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Global Adventures with Passport DC

Making new friends at the Around the World Embassy Tour

Making new friends at the Around the World Embassy Tour



Every year, Cultural Tourism DC presents Passport DC, a month-long celebration of international culture that lets us explore the world without even leaving the city. Nearly everyday throughout May there are programs — music and dance performances, art exhibits, workshops, embassy events, street festivals, food tastings, and more — that bring global adventures to DC. Among them are a few signature events that are extra special and family-friendly.

Steel drums and dancing at the Embassy of Trinidad and Tobago

Steel drums and dancing at the Embassy of Trinidad and Tobago

One of them, the Around the World Embassy Tour, took place this past weekend. Forty countries from all over the world opened their embassy doors to the public for a glimpse into their cultures with everything from live entertainment, displays of art and traditional wares, music, dancing, food samples, rum shots (thank you, Nicaragua!). I’d always wanted to attend the event, but for some reason or another, couldn’t make it. So, when Passport DC extended a media invite this year, there was no way I was going to miss it, and my excellent “travel” companion, Sasha, and I embarked on the grand tour.

Llama, Taboot Taboot

Llama, Taboot Taboot: Photo ops at the Embassy of Peru

Early commitments kept us from getting over there until the last couple of hours, but we made the most with the time we had. We watched dances from Peru and Trinidad and Tobago, got to see (and take pics with) llamas and ponies, enjoyed the sounds of island music, pet an iguana, viewed beautiful art from Indonesia and Nicaragua, checked out mini markets of wares from around the world, and sampled food and drinks from a host of countries.

Indoensian dragon mask

Indonesian dragon mask

Our favorite, hands down, was Nicaragua. We’d been touring awhile, and Sasha’s little legs were ready to call it a day, but we kept seeing people walk by with funky straw hats and knew we had to go. And even though it was out of our way, I’m so glad we stopped by, because as soon as we walked in, it was a party. Staff greeted us with the hats and maracas (they know how to make a kid happy!), then directed us to the next room where island music blared, and samples of coffee and shots of rum and the traditional Nicaraguan drink were being offered. Yum. We followed the line of hat-wearing folks upstairs, and no one seemed to care that it was a bit slow-going…it was all smiles and even some dancing as we walked through a couple of rooms, sampling more coffee and traditional treats and viewing art on display. The party even continued in a little courtyard area on the way out, where food was for sale.

Next vacay destination: Nicaragua

Next vacay destination: Nicaragua

As if that wasn’t a great way to end our tour, it got even better as we left there and ran into a KFDC reader (who noticed “KidFriendly DC” on Sasha’s press pass) and her little girl. What a treat it was to meet you, Shawnte and Symone!

So, if you missed the Around the World Embassy Tour (or even if you made it), there are more opportunities to experience international adventures with Passport DC: This Saturday, May 11, is Shortcut to Europe: European Union Embassies’ Open House, a chance to check out the culture of 28 EU nations on a tour of their embassies. And on Saturday, May 18, the National Asian Heritage Festival: Fiesta Asia Street Fair welcomes the public to experience ASian culture on Pennsylvania Avenue from 3rd St & 6th St NW. Admission to both events is free.

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Rapt up in the Weekend

Happy Bike to Work Day!

World cultures, strawberries, community celebrations, and two-wheelin’ recreation all factor into this family fun round-up. However, if one man’s prediction proves correct tomorrow, consider it all moot. But if life goes on as usual, here’s where you and the kids can revel in it.  Happy Weekend!

Strawberry Fields this WeekendThe pick-your-own season has officially begun!  Several local farms have already opened their fields to the public and a few more will join them this weekend. You can also celebrate strawberry season at your pick of festivals. See this post for a list of area farms where you can gather your own strawberries and enjoy festivities.

International Children’s FestivalTake the kids on a fun and educational tour of the world without even leaving the city on Saturday from 11am – 3pm. Part of Passport DC, this 5th annual festival hosted by the Meridian International Center will feature exhibits, performances, food, crafts, and activities from across the globe as local embassies share their countries’ culture with the public. Admission is $10/adults, free for kids 12 and under.

Fiesta AsiaCelebrate Pacific Asian Heritage Month at this street fair in Penn Quarter on Saturday from 10am – 7pm. This showcase of Asian art and culture will include music and dance performances, martial arts demos, food, hands-on activities and more. Especially for kids is the Kiddiz Cool Lounge, a no-shoe zone with costumed characters and creative craft stations. Flash mob dancing and a parade featuring lion dances are sure to thrill all ages. Admission is free, but be prepared to spend on food and marketplace finds.

Boogie for the Cure – The Boogie Babes and Mr. Skip are hosting a special Saturday session of musical fun to help support Race for the Cure. Join them at Eastern Market’s North Hall at 10:30am to boogie the morning away. Admission is $10/family and all proceeds will be donated to Susan G. Komen – Race for the Cure.

Chic Child on the RowThe family-friendly portion of The Front Row, Bethesda’s three-day exhibition of fashion, welcomes kids to play and parents to shop. Budding fashionistas can recreate world capitals from plastic pieces at Legos on the Lane. Little ones can listen to story time at Barnes & Noble. And everyone can enjoy a concert from Kidville’s Little Maestros and a special appearance by Groovy Nate at Lebanese Taverna. This all takes place on Saturday throughout the day. For a schedule of events, see The Front Row website.

McClean DaySpend Saturday at Lewinsville Park with the McLean Community, including nonprofit groups, crafters, and local businesses. Enjoy carnival rides, live entertainment, delicious food, and more. The Alden Theatre will provide live entertainment on the McLean Day Stage starting at 11am. The kids will love the carnival rides throughout the park, as well as games and free pony.  The free event runs from 11am – 5pm.  See the Alden Theatre website for a schedule of festivities.

Celebrate Hawai’iSay ‘aloha’ to the National Museum of the American Indian on Saturday and Sunday from 10:30am – 4:30pm. The annual celebration of Hawaiian arts and culture will include special food, music, storytelling, and hula performances, as well as a new exhibition, This IS Hawai‘i.  While you’re there, be sure check out activities that the museum is testing out for the imagiNATIONS Family Activity Center opening in September.

Air Show at Andrews – See thrilling action in the sky and on the ground at the 2011 Joint Service Open House and Air Show on Saturday and Sunday from 8am – 5pm.  Thunderbirds, Golden Knights, and the Warrior Flight Team are among the featured performers. A full schedule and more info is available on the Air Show website. Unauthorized vehicles are not permitted on Andrews Air Force Base, but shuttle buses from the Fed Ex Field parking lot and Branch Avenue Metro will provide free transportation.  Admission is to the show is free.

Bike DCOn the heels (or is that wheels?) of Bike to Work Day, this event celebrates the cycling community in the nation’s capital with a 20-mile bike ride through Washington and Arlington on Sunday. Kids on their own bicycles, on tag-along bikes, and in trailers are very welcome, though training wheels are not recommended. Registration is $35/adult, $20/ages 13-19, free for kids 12 and under. Visit the Bike DC website to register and view route details. The ride will take place rain or shine.

Show TimeThis is the last weekend to see Snow White and the 7 Dwarves at The Puppet Co. and Liberty Smith at Ford’s Theatre. And a  variety of other performances will also be on local stages this weekend. For details on all of them, see this post about live entertainment in the DC area this season.

Fun in the SunThe weather forecast is looking good for at least part of the weekend.  Go seize a beautiful day with the help of this list of great places to spend time outdoors with the kids.

Rainy Day RecsHere’s hoping you don’t have to refer to them, but if  it turns out to be a wet weekend these ideas for activities on a rainy day will help keep you and the kids busy—and dry.

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On the Radar this Weekend: Kids’ Films, Peeps, Pirates… and Rain

So, last weekend I posted this screen shot from my phone on my personal Facebook page (it garnered quite a few “likes”).

And what a glorious week  it was weather-wise here in DC.  But it looks like Mother Nature is ready to balance things out a bit. The current forecast couldn’t be more different than last week’s brilliant outlook.

Luckily, there’s plenty to do this weekend regardless of how many little suns or rain showers and lightening bolts my phone’s weather app displays.  (But, just in case, I’m still including some outdoor picks in this round-up of activities for the family.)  Happy Weekend!

Kids World Cinema  – Passport DC presents this showcase of international children’s films that aims to introduce international children’s films to Washingtonians, compare significant cross-cultural differences in this genre, and inspire the artistic development of DC children through the discovery of quality foreign films. The festival targets 6 to 13-year-olds and will showcase a selection of the most significant international productions for young audiences. Each screening will be followed by children’s workshops and discussions addressing the films’ cultural contexts. Age group will vary with each film and workshop.  Screening will take place tonight at 6pm and on Saturday at 2pm.  Full details are available on the Cultural Tourism DC website.

PEEPS ShowArtisphere has partnered with Artomatic to bring highlights from the 5th Annual Washington Post PEEPS® Diorama Contest to Artisphere through Tuesday, May 31. The 2011 The exhibition features over 20 entries from the contest. On Saturday from 12 – 4pm, kids and families will be able to join in the PEEPS® fun with free activities, including a special children’s tour of the dioramas and PEEPS® diorama-making workshops. The free events will include PEEPS® treats, compliments of Just Born, the manufacturer of PEEPS®.

Turtle Park May FairFriendship ‘Turtle’ Park’s annual spring carnival and largest event of the year is on Saturday from 10am – 4pm. There will be moon bounces, pony rides, games, face painting, a bake sale, silent auction, and more. A dunk tank and entertainment will also be among the festivities, and food from Masala Art, Potomac Pizza, Robeks, hot dogs, ice cream, and popcorn will keep bellies full.  For the live entertainment line-up, see the Turtle Park website.

Pirate’s FestAhoy, matey! Have you ever dreamed about life on the high seas in the 18th century? Why did sailors swab the deck? Did they really walk the plank? The Pirate Fest at Darnall’s Chance House Museum has answers to these questions and more on Saturday from 11am – 4pm. The event will feature swashbuckling re-enactors, hands-on children’s activities, live music, concessions stand, children’s pirate costume contest, a treasure hunt and more for wannabe pirates and landlubbers alike!  Admission is $5.

Portrait Story Days: Andy WarholDrop in at the National Portrait Gallery on Saturday and Sunday from 1 – 4pm to listen to a story about a person who has influenced American history and culture and to create a special piece of art.  The focus of this weekend’s free program will be American pop artist Andy Warhol.

Public Art for You and Me!Join staff at the National Building Museum on Sunday from 1 – 2:30pm for a Family Workshop that explores art in the outdoors community. Participants will go on a guided walk through the Museum’s neighborhood with a special focus on public art. They’ll take in the art and architecture of the city, then return to the Museum to enjoy murals and mosaics in two of the Museum’s exhibitions. Using all that they’ve seen as inspiration, guests will then make their own murals to take home and enjoy. Cost is $10 for museum members, $15 for non-members. For registration info, see the National Building Museum website.

Live it Up on the LoopEnjoy a fun family event with a focus on leading a healthy, active lifestyle at Market Common Clarendon on Sunday from 10am – 2pm. Kids activities will include a moon bounce, live entertainment, glitter tattoos, hula hooping, and more. All activities are free, and the event is on rain or shine!

Baby Loves DiscoTickets are still available to the dance party for the sippy cup set taking place at the Lowes Annapolis Hotel on Sunday from 2- 5pm.  Kids ages 6 months to 7 years and their parents are welcome on this dance floor. Bubble machines, games, toys, and a DJ spinning cool tunes are all part of the kiddie entertainment. Parents will appreciate healthy snacks, diaper changing stations, and the chance to see their babes have a blast.

Pendragwn Youth Film FestivalThe public is invited to view the winning entries submitted to the Festival by students ages 11 – 18 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on Sunday. Along with the film screenings, attendees can participate in a variety of creative workshops (registration is required) and enjoy a performance by the critically acclaimed step group, Step Afrika.  This will all happen from 12 – 6pm.  A schedule of events is available on the Festival website.

That’s Entertainment – A variety of performances will be on local stages this weekend, from puppet shows and plays at Glen Echo to productions at Ford’s Theatre and Imagination Stage. This post has details on what’s playing around town.

Rainy Day RecsThere’s a very good chance this list of rainy day suggestions will come in handy. If the forecast makes good on its promise of a wet weekend, this post contains many ideas on where to have fun indoors.

Hello, Sunshine?The list of best places to enjoy the outdoors with the kids keeps growing.  Check it out for ideas on where to have fun under the sun — if we see it this weekend, that is.


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Go Global with Passport DC

Take the kids on a world tour without even leaving the city! Passport DC, a month-long celebration of international culture, invites both DC visitors and residents on a global journey in Washington throughout the month of May.

Now in its fourth year, the program from Cultural Tourism DC explores the international and diplomatic community that is a vital part of DC culture through street festivals, open houses, embassy events, special performances, and much more.  And many of these ventures welcome explorers of all ages.

The family-friendly fun begins as soon as this Saturday, and will continue over the next three weekends. Mark your calendars for these Passport DC signature events:

May 7:  Short Cut to Europe: European Union Embassies’ Open House
May 14:  Around the World Embassy Tour
May 13, 14, 20, 21, 22:  Kids World Cinema
May 21:  National Asian Heritage Festival: Fiesta Asia
May 21:  Meridian International Children’s Festival

Click on the above links for details about each event.  And for more information about Passport DC, visit the Cultural Tourism DC website.

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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Spring, Weekend