Category Archives: Festival

The Weekend Round-Up:
September 7-9

An old pic from Adams Morgan, one of THE places to be in DC on Sunday!

Happy Weekend!

The Lion King @ The Drive-In
Where: Union Market | Northeast DC
When: Friday, 8pm (lot opens at 6pm)
Admission: $10/car, free for walk-ups

Catch a family-friendly flick at the drive-in! The Lion King is this month’s featured film at Union Market’s outdoor movie series. See the story of Simba and his family on the big screen from the comfort of your car in the UM parking lot. Get there as early as 6pm and have a bite to eat in the Market or bring food back to your car. The lot closes at 7:30pm, and the film begins at 8pm. Advance purchase is recommended.

Family Fun Fair
Where: The Cathay School | Rockville, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

The Cathay School in coordination with Activity Rocket & Thrively welcome everyone Back-To-School with a FREE Family Fun Fair at The Cathay School, a brand new, state-of-the-art educational center.  Sample classes for kids as countless businesses will be there to provide gymnastics, art, music, STEM, drama, entertainment, snacks, and more family fun activities appropriate for children ages 2 to 12 years old. Giveaways also included! RSVP here to let them know you’re going!

Children’s Day
Where: Peirce Mill | Rock Creek Park
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

2401 Tilden Street NW, Washington, DC
This event will feature special hands-on tours of the historic mill for children at 11am and 12:30pm. Kids can also make there own cornhusk dolls and other old-fashioned toys, and play traditional games on the lawn. This event is designed for ages 3 and up, but all are welcome and no registration is required. Read a KFDC write-up about Peirce Mill.

Sing, Talk, & Read Family Festival
Where: Deanwood Library | Northeast DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Join DC Public Library in partnership with the DC Dept. of Parks and Recreation for this
early literacy festival. Singing, talking, and reading are essential to ensuring that children have the strong foundation needed to learn how to read. Along with great resources, free food, prizes and giveaways, and amazing performances will be part fo the fun. Take a musical journey around the Americas with Latin Grammy-winning 123 Andrés. See Coyaba Dance Theater perform song and dance as they explore the diverse sounds and movements of the different parts of Africa. Meet a DC United player, too!

Art Museum Morning
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm & Sunday, 11am
Admission: Free

Fun for little ones at the Hirshhorn! Enjoy the Library + Art Pop-Up and find a cart in the galleries and check out a fun kit full of favorite finds for kids. On Sunday, enjoy their Storytime program: Imagine and re-enact the journey of a little clam as you look at the sculpture Clamdigger by Willem de Kooning and read the book Necks Out for Adventure. Following the reading, create your own visual stories with the help of museum staff.

The Great Indoors
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by Activity

The current forecast shows a lot of rainy weather this weekend, so this go-to post listing 100 suggestions for things to do inside — just about all of them tried and tested by yours truly and co. — will be a good one to keep in your back pocket. And if you’re looking specifically for places where kids can burn energy and be active, check out this round-up of Indoor Playgrounds.

Teddy Bear Clinic
Where: National Museum of Health & Medicine | Silver Spring, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Bring your favorite stuffed friend and explore the Teddy Bear Clinic with activities and crafts designed to highlight the body, physical fitness, and healthy habits. This program is recommended for children in PreK-2nd grade.

Virginia Indian Festival
Where: Riverbend Park | Great Falls, VA
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $8

Eight American Indian tribes from Virginia, including the Rappahannock dancers and drummers, will convene for this annual festival at the park along the Potomac River. Enjoy hands on activities and live demonstrations including American Indian storytelling, shooting bow and arrows, throwing spears and making stone tools. Also, assist in building a dugout canoe and visit our marketplace of American Indian crafts, pottery and jewelry. Read more about Riverbend Park here.

Pawpaw Festival
Where: Meadowside Nature Center | Rockville, MD
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Admission: $5

Get your paws on this delightful native fruit and celebrate it with Meadowside Nature Center. They’ll have music, crafts, games, face painting, and advice on growing pawpaws. You can also get a taste of the fruit and purchase pawpaw trees, so you can grow your own at home.

Rosslyn Jazz Fest
Where: Gateway Park | Rosslyn, VA
When: Saturday, 1-7pm
Admission: Free

Head across the Key Bridge from the city for this free annual music festival. In its 28th season, the event regularly draws over 5,000 music fans to Gateway Park for world-class music along with family-friendly activities, local food trucks, and a beer and wine garden. See the website for the line-up of bands and details on parking.

Prince George’s County Fair
Where: Show Place Arena | Upper Marlboro, MD
When: Through Sunday
Admission: $6/ages 13+, $5/age 6-11, free/5 & under

The county fair season continues! Enjoy a variety of entertainment and attractions for all ages at PG County’s annual event — 4-H exhibits, magic and dance shows, pig and duck races, a horse pull competition, a chain saw artist, a K-9 show, and much more carnival-style fun.

Celebrate Petworth
Where: 800 block of Upshur Street NW | Petworth, DC
When: Saturday, 11-5pm
Admission: Free

Organized by and for the residents of Petworth and surrounding neighborhoods, Celebrate Petworth is a free community festival celebrating the creativity, diversity, culture, people, and quality of life in the wonderful neighborhood. 

Ren Fest
Where: Revel Grove | Crownsville, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 7pm
Admission: $19/age 16+, $8/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.)

Fall Fests
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

The calendar may not say fall yet, but that’s not stopping the seasonal celebrations. Go on hayrides, get lost in corn mazes, pick some pumpkins and apples, whoosh down slides, and so much more. This recent post has a list of all the festivals happening around the area where you can get a head start on fall this weekend or plan your autumn amusement for later.

Gelato Festival
Where: City Market at O | Shaw, DC
When: Saturday, 12-8pm & Sunday, 12-7pm
Admission: $25-30/adult, $20-25/under 12, free/under2

I scream, you scream, we all scream for… gelato! The second annual Gelato Festival aims to spread awareness of real Italian artisanal gelato through a contest in which gelato artisans and chefs will compete with original gelato flavors they have created just for this event. And the public is invited to savor them all! All-access tickets let you enjoy a scoop of each of the unique flavors created by the competing gelato chefs, the sponsored flavors, and flavors from Carpigiani’s Gelato University. Ticket holders will also be able to vote for their favorite flavor, helping to decide the winner for their city, with their votes comprising 50% of the decision; the rest is in the hands of the technical jury.

Where: Georgetown U Hotel & Conference Center | Georgetown, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Starts at $15

If you’re serious about board games, this tabletop gaming convention is an event you don’t want to miss. There will be opportunities to demo new games, enter tourneys to test your gaming skills against some of the best players, meet people who make and sell games, and much more.

All Aboard for Kensington
Where: Kensington Town Hall | Kensington, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: $7/adult, $2/child, $15/max per family

Join local club, The National Capital Trackers, as they run “O” gauge electric trains on multiple layouts, with flourishes such as train whistles, steam, depots and bridges giving visitors lots to marvel at. All Aboard for Kensington will also feature live music, stories, and activities for kids.

Africa FEST
Where: William Ramsay Recreation Center | Alexandria, VA
When: Saturday, 12-5pm
Admission: Free

The City of Alexandria’s Office of the Arts will transform the William Ramsay Recreation Center for a free celebration of Africa through dance, music, food, crafts, and culture. Traditional African attire is encouraged!

Commit to Be Fit
Where: Rhode Island Row
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Join friends and neighbors and commit to being the healthiest you at Rhode Island Row on Saturday. The Commit to Be Fit event will feature free fitness classes, health screenings, healthy food offerings, kids activities, giveaways, and more! The free event is in partnership with WPGC 95.5 Radio.

BlackRock Open House
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts | Gaithersburg, MD
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Join BlackRock for their annual Open House and discover where AWESOME meets EASY. BlackRock opens its doors for three hours only, but during that time you can win great prizes, play with artists in our galleries, preview the upcoming film series, see showcases of upcoming attractions, sample workshops of award-winning classes, plus get in on a 3-Hour Sale!

Savor the Bay
Where: Sandy Point State Park | Annapolis, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $10, free for ages 12 and under

How about a day filled with delicious seafood, live entertainment, kids activities, food demos and competitions, loads of shopping options, vendors, exhibits, contests? You can enjoy all that and more at the 51st annual Maryland Seafood Festival. Even better, it all takes place on the beautiful shores of the Chesapeake Bay.

National Folk Festival
Where: Downtown Salisbury, MD
When: Friday, 6-10:30pm | Saturday, 12-10:30pm | Sunday, 12-6:30pm
Admission: Free

Take a day trip to make it an overnight to Salisbury, MD, for the National Folk Festival, a celebration of traditional music, dance, craft, and food that captures the heart of the American experience. Festivities include a dance pavilion, crafters, regional and ethnic foods, a juried marketplace, and seven amazing stages featuring more than 350 artists on the banks of the Wicomico River. The free, family-friendly event runs all weekend with a special area reserved for the Maryland Traditions state folklife program to present living cultural traditions from Maryland.

Adams Morgan Day
Where: Along 18th St & Columbia Ave NW | Adams Morgan, DC
When: Sunday, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate one of the city’s most diverse communities at the 40th 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 for kids and adults, bike demos, live entertainment, and tons more. More details and the schedule of performances are available on the website.

Rainbow Families Picnic
Where: Hillwood Estate | Upper Northwest, DC
When: Sunday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: $5-$18, free/under 18

Connect with LGBT families and enjoy Hillwood’s urban oasis at this family celebration. Pack a picnic or purchase food from the café’s express menu, play lawn games, get faces painted, try on costumes, make a craft, explore the exhibitions, and more!

* Surely, you’ve seen the ad, but have you watched the commercial yet? Amazing.
* The new Fall 2018 Activity Board created in partnership with Thrively and Activity Rocket features all kinds of classes for kids around the area!
* ARTECHOUSE is offering a special Family Package for Fractal Worlds, which gets you a free child’s admission with the purchase of an adult ticket. This deal runs September 6-9, though you can reserve any date through September.
* You can register now to join the International Coastal Clean-Up that will take place locally at Kingman Island next Saturday.
* Groupon is running a Best of September Sale September 7-8, with up to 80% off activities and services all around the DC area!
* Liven up your fall! This new post has the line-up of family entertainment coming to the DC area over the next few months.
* This video that I learned about here is so creative and beautiful.


Filed under 2018, All ages, DC, Fall, Festival, Maryland, Special Event, Virginia, Weekend

Scenes from a Day at the 2018 Maryland Renaissance Festival

Ready for a day of merriment!

Just in case you’ve missed the other 8,693 times I’ve mentioned it on the blog, the Maryland Renaissance Festival is, hands down, my favorite annual event in the DC area. It begins in late August and runs on weekends through late October, producing a whole 16th-century village teeming with merriment every year.

It doesn’t have to be May for a maypole in Revel Grove

We made our first excursion of the season there this past weekend. We try to go at least twice each year, as one day never feels like enough to enjoy the many, many festivities, plus there are pros (and cons) to going at different times. Early in the season, crowds are smaller (because it’s usually hot), and the admission fee is lower. Later in the season, the cool, crisp weather and autumn foliage adds some extra splendor to the visit (but also draws the masses).

A woodsy setting makes for nice shade early on and great foliage later!

It has become somewhat of a tradition to go with friends who we know enjoy it as much as we do, in the same way we do. We have a fairly laid back approach… we like to casually stroll around and take it all in, stop and watch performances as we happen upon them (generally, anyway), grab lot of bites to eat throughout the day, sip on snakebites as we wander, and let the kids enjoy lots of games and activities. Yes, this does mean we’re paying beyond admission, but costs for concessions and activities are quite reasonable, and we plan ahead to spend on them.

He’s been riding this slide since he was a baby (though we went tandem back then)

Medieval bowling?

Two shows we usually make a point of catching are the jousting matches and Wheel of Death. The former is a fantastic display of medieval pageantry as knights on horses battle it out, and the latter showcases a man performing amazing acrobatic feats on a towering contraption that looks like a hybrid of a windmill and hampster wheel. Unfortunately, we decided to skip the joust on Sunday because of the blazing heat and lack of shaded seats. The Wheel of Death, however, takes place under a lovely canopy of trees, so there was no missing that!

The Wheel of Death is a can’t-miss

I’ve written about Ren Fest a lot, including pretty recently, so I’ll just get to the scenes from our day. It really is a fantastic time, in my opinion, and I’d love to hear what all of you think about it if/when you go. Huzzah!

A festively adorned village

Dress like a Ren Fester — costumes for rent and to puchase!

Running in circles 😀

Funny things are everywhere…

Just $1 per slide!

Kids gather round for a hilarious puppet show

Watch a glass blowing demo and maybe even buy a freshly made piece

Food options galore!

You can’t go wrong with a turkey leg

A “No Holds Bard” wrestling match

An attempt to climb Jacob’s Ladder

Take home a new pet!

Or a dagger!

One last shot of the Wheel Walker… Huzzah!

Maryland Renaissance Festival
Where: Revel Grove | Crownsville, MD ( get directions)
When: Weekends August 25 – October 21, 10am – 7pm
Admission: $19-26/adult, $17-22/senior, $8-11/age 7-15, free/6 & under

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Filed under 2018, All ages, Annual, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Festival, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Outdoor, Seasonal, Special Event, Weekend

Celebrate the Season and Then Some at Fall Festivals Around the DMV

It’s fall, y’all!

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 books to cuisine 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, admittedly, mostly reprised from previous years), will help you plan for it all. Happy Fall!

Maryland Renaissance Festival
Where: Revel Grove | Crownsville, MD
When: Weekends through October 21
Admission: Thru 9/9: $19/age 16+, $8/age 7-15
9/15-10/21: $26/age 16+, $11/age 7-15 | free/6 & under

This medieval time trip began in late August and gets a big 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 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.

National Book Festival
Where: Washington Convention Center | Downtown DC
When: September 1, 9am – 7pm
Admission: Free

The 18th Annual Library of Congress National Book Festival will feature more than 100 authors, poets, and illustrators from every literary genre. Even better, they will all be there presenting book readings, talks, Q&A’s, book signings, and more. These will take place along with lots of other reading-related activities for all ages.

Apple Gala & Cider Festival
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: Weekends in September
Admission: $10-12/adult $8-10/child, free/2 & under

The annual Apple Gala and Cider Festival takes place every Saturday and Sunday in September. Over 7,000 apple trees are planted throughout our farm, with plenty for picking and pressing to make fresh apple cider. Learn how apple cider was made back in the day with cider pressing demos from an antique 1835 cider press, enjoy live music, nosh on donuts baked fresh each morning, take wagon rides out to the apple orchards, and and have lots of fun in the five-acre play area, corn maze, and more.

Fall at Clark’s Elioak Farm
Where: Ellicott City, MD
When: Ongoing
Admission: $6, babies 1 and under are free

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.

Fall Fun Festival
Where: Gaver Farm | Mt. Airy, MD
When: September 7 – November 4
Admission: $9/weekdays, $13.50/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 8-9 – Teacher Appreciation Weekend, September 15 – Touch a Tractor, September 22 – Military and First Responders Appreciation Weekend, September 29 – Apple Harvest Festival.

Hartland Orchard Fall Festival Weekends
Where: Markham, VA
When: Weekends September 8 – October 28
Admission: $10/ages 3 and up, free/2 & under

Hartland’s long list of opportunities for amusement include hayrides, pumpkin patches, a 60-foot slide, a corn maze, duck and pig races, and pony rides (some activities cost extra). On September 15, be sure to don your coolest accessory for “Cape Day” — everyone who wears a cape, superhero or not, gets $2 off admission. And FYI: The apple picking comes highly recommended.

Adams Morgan Day
Where: Along 18th St & Columbia Ave NW | Adams Morgan, DC
When: September 9, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate one of the city’s most diverse communities at the 40yh 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 for kids and adults, bike demos, live entertainment, and tons more. More details and the schedule of performances are available on the website.

Cox Farms Fall Festival
Where: Centreville, VA
When: September 15 – November 6
Admission: $6-20 depending on dates

This festival is enormous! So big that they actually have a Tips & Resources page on the website to help guests prepare and navigate their way around the sprawling site that contains seven slides, swings, games, mazes, pumpkins, picnics, live entertainment, farm animals, and lots 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.

Montpelier Farms Fall Festival
Where: Upper Marlboro, MD
When: Weekends September 15 – November 4
Admission: $12, 2 & under free

Enjoy all of the staples of a fall festival on the farm — pumpkins, hayrides, animals, hill slides, and more. 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, I repeat, do not miss the corn maze. It’s EPIC.

Pumpkin Village Fall Fest
Where: Leesburg Animal Park | Leesburg, VA
When: September 15 – November 6
Admission: $10.95-16.95, 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 the perfect place for a fall birthday party. Get $2 off Mon-Thurs admission after 2pm by subscribing to their email list (scroll all the way down)!

Taste of Falls Church
Where: Falls Church, VA
When: September 15, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Falls Church’s annual autumn tradition returns, highlighting the area’s popular restaurants and featuring live entertainment, pony rides, children’s amusements, crafters, businesses and civic organizations. Festival goers can sample cuisine from city restaurant kitchens for $3 per “taste” or 10 “tastes” for $25. The children’s activity tent offers face painting and craft projects. Most rides will also require the purchase of tickets.

Corn Maze & Fall Festival
Where: Winterbrook Farms | Thurmont, MD
When: Opens September 22 – November 4
Admission: $10, $7/patrons 4′ and under

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! Dogs on leashes are welcome, too.

Occoquan Fall Arts & Crafts Show
Where: Mill Street in Occoquan, VA
When: September 29-30
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 48th 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.

Wayside Farm Fall Fun
Where: Berryville, VA
When: September 15 – November 4
Admission: $10, 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 a pumpkin, visit farm animals and check out the goat walk, whiz down slide, romp in the play yard. Admission covers all of those activities and even more.

Fall Festival 2018
Where: Ticonderoga Farm | Chantilly, VA
When: September 22 – November 4
Admission: $10.95/weekdays, $16.95/holiday and weekends

This festival at one of our favorite farms in the area has all the trappings for a great time on the farm: hayrides, swings, a couple of playgrounds, hillside slides, s’mores roasting, cornshucking demos, a petting farm, a bamboo maze, antique tractors and firetruck, a pumpkin patch, and much, much more. Some features are available weekends only, but there’s more than plenty to keep kids entertained any day of the week. For a peek at it all, see this post about their Winter Festival and this one about a school field trip there.

Harvest Happenings
Where: St. Luke’s School | McLean, VA
When: September 22
Admission: $5

The McLean Community Center welcomes the whole family for a fun and exciting day. Activities include games, live entertainment, a petting zoo, concessions, and arts & crafts. All activities are included in the entrance fee with the exception of the purchase of pumpkins for $3 and food concessions.

Anniversary Fall Festival
Where: Reston Farm Market | Reston, VA
When: September 22
Admission: Free

Celebrate and have fun at the Fall Festival and Anniversary Event at the Reston Farm Market. Bring the family for lots of activities — an incredible balloon artist, face painting, train rides, a petting zoo, and much 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.

Harvest Festival
Where: Belvedere Plantation | Fredericksburg, VA
When: September 30 – November 4
Admission: $9.25 – $18.95, depending on day/time

This heritage farm has loads to keep the whole gang entertained for hours. Slides, hayrides, ziplines, pumpkin patch, playground, flower picking, jumping pillow are just some of the attractions that little ones will love. And the Maize Maze, with a rooster path to navigate, is an adventure in itself. Plan to eat there — the Red Rooster Grill offers a variety of grilled favorites to satisfy all appetites.

Jumbo’s Pumpkin Patch
Where: Middletown, MD
When: September 22 – October 31
Admission: Free, $7/corn maze, pay for pumpkins

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. Not all of the activities are available during the week, so check the schedule for details.

Taste of Georgetown
Where: K Street, Wisconsin to Thomas Jefferson | Georgetown, DC
When: September 23, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free, but pay per taste

In its 25th year, the Taste of Georgetown will showcase the spectacular cuisine of over 30 of the neighborhood’s premier restaurants, highlighting Georgetown’s culinary personalities and featuring delectable dishes to sample as well as wine pairings. Bring young foodies for free activities including face painting, balloon art, and more fun for kids of all ages. Tasting tickets can be purchased online or at the event.

Fall Adventures at Summers Farm
Where: Frederick, MD
When: September 23 – October 31
Admission: $10-17, 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.

Barracks Row Fall Festival
Where: 8th Street SE |Capitol Hill, DC
When: September 29
Admission: Free

Showcasing the marine barracks and commerce of 8th Street SE on Capitol Hill, this annual festival is fun for all ages. Enjoy tours of the historic barracks, live entertainment, an animal petting zoo, food and art vendors, and tons of fun for kids, including an instrument petting zoo and more amusement for the younger set. A Beer Garden for grown-ups is a bonus.

Butler’s Orchard Pumpkin Festival
Where: Germantown, MD
When: Weekends September 29 – October 28
Admission: $12, free/2 & under

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!

Fall For Fairfax KidsFest
Where: Fairfax County Government Center, VA
When: September 29-30
Admission: Free

This annual event by Celebrate Fairfax, Inc. includes exciting, interactive, and educational programs, entertainment and activities. Especially designed for families with elementary and pre-K aged children, activities include scarecrow making, pumpkin painting, public safety and recycling-themed exhibits, pony rides, a petting zoo, hay rides, model trains, and the KidWay MidWay with more than a dozen rides, bounces, and attractions. And that’s just for the kids. Adults can enjoy more than 75 exhibits, live entertainment, activities, and great festival food. While admission is free, some rides and concessions will require a fee. And be sure to check back on their website – the live entertainment has yet to be announced, and they usually have some pretty big-name acts perform.

Frederick’s Oktoberfest
Where: Great Frederick Fairgrounds, MD
When: September 28-29
Admission: $7/21+, $5/ages 4-20, free for 3 and under

The Frederick Fairgrounds are 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+.

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. Hayrides are only offered on weekends, while the barn and maze are open every day the farm is open.

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; Rubber Ridge, the tractor tire mountain; the Pumpkin Princess in the pumpkin patch, a giant Pumpkin’ Jumpin’ Pillow; five mazes; 60-foot slides, rope swings, tractor rides, and even more fun in the country. Find a future jack o’ lantern in the pumpkin patch, the largest u-pick patch in the area. See a weekend schedule of activities here.

Autumn Harvest
Where: Schlagel Farm | Waldorf, MD
When: Weekends in October, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $8/ages 2 and up

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.

Taste of DC
Where: RFK Stadium | Northeast DC
When: October 5-6
Admission: Start at $10

Celebrate the food, wine, and culture of our city during Columbus Day weekend. Along with the obvious — tastings from more than 65 area restaurants — there will be cooking demos, live entertainment, a beer garden, and an area with activities especially for kids.

Taste of Bethesda
Where: Woodmont Triangle | Bethesda, MD
When: October 6, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free, but you pay for food samples

According to some stats, Bethesda has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the U.S. Accurate or not, DC’s suburban neighbor definitely has a food scene worth celebrating. The 28th year of Bethesda’s famous food and music festival will bring 60 restaurants and five stages of entertainment to the downtown’s Woodmont Triangle. Along with delicious food samples and live entertainment, there will be a kid’s corner for face painting, arts & crafts, and more fun for young ones. Admission is free, and taste tickets are sold on-site in bundles of four tickets for $5. Food servings cost one to four tickets. Ticket sales end at 3:30pm.

Claude Moore Colonial Farm Oktoberfest
Where:The Pavilions of Turkey Run | McLean, VA
When: October 6,
Admission: $25-35/adult, $12/child, free/6 & under

Enjoy a Bavarian-themed festive event with all proceeds benefitting local living history museum and working 18th century farm. There will be a DJ, music and dancing, a cider and beer tasting. A silent auction will include items from local wineries, passes to Skyline and Luray Caverns and Potomac Riverboat, Pilates classes, and much more. A Save the Farm update will come from Farm officers and invited officials. The catered meal includes grilled bratwurst and knockwurst on potato buns, barbecued marinated chicken breast, sauerkraut and German potato salad, fresh vegetable sauté and Caesar salad, jumbo soft pretzels with mustard, warm peach cobbler, vanilla and chocolate ice cream with toppings. Cash bar showcasing gravity poured Defender American Pale Ale and Oktoberfest Lager.

Farm Harvest Days & Carnival Fun
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park | Herndon, VA
When: October 12-15
Admission: Free, but carnival ride passes are $16-25

Fall is a busy — and fun — time on the farm, and you can be part of it at Frying Pan’s annual festival! Carnival fun and games start on October 12 with rides, games, fair food, and more. On Saturday & Sunday, you can also watch the cider press in action, milk a goat, shell corn, peel apples, meet farm animals, and see traditional farm demonstrations.

H Street Festival
Where: H Street NE, DC
When: October 13, 12-7pm
Admission: Free

The annual festival on northeast DC’s thriving hip corridor is always huge. If you don’t mind crowds, there is tons to see and do. The event features 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 recommended, as parking is always difficult.

18th Century Autumn Market Fair
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm | McLean, VA
When: October 20-21
Admission: $8/adult, $4/age 3-12, free/under 3

Enjoy the splendor of fall on a living history farm. Warm yourself by the fire while savor crisp local apples, spit roasted chicken, and hearty breads. Watch and participate with period tradesmen like the spinners and blacksmith. Live music, singing and dancing, and games are also among the festivities. And kids will delight in seeing turkeys, pigs, and chickens. Period food, beverages, and wares available for purchase.

Marker-Miller Orchards Festivals
Where: Winchester, VA
When: October 7-8 & 28, November 10
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 6-7, offering a weekend of, well, everything apples: 20 varieties of apples, apple cobbler, apple caramel sundaes, plus the wagon rides and cow train for kids. October 27 is their annual Pumpkin Festival, when you can find your own Great Pumpkin and enjoy all the usual festivities at the orchard. And their Bakery Festival, when you can sample bakes goods, is November 10.

Where: Adams Morgan, DC
When: October 6
Admission: Free

Get the best seats in the house (or on the sidewalk) as the front porches of homes and maybe a few 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 30 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.

Art on the Avenue
Where: Del Ray Neighborhood | Alexandria, VA
When: October 6, 10am – 6pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the diversity of Alexandria’s Del Ray community at this multicultural arts festival. Over 300 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 – scarecrow stuffing, pumpkin painting, lotus flower design, screen art weaving are just some of the crafts to enjoy. 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.

Fall Festival
Where: Parkridge Center | Manassas, VA
When: October 13, 2-5pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate all things fall with Parkridge Center at the second annual Fall Festival. The family-friendly, free one-day event will feature music, seasonal treats, games for all ages, a stationary hot air balloon ride, a petting zoo, and more. Seasonal Treats include an apple cider bar and cookie decorating station. There will also be fall favorites like pumpkin decorating, bobbing for apples, candy corn bean toss, pumpkin mini golf, and witches brew.

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.

Haunt the Town
Where: Downtown Historic Occoquan, VA
When: October 27, 11am – 8:30pm
Admission: Free

The Town of Occoquan and the Occoquan Merchants Guild will host Haunt the Townright before Halloween. This brand-new event features a full day of free activities for everyone, including a carved pumpkin contest, a costume parade, a magic show, a movie in the park, and more! See the website for the schedule of activities.

The Emporiyum
Where: Union Market Dock 5 | Northeast, DC
When: November 9-11
Admission: Tickets start at $15

Meet, eat, and shop at this two-day market and celebration of everything delicious. Over 95 artisans, producers, chefs, and restaurants showcase their wares, works, and culinary creations. It’s a chance to meet the people behind the brands, taste and learn about their products, and shop for unique edible gifts.

Colonial Market & Fair (Rescheduled from September)
Where: Mount Vernon, VA
When: November 10-11
Admission: $18-20/adult, $11-12/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. Artisans from across the nation will demonstrate their trades and sell their wares, while two stages of family entertainment delight audiences with 18th-century amusements, including a puppet show, a fire-eating act, and a balloon launch. Catch a demo of an try your hand at 18th century cricket, and listen to colonial music. General Washington will preside many festivities. And fair fare will be available from the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant concession stands.

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

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This Saturday is the 2018 Library of Congress National Book Festival!

If you’re going to be in town this holiday weekend — and especially if you’ve got some bookworms in your crew — plan for one of DC’s biggest, most anticipated annual events on Saturday: The 18th Annual Library of Congress National Book Festival!

Book enthusiasts young and old come from all over for the day of reading-related activities. Works by more than 100 authors, poets, and illustrators will be showcased, and the creators themselves will be at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center for special appearances.

All genres are represented on stages throughout the festival — Children, Teens, Contemporary Life, Thrillers & Fantasy, Fiction, History & Biography, Poetry & Prose, Graphic Novels — where readings, presentations, book signings, photo ops with writers (and costumed PBS characters), and more exciting experiences for guests will take place. And a Book Sales area gives guests an opportunity to purchase selected reads — and possibly have them signed by the authors.

If your children love books, chances are an author of one of their favorite stories will be there. Kate DiCamillo, Jason Reynolds, Danica McKellar, and David Ezra Stein are just a few of many. Kids will also be able to enjoy an array of fun and exciting activities on the Expo Floor, from the Parade of States where they can learn about each state’s literary heritage and collect a stamp to special story times to poetry slams to National Geographic’s Explorer Academy, and much more.

Of course, there’s bound to be an author — or several — that parents will be excited about, too. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will launch her first book, Turning Pages, at the festival. Best selling authors Isabel Allende, Dave Eggers and Amy Tan; former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; and Pulitzer Prize-winning historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jon Meacham will be featured on the Main Stage. And acclaimed writers Jeffrey Eugenides, Annie Proulx, Ron Chernow, Richard Russo, Celeste Ng, and Tara Westover are among the many that will be presenting.

Have a look for yourself at the complete list and start planning your National Book Festival experience. Most presentations are first come, first served — and people do line up early to get seats, so plan accordingly.

The 2018 Library of Congress National Book Festival
Where: Walter E. Washington Convention Center | Downtown DC
When: Saturday, September 1, 9am – 7:30pm (doors open 8:30am)
Admission: FREE

*Information on getting there and parking is available here.

*You can read about one of our past visits when it was still held on the National Mall — including an interview with Magic Treehouse author Mary Pope Osborne! — here.

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