Category Archives: Weekdays

The 2022 County Fair Season Around the DC Area

 

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

 

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Filed under 2022, Maryland, Special Event, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Our Favorite Easy Beach Getaway from DC

 

I’ve been hesitant to post about Lewes, Delaware.  And not because we don’t like it — quite the opposite, in fact.  We like it so much that we completely understood why our friends who introduced us to the beach town a few years ago wanted to keep it on the DL.  So, other than a mention here and there, I waited until now to do a full write-up.

It seems that most families in the DC area head to Rehoboth, Bethany, and Ocean City for under-three-hour-drive beach getaways — and those were the towns we had previously visited (though more often opted for North Carolina beaches).  But a few summers ago, friends invited us to join them in Lewes, the beach town they had been visiting annually for years.  From our first trip there, we totally got why they didn’t want word to get out to the masses.

Smaller than the aforementioned towns, Lewes is much more low-key with a lot less people.  It doesn’t have the big boardwalk,  busy strip of beach stores and eateries, or large amusements that many families seek out for their beach getaways.  But for some of us, the lack of all that is actually the draw.  Instead of all the bustle, there’s more nature.  And rather than a bevy of places to eat and play, there’s a charming little town with less but still enough options for off-the-beach food and fun.  It’s easy and relaxing and only about a two and half hour drive from our house on Capitol Hill.   Since that first trip, we’ve been several times, from a multi-day getaway to weekend and overnight stays to day trips.

Why have I decided to share now?   A few reasons: 1) I’ve been learning that more people know about Lewes than I realized  2) I recently saw an article about it in a much larger publication 3) A friend is taking a trip there and just asked me for tips, so I felt inspired to expand on the text I sent her  4) I highly doubt a KFDC post could change the vibe of a place.

So, to the good stuff.  Here’s what we love about Lewes and what we’ve done pretty much every time we’ve been there…

 

Beach

We go to the beach at Cape Henlopen State Park, about a four-mile drive from Lewes.   It’s gorgeous, with dunes, trees, and marsh areas and bike trails that wind through it (more on that below).  There’s six miles of coastline along the Atlantic, the sand is nice and soft, and there is always plenty of space (great for beach games).  Dogs are also permitted, which is a big plus for us.  We always go to an area near a jetty where the kids can surf and boogie board.  While there are concessions in part of the park, we always bring a cooler of food and drinks or pop out to grab sandwiches from Taste of Italy, a great Italian deli in town.  The park is open 8am – sunset, and it’s not a bad idea to go on early side in case they limit capacity.  There is a daily entrance fee — $10 for out of state vehicles, and $5 for in state. An annual pass is $70.

Lewes Beach is on the Bay and also accessible (and free).  We’ve taken morning walks along the shore, but have never spent a beach day there. Dogs are not permitted.

 

 

Recreation

A great activity from Lewes is a bike ride through Cape Henlopen State Park to Rehobeth.  There are several trails to ride, all of them easy to pedal and very scenic.  Wind through wooded areas, cruise along boardwalks over wetlands, and be on the lookout for historic sites like Fort Miles and nearby towers and canons — the area was a coastal defense in WWII.   We usually bring bikes or rent them from Lewes Cycle Sports, but free bikes to borrow apparently are available at the park’s Seaside Nature Center on a first-come, first-served basis (we have never used them, so I don’t know how easy it is to get them).

As mentioned above, the kids and friends always surf and boogie board when we go.  We rent boards from East of Maui and BYO boogie boards, but those are available to rent, too.

Cape Henlopen State Park is full of even more recreation.  It’s free to walk through, and as mentioned, there are both historic and scenic sights, plus a Nature Center.

 

Dining

The town is small, but has several good restaurants and other places to get bites and drinks. The subs at Taste of Italy are yummy.  Agave is great for Mexican for dinner. Wheelhouse is right on the water and has a large menu with something for everyone. Nectar Cafe has the best juices as well as breakfast and lunch. Notting Hill Coffee also has delicious breakfast sandwiches and pastries and, of course, coffee. And ice cream at 2 Dips is the best way to end the evening. (Update: Just heard 2 Dips recently closed, but other nearby ice cream options are Kings Homemade Ice Cream in town and  Dairy Queen on Savannah Road near the beach.)

 

Where to Stay

Since Lewes is small, rental  house inventory always seems limited, so booking far in advance is a good idea.  For longer stays in larger houses, Airbnb or VRBO are good to check. I’ve seen lots of Lewes Realty and Jack Lingo signs around advertising rentals, too.

For shorter stays, we always opt for the Beacon Inn.  It’s not fancy, but it’s clean, the service is great, there is a pool, it’s a very easy walk to town, and they allow dogs. We love it.  Friends have stayed at and recommend Hotel Blue, and I’ve heard the Dogfish Inn is great, too.

Have you been to Lewes?  What are your favorite things about it?

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Review: Mr. Popper’s Penguins at Imagination Stage

[Note:  This review was written by KFDC Contributor Emily Moise, a local writer and mom of two young children.  She’s written about both her explorations with her kids around DC, as well as recommendation for products to enhance kids’ and family experiences.  Read more of her articles hereherehereherehere,  and here.]

 

Mr. Popper’s Penguins have waddled onto Imagination Stage, delighting audiences as only these loveable creatures can. The whimsical tale about dreaming as big as an Antarctic adventure, even in bleak times, sends a timely message to kids and adults alike. And while the plot about a painter-turned-traveling-circus-act holds true to the children’s book, the novelty is the custom-built, mechanical penguins (including, spoiler alert: twenty baby penguins) that are maneuvered around stage by multi-talented, multi-role-playing actors.

This musical play, featuring puppetry, song, and dance, is recommended for ages 3-10, but some of the dialogue skews to the upper end of that range. I brought my five and three-year-olds, and while my youngest was more patiently watching the storyline build up (on his best behavior for his “first show”), my daughter was able to grasp what was happening. Once the first penguin, Captain Cook, makes his entrance, all ages are captivated. One tip: Read the book with your kids before the show to prepare them!

The show runs for 75 minutes without intermission on weekdays, and 90 minutes with a 15-minute intermission on weekends. Bring snacks for intermission, and dress warmly as the theater runs cold. Proof of vaccination for ages 5+ is required at the ticket booth, and masks are required in the theater. Read more about COVID precautions here.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins is showing now through August 7 at Imagination Stage, located at 4908 Auburn Avenue in Bethesda, MD. Tickets are $12-$39.

 

Comparing penguin/little human height

 

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Filed under 2022, Gradeschoolers, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Preschoolers, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend

Tomorrow at the National Museum of Natural History: Pollinator Celebration & Free Family Concert with MISTER G !

 

This post is sponsored by the National Museum of Natural History, however, I only promote places, programs, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

 

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Filed under 2022, All ages, Live Entertainment, Museums, Summer, Weekdays

Mount Vernon is a History Lesson & Outdoor Family Fun All Rolled Into One

 

If you haven’t been to George Washington’s Mount Vernon—or even if you have—you’ll want to put it on your family’s list of must-go places for this summer. Located in nearby Virginia, the iconic estate of our nation’s first president covers hundreds of sprawling acres along the banks of the Potomac River. Just a short drive from D.C., Mount Vernon offers a glimpse into the world of “The Father of His Country” and life as it was in colonial times.

Mount Vernon is a destination where past truly meets present. Washington’s Mansion and many of the estate’s original structures, including the spinning house, kitchen, and washhouse, still appear just as they did over two hundred years ago. A four-acre working farm, complete with heritage-breed animals, offers demonstrations of Washington’s innovative farming practices. You can even talk with people who knew George Washington at one of the interpretive character programs.

There are also modern attractions that bring history to life and offer a break from the summer sun. Included with general admission, the museum features exhibits filled with hundreds of artifacts detailing the history of Mount Vernon and the legacy of George Washington. While there, don’t miss the two high-tech theatres that let you experience history in uniquely interactive ways.

A fun way for families to explore Mount Vernon is with the Adventure Map that takes them on a puzzle-solving scavenger hunt. The maps can be picked up in the Ford Orientation Center, and written clues and colorful pictures guide families on an exploration of nine locations across the estate. Kids who complete the hunt and solve the puzzle even receive a special prize.

Another unique way to experience Mount Vernon is on a River Cruise along the Potomac River. The 45-minute ride offers a different perspective of the estate during a narrated excursion that offers stories of the people and animals that have inhabited its shores, as well as an explanation of the river’s vital role in the Civil War.

While Mount Vernon is great to visit any time—it’s open 365 days a year—summer is an especially good time to go. On June 24 & 25, the estate hosts Independence Fireworks, a family-friendly evening that includes fireworks, patriotic music, and even an 18th century ice cream-making demonstration. On July 4th, you can experience An American Celebration, where you can meet General Washington and watch him inspect the troops, observe a moving naturalization ceremony for new citizens, and enjoy a concert by the National Concert Band, all followed by made-for-daytime fireworks over the Potomac River.

Ready to plan your family’s visit to George Washington’s Mount Vernon? Save 20% on admission with promo code KIDFRIENDLY: Buy Tickets!

George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Where: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway | Mount Vernon, VA
When: Daily, 9am – 5pm

 

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This post is sponsored by George Washington’s Mount Vernon, however, I only promote places, programs, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under DC, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend