The Maryland Renaissance Festival has been bringing merriment galore to Revel Grove, a charming hamlet in the woods of Crownesville, MD, since late August. But with a very busy schedule this fall, we didn’t make it there until yesterday. This was actually quite serendipitous, as it turned out to be one of the most beautiful days of the season so far. The cool, crisp, sunny weather made for perfect conditions to roam the lively, sprawling grounds. And the early fall scenery, with the first tinges of autumn foliage glowing amid the fading green, was a gorgeous backdrop for all the festivities.
Surely, you know by now how much I love Ren Fest and how strongly I recommend it for a fantastic, fun-filled outing. So, I’ll just get to the gist of this post. Along with scenes from our day there yesterday, I wanted to share a few extra tips (more are already listed here). Let’s get to it…
1) The best tip you’ll get for the rest of this year’s Ren Fest is DO NOT WAIT TO GET TICKETS! They are selling out, and earlier than they have in previous years. This past Saturday was sold out by Wednesday. I bought Sunday tickets for our family early in the day last Thursday, and when I went back on the website to get a couple more for friends, they were all gone. And I just checked… the weekend of October 15-16 is already sold out, leaving only the last weekend, October 22-23. So, again, if you know you want to go, get your tickets!
2) It almost pains me to share this one because I never want to discourage anyone from going to Ren Fest, BUT if you really hate crowds and being around a lot of people, this may not be the event for you. A lot of people love Ren Fest, and sold out days means a lot of people will be there. It’s not like you’ll be walking shoulder-to-shoulder — there is still plenty of space to move around comfortably — but it’s heavy on stimulus and lines can get long.
3) And that leads to my next tip… be prepared to wait in lines for food and drinks, especially right around lunchtime. This can be tough with little ones, but you can be strategic about it if you’re with other adults and take turns waiting and walking around with the kiddos (but note that if you’re buying adult beverages, all must be there, only one per person). You can also plan to eat a little later in the afternoon when the lines let up. But don’t skip the food! There are so many fun, yummy options: Turkey legs! Meat on sticks! Fried mac-n-cheese balls! Fried pickle chips! Cones of cookies! And much, much more.
4) Get to the jousting area early, at least 30 minutes ahead, if you want decent seats to see the show. The jousts are a highlight of Ren Fest (fun fact: jousting is Maryland’s state sport!), and if you want to guarantee you and the kids get a good view, you need to get seats. I suggest getting food and “having a picnic” at your joust seats to pass the time while you wait for the events to begin.
5) Dress up! Our crew did not, but it felt like more people than ever were in costume this year. It makes for the best people watching, and it would have been fun to be part of it.
6) This one is random, but good (credit goes to my friend, Margaret, for it) … If you plan to eat a turkey leg, bring some of these along. It will make a big difference in your comfort for the rest of your day.
Fall is just about here and so are the scores of festivals that come along with it. And in the DC area, they celebrate everything from the season to communities to cuisine to historic times. Enjoy local art and culture, take a hayride to the pumpkin patch and play on the farm, savor local and international food, take a time trip back a few centuries… Some of the fun has already begun, and even more will start over the next few weeks. This list of festivals, ordered by start date, will help you plan for it all. Happy Fall!
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 the 12-acre play area, and in the Stories from the Stars Corn Maze where you can learn about the constellations of the Zodiac. 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 6
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.
Maryland Renaissance Festival
Where: Revel Grove | Crownsville, MD
When: Weekends through October 23
Admission: Thru 9/11: $24/age 16+, $12/age 7-15
9/17-10/23: $30/age 16+, $15/age 7-15 | free/6 & under
It may not be your typical fall festival with hayrides and pumpkins, but this medieval time trip that began in late August and gets a huge endorsement from me as the best annual events of the season. 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!
Fall Fun Fest
Where: Gaver Farm | Mt. Airy, MD
When: Through October 31
Admission: $12.50/weekdays, $17.50/Sept wknds 19.75/Oct wknds
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 60 attractions appropriate for any age including mini mazes, playgrounds, duck races, ball games, photo centers, and much more.
Cox Farms Fall Festival
Where: Centreville, VA
When: September 17-18, September 24 – November 7
Admission: $10-25 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.
Falls Church Festival
Where: City Hall Campus | Falls Church, VA
When: September 17, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free, but tastes and rides are a fee
The 46th 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.
Where: Belvedere Plantation | Fredericksburg, VA
When: September 17 – November 7
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. 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 17, 12-7pm
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.
Colonial Market & Fair
Where: Mount Vernon, VA
When: September 17-18
Admission: $28/adult, $15/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! Read more about Mount Vernon here.
Montpelier Farms Fall Festival
Where: Upper Marlboro, MD
When: Weekends September 17 – November 6
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 7-acre corn maze. It’s EPIC.
Homecoming at Abe’s Place
Where: President Lincoln’s Cottage | Petworth, DC
When: September 17, 9am – 6pm
Admission: Free for Family Day, $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 and a petting zoo, 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 17 – November 6
Admission: $16.95-20.95/adult, $14.95-17.95/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.
Fall Adventures at Summers Farm
Where: Frederick, MD
When: September 17 – October 31
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.
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Lusby, MD
When: September 17-18
Admission: $10, free/age 11 & under
Celebrate the visual and performing arts at this event that brings together the country’s most accomplished artists for a fabulous weekend extravaganza of the arts! Set amidst the spectacular backdrop of the beautiful woods of Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center, Artsfest is a unique art experience with a multitude of artist booths, 35 performers on four stages, creative fun for kids, artist demos, and great food and drink. Read more about Annmarie Sculpture Garden here and here.
Where: The Boro | Tysons, VA
When: September 17
Celebrate Oktoberfest early at The Boro. Join an afternoon of fall-themed festivities, including outdoor games, crafts, and a special Polka concert by The TKO Band (dirndls and lederhosen optional!). Embroidered pins, a glitter tattoo station, pretzel necklace making, and plenty of IG-worthy photo ops will be part of the fun. Registration is encouraged.
Where: 800 block of Upshur St. NW | Petworth, DC
When: September 18, 11am – 5pm
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.
Celebrate Latino culture at Fiesta DC!
Where: Pennsylvania Ave. 9th to 14th Streets | Downtown, DC
When: September 24-25
Celebrate Latino culture at the 50th Annual Fiesta DC. On both days of the weekend, Pennsylvania Avenue from the Navy Memorial Plaza to Freedom Plaza will be filled will lively festivities, including stages featuring a variety of performances, children’s activities, international cuisine, arts & crafts, and more!
Susquehanna Wine & Seafood Festival Where: Concord Point Lighthouse | Havre de Grace, MD When:September 24, 12-7pm Admission: $15-115
Experience some Maryland’s best seafood in a fun, casual, waterfront setting at the 2nd Annual Susquehanna Wine & Seafood Festival. The family-friendly event will feature 20+ local restaurants and food trucks, each serving signature seafood dishes. Along with the culinary offerings, the festival will feature live music, a family zone, cooking demos by local chefs, wine pairings, mixology demos, unique shopping, and more fun.
Mosaic’s Fall Festival
Where: Mosaic District | Fairfax, VA
When: September 24-25
The big shopping enter in Fairfax is hosting a fall event. Festivities include live entertainment and musical performances; the FRESHFARM Farmers Market with 50+ vendors; the URBNmarket with 90 handmade and vintage vendors; beer and wine gardens; kids activities like bouncy fun, balloons, and face painting; plus more special activities for all.
Farm Market Fall Fest
Where: Reston Farm Market | Reston, VA
When: September 24 – October 30
Admission: $28/child, $7/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.
PYO Pumpkins & Fall Fun
Where: Berryville, VA
When: September 24 – November 7
The whole family can enjoy hours of farm fun for visitors of all ages. Get lost in the corn maze, pick out a pumpkin, watch piggies race, bounce around, 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 24 – October 31
Admission: Free/weekdays, $12/Saturday & Sunday
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 24-25
Plan for a day of family fun as the streets of Occoquan come to life with beautiful art, live music and great food! The historic town will close its street and host over 200 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 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 24 – October 30
Admission: $10-12/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!
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: $3 (extra fro 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. The good thing about the lack of a festival, admission is cheap! You still pay for pumpkins and cider – and their can’t-miss caramel apples.
Where: Great Frederick Fairgrounds, MD
When: October 1
Admission: $12/age 13+, $5/ages 3-12, free for 2 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.
Art on the Avenue
Where: Mt. Vernon Avenue in Del Ray | Alexandria, VA
When: October 1, 10am – 6pm
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.
Marker-Miller Orchards Festivals
Where: Winchester, VA
When: October 8-9-10 & 22
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.
Bethesda Row Arts Festival
Where: Downtown Bethesda, MD
When: October 8-9
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.
College Park Day
Where: College Park Aviation Museum | College Park, MD
When: October 15, 12-6pm
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 2022 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.
Adams Morgan PorchFest
Where: Adams Morgan, DC
When: October 15, 2-6pm (rescheduled from Oct 1)
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 about 70 bands playing on porches, patios, and stoops in the neighborhood. At the corner of Adams Mill and Columbia Road NW on Porchfest Day, pick up a music map and free wristband that will get you discount at over 30 Adams Morgan businesses.
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: October 16, 2-5pm
It’s that time of year… put on your dirndl or lederhosen, grab your Dachshund, and head to The Wharf for free Oktoberfest festivities. The highlight: Cheer on the dogs competing in the 10th Annual Wiener 500 Dachshund Dash to benefit Rural Dog Rescue. Throughout the weekend, enjoy German fare, Bavarian decor and costumes, and Sam Adam Octoberfest beer for adults.
Where: Pennsylvania Ave, 3rd-7th St NW | Downtown DC
When: October 16, 11am – 7pm
Celebrate Turkish heritage and culture on the streets of DC! The free event will include live music, folk dancing performances, kids games, arts & crafts, cultural events, and more. Enjoy authentic Turkish cuisines and shop Turkish ceramic bowls, carpets, and other cultural items from local vendors.
Takoma Park Street Festival
Where: Carroll Ave. to Carroll St. | Takoma Park, MD
When: October 23, 10am – 5pm
The streets of Takoma Park will be filled with music, artisans, community groups, kids activities, food vendors and a variety of green companies at the city’s 41st annual festival. Get a jumpstart on your holiday shopping — over 150 vendors will be selling all kinds of artistic wares. Music lovers will enjoy three stages hosting 18 bands playing all day.
Where: Schlagel Farm | Waldorf, MD
When: Weekends in October
The farm known for its 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!
I won’t go into a long, rambling introduction about this one, because if you’ve been reading KFDC for any length of time longer than a year, you likely already know how I feel about the Maryland Renaissance Festival.
That it’s my hands-down very, VERY favorite annual event in the area. That I’ve adored it since well before I had kids. That I love not just the fun and food and entertainment and amazing people watching it brings, but also that it celebrates eccentricity, welcomes the weird with open arms, and presents all its mirth and delight in an easy, free-flowing way. If you want more specifics on all of that, just go here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, or here. And if you want to enjoy a day of extraordinary fun , just go.
The merriment begins this Saturday, August 27, and runs every weekend, rain or shine, through October 23 in the lovely 16th century-style hamlet of Revel Grove in Crownsville, MD. Hours are 10am – 7pm. Through September 11, admission is $24/adults, $21/seniors, $12/ages 7-15, free for ages 6 and under. After that, ticket prices go up to $30/adults, $26/seniors, $15/ages 7-15, still free for 6 and under. Multi-day passes that offer a discount are also available. Like last year,tickets must be reserved in advance online. There are no day-of, in-person ticket sales.
There are promos and special themes on many weekends. Here’s a quick list, and you can find more info here. * August 27-28: Children’s Weekend – FREE admission for ages 15 and under with adult
* September 3-4: Romance Weekend — Special events for singles 21+ on 9/3 & partners can renew their commitments in a ceremony on 9/4 * September 5: Seniors day — Free admission for all seniors age 62+ * September 10-11: Celtic Celebration * September 11 & October 10: ASL Interpretation Days – Selected stage shows will be interpreted in ASL * September 17-18: Pirate Adventure Weekend * September 24 & 25: Myth & Magic Weekend * October 1 & 2: Shakespeare Weekend
KFDC Tips * Bring a stroller or carrier for little ones, as there is a lot of walking. I recommend a stroller that rolls over rough terrain easily. * Get a map and schedule on your way in to help you navigate and plan your day, but I recommend not overthinking it; Ren Fest is best experienced with a “go with the flow” mindset. * If there’s a show you really want to see, get to the stage a few minutes ahead of time to get good seats, so the kids have a good view. * You might encounter less crowds on Sunday, when many folks are watching football. * Plan to spend on extras like food, games, and fun for kids — all reasonably priced, but it can add up. * Tickets can sell out, especially on beautiful fall days as the chances to go dwindle. Between that and the online sales only, you might want to reserve further in advance than usual. * Consider pros and cons to going at different times: Early in the season, crowds are smaller because it’s usually very 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. * Let the kids dress up! Princesses, knights, fairies, and pirates will fit right in.
Cherry blossom season is 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 17 this year, presents all kinds of fun and enriching activities over a few 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 it all. Happy Blossom Season!
Cherry Blossom Viewing
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Late March
Viewing the cherry blossoms may just be the top thing to do during the season — and lots of people agree. The scenery really can’t get more iconic DC than the flowering trees around the Tidal Basin at their peak pink and white brilliance with our grand memorials in the background. However, viewing the famous blooms can be a bit challenging without being aware of a few things, so be sure to check out these KFDC tips before you go to see them. And view scenes from blooms past here and here.
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: March 12 – June 5
Admission: $20-25/adult, $14/age 4-15, free/under 4
The exhibits at ARTECHOUSE often reflect the season in some way, and for the fifth year, they are highlighting spring by celebrating the cherry blossoms with a gorgeous digital exhibit that immerses you in the blooms. Floor to ceiling projections, plus interactive elements make this one beautiful, engaging, and fun to experience! Get more of a glimpse of it here.
Cherry Blossom Family Celebration Where: American Art Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: March 19, 11:30am – 3pm
Join the Smithsonian American art Museum and the National Cherry Blossom Festival outside on the museum’s F Street plaza for a celebration of Japanese culture. A taiko drumming performance kicks off the day, followed by Les The DJ spinning Japanese pop, funk, and boogie beats and the Koto ensemble performing traditional Japanese dance. Pick up a step-by-step cherry blossom craft kit to take home, and discover spring-themed artworks in SAAM’s galleries with a self-guided scavenger hunt designed for all ages. Read more about the museum in this KFDC post.
Petals porches from 2021
Where: Around the DC Area
When: March 19 – April 17
For the second year, residents in DC and surrounding communities in MD and VA were invited to decorate their front yards, porches, and windows to show their cherry blossom spirit during the Festival’s run. A digital map with the locations of all registered Petal Porches will be made available, so we can all get in on the fun and do some Petal Porch viewing!
Where: Tidal Basin Welcome Area
When: Weekends, March 19 – April 17
Catch live entertainment as you take in views of the blossoms! During the cherry blossom peak, there will be music and dance performances on a special stage set up at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area at a new location on West Basin Drive SW (between the Martin Luther King, Jr., and Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorials and near the Japanese Pagoda). The National Park Service will offer Ranger talks, Bloomin’ Junior Ranger activities, and more. The daily live performances on the ANA stage presented by All Nippon Airways will take place 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. and showcase a cross-cultural mix of American, Japanese and other performing arts celebrating 110 years since the gift of trees from Tokyo to Washington, DC. A full list of performers and performance schedules can be viewed here.
Art in Bloom
Where: Around DC
When: March 20 – April 17
View blossom inspired art all around the city! The Giant Cherry Blossom sculptures scattered in all eight wards last year will be back in permanent locations. And April 1-17, a series of immersive installations, perfect for photo ops, will be displayed along the Petalpalooza Art Walk in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood.
Book Hill in Bloom
Where: Book Hill Area | Georgetown, DC
When: March 20 – April 17
Admission: Varies by activity
Georgetown is celebrating DC’s cherry blossom season with Book Hill in Bloom. More than 15 small businesses on upper Wisconsin Avenue are participating by decorating their storefronts with pink and cherry blossom-themed decorations, and offering special promotions. More events include an outdoor letterpress demonstration, and nearby the 10-acre Dumbarton Oaks estate offers some of DC’s most picturesque cherry tree-lined gardens and walkways.
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: March 25 – April 3, 12-2pm
Celebrate spring at the Home of the Cherry Blossoms! Everyday from March 25 through April 3, there will be cherry blossom-themed activations and specials to go with the amazing views of all the cherry blossom trees across the Washington Channel at East Potomac Park and the Tidal Basin.
Go with the Flow
Where: Local waterways
When: Starting mid-March
Admission: Rates vary
Get a new perspective of the blossoms and enjoy some outdoor recreation on a paddling excursion. Several boathouses will open during cherry blossom season, offering canoe, kayak, and other rentals to take you out on the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers and Tidal Basin, 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.
Go fly a kite at the Washington Monument!
Blossom Kite Festival
Where: Washington Monument Grounds | National Mall, DC
When: March 26, 10am – 4:30pm
The annual Blossom Kite Festival, a favorite for many during the blossom season, will be back! And 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 plan to BYO. 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.
Oxon Run Pinknic & Kite Fly
Where: Oxon Run Park | Anacostia, DC
When: March 27, 12-3pm
For a smaller kite flying fest than the big one on the National Mall, head to Oxon Run Park in Anacostia, There will be kite programming, entertainment, and more in coordination with the Blossom Kite Festival.
Wizards Cherry Blossom Night
Where: Capital One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: March 29, 7pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary
Whoop it up at a special cherry blossom-themed basketball game! See the Wizards take on the Chicago Bulls as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. A limited number of tickets come with an exclusive co-branded cherry blossom t-shirt, and a portion of the proceeds supports year-round care for the iconic trees through the Trust for the National Mall.
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: April 2, 2-9pm
Join The Wharf for Bloomaroo, their local version of Bonaroo. They’ll be celebrating the cherry blossoms with a free spring festival full of art, music, and family-friendly fun along the waterfront! Enjoy beer gardens on the pier, a pop-up roller rink, photo ops, s’mores at the firepit, and live music on all three of our outdoor stages. A fireworks finale will cap off the day.
Spring Gardening Program
Where: National Children’s Museum | Downtown DC
When: April 2
In celebration of this year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival, the museum will make and decorate plant pots using recycled newspaper and folding techniques inspired by the Japanese origami art form. Then, Dreamers will plant a seed in their pot and take it home to continue to care for it. Recommended for ages 3+. Included with admission, so plan to explore the rest of the museum full of STEAM-inspired exhibits and stations that kids will dig — read more about it all.
Into the Woods
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park | Centreville, VA
When: April 2 | 1pm, 1:30pm, & 2pm
Celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival with this free event at Frying Pan Farm Park. Trek on their nature trail to experience the changes of spring. Along the way, visit stations that are peppered throughout the trail to build a fairy house, discuss woodland creatures, and search for critters in the soil and water. Plan to enjoy Japanese teas at the historic Frying Pan Meeting House, too! Recommended for ages 5+.
Art Blooms at Mosaic
Where: Mosaic District | McLean, VA
When: April 2-3, 11am – 5pm
Welcome spring at the Mosaic District with a celebratory weekend featuring fun for all ages. Shop at the market, catch live entertainment and art exhibits, do some kids activities, enjoy a pop-up beer garden, and more!
Cherry Blossom Celebration Match
Where: Audi Field | Southwest DC
When: April 2, 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 Atlanta United will include cherry blossom-themed activations for fans, including cherry blossom sunglasses for the first 5k fans, along with the action on the pitch. Score tickets here.
Where: National Harbor | Oxon RUn, MD
When: April 3, 12-6pm
Join National Harbor for their annual Sakura Sunday Festival. The celebration will feature cultural activities, including a Japanese market, art, music and dance performancs, culinary delights, and much more! Read more about all there is to do at National Harbor here.
Japanese Culture Day
Where: Library of Congress | Capitol Hill, DC
When: April 9, 10am – 3pm
The Library of Congress is hosting a day of fun especially for kids to celebrate cherry blossom season. All ages are welcome to learn about Japanese culture through reading, writing, and craft-making with Japanese cultural and linguistic professionals during the Library’s Japanese Culture day. Books related to Japan and Japanese culture will also be on display. Special highlights include a Japanese drum presentation by Miyako Taiko led by Mark Rooney (outside on the Plaza) and a karate demonstration by Tsuyoshi Takemori from D.C. Yamato-juku Club in the Great Hall. Register here!
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 9, 10am – 12pm
The pinnacle of cherry blossom festivities just might be the parade. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue 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 $25-40, 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.
Where: Pennsylvania Ave, 3rd-7th St NW | Downtown DC
When: April 9-10, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $10-15/ages 13+, $50/family package, free/12 & under
Following the Cherry Blossom parade, head over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest exhibition of Japanese culture. The 60th annual event will feature live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. Even better, this year it will be held over two days!
Cherry Blossom Jubilee
Where: Torpedo Factory | Old Town Alexandria, VA
When: April 10, 12-3pm
Celebrate the Cherry Blossoms on the other side of the Potomac, too! Head to the heart of Alexandria for cherry blossom-themed activities and other events at the Torpedo Factory, the wonderful riverfront arts center. The fun kicks off with a live performance by taiko drum group Nen Daiko on the Waterfront side. Afterward, view the Art Center-wide exhibition of cherry blossom-inspired works by resident artists and galleries while enjoying music and live art demonstrations from participating TFAC artists.
Blossoms & Baseball
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: April 10, 1:35pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary
The Nats will get in on the National Cherry Blossom Festival celebration during their opening series against the Mets. A cherry blossom celebration is scheduled for the Saturday afternoon match-up. Details are still TBA, but check back soon for more info!
Anacostia River Festival
Where: Anacostia Park | Southeast DC
When: April 10, 1-4pm
The annual Anacostia River Festival is a premier event of the 2022 National Cherry Blossom Festival. This year enjoy a series of musical performances, including the sights and sounds of Go-Go music, local drum lines, and military bands. Along with live music, the Festival will feature pre-registered and socially distant river activities such as canoeing and fishing along the Anacostia River. Sign up here!
Where: The Yards | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: April 16, 5-9pm
Join the Capitol Riverfront community for Petalpalooza! The final big event of the National Cherry Blossom Festival will be a blast, with live music, art installations, a beer garden, and lots of family-friendly activities. Go for awhile or just stop by for a bit. The evening will cap off with a fireworks show over the Anacostia River.
Calling all curious kids and tiny travelers! Next month is your chance to experience European culture without a plane ticket. Kids Euro Fest, the wonderful annual event that presents art and cultural programs for children, is returning to the DC area!
Kids Euro Fest has become a tradition in the nation’s capital. For the last 14 years, it has been one of the largest performing arts festivals for children in America. Artists and performers from across the 27 European Union countries have participated, including puppeteers, dancers, musicians, and children’s book authors.
For the first time this year, Kids Euro Fest will feature two in-person Family Days located at two different embassies in Washington! The first will take place October 9 at the Embassy of France, and the second on October 16 at the Embassy of Sweden. From 12-4pm on both days, families are invited to enjoy an afternoon full of European performances, activities, crafts, games, and food.
The best part? Everything is FREE!
All kinds of fantastic cultural activities await: Kids can learn from a Latvian children’s book illustrator, catch an Irish dance performance, and make Portuguese art. A German theatre will transport young minds into a fairy tale, and France will get kids thinking about climate change. Throughout the day, kids can get creative at the craft table, take part in traditional European outdoor games, and indulge in food from the embassy’s own chef.
Health and safety precautions will be in place at both Family Days, including masks for kids ages 2-12. Activities will take place both indoors and outdoors with social distancing and limited attendance; therefore, families should be sure to register ahead of time on the KEF website.
For those outside of the DC area, Kids Euro Fest will also launch virtual activities on October 9. These include online performances, storytelling, films, and workshops.
To learn more about Kids Euro Fest events and register to attend the Family Days, visit Kidseurofest.org.
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This post is sponsored by the European Union Delegation to the United States, however, I only promote events, programs, and places that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers. To learn about other Delegation events in the area, visit www.events.euintheus.org.