Where do you get carnival rides and games, farm animals, the junk food gamut, live entertainment, pony rides, piglet races, and wares for sale all in once place? Down at the county fair. The season for them runs from early August through mid-September, and this post has the lowdown on this year’s events around the area. Happy Fairin’!
Howard County Fair
The 76th annual fair begins this coming weekend, and you have through next Saturday to enjoy rides, magic shows, musical entertainment in the evenings, pig races and pony rides, the Kids & Critters barn, Demolition Derby, a pro rodeo, and more. Most of the rides cost extra, and packages are available, so be sure to check out the website to see what’s available if you plan to go.
_______ When: August 6-13, ground open 8am – 10pm daily, though most exhibits open at 10am, and activity times vary, so be sure to check schedules. Where: 2210 Fairground Road | West Friendship, MD Cost: $10/ages 13+, $5/seniors, free for under 10. Rides and games are extra.
Montgomery County Fair
This fair is a family fave. (You can get a glimpse of one of our experiences there and read a review from a several years ago), so trust me when I say that there is so much to do, you have to see the schedule on the website for yourself to get the full scope. Highlights include lots of 4-H exhibits and demos, including opportunities to visit with some of the animals; animal races, pony rides, a KidZone with interactive games and activities, tons of carnival and kiddie rides, arts & crafts, monster trucks and a demolition derby, and much more.
_______ When: August 12-20, times vary by day so check the website for specifics. Where: Montgomery County Fairgrounds | 501 Perry Parkway, Gaithersburg, MD. Cost: Admission is $12/advance $15/at gate for age 12+, free/11 & under. Tickets for rides cost extra. A one-day all-u-can-ride carnival wristband is available for $20/online until 8/14, $30/on site. And note that parking is $10 at the fairgrounds, but FREE parking and shuttle bus service are available from Lakeforest Mall, located at Lost Knife Rd. and Odenhal Ave.
Prince William County Fair
Virginia’s largest annual county fair includes 4-H exhibits, rides, contests (think pie eating and water balloon tossing), animal shows, craft demos, the Children’s Barn, Kid’s Zone, live performances, and more. Note that August 9 is Kid’s Friday when all admissions are $6. And there are other special days with all kinds of promos, so be sure to check the schedule for details.
_______ When: August 13-21, Hours vary by day, so check the daily schedules. Where: Prince William County Fairgrounds | 10624 Dumfries, Manassas, VA. Cost: Admission is $6-12/age 14-64, $4-8/seniors and age 5-13, free/4 & under. Check for package deals and daily specials, too!
Arlington County Fair
We’ve been to this fair and have had a great time. It’s big enough for a fun-filled day, but not so huge that it’s overwhelming, and you feel rushed to get to everything. There are carnival rides for everyone from toddlers to adults, and the kids especially loved the pony rides and piglet races when they were younger. You can also check out competitive exhibits, enjoy live entertainment, cheer on a variety of racing animals, view outdoor movies, and take little ones to the Kids’ Court for moon bouncing, face painting, a beer garden for adults, and more.
_______ When: August 17-21, hours vary by day, so check the schedule for specifics. Where: Thomas Jefferson Community Center | 3501 Second St., Arlington, VA. Get parking/shuttle information here. Cost: Admission is FREE. But, of course, you need to buy tickets for rides and other activities: $1/ticket, $20/24 tickets, $40/48 tickets. There is an online special of 72 ride tickets for $55.
Prince George’s County Fair
A variety of entertainment and attractions for all ages — 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.
_______ When: September 8-11, hours vary by day. Where: Showplace Arena | 14900 Pennsylvania Ave., Upper Marlboro, MD. Cost: Admission is $6/age 13-54, $5/age 6-12 & 55+, free/5 & under. Rides and games are extra.
Anne Arundel County Fair
Carnival rides and games, animal exhibits, monster trucks, pony rides, garden tractor pulls, pig races, pie eating contests, a talent show, live music and much more.
_______ When: September 14-18, check the website for hours. Where: Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds | 1450 General’s Highway, Crownsville, MD Cost: Admission is $10/age 10+, free/9 & under. Rides and games cost extra.
The Great Frederick Fair
Rounding out the county fair season, this one in Frederick has many of the same offerings as the others, so if you can’t make it to a fair earlier in the season (or even if you can), keep this one on your radar. There are agricultural events, rides and games, live performances, a Kids Zone with free entertainment, and much more.
_______ When: September 16-24, 4-10pm the first day, then 9am – 10pm daily Where: Frederick Fairgrounds | 797 E Patrick Street, Frederick, MD Cost: $10/age 11+, free/10 & under. Tickets for rides and some activities are extra.
Save the date for this coming Saturday, August 6! The National Postal Museum is hosting its first in-person Family Day in over two years — and if it’s anything like its pre-pandemic events, it’s sure to be a festive, well organized, and super fun time.
The United States Postal Service recently issued a series of five postage stamps depicting mariachi musicians. Designed by the Postal Museum’s Guest Artist, Rafael Lopez, the stamps joyfully celebrate the vibrant colors and sounds of mariachi music and Mexican culture.
This weekend, you can join Rafael for Music & Stamps Family Day, a celebration of Latinx music and the new mariachi stamps. He’ll be at the museum leading visitors through stories, musical performances, crafts, and games.
Keeping visitor comfort in mind, a Take-A-Break space will be available throughout the program for anyone who needs to step away from the festivities. And, of course, the rest of the museum is fantastic to explore — I’ve always recommended it as an especially great one with young children.
Music & Stamps Family Day
Where: National Postal Museum | 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE, DC
When: Saturday, August 6, 11am – 4pm
This post is sponsored by the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, however, I only promote events, programs, and places that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.
What better place to celebrate Independence Day than in our nation’s capital? This is where the actual Declaration of Independence is housed (and will be read!), and celebrations take place among some of the country’s most iconic landmarks. But the excitement doesn’t stop there. From fireworks over the city and concerts at the Capitol to special events at George Washington’s house to neighborhood parades and ballpark fun, there are loads of ways to revel on July 4th (and 2nd & 3rd!). Here are details on a bunch of them. Happy Independence Day!
National Independence Day Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue NW, 7th-17th Streets | DC
When: July 4, 11:45am
Many national holidays get a parade in DC, and July 4th is no exception. Scores of spectators always line the Constitution Avenue sidewalks to watch the procession celebrating Independence Day as it make its way from 7th to 17th Street. Marching bands, floats, giant balloons, equestrian groups, drill teams, and military units will be among the pageantry. Stake out your spot along the route early, as this event attracts hundreds of thousands of viewers every year.
Fourth of July Celebration on the Mall
Where: National Mall, DC
When: July 4, all day (and evening)
After the parade (even earlier for some), the National Mall will begin filling up for a day of July 4th festivities — the Smithsonian Folklife Festival from 7th to 12th Streets, Junior Ranger activities, concerts, and more. And the grand finale of it all: Shortly after 9pm, the sky above will explode with color when the amazing iconic fireworks display begins. Fireworks will be launched from the Reflecting Pool area, so stake out a spot to watch them — on or off the Mall (see tips below for a list of places to view them).
Fourth of July at the Archives
Where: National Archives | National Mall, DC
When: July 4, 9am – 4pm
Catch the annual dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence on the steps of the National Archives . It starts at 10am, but doors open an 9am. Get there early to get a good seat and enjoy entertainment by the Experience Band and Show. After that, celebrate like it’s 1776! There ill be lots of fun family activities,…meet the Founding Mothers and Fathers, design your own buttons, go on a scavenger hunt, help design the National Archives Building, and sign the Declaration of Independence yourself!
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: July 4, 11:05am (and July 1-3)
Admission: Ticket prices vary
A day at the ballpark is about as all-American as it gets when it comes to sports, and you can experience it and celebrate the holiday at Nationals Park. The July 4th game against the Marlins is part of the Patriotic Series, when the Nats wear their red, white, and blue, and there are other Independence Day themed activities. And, FYI, the series with the Marlins starts July 1, and there will be post-game Freedom Fireworks, plus more promos for the rest of the games. Before you purchase tickets, be sure to check this post for tips to save on a Nats game.
A Capitol Fourth
Where: West Lawn on the Capitol | Capitol Hill, DC
When: July 4, 8pm; gates open at 3pm
After two years, A Capitol Fourth, the annual Independence Day concert that airs live on PBS, will once again be open to the public! Grammy nominee Mickey Guyton will be hosting this year’s show, which will include performances by Gloria Gaynor, Andy Grammar, Keb’ Mo’, Daniel Criss, Rachel Platten, the National Symphony Orchestra, the U.S. Army Band, the Joint Armed Forces Chorus, and many more exciting acts. (KFDC Tip: Enjoy the show with less crowds at the dress rehearsal on July 3 – same time and place!)
An American Celebration
Where: Mount Vernon | Mount Vernon, VA
When: July 4, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $26/adult, $13/age 6-11, free/5 & under
The home of George Washington salutes the first commander-in-chief with a dazzling display of made-for-daytime fireworks during its annual Independence Day event. Visitors will be treated to spectacular smoke fireworks in patriotic colors fired over the Potomac River. The event also includes an inspirational naturalization ceremony for new citizens, military reenactments, a special wreathlaying ceremony, a performance by the National concert band and more live entertainment, and a chance to meet General Washington himself. Get 20% off tickets with the code FBSUMMER. See the full schedule of events here and read more about Mount Vernon here.
Fourth at the Wharf
Where: The District Wharf | Southwest DC
When: July 4, 7-10pm
Celebrate the Fourth of July at The Wharf with a free celebration on District Pier. The celebration includes music, a bar for adults, and spectacular views of the annual fireworks launched from the National Mall. They also offer a VIP fireworks viewing experience benefitting the USO that gives you exclusive access to the Dockmaster Building on the tip of District Pie, complete with two complimentary drink tickets (additional beverages for purchase), all-American light fare, DJ, games, photo station, and a raffle. Read more about The Wharf in this KFDC post.
Neighborhood Parades & Celebrations
Where: Throughout the DMV
When: Most on July 4, times vary
Keep it close to home at a community celebration. You likely are aware of July 4th events taking place in your neighborhood or nearby, but if you’re still looking for a hyperlocal fête, here are some that are known to be good ones: Capitol Hill (we can vouch it’s great from many years attending), Palisades, Takoma Park, College Park, Great Falls, McLean.
July 4th Celebration
Where: Armed Forces Retirement Home | Petworth, DC
When: July 4, 4-9:30pm
All are welcome to join the 10th annual July 4th Celebration at the Armed Forces Retirement Home. Enjoy live entertainment, bouncy fun, a kids’ scooter parade and contest, activities for all ages, and views of the evening fireworks on the National Mall. Concessions will also be for sale and plentiful.
Fireworks Watch Party
Where: Victura Park | Kennedy Center, DC
When: July 4, 10am – end of fireworks
Victura Park, the lovely outdoor area at The REACH at the Kennedy Center, will be open on July 4th to celebrate the day — and offer a great vantage point for watching the fireworks on the National Mall. Food and drinks will be available from the cafe, or you can BYO and enjoy at the picnic tables set up in the wine & beer garden area. Admission if free, and no tickets are necessary.
July 4th Fest
Where: Six Flags | Bowie, MD
When: July 2-4
Admission: Starts at $35
With amusement park fun thrown into the mix, Six Flags’ celebration will be pretty epic for kids. Along with all of the ongoing fun throughout the venue, there will also be fireworks, music, and lots of Coca Cola (sponsors of the event) on Independence Day and two days leading up to the holiday.
Celebrate Capital Pride
Where: Throughout DC
When: Saturday, 3-7:30pm & Sunday, 12-7pm
Celebrate Capital Pride at several events around the city this weekend! The annual parade that always draws thousands of spectators is a modified route this year that will acknowledge the evolution of the LGBTQ+ neighborhoods in DC. Starting near 17th & T NW at 3pm and ending at 21st & P, it’s sure to be a spectacular extravaganza of ornate floats, street performers, music and dancing, glitter and beads, and plenty of reveling. And you can head to the Pride Block Party after. There will also be a Family Fun Area at Stead Park playground from 3-7pm. Sunday’s family-friendly festival, on Pennsylvania Avenue from 3rd to 7th Streets NW, will feature multiple stages of live entertainment and host loads of exhibitors, including local and community groups, national sponsors, local businesses, food vendors, restaurants, and businesses looking to promote their services. It’s all a fun and fabulous opportunity to show support for the LGBTQ+ community and join the celebration!
Joys of Summer
Where: Throughout the DMV
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by activity
Free concerts in the open air, outdoor swimming, movies under the stars, sprayground fun, crab feasts, and SO much more! Activities exclusive to the season can be enjoyed this weekend, and the 2022 KFDC Guide to Summer Around the DC Area has the whole scoop on all of them.
Family Day: UFOs: Fact or Fiction? Where: Udvar-Hazy Museum | Chantilly, VA When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm Admission: Free (but parking is $15)
Soar Together @ Air and Space on Saturday! For years, people have looked to the skies and been fascinated by the topic of unidentified flying objects, also known as UFOs. During this Family Day, you’ll get to explore what the aviation world considers a UFO, and learn how and why they are studied. You’ll also discover how the possibilities of UFOs have inspired creativity and the imagination through movies, stories and songs. Activities include: A Live Chat at 1:00 pm about the history of UFOs and IFOs as well as the report on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena from the office of the Director of National Intelligence, free showing of the movie, The Iron Giant (2pm), Music and collaborative song writing sessions with Dr. Jim Thorne, hands-on activities, and demonstrations.
March for Our Lives
Where: Washington Monument | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 12pm
After the recent tragic mass shootings (and countless more in the past four years) March For Our Lives is marching once again. As the organizers say, “it’s time to take back to the streets and march for our lives. We marched in 2018 after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, FL, and now we’re headed back to DC.” All are welcome to join here and in locations across the country.
Pride Family Day Where: Glen Echo Park | Glen Echo, MD When: Saturday, 11m – 2pm Admission: Free
Celebrate Pride with Glen Echo Park on Saturday, where there will be festivities for the whole family. Check out an interactive chalk maze designed by Chalk Riot. Ride the carousel for free (while comp tickets last; otherwise $2/ride or $5/all day). Pick up a carousel-themed craft activity bag for all ages (while supplies last). Enjoy snacks and specialty Glen Echo Park Root Beer. Plan to see a show while you’re there — The Puppet Co. is offering discounted tickets to performances of Little Red Riding Hood and the 3 Little Pigs with the coupon code PRIDE22 (use when purchasing tickets online). The playground, picnic area, Glen Echo Park Aquarium (book tickets in advance), and a variety of art galleries throughout the park will be open, too!
Pride on the Pier
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Saturday, 2pm – 9pm
Pride on the Pier extends the city’s annual celebration of the LGBTQ community to the Wharf with an exciting array of free activities and entertainment. District Pier will offer DJs, dancing, and other entertainment, including a Family Zone with activities for kids. Alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase for those 21 and older. And don’t miss the Pride Fireworks display at 9pm! While you’re there, take advantage of even more that The Wharf has to offer, like a splash pad, paddling rentals, swings, scenic views, and more — read about it all in this KFDC post.
Play Ball Where: Walker Mill Regional Park | Capitol Heights, MD When: Saturday, Admission: Free
Play Ball with the Nats this weekend! At this special event, there will be several baseball and softball activities led by Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation as well as a book reading with a Nats player Josiah Gray. Attendees will also be able to sign up for the library’s “Summer Prince George’s” summer reading program if they are Prince George’s County residents. No experience or equipment necessary (but feel free to BYO glove if you have one). Simply dress comfortably in athletic clothing, bring your water bottle, and come prepared to have a good time. Register in advance through the website!
Nats vs. Brewers
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Ticket prices vary
The Nats are hosting theMilwaukee Brewers all weekend, and there are a bunch of special activities and promos to enjoy along with the baseball action on the field. Friday is a Value Day when you can save 30% on tickets, concessions, and more. Saturday is Josh Bell superhero bobblehead giveaway, and Sunday celebrates astronaut Sally Ride and women in STEM, plus kids can run the bases after the game. Before you plan your ballpark outing, check out these KFDC tips on how to do a Nats game without breaking the bank.
Where: Sagra Field | Leesburg, VA
When: Sunday, 7pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary
Cheer on our local women’s pro soccer team, Washington Spirit, as they host NC Courage on Saturday. Enjoy some amazing soccer play while supporting women in sports, and celebrate Pride Night — the match will include special team captain armband in Pride colors, Pride-themed corner flags, limited edition Pride-themed Spirit merchandise, and a Spirit Pride sticker giveaway upon entry to stadium. Purchase tickets here.
Splash & Swim
Where: Around the DC area
When: Starting Saturday
‘Tis the season for water! And you can enjoy it at a bunch of places, in a bunch of ways around the area. Spray parks, outdoor pools, and waterparks are open and welcoming guests to splash around and cool off. The 2022 KFDC Summer Guide has details on where to go for water play — see info for sprays here, outdoor pools here, and waterparks here.
Dinosaurs Rock Where: Westfield Mall | Wheaton, MD When: Saturday, 11am – 1pm Admission: Free
Bring budding paleontologists to this special exhibit and fossil dig! The one-of-a-kind prehistoric experience will include an on-site museum with more than 25 life-size and genuine fossils and specimens. Kids can see skulls, footprints, and dinosaur eggs; explore a “touch table;” and enjoy “tours” about various specimens and fossils led by an expert. They can also create take-home art in the form of a fossil, and the first 250 children can participate in a Fossil Dig to excavate and take home one REAL fossil. AMC Theatres, who will premiere Jurassic World: Dominion this weekend, will also host a one hour popup with games, giveaways and more during the event.
Little Red Riding Hood & the 3 Little Pigs
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Friday, 10:30am | Saturday & Sunday, 11:30am & 1pm
Tickets: $15 (look for discount)
We all think we know the Big Bad Wolf from the classic fairytales, but what if it’s the same Wolf in both stories? What if there’s been a big mistake? What if the Wolf isn’t so big or so bad? Recommended for ages 4+. Run time is approximately 45 minutes. Read a KFDC review of the show from a bunch of years back.
Birds of a Feather
Where: Leonadus K. Plenty Amphitheater | Alexandria, VA
When: June 8-26
Arts on the Horizon presents this show especially for little ones… It’s a beautiful summer day when Fiddle, a camper, and Beeker, a birdwatcher, meet in a national park. One is adventurous and the other is a bit more reserved, but they quickly discover how to share the outdoor space. With Fiddle’s knowledge of the great outdoors and Beeker’s bird expertise, they work together to build a home for a bird… but will any birds come to visit? This whimsical outdoor adventure celebrates the joy of making new friends and the wonders of nature. Join us and discover what amazing things can be accomplished through friendship and collaboration! Recommended for ages 3-6.
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: Through June 26
Electrifying percussive dance fused with contemporary art forms fuels StepAfrika!’s latest production, Drumfolk, inspired by the Stono Rebellion of 1739 in South Carolina. As a result, state laws mandated that enslaved Africans could not assemble or use their drums which were used to signal the uprising. They took away the drums, but they could not stop the beat. This is the rich and “inspiring” (The New York Times) story of a movement that could not be stopped and transformed African American culture from then to the present day.
Family Day Where: National Academy of Sciences | 2101 Constitution Ave NW, DC When: Saturday, 1-4pm Admission: Free
Join Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences (CPNAS) and the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC) for an afternoon of family fun. Visitors will have an opportunity to explore Mathemalchemy, an installation celebrating the beauty and creativity of mathematics, and meet its makers. Participate in a variety of hands-on and storytelling activities based upon the installation. Go on a self-guided polyhedra treasure hunt, try your hand at sonobe unit origami, make a dodecahedral beacon net, explore infinity through a fun storytelling activity, and more!
Where: Around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
There’s a quick link to bike routes above, but this is a stronger recommendation to get out for a family ride — it should be great weather for it! And you’ve got your pick of good rides around the area. Take in the summer scenery, get some exercise, and enjoy some QT together. This post has a bunch of pedal-worthy recs, with something for riders of all levels, and this route is particularly ideal with kids.
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Add some extra adventure to a bike ride and go mountain biking. There are several MTB trails to ride around the area, a few miles even right here in the District at Fort Dupont Park in Anacostia — a good place for newer mountain bikers. Cosco Regional Park in PG County and Schaffer Farms in Gaithersburg are also great for those just starting. And for even more recs, the post about biking around the DC area includes a list of places to hit the mountain biking trails (scroll down). [Note: This activity is better for older kids with more experience riding.]
National Gun Violence Memorial
Where: 15th & Constitution | National Mall, DC
When: Through Saturday
A sobering sight on the National Mall, the National Gun Violence Memorial 2022 remembers victims of gun violence with over 45,000 flowers — one for every American who has died from gun violence in a single year — in thousands of vases lining the grounds. Created by Giffords, Gabby Giffords’ organization dedicated to saving lives from gun violence, the installation includes signs with facts about gun violence in America and messages urging people to act. View it here.
Civics Fest Where: National Archives | National Mall, DC When: Sunday, 10m – 1pm Admission: Free
Join the National Archives in Sunday as they kick off Civic Season 2022. It’ll take place outside the Archives with trivia, art projects, live music, a Sign the Declaration activity (a fan favorite!), and of course, the chance to see history up close! Civic Season is the time to put what is learned in history class into action. And what better place to learn about our shared history than the National Archives, home of America’s founding documents?
Take Your Pick
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale
Strawberries, cherries, even spinach are ripe and ready for harvest, and many area farms welcome guests to come PYO. It’s always a good idea to check websites or call ahead to confirm availability the day you plan to go. Sunscreen and hat also recommended.