Join the Torpedo Factory Art Center this Saturday, October 22 from 12-4pm, for the 27th Annual Art Safari! An Alexandria tradition for more than a quarter-century, Art Safari returns for a day of hands-on activities for kids and families, as dozens of resident artists lead budding art enthusiasts through exciting and creative projects on all three floors of the Art Center.
Guests can look forward to all of these art adventures:
* Learn about printmaking with Printmakers Inc. by creating Linoleum printing of animals with artist Claire Meyer and watercolor monotypes with artist Avis Flemming.
* Discover the Potter’s Wheel with a demonstration by Scope Gallery.
* Become a work-of-art by having your face painted or getting a special temporary tattoo by Post Grad Resident artist Kiel Posner. Great for kids of all ages.
* Collaborate with artists Tara Barr and Rosemary Feit Covey on coloring pages specially designed by the artists.
* Paint like a real artist, at an easel with brushes, with artist Judy Heiser.
* Create dynamic collages using bits of fabric and fiber with Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery artists.
* Play and experiment with a piece of wet clay to mold and shape into any form you can imagine led by artist Tracie Griffith Tso.
* Take part in a gallery scavenger hunt led by The Art League Gallery exploring their current exhibition. Each completed scavenger hunt can be shown at the Gallery desk to receive a special prize.
* Learn about Alexandria’s historical waterfront with the Alexandria Archaeology Museum.
* Contribute to a large canvas cloth collage project with artist Mina Oka Hanig.
* Enjoy additional STEAM-focused adventures with our partners at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the College of William & Mary.
Art Safari is perfect for kids ages 5+. Younger children may need some extra help, but will still have a lot of fun. Dress for mess — kids can get messy creating with artists at the Torpedo Factory!
Free and open to the public, the event is a fun and creative day for kids to dive into art!
Where: Torpedo Factory Art Center | Alexandria, VA
When: Saturday, October 22, 12-4pm
Admission: FREE! (Register here)
This post is sponsored by Torpedo Factory Art Center, however, I only promote events, programs, and places that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.
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.
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.