Calling all LEGO enthusiasts! BrickFair, the nation’s largest annual LEGO fan festival, is returning to the area in August, and it’s bigger and better than ever. Filling 130,000 square feet of space, this year’s event will accommodate even more amazing exhibits, vendors, games, and fun. And I have three Family 4-Packs of tickets up for grabs for a few lucky KFDC readers!
With a “Myths & Legends” theme, BrickFair 2016 will bring together LEGO fans from across the country to showcase amazing brick constructions. Over 800 exhibitors will display their designs, from tiny creations to towering cityscapes. There will also be nearly 100 tables of vendors selling all things LEGO — T-shirts, hats, mini figures, models, and more.
It’s not all just looking and buying. Visitors can get hands on in the Stay & Play Area chock full of bricks, so you can build and get creative. There will also be games, bouncy fun, and lots of photo ops. And in keeping with the theme, you can try to spot mythical creatures and characters among the LEGO displays.
This will all take place at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, VA, August 6-7 from 10:30am – 4pm both days. Tickets are $15/ages 4 and up, free for ages 3 and under.
GIVEAWAY: For a chance to win one of the Family 4-Packs of tickets, simply leave a comment below telling me your favorite way or place to stay cool during these hot summer days. To be eligible, you should subscribe to the KFDC blog (see sign-up to the left) and follow KidFriendly DC on Facebook. This giveaway will run through Sunday, July 24, then the winners will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!
Basque performances will be among the many activities at the 2016 Smithsonian Folklife Festival
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, one of DC’s most anticipated annual events begins this Wednesday! Taking place on the National Mall between 3rd and 4th Streets from June 29 – July 4 then July 7-10, this year’s celebration will showcase the culture and heritage of Basque country as well as California sounds.
“Basque: Innovation by Culture” will feature musicians, cooks, artisans, craftsman, and language experts who will explore themes of cultural sustainability, identity, and migration with festivities and fun for all ages. Hands-on activities for families and children will take place at the Txiko Txoko tent — txiko txoko (pronounced cheeki-choko) is a Basque phrase that means “little place” — and throughout the event. Take a Basque language lesson, try a dance class led by Basque Americans, play kid-friendly versions of Basque sports such as stone lifting and corn-cob racing, and do crafts inspired by the art and traditions of the region.
“Sounds of California” will highlight the diverse music from the state, whose musicians demonstrate the social power of music and cultural heritage. Enjoy daytime performances, evening concerts, activities for all ages, and discussions. Sixty California musicians will perform music reflecting their different influences and heritage, including Afghan, Afro-Cuban, Armenian, Filipino, Japanese, Kumeyaay, Mexican and more. Most of these will take place in the main tent. In the smaller “La Cueva” and “The Studio” tents, visitors can engage directly with participants as they prepare for their performances, teach games, and demonstrate crafts, such as basket and instrument-making, while master artists lead dance, language, and music workshops.
Festival hours are 11am – 5pm each day it runs, with special events taking place most evenings at 6:30pm. Admission is free. For more information, including the schedule of events, visit the Festival website.
A view of the Kennedy Center, where skateboarding is currently in focus, and a lone paddle boarder enjoying time on the Potomac
Labor Day weekend may be the unofficial end of summer, but it’s also a time of some fantastic special events. Enjoy loads of reading-related activities at the National Book Festival, hear the blues in Rock Creek Park, check out a rad new exhibition at the Kennedy Center, experience the merriment of Ren Fest, attend the annual concert at the Capitol, and so much more. These recs have all you need to make the most the next few days in DC. Happy Weekend!
National Book Festival
Where: Washington Convention Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 10pm
Bookworms, take note! One of DC’s biggest annual events is on Saturday. The Library of Congress National Book Festival will feature more than 170 authors, poets, and illustrators from every literary genre. Even better, they will all be there presenting; there will be book readings, talks, Q&A’s, book signings, and more. These will take place along with lots of other reading-related activities for all ages. For an idea of what to expect, see this post about one of our experiences there.
Where: Various locales
When: Through Monday
Admission: Varies by activity
This weekend is the last for many pursuits that we’ve been enjoying all summer long, outdoor swimming, concerts and movies under the stars, special museum programs among them. If you’re hoping to get in one final jazz show in the Sculpture Garden, a swim at The BEACH in the Building Museum, a free visit to the Newseum for the kids, or a day at an outdoor public pool, then check out the Summer in DC guide, which has details on all of those diversions and many more.
Skateboarding, Music, & Media
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Throughout the weekend
Get out your skateboards and head on over to the… Kennedy Center! That’s right, the performing arts center best known for it’s theatrical productions and showcases on stage is hosting an exhibition featuring skateboards and music September 4-13. Check out Art on Deck, a display of custom, hand-painted, and graphically designed skate decks, in the Hall of Nations. But the action will be in the Kennedy Center Plaza outside, where open skate sessions will be held in temporary skate park. Time to brush up on those ollies and flips!
Root for the Home Team
Where: Nationals Park
When: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, & Monday
Admission: Ticket prices vary
The Nats are hosting the Braves this weekend, then Mets starting on Monday. Tickets are still available for all of them. Before you buy, check out this post about how to do a Nats game without breaking the bank.
Where: Revel Grove, Crownsville, Md.
When: Saturday, Sunday, & Monday
Admission: $17/adults, $10/ages 7-18
The merriment continues at Revel Grove in Crownesville, MD. On weekends through October 25, you can time trip at the charming medieval village that hosts the annual Maryland Renaissance Festival. For more details on what you will find there, check out this post about the event.
Hear the Blues
Where: Carter Barron Amphitheater
When: Saturday, 12-7:30pm
Admission: $10/member, $15/non-members
Head to the outdoor stage in Rock Creek Park for the 27th Annual DC Blues Festival. Along with the line-up of performers, there will be musical workshops throughout the day, where both children and adults can learn about Blues music. Kids will especially enjoy instrument and vocal workshops, including an instrument petting zoo.
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Saturday, Sunday, & Monday
More than 40 theater companies will present readings and rehearsals of plays and musicals during the Kennedy Center’s 14th annual Page-to-Stage Festival — all free and open to the public! Performances will take place at several venues around DC, and there are a few that are family-friendly, including Adventure Theatre’s Lemony Snicket’s The Lump of Coal, Guillotine Theatre’s Hootenanny, Actors Repertpry Theatre’s The Story Thief and the Prince of Dreams, and Alliance for New Music- Thetare’s R.U.R.: A Retro-Futuristic Musical. See the schedule for details and the full list of shows. And note that while tickets are not required, seating is limited.
Virginia Scottish Games
Where: The Plains, Virginia
When: Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 9pm
Admission: $20adults, $5/ages 5-12, free for under 5
Celebrate Scottish heritage at this annual fair featuring everything from music and dance to sports and games to food and cars, even Scottish dogs. Much of it will be showcased through competition, but there is plenty that all visitors can partake in, too. Two-day adult passes are available for $30. Festival gates will close at 6pm both days, but Saturday’s concert will continue until 9pm. And children under 12 are free on Sunday!
Arts for Families
Where: Textile Museum
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free ($8 suggested donation for non-members)
The theme of this Saturday’s weekly drop-in program, “Compass Rose: Find Your Way,” provides inspiration for the session’s project. Guests can create their own compass rose like those featured on the historic maps of Washington, DC, currently on view at the museum.
Labor Day Concert at the Capitol
Where: West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building
When: Sunday, 8pm
The National Symphony Orchestra continues its annual Labor Day Weekend tradition with a free concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Led by Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke, this year’s program featues vocalist Kate Davis and the Soldiers’ Chorus of The United States Army Field Band. Gates open to the public at 3pm, and if the 8pm show is too late, you can catch the open dress rehearsal at 3:30pm. In the case of inclement weather, the concert will be moved to the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. You can call the NSO Summer Concert Hotline at 202.416.8114 after 2:30pm for updates.
Labor Day with The Great Zucchini
Where: Jammin’ Java
When: Monday, 10:30am
Catch a colorful show as The Great Zucchini brings his unique fusion of comedy and magic to the Vienna venue on Labor Day. Doors open at 10am, and the show begins soon after. Bring the whole fam to this all ages event!
Row Your Boat
Where: Potomac & Anacostia Rivers
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by boathouse
Take to the water this holiday weekend, where you can paddle and explore. A bunch of places around the area rent kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, rowboats, and pontoons. Fletcher’s Boathouse is a popular place to go, or you can explore the Anacostia from Ballpark Boathouse in the Navy Yard. Bladensburg Waterfront Park also has vessels for rent along with free pontoon boat tours on weekends from 5-5:45.
An Apple a Day…
Where: Area farms
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale
The apple picking season has begun! Several farms in the area open their orchards for guests to PYO. This list of area farms and orchards offering pick-your-own opportunities has details. And I always recommend calling ahead to be sure the pickings are good the day you plan to go.
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, one of DC’s most anticipated annual events begins this week. And even though it’s scaled down a bit from previous years, it’s sure to deliver on the rich cultural experience we’ve come to expect and enjoy.
Celebrating the spirit of Peru, this 49th festival will focus on one country instead of the usual two. And it will all take place on the National Mall between 3rd and 4th Streets, not the usual expanse down the middle of the iconic grassy strip, because of ongoing construction. However, the wonderful variety of activities and entertainment will remain.
All ages can experience the country’s cultural heritage through stories and art, music and dance performances, cooking and craft demonstrations, ritual and celebratory processions, moderated discussions, and other participatory activities. More than 150 artisans, musicians, dancers, cooks, and others will be part of the event. Attendees are encouraged to ask questions, learn a new dance or song, and taste the incredible flavors of Peru.
Last year’s Smithsonian Folklife Fesival
Take children to the Wawawasi Kids Corner for storytime, crafts, dance and language lessons, and more. Shop the Festival Marketplace in the National Museum of the American Indian. Share a pisco sour with friends before an evening concert featuring some of the best music Peru has to offer — bring a blanket and lawn chairs, grab dinner from the Peruvian concession stands, or pack your own picnic.
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival will run June 24-28 and July 1-5, 11am – 5:30pm daily, with special events taking place most evenings beginning at 7pm. The Marketplace has an extended schedule and will be open daily June 24 – July 12, 10am – 5:30pm, in the National Museum of the American Indian, adjacent to the Festival site.
Chicken of the Sea, best known by many for its canned tuna, is celebrating its 100th anniversary as an iconic American brand. And they are marking the milestone with the first-ever Chicken of the Sea Great American Gratitude Tour, a six-month, 56-city journey that brings the brand’s iconic Mermaid and Centennial celebration to seafood lovers across the country, while also honoring local heroes and nonprofits that are bringing good to their communities.
Washington, DC, is the next stop on the tour, giving residents the chance to join in the celebration — and the chance to win $10,000 instantly. On Thursday, July 24, from 10:30am – 6:30pm, a brightly-wrapped Great American Gratitude truck and vintage Airstream, both created specifically for the tour, will be stopping at Union Station, and the public is invited to join the festivities.
Visitors can have their pictures or video taken with the Mermaid, relive Chicken of the Sea history, and take home Mermaid-themed giveaways. One lucky participant receiving the winning commemorative coin in the Mermaid’s Treasure Chest promotion will instantly win $10,000 to use for the community service project of his or her choice!
For more information on Chicken of the Sea: 100 Years of Good, including the latest Great American Gratitude Tour schedule, go to www.chickenofthesea.com/100.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Chicken of the Sea, however, I only promote events, services, and activities that I truly believe in and/or think would appeal to KFDC readers.