Category Archives: Festival

2019 Independence Day Celebrations Around DC


What better place to celebrate Independence Day than in our nation’s capital? This is where the actual Declaration of Independence is housed (and will be read!), and celebrations take place among some of the country’s most iconic landmarks. But the excitement doesn’t stop there. From fireworks over the city and concerts at the Capitol to special events at George Washington’s house to neighborhood parades and ballpark fun, there are loads of ways to revel on July 4th (and 3rd!). Here are details on a bunch of them. Happy Independence Day!

National Independence Day Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue NW, 7th-17th Streets | DC
When: July 4, 11:45am
Admission: Free

Many national holidays get a parade in DC, and July 4th is no exception. Scores of spectators are expected to line the Constitution Avenue sidewalks to watch the procession celebrating Independence Day make its way from 7th to 17th Streets. Marching bands, floats, giant balloons, equestrian groups, drill teams, and military units will be among the pageantry. Stake out your spot along the route early, as this event attracts hundreds of thousands of viewers every year.

An American Celebration
Where: Mount Vernon | Mount Vernon, VA
When: July 4, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $18-20/adult, $11-12/age 6-11, free/5 & under

The home of George Washington salutes the first commander-in-chief with a dazzling display of made-for-daytime fireworks during its annual Independence Day event. Visitors will be treated to spectacular smoke fireworks in patriotic colors fired over the Potomac River. The event also includes an inspirational naturalization ceremony for 100 new citizens, military reenactments, a special wreathlaying ceremony, and a visit from the “first” first couple, “General and Mrs. Washington.” See the full schedule of events here.

A Capitol Fourth
Where: West Lawn on the Capitol | Capitol Hill, DC
When: July 4, 8pm; gates open at 3pm
Admission: Free

The annual Independence Day concert airing live on PBS, A Capitol Fourth will feature great musical pageantry. John Stamos will be back to host this year’s show, which will include performances by Carole King, Vanessa Carlton, Vanessa Williams, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Choral Arts Society of Washington, MusiCorps, and many more exciting acts. A special treat for the entire family will be Big Bird, Abby Cadabby, Rosita, Elmo, Grover, Bert & Ernie from Sesame Street on hand to celebrate America’s birthday, as the Sesame Street Muppets perform a musical medley of patriotic favorites and iconic songs from the groundbreaking children’s television series. Get there early to stake out a spot! (KFDC tip: You can also enjoy the show with less crowds at the dress rehearsal on July 3 – same time and place!)

Fourth of July Musical Salute
Where: The District Wharf | Southwest DC
When: July 4, 12-8pm
Admission: Free

It’s a star-spangled day at The Wharf. There will be live music throughout the day on the Pearl Street, Fish Market, and Transit Pier stages. Let the kids splash in the fountains, rock on bench swings by the water, enjoy an afternoon lunch at the waterfront, then snag a spot on one of the piers or rooftop bars for some of the best fireworks viewing the city has to offer. Read more about The Wharf in this KFDC post.

Salute to America and Fireworks
Where: Lincoln Memorial & West Potomac Park, DC
When: July 4, 6:30 – 9:30
Admission: Free

Festivities on the National Mall will be a bit different from previous years. Instead of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival going on all day and a concert and fireworks happening in the evening, there will be a Salute to America by the President honoring America’s armed forces with music, military demonstrations, flyovers and much more (tickets required). Later, fireworks will take place at West Potomac Park.

America’s Pastime
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: July 3, 6:05pm & July 4, 11:05am
Admission: Ticket prices vary

A day at the ballpark is about as all-American as it gets when it comes to sports, and you can experience it and celebrate the holiday at Nationals Park. Kick off Independence Day on July 3rd, when the Nats play the Marlins and enjoy a postgame fireworks show. The July 4th game is all part of the Patriotic Series. Before you go, be sure to check this post for tips to save on a Nats game.

Fourth of July at the National Archives
Where: National Archives | National Mall, DC
When: July 4, 8am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Catch the annual dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence. It starts at 10am, but doors open an 8am am, and the first 1,000 guests will receive a special T-shirt. After that, celebrate like it it’s 1776! Enjoy family activities, story time, crafts, and more! Meet John and Abigail Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Ned Hector, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington.

Neighborhood Parades
Where: Throughout the DMV
When: Most on July 4, times vary
Admission: Free

Keep it close to home at a community celebration. You likely are aware of July 4th events taking place in your neighborhood or nearby, but if you’re still looking for a hyperlocal fête, check out this list of parades around town.

Hang out on the LAWN
Where: National Building Museum | Judiciary Square, DC
When: July 4 (through September 3)
Admission: $16/adult, $13/child

It’s not an Independence Day celebration per se, but the Building Museum’s big annual Summer Block Party installation opens July 4th and will make for a fun and unique to do that day. Lawn will feature a vast, sloping green space set on a graceful incline and dotted with clusters of communal lounging areas. Visitors can enjoy refreshments and lawn games like croquet, bocce ball, and dominoes. A scaffolding tower that reaches the height of the Museum’s third floor will offer never-before-seen views of the Great Hall, column capitals, and sculptural busts lining the roof.

Visionary Pets on Parade
Where: American Visionary Arts Museum | Baltimore, MD
When: July 4, 9-10am
Admission: Free

Dress your pet & strut your stuff — or just go to watch the animal fun. Trophies awarded for Best Costume, Most Patriotic, Most Visionary Pet, Owner & Pet look-alikes, Least likely to succeed as a Pet, Visionary Pet Tricks and more! Friendly pets of ALL kinds are welcome to this best dog-gone parade in town. It will be followed by the Pet Talent (Or Not) Show! Pets must be leashed or carried. H20, pet cooling station, and baggies provided. Free and open to the public, and no advanced registration is required to participate or watch.

July 4th Celebration
Where: Armed Forces Retirement Home | Petworth, DC
When: 4-9:30pm
Admission: Free

All are welcome to join the 8th annual July 4th Celebration at the Armed Forces Retirement Home. Enjoy live entertainment, catch and release fishing, face painting, bouncy fun, an obstacle course, and crafts. Concessions will also be for sale and plentiful.

Family Fireworks Cruise
Where: Washington Marina | Southwest DC
When: July 4, 6:45pm
Admission: $159 (look for a discount)

View the breathtaking Independence Day fireworks display from the comfort of the boat, FREEDOM. This relaxing, family-friendly cruise with the National Ferry Corporation along the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers offers front row seats to the stunning display in the sky, fun raffles, and complimentary hot dogs, chips, and an array of cookies & brownies for desert. There will also be a complimentary champagne toast for the adults during the fireworks show, plus a full bar with beverages available for purchase. Last year’s fireworks cruise sold out, so book your cruise soon.

Summer Rooftop BBQ
Where: The Eaton Hotel | Downtown DC
When: July 4, 4-8pm
Admission: $22/adult, $10/child

Wild Days, The Eaton Hotel’s indoor/outdoor rooftop music venue, is hosting a BBQ with a special menu for the holiday — and kids are welcome, too. The gathering aims to bring together members of the community around a selection of DJs, tasty food, and cocktails overlooking all of K street, inspired by the diversity and originality of DC.

Falls Church 4th of July Celebration
Where: George Mason High School | Fairfax, VA
When: July 4, 6-10pm
Admission: Free

The City of Falls Church Recreation and Parks Department will present its annual free July 4th Celebration at George Mason High School (7124 Leesburg Pike). Grab a bit fro food trucks starting at 6pm. Musical entertainment begins at 7pm with a live performance, and fireworks follow at 9:20pm. Blankets and flat-based chairs are allowed for seating on the field. Food and drinks will be sold on site.

McLean 4th of July Fireworks
Where: Langley High School | McLean, VA
When: July 4
Admission: Free

McLean’s annual Independence Day Celebration is at Langley High School this year. Gates open at 6pm, and the fireworks show begins at sunset, approximately 9:15pm. In addition to the large fireworks display, patrons can come early to enjoy musical entertainment by a local disc jockey, as well as food trucks selling a variety of entrees and snacks.


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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Monuments & Memorials, Music, Outdoor, Parade, Seasonal, Special Event, Sports, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays

Mark Your Calendar for the Rosslyn Blooms! Flower Festival on May 11

On Mother’s Day Weekend, drop by the region’s premier spring flower market, the Rosslyn Blooms! Flower Festival. The festival will take place Saturday, May 11, on Central Place Plaza in Rosslyn from 10am to 5pm. Get ready for a day of live music, DIY workshops, and a pop-up coffee shop with Compass Coffee. Check out the website for more details. Registration is required for all workshops, including the FREE sessions for kids.


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


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Filed under 2019, All ages, Festival, Free, Outdoor, Seasonal, Special Event, Spring, Virginia, Weekend

The Best Activities for Families During the 2019 Cherry Blossom Season



Cherry blossom season is almost upon us, and it’s time to start getting ready for it! Because not only is the city at its prettiest when the beloved flowers are in bloom, there also are loads of special events and activities to celebrate it all. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, running March 20 – April 13 this year, presents all kinds of fun and enriching activities over several weeks, plus there are even more blossom-inspired happenings that aren’t part of the official festivities. I’ve picked the best of them for families to help you plan for a peak experience. And for viewing the blossoms, check out these KFDC tips. Happy Spring!

In Peak Bloom
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: March 20 – May 27
Admission: $16-20/adult, $8-10/child

ARTECHOUSE is bringing cherry blossoms to a digital realm, celebrating spring, renewal, and the cherry blossom season with this art experience. In Peak Bloom will feature interactive and immersive digital art installations inspired by the fragile beauty and ephemeral nature of the cherry blossom. The cherry blossom’s distinctive short life span is closely tied to its cultural significance — reminding us of how precious and fleeting life is — and also part of what makes its blooming period such a cherished spectacle.

Cultural Performances
Where: Tidal Basin Welcome Area
When: Weekends, March 23 – April 14
Admission: Free

Catch live entertainment as you take in views of the blossoms! On weekends during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, there will be music and dance performances on a special stage set up at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area. A highlight will be the Sakura Takio Takeover on March 30 from 11am – 5pm!

Cherry Blossom Family Festival
Where: American Art Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: March 23, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Join the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Cherry Blossom Festival for a celebration of Japanese culture. Kick off the day with a taiko drumming performance outside of the museum at the F Street entrance. Enjoy face painting, make cherry blossom crafts, listen to Japanese music, and go on a spring-themed scavenger hunt through the museum’s galleries.

Japanese Culture Day
Where: Library of Congress | Capitol Hill, DC
When: March 23, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Children of all ages and their families can learn about Japanese culture through reading, writing, and craft-making with Japanese cultural and linguistic professionals. Japanese-related books will be on display, and a special highlight of the day is “Japan-In-A-Suitcase,” an inspiring program about Japanese life and culture. Other activities include Japanese drum music and dance performances, instructions on the art of tiara-making by former Cherry Blossom princesses, origami artwork lessons, decorative Konobori coloring, and the kimono dress-up experience. Children can also explore the Library’s Young Readers Center, which is full of current and classic children’s literature – read more about it here.

Go with the Flow
Where: Local waterways
When: Starting mid-March
Admission: Rates vary

Get a new perspective of the blossom and enjoy a fun activity on a paddling excursion. Many boathouses will open around the same time the National Cherry Blossom Festival begins, offering canoe, kayak, and other rentals to take you out on the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers and Tidal Bason, where you can see the blooming cherry trees from the water. This KFDC post has more information on where to go with the flow around DC.

River Cruisin’
Where: Local waterways
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by tour operator

Enjoy blossom filled scenery from the comfort of a cruise on the Potomac. Several companies offer boat rides along the river, many of them specifically for the season when the cherry trees are in bloom. Right now you can find great deals with Boomerang Boat Tours and National Ferry Fleet. Capitol River Cruises, Potomac Riverboat Company, and DC Water Taxi are a few more to check out.

STORYTIME: Call Me Tree
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: March 27, 10-11am
Admission: Free

Join the Hirshhorn for a special STORYTIME, their regular program for littles, and take a trip to the depths of the earth and discover what can grow from it. Visit the round bronze sculptures Spatial Concept: Nature by Lucio Fontana, hear a reading of Call Me Tree by Maya Christina González, then do a related hands-on activity.

Blossom Kite Festival
Where: Washington Monument Grounds | National Mall, DC
When: March 30, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

The annual Blossom Kite Festival is a favorite for many during the blossom season. The sight of thousands of kites in all colors, shapes, and sizes soaring around the Washington Monument truly is a sight to behold. The sails you see flying at the Festival each spring range from simple to pretty darn creative. Dragons, sharks, butterflies, giant soccer balls, even some that look like big, beautiful origami works way outnumber your basic diamond. And anyone can go fly their kites, so BYO or make one there at an activity station. There’s a competition aspect to the event, too; expert kite enthusiasts will wow crowds with cool stunts, and prizes will be awarded to winners of various categories such as most beautiful, funniest, and aerodynamics.

A cherry blossom dream at last year’s ARTECHOUSE spring exhibit

Blossoms & Baseball
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: April 3
Admission: Ticket price vary

The Nats are getting in on the Cherry Blossom festivities this year with a petal-packed, pink takeover of Nationals Park as they host the Phillies. A portion of ticket proceeds from the game will also benefit the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Cherry Blossom STEM Day
Where: Children’s Science Center Lab | Fairfax, VA
When: April 6, 10am – 6pm
Admission: $13

Celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival with a twist of STEM! Guests will be able to experiment with Flower Pigmentation. Visitors will press or rub flower petals onto a coffee filter, and with water added, witness the process of different pigmentation (ie, which colors will appear for the different types of flowers). Surprise and wonder may come as to how many colors will reveal themselves out of one colored petal. Read more about the Children’s Science Center Lab in this KFDC post.

Open Studio: Celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival
Where: Freer|Sackler Gallery | National Mall, DC
When: April 6, 10am – 12pm & April 13, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Take a family-friendly tour and learn about nature in Japanese art (10:30am on 4/6, 12:30pm & 2:30pm on 4/13). Then, continue to explore the Freer for pop-up art-making activities with FutureMakers and artist demonstrations inspired by the spring season. All ages are welcome with adult companions.

Ikebana Floral Design Workshop for Kids
Where: Green Spring Garden | Alexandria, VA
When: April 6
Admission: $15

Kids ages 8-14 can try their hand at creating a Japanese-style floral design influenced by the flowering cherry trees. Instructor Elizabeth Berry will introduce kids to this Asian art and help them create a small arrangement of their own to take home. Register in advance. Read more about Green Spring Gardens in this KFDC post.

Petalpalooza
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: April 6, 12-9:30pm
Admission: Free

It’s a full day of live music and engaging activities at The Wharf! Petalpalooza will feature live music on multiple outdoor stages, a beer garden, all-ages activities, product giveaways, a spectacular fireworks show by Pyrotecnico, and much more along the piers of the Southwest Waterfront. Take in the half-mile-long stretch of The Wharf’s shops and restaurants as the National Cherry Blossom Festival transforms the waterfront community into a one-day-only springtime spectacle. Read more about The Wharf in this KFDC post.

Community Day: Growing Community
Where: National Building Museum | Judiciary Square, DC
When: April 7, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the playfulness of spring at the National Building Museum during this program offered as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival! Participate in hands-on activities and learn from community partners as you explore how landscape design can inspire outdoor play to grow and strengthen community. Take a closer look at the green space incorporated into your built environment that gets people outside and brings them together.

Art Blooms at Mosaic
Where: Mosaic District | McLean, VA
When: April 7, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

This inaugural National Cherry Blossom Festival event brings an immersive and participatory art experience to Northern Virginia. Shop the UrbnMarket handmade and vintage craft fair, join interactive art classes and demonstrations, enjoy live music and entertainment, and watch the Cherry Tree planting and dedication. There will also be a Caboose Beer Garden for adults.

Japanese Stone Lantern Lighting
Where: Tidal Basin | Southwest, DC
When: April 7, 3-4:30pm
Admission: Free

Nestled under the cherry blossom trees on the Tidal Basin, this ceremony includes remarks by top US officials and Japanese diplomats as well as traditional songs and music performed by Toho Koto Society of Washington DC and the Washington DC Choral Society.

Cherry Blossom Night at DC United
Where: Audi Field | Southwest DC
When: April 9, 7:45pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary

Support local sports and be a part of the Cherry Blossom Festival at once! DC United’s home match against Montreal Impact will include cherry blossom-themed activations, activities, and celebrations for fans along with the action on the pitch. Score tickets here.

Millennium Stage: Taiko Drumming and Traditional Dance
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: April 12, 6pm
Admission: Free

This Target Family Night at Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage features a Japanese performance that all ages will enjoy. Thundering taiko drumming meets traditional Japanese dance as nearly 30 drummers and dancers from Tamagawa University and Taiko Group take the stage. The performers make up one of Japan’s top-ranking taiko groups coming out of the premier arts university in Japan.

See Racing Presidents rolling down Constitution Ave at the annual parade

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th St NW | Downtown DC
When: April 13, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

The pinnacle of cherry blossom festivities easily is the parade. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue every year to watch the procession of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers roll through the city. Tickets for grandstand seats are available for $20, but you can stake out a spot along the curb for free. Plan to arrive early to get a good view — the crowds come out for this one, especially if it’s a pretty spring day.

Sakura Matsuri
Where: Pennsylvania Ave, 3rd-7th St NW | Downtown DC
When: April 13, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $10/ages 13+, free/12 & under

Following the Cherry Blossom parade, many folks head over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture. The 59th annual event will feature live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. Be prepared for a crowd.

Into The Woods
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park | Herndon, VA
When: April 13, 11:30am – 1:30pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the season trekking on Frying Pan’s nature trail to experience the changes of spring. Visit stations peppered throughout the trail to build a fairy house, help tally migratory and year round resident birds, and search for critters in the soil and water. Enjoy Japanese teas at the historic Frying Pan Meeting House. Stop by the Indoor Arena first for a map and instructions.

Ikebana for Kids
Where: National Arboretum | Northeast DC
When: April 13, 1-2pm
Admission: $25

Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arranging, and kids ages 10 to 13 can spend an hour with a trained ikebana teacher qualified to teach young people this ancient art. Your child will take home a beautiful living flower arrangement as part of the workshop. All materials will be provided. Registration by April 5 is required.

Sakura Sunday
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: April 14, 11am – 8pm
Admission: Free

This year, National Harbor will be joining the DC region in the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival. Sakura Sunday will feature a wide array of fincluding traditional Japanese picnicking with food available for sale; a sake, rosé and beer garden; a Japanese Market; and Japanese-inspired music and entertainment. Restaurants and retailers will also participate in special offers and a cherry blossom store display window competition, and The Capital Wheel will turn pink during the festival. Muse Paintbar will feature cherry blossom art classes and a live painting demonstration as well.

Anacostia River Festival
Where: Anacostia Park | Southeast DC
When: April 14, 1-5pm (POSTPONED to April 20)
Admission: Free

The 5th annual Anacostia River Festival is once again a premier event and official closing of the 2019 National Cherry Blossom Festival! Celebrate the Anacostia River with some fun outdoor recreation! Explore the river by canoe, ride in a bike parade, play lawn games with your family, and experience Southeast DC’s local arts scene.


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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Special Event, Sports, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Giveaway: Enter to Win Tickets to “Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas” at Adventure Theatre!



It’s almost the holiday season, and Adventure Theatre is getting into the spirit with a new show that brings an adored children’s book character to life on stage. Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas will be a perfect holiday entertainment for the whole family — and you have a chance to win a Family 4-Pack of tickets to see it!

What could be fancier than Christmas? Presents with elegant wrapping paper, festive decorations, Christmas cookies with sprinkles-and who could forget the tree? After all, there is no such thing as too much tinsel. Oohlala! This year, Nancy is especially excited. After selling some of her old gowns and accessories, Nancy has enough money to buy a brand-new sparkly tree topper. She can’t wait to decorate the Christmas tree. But when things don’t turn out the way Nancy planned, will Christmas still be splendiferous?

Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas opens November 16, 2018 and runs through January 6, 2019. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online or at the Box Office. You can also try winning them through the giveaway below!

Want to make your theatre outing extra special? On December 8, Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas Festival will include a bunch of fun activities along a performance of the show:
* Make your own extraordinary Tree Topper (just like the heirloom in the book)
* Create the most dazzling holiday-licious headband you’ve ever seen
* Craft a glamorous glitter ornament with your name on it
* Enjoy caroling with friends from Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas
* Decorate delicious Christmas sugar cookies with delectable frosting
* Have your holiday family photo taken

Plus, there will be hor d’oeuvres, a hot chocolate bar, games, music, and plenty of splendiferous holiday cheer. Tickets are $100 dollars, or $350 for a family-four pack.

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Giveaway: For a chance to win a Family 4-Pack of tickets to see Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas at Adventure Theatre, simply leave a comment below with your preferred date and time to see the show. Get an extra chance to win by entering on the KidFriendly DC Facebook Page, too. This giveaway will run through Thursday, November 15, 2018, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!


This post is sponsored by Adventure Theatre, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.


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Filed under 2018, All ages, Christmas, Festival, Giveaway, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Seasonal, Special Event, Sponsored Post, Theatre, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter