find a potential jack-o-lantern, then play in the Boo Barn or make your way through the straw maze. Apple fritters and food trucks are available on Saturdays and Sundays.

Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: October 1-31
Admission: $10-12/adult $8-10/child, free/2 & under

Great Country is known for its awesome festivals, and the Pumpkin Harvest is no exception. Thrills for little people (okay, us grown-ups, too) include P-Rex, the pumpkin eating dinosaur; Oinkintucky Derby pig races; a cow train; wagon rides to pick pumpkins; five mazes; big slides; rope swings; tractor rides; and even more fun in the country. Find a future jack o’ lantern in the pumpkin patch, one of the largest u-pick patches in the area. See allllll of the many activities here.

Homestead Farm Fall Festival
Where: Poolesville, MD
When: October – exact dates TBD
Admission: Free, but there are fees for some activities

While Homestead doesn’t have an official festival, the farm embraces the spirit of autumn every year. Tractor rides out to the pumpkin patches, apple picking, hot cider, farm animals, and scarecrows make it a great place to spend a few hours enjoying the season with the family. And the good thing about the lack of a festival, admission is free! You still pay for pumpkins and cider – and their can’t-miss caramel apples.

Frederick’s Oktoberfest
Where: Great Frederick Fairgrounds, MD
When: October 1-2
Admission: $8/21+, $5/ages 4-20, free for 3 and under

The Frederick Fairgrounds once again will be transformed into a German village where dancing, live music, children’s events, bratwurst, Oktoberfest bier, German wines, and much more will make for a fun time for all ages. Especially for kids: face painting, pumpkin decorating, scarecrow making, and musical entertainment. Note that Friday night is 21+ only.

Oktoberfest
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: October 2
Admission: Free

It’s that time of yea… put on your dirndl or lederhosen, grab your dachshund, and head to The Wharf to celebrate Oktoberfest! Join a day of German-inspired food and specials at the many riverside restaurants and shops. There will be food and drink specials to enjoy — more deets to come soon!

Oktoberfest: Battle of the Polka Bands
Where: The Boro | Tysons, VA
When: October 2, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

Break out your lederhosen and dirndls and head to The Boro to celebrate Oktoberfest featuring a Battle of the Polka Bands! This unique, family-friendly fete will feature a battle of the bands-style competition where traditional and modern polka groups will go head-to-head to be crowned the fan favorite! Guests of all ages are invited to take part in even more themed activities, like photo booths, craft stations, and a variety of outdoor games located all around the park.
Turkish Festival
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: October 3, 11am – 7pm
Admission: Free

The American Turkish Association of Washington, DC, is bringing Aegean Türkiye to the District. Join them on District Pier for the free Turkish Festival with a theme this year of Turkaegean, meaning Coast of Happiness. The free event will include live music, folk dancing performances, fortune telling, cultural events and more. Enjoy authentic Turkish cuisines and shop Turkish ceramic bowls, carpets, and other cultural items from local vendors.

PorchFest
Where: Adams Morgan, DC
When: October 2, 2-6pm
Admission: Free

Get the best seats in the house (or on the sidewalk) as the front porches of homes and store fronts of local businesses are transformed into intimate performance spaces to be enjoyed by anyone who happens to stroll by. Enjoy a variety of music styles from over 60 bands playing on porches, patios, and stoops in the neighborhood. Music maps are usually available at the corner of 18th Street and Columbia Road NW on Porchfest Day. RSVP if you’re planning on going!

Art on the Avenue
Where:Mt. Vernon Avenue in Del Ray | Alexandria, VA
When: October 2, 10am – 6pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the diversity of Alexandria’s Del Ray community at this multicultural arts festival. Numerous artists — jewelers, woodworkers, pottery makers, soap crafters, glass makers, painters, sculptors, fabric artists, and musicians — will have their work on display and for sale. And kids activities have always been a vital part of the festival — there will be crafts especially for young festival-goers to enjoy and take home. Food vendors will also be there offering hot dogs, BBQ, Indian fare, crab cakes, chocolate bananas dipped on a stick, and home made cider donuts.

College Park Day
Where: College Park Aviation Museum | College Park, MD
When: October 9, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

Join friends, neighbors, and the entire City of College Park community at the Annual College Park Day Festival. This FREE event is fun for the whole family. Details for 2021 are still to come, but past years have included live music and bands, awesome kids zones, delicious food and drink, a variety of performers, helicopter fly-ins, exhibitors, and much more.

Bethesda Row Arts Festival
Where: Downtown Bethesda, MD
When: October 9-10
Admission: Free

All ages are welcome to join one of the region’s most exciting and esteemed outdoor festivals. Bethesda Row’s Shopping and Entertainment District is transformed into an outdoor art gallery, featuring more than 200 juried fine arts and crafts from artists around the nation. “Art Fair Sourcebook” and “Sunshine Artists” have recognized the event as one the most important in the country, and over 45,000 attendees agree! In the past there has been a Kids’ Tent with art activities especially for them, but it remains to be seen if that will return this year (will share updates!).

Marker-Miller Orchards Festivals
Where: Winchester, VA
When: October 9-10 & 23
Admission: Free

There’s a variety of fun to be had throughout the season with a couple of different festivals taking place. The Apple Harvest Festival is October 9-10, offering a weekend of, well, everything apples: multiple varieties of apples, apple cobbler, apple caramel sundaes, plus the wagon rides and cow train for kids. October 23 is their annual Pumpkin Festival, when you can find your own Great Pumpkin and enjoy all the usual festivities at the orchard.

Kids Euro Festival
Where: Venues around the District
When: October 9 & 16
Admission: Free

You don’t have to cross the pond to enjoy European entertainment! Consider your passport to continental entertainment as the 14th Annual Kids Euro Festival brings art and cultural events right to DC. Musicians, storytellers, dancers, and puppeteers are just a few of the exciting acts that perform, Usually in-person over several weeks, the festival is modified this year due to Covid. There will only be two Family Days on October 9 & 16 featuring live acts and activities hosted by performers from a variety of EU Member States! You can enjoy even more online.

OctROWber Fest
Where: 8th Street SE |Capitol Hill, DC
When: October 23
Admission: Free

There’s no Barracks Row Festival this year; instead, you can support local 8th Street SE businesses this October, Munich-style. Join for a day of live music from a traditional Oompah band and more fun. To keep neighbors safe and adhere to social distancing recommendations, they won’t be closing down the street or having outside vendors.

Autumn Harvest
Where: Schlagel Farm | Waldorf, MD
When: Weekends in October
Admission: TBD

The farm known for it’s strawberry picking in spring also welcomes guests to pick out pumpkins in the fall. Hayrides, farm animals to visit, and small slides, and a straw maze give kids a little extra fun, too. More details available soon!

Have a favorite festival you don’t see listed here? Let us know about it in the comments!

 

An early Cox Farms visit … this little guy now measures up to FARM!

 

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Filed under 2021, All ages, DC, Fall, Festival, Maryland, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend