Tag Archives: Fall in DC

From City Streets to Country Farms, Fall Celebrations in 2017



Fall is on its way and so are the scores of festivals that come along with it. They celebrate everything from the season to city neighborhoods to cuisine to historic times. Have a blast on a farm, savor local food and culture, go medieval or colonial — all amidst brilliant autumn scenery in the cool, crisp air. This list of celebrations, ordered by start date, will help you plan for it all. Happy Fall!

Maryland Renaissance Festival
Where: Revel Grove | Crownsville, MD
When: Weekends through October 22
Admission: Thru 9/10: $19/16 and up, $8/7-15. 9/22-10/23: $25/16 and up, $10/7-15, 6 & under/free

This medieval time trip began in late August and gets a big endorsement from me as one of the best annual events in the area. 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 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.

Montpelier Farms Fall Festival
Where: Upper Marlboro, MD
When: Weekends September 2 – November 5
Admission: $12, 2 & under free

Enjoy all of the staples of a fall festival on the farm — pumpkins, hayrides, animals, hill slides, and more. 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, I repeat, do not miss the corn maze. It’s EPIC.

Fall Weekends at Clark’s Elioak Farm
Where: Ellicott City, MD
When: Ongoing; Pumpkin patch open September 16 – October 31
Admission: $6, babies 1 and under are free

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 more. On fall weekends, guests can also enjoy special activities like pumpkin coloring and crafts, a teddy bear visit, and gem mining. Face painting and pit beef are also available on Saturdays and Sundays.

Hartland Orchard Fall Festival Weekends
Where: Markham, VA
When: Weekends September 9 – October 29
Admission: $10/ages 3 and up, free for ages 2 and under

Hartland’s long list of opportunities for amusement include hayrides, pumpkin patches, a 60-foot slide, a corn maze, duck and pig races, and pony rides (some activities cost extra). On September 16, be sure to don your coolest accessory for “Cape Day” — everyone who wears a cape, superhero or not, gets $2 off admission. And FYI: The apple picking comes highly recommended.

Adams Morgan Day
Where: Along 18th St & Columbia Ave NW | Adams Morgan, DC
When: September 10, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate one of the city’s most diverse communities at the 39th Annual Adams Morgan Day, offering a day full of music, art, culture, dancing, and more. The family-friendly celebration will have activities for all ages, including free crafts for kids and adults, bike demos, live entertainment, and tons more. More details and the schedule of performances are available on the website.

H Street Festival
Where: H Street NE, DC
When: September 16, 12-7pm
Admission: Free

The annual festival on northeast DC’s thriving hip corridor is always huge. If you don’t mind crowds, there is tons to see and do. The event features 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 recommended, as parking is guaranteed to be difficult.

Colonial Market & Fair
Where: Mount Vernon, VA
When: September 16-17
Admission: $18/adults, $9/kids 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. More than forty juried artisans from across the nation will demonstrate their trades and sell their wares, while two stages of family entertainment delight audiences with 18th-century amusements. Try your hand at 18th century cricket — demonstrations and cricket games will be played throughout the weekend. General Washington will preside many festivities. And fair fare will be available from the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant concession stands.

Cox Farms Fall Festival
Where: Centreville, VA
When: September 17 – November 8
Admission: $6-20 depending on dates

This festival is enormous! So big that they actually have a Tips & Resources page on the website to help guests prepare and navigate their way around the sprawling site that contains seven slides, swings, games, mazes, pumpkins, picnics, live entertainment, farm animals, and lots 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.

Pumpkin Village Fall Fest
Where: Leesburg Animal Park | Leesburg, VA
When: September 16 – November 7
Admission: $12.95/adult, $9.95/ages 2-12, under 2 are free

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. Slides, wagon rides, moon bounces, a maze, pedal carts, and live entertainment are fall additions. And, of course, animals add to the mix of amusement with pony rides, animals to pet and feed, and even camel rides. Get $2 off weekdays by subscribing to their email list (scroll all the way down)!

Taste of Falls Church
Where: Falls Church, VA
When: September 16, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Falls Church’s annual autumn tradition returns, highlighting the area’s popular restaurants and featuring live entertainment, pony rides, children’s amusements, crafters, businesses and civic organizations. Festival goers can sample cuisine from city restaurant kitchens for $3 per “taste” or 10 “tastes” for $25. The children’s activity tent offers face painting and craft projects. Most rides will also require the purchase of tickets.

Occoquan Fall Arts & Crafts Show
Where: Mill Street in Occoquan, VA
When: September 23-24
Admission: Free

Plan for a day of family fun as the streets of Occoquan come to life with beautiful art, live music and great food! For the 48th year, the historic town will close its streets and host over 300 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 Washington, 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.

Wayside Farm Fall Fun
Where: Berryville, VA
When: Opens September 23
Admission: $10, ages 2 and under are free

The whole family can enjoy hours of farm fun for visitors of all ages. Get lost in the corn maze, watch piggies race, pick a pumpkin, visit farm animals and check out the goat walk, whiz down slide, romp in the play yard. Admission covers all of those activities and even more.

Fall Pumpkin Festival
Where: Ticonderoga Farm | Chantilly, VA
When: September 23 – October 31
Admission: $10.95/weekdays, $16.95/holiday and weekends

This festival at one of my favorite farms in the area has all the trappings for a great time on the farm: hayrides, swings, Noah’s Ark playground, hillside slides, s’mores roasting, cornshucking demos, a petting farm, a bamboo maze, antique tractors and firetruck, a pumpkin patch, and much, much more. Some features are available weekends only, but there’s more than plenty to keep kids entertained any day of the week. For a peek at it all, see this post about their Winter Festival and this one about a school field trip there.

Harvest Festival
Where: Belvedere Plantation
When: September 30 – November 4
Admission: $9.25 – $18.95, depending on day/time

The Fredericksburg farm has loads to keep the whole gang entertained for hours. Slides, hayrides, ziplines, pumpkin patch, playground, flower picking, jumping pillow are just some of the attractions that little ones will love. And the Maize Maze, with a rooster path to navigate, is an adventure in itself. Plan to eat there — the Red Rooster Grill offers a variety of grilled favorites to satisfy all appetites.

Harvest Happenings
Where: St. Luke’s School | McLean, VA
When: September 30
Admission: $5

The McLean Community Center welcomes the whole family for a fun and exciting day. Activities include games, live entertainment, a petting zoo, concessions, and arts & crafts. All activities are included in the entrance fee with the exception of the purchase of pumpkins for $3 and food concessions.

Jumbo’s Pumpkin Patch
Where: Middletown, MD
When: September 23 – October 31
Admission: Free, $7/corn maze, pay for pumpkins

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. Not all of the activities are available during the week, so check the schedule for details.

Fall Adventures at Summers Farm
Where: Frederick, MD
When: September 23 – October 31
Admission: $10-17, depending on time/day

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.

Barracks Row Fall Festival
Where: 8th Street SE |Capitol Hill, DC
When: September 23
Admission: Free

Showcasing the marine barracks and commerce of 8th Street SE on Capitol Hill, this annual festival is fun for all ages. Enjoy tours of the historic barracks, live entertainment, a petting zoo, food and art vendors, and tons of fun for kids, including the National Symphony Orchestra’s Instrument Petting Zoo, back for another round of musical amusement. A Beer Garden for grown-ups is a bonus.

Taste of Georgetown
Where: K Street, Wisconsin to Thomas Jefferson | Georgetown, DC
When: September 24, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free, but pay per taste

In its 24th year, the Taste of Georgetown will showcase the spectacular cuisine of over 30 of the neighborhood’s premier restaurants, highlighting Georgetown’s culinary personalities and featuring delectable dishes to sample from more than 30 neighborhood restaurants, as well as wine pairings. Bring young foodies for free activities including face painting, balloon art, and more fun for kids of all ages. Tasting tickets can be purchased online or at the event.

Butler’s Orchard Pumpkin Festival
Where: Germantown, MD
When: Weekends September 30 – October 29
Admission: $11, free for children 2 and under

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!

Fall For Fairfax KidsFest
Where: Fairfax County Government Center, VA
When: September 30 – October 1
Admission: Free

This annual event by Celebrate Fairfax, Inc. includes exciting, interactive, and educational programs, entertainment and activities. Especially designed for families with elementary and pre-K aged children, activities include scarecrow making, pumpkin painting, public safety and recycling-themed exhibits, pony rides, a petting zoo, hay rides, model trains, and the KidWay MidWay with more than a dozen rides, bounces, and attractions. And that’s just for the kids. Adults can enjoy more than 75 exhibits, live entertainment, activities, and great festival food. While admission is free, some rides and concessions will require a fee. And be sure to check back on their website – the live entertainment has yet to be announced, and they usually have some pretty big-name acts perform.

Frederick’s Oktoberfest
Where: Great Frederick Fairgrounds, MD
When: September 30 – October 1
Admission: $7/21+, $5/ages 4-20, free for 3 and under

The Frederick Fairgrounds are 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.

Autumn Activities
Where: Larriland Farm | Woodbine, MD
When: Late September & through October
Admission: Free

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 corn maze. Hayrides are only offered on weekends, while the barn and maze are open every day the farm is open.

Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: October 1-31
Admission: $10/adults $8/kids weekdays, $12/adult $10/kids weekends, ages 2 and under are free

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; Rubber Ridge, the tractor tire mountain; the Pumpkin Princess in the pumpkin patch, a giant Pumpkin’ Jumpin’ Pillow; five mazes; 60-foot slides, rope swings, tractor rides, and even more fun in the country. Find a future jack o’ lantern in the pumpkin patch, the largest u-pick patch in the area. See a weekend schedule of activities here.

Autumn Harvest
Where: Schlagel Farm | Waldorf, MD
When: Weekends, October 7-29, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $8/ages 2 and up

The farm known for it’s 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.

Taste of DC
Where: RFK Stadium | Northeast, DC
When: October 7-8
Admission: Start at $10

Celebrate the food, wine, and culture of our city during Columbus Day weekend. Along with the obvious — tastings from more than 65 area restaurants — there will be cooking demos, live entertainment, a beer garden, and an area with activities — dancing, games, storytelling, arts & crafts,and more — especially for kids.

Taste of Bethesda
Where: Woodmont Triangle | Bethesda, MD
When: October 7, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free, but you pay for food samples

According to some stats, Bethesda has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the U.S. Accurate or not, DC’s suburban neighbor definitely has a food scene worth celebrating. The 27th year of Bethesda’s famous food and music festival will bring 60 restaurants and five stages of entertainment to the downtown’s Woodmont Triangle. Along with delicious food samples and live entertainment, there will be a kid’s corner for face painting, arts & crafts, and more fun for young ones. Admission is free, and taste tickets are sold on-site in bundles of four tickets for $5. Food servings cost one to four tickets. Ticket sales end at 3:30pm.

Farm Harvest Days & Carnival Fun
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park | Herndon, VA
When: October 12-15
Admission: Free, but carnival ride passes are $16-25

Fall is a busy — and fun — time on the farm, and you can be part of it at Frying Pan’s annual festival! Carnival fun and games start on October 12 with rides, games, fair food, and more. On Saturday & Sunday, you can also watch the cider press in action, milk a goat, shell corn, peel apples, meet farm animals, and see traditional farm demonstrations.

18th Century Autumn Market Fair
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm | McLean, VA
When: October 20-21
Admission: $8/adult, $4/ages 3-12, under 3 are free

Enjoy the splendor of fall on a living history farm. Warm yourself by the fire while savor crisp local apples, spit roasted chicken, and hearty breads. Watch and participate with period tradesmen like the spinners and blacksmith. Live music, singing and dancing, and games are also among the festivities. And kids will delight in seeing turkeys, pigs, and chickens. Period food, beverages, and wares available for purchase.

Marker-Miller Orchards Festivals
Where: Winchester, VA
When: October 7-8 & 28
Admission: Free

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 7-8, offering a weekend of, well, everything apples: 20 varieties of apples, apple cobbler, apple caramel sundaes, plus the wagon rides and cow train for kids. October 28 is their annual Pumpkin Festival, when you can find your own Great Pumpkin and enjoy all the usual festivities at the orchard.

PorchFest
Where: Adams Morgan, DC
When: October 7
Admission: Free

Get the best seats in the house (or on the sidewalk) as the front porches of homes and maybe a few 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 over 30 bands playing on porches, patios, and stoops in the neighborhood. Music maps will be available at the corner of 18th Street and Columbia Road NW on Porchfest Day.

Art on the Avenue
Where: Del Ray Neighborhood | Alexandria, VA
When: October 7, 10am – 6pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the diversity of Alexandria’s Del Ray community at this multicultural arts festival. Over 300 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 – scarecrow stuffing, pumpkin painting, lotus flower design, screen art weaving are just some of the crafts to enjoy. 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.

Oktoberfest
Where: Pavilions at Turkey Run | McLean, VA
When: October 7, 6-9pm
Admission: $35/adults, $12/6-12; free/under 6o (advance purchase only)

Claude Moore Colonial Farm welcomes all to 2017 Oktoberfest to help support the programs and services of the privately operated local National Park and living history working farm. A catered Bavarian menu will include Bratwurst, Knockwurst, marinated grilled chicken, German potato salad, sauerkraut, vegetable sauté, Caesar salad, ice cream sundaes, warm peach cobbler, cash bar, and soft drinks. Live music will feature polkas and other called dances. A silent auction will showcas gift baskets, admissions to local museums, and restaurants as well as other donated goods and services.

Homestead Farm Fall Festival
Where: Poolesville, MD
When: October – exact dates TBD
Admission: Free, but there are fees for 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. And the good thing about the lack of a festival, admission is free! You still pay for pumpkins and cider – and their can’t-miss caramel apples.

Fall Back to Bethesda Festival
Where: Rock Creek Mansion on Cedar Lane | Bethesda, MD
When: October 22, 12-4pm
Admission: $10/child, free for adults

Celebrate fall with the whole family and support the Bethesda Fire Department, NIH Charities, and the metroBethesda Rotary Foundation at the second annual Fall Back to Bethesda Festival organized by metroBethesda Rotary in conjunction with Rock Creek Mansion and Activity Rocket. Join other families from Bethesda, and enjoy games, music, great food and a beautiful setting at Rock Creek Mansion on Cedar Lane. This festival will feature activities for the whole family to enjoy!

DowntownDC Fall Festival
Where: Ronald Reagan Building | Downtown DC
When: October 31, 12-2pm
Admission: Free

Get ready to fall into fun this Halloween with the DowntownDC Business Improvement District and the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center for the DowntownDC Fall Festival. Bring friends, family, coworkers, and kids to Woodrow Wilson Plaza for some free fun, including a special Halloween DJ set, pumpkin decorating with BLICK art, a mysterious Children’s Story Hour with DC Public Library, lively face painting, candy giveaways and the return of the ghoulish DowntownDC stilt walkers. Wear your Halloween costumes for photo ops! Register in advance here.

The Emporiyum
Where: Union Market Dock 5 | Northeast, DC
When: November 11-12
Admission: Tickets start at $15

Meet, eat, and shop at this two-day market and celebration of everything delicious. Last year over 95 artisans, producers, chefs, and restaurants showcased their wares, works, and culinary creations. It’s a chance to meet the people behind the brands, taste and learn about their products, and shop for unique edible gifts.

Have a favorite festival you don’t see listed here? Let us know about it in the comments!


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Filed under 2017, All ages, Animals, Annual, DC, Eats, Fall, Farm, Festival, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Shop, Special Event, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

From City Streets to Country Farms, Fall Celebrations Around the DMV

fall_festival_2016

Fall is on its way and so are the scores of festivals that come along with it. They celebrate everything from the season to city neighborhoods to books to cuisine to historic times. Have a blast on the farm, savor local food and culture, go medieval or colonial — all amidst brilliant autumn scenery in the cool, crisp air. Some of the fun has already started, and even more will begin over the next few weeks. This list of celebrations, ordered by start date, will help you plan for it all. Happy Fall!

Maryland Renaissance Festival
Where: Revel Grove in Crownsville, MD
When: Weekends through October 23
Admission: Thru 9/11: $19/ages 16 and up, $8/ages 7-15. 9/22-10/23: $24/ages 16 and up, $10/ages 7-15. Free for ages 6 and under

This medieval time trip began in late August and gets a big endorsement from me as one of the best annual events in the area. 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 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. Get a glimpse of and a little more background on the event here and here, both previous posts about my love of Ren Fest.

Montpelier Farms Fall Festival
Where: Upper Marlboro, MD
When: Weekends September 3 – November 6
Admission: $10/ages 13 and up, $8/ages 3-12 (look for a deal here

Enjoy all of the staples of a fall festival on the farm — pumpkins, hayrides, animals, hill slides, and more. 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, I repeat, do not miss the corn maze. It’s EPIC.

Fall Weekends at Clark’s Elioak Farm
Where: Ellicott City, MD
When: Ongoing; Pumpkin patch open September 17 – October 31
Admission: $5, babies 1 and under are free

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 more. On fall weekends, guests can also enjoy special activities like pumpkin coloring and crafts, a teddy bear visit, and gem mining. Face painting and pit beef are also available on Saturdays and Sundays.

Hartland Orchard Fall Festival Weekends
Where: Markham, VA
When: Weekends September 10 – October 30
Admission: $10/ages 3 and up, free for ages 2 and under

Hartland’s long list of opportunities for amusement include hayrides, pumpkin patches, a 60-foot slide, a corn maze, duck and pig races, and pony rides (some activities cost extra). On September 17, be sure to don your coolest accessory for “Cape Day” — everyone who wears a cape, superhero or not, gets $2 off admission. And FYI: The apple picking comes highly recommended.

H Street Festival
Where: H Street NE, WDC
When: September 17, 12-7pm
Admission: Free

The annual festival on northeast DC’s thriving hip corridor is always huge If you don’t mind crowds, there is tons to see and do. The event features 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 kids’ activities, including face painting, story telling, and moon bounces. Public transportation is recommended, as parking is guaranteed to be difficult.

Colonial Market & Fair
Where: Mount Vernon, VA
When: September 17-18
Admission: $17/adults, $8/kids 6-11, children 5 and under are free

At George Washington’s old stomping grounds, they re-create a lively early-American marketplace with demonstrations, crafts and entertainment. More than forty juried artisans from across the nation will demonstrate their trades and sell their wares, while two stages of family entertainment delight audiences with 18th-century amusements. Try your hand at 18th century cricket — demonstrations and cricket games will be played throughout the weekend. General Washington will preside many festivities. And fair fare will be available from the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant concession stands.

Cox Farms Fall Festival
Where: Centreville, VA
When: September 17 – November 8
Admission: $10/weekdays, $15/weekends, $17 prime weekend for ages 2 and up

This festival is HUGE. So big that they actually have a Tips & Resources page on the website to help guests prepare and navigate their way around the sprawling venue that contains seven slides, swings, games, mazes, pumpkins, picnics, live entertainment, farm animals, and lots 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! September 17-18 is a preview weekend, then it opens daily September 24.

Pumpkin Village Fall Fest
Where: Leesburg Animal Park
When: September 17 – November 8
Admission: $12.95/adult, $9.95/ages 2-12, under 2 are free

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. Slides, wagon rides, moon bounces, a maze, pedal carts, and live entertainment are fall additions. And, of course, animals add to the mix of amusement with pony rides, animals to pet and feed, and even camel rides.

Wayside Farm Fall Fun
Where: Berryville, VA
When: September 17 – October 30
Admission: $10, ages 2 and under are free

The whole family can enjoy hours of farm fun for visitors of all ages. Get lost in the corn maze, watch piggies race, pick a pumpkin, visit farm animals and check out the goat walk, whiz down slide, romp in the play yard. Admission covers all of those activities and even more. Mention KidFriendly DC at the register and get a 20% discount!

Taste of Falls Church
Where: Falls Church
When: September 17
Admission: Free

Falls Church’s annual autumn tradition returns, highlighting the area’s popular restaurants and featuring live entertainment, pony rides, children’s amusements, crafters, businesses and civic organizations. Festival goers can sample cuisine from city restaurant kitchens for $3 per “taste” or 10 “tastes” for $25. The children’s activity tent offers face painting and craft projects. Most rides will also require the purchase of tickets.

National Book Festival
Where: Washington Convention Center
When: September 24
Admission: Free

Book enthusiasts, young and old, come from all over for this annual festival that celebrates reading. Works by more than 120 authors, poets, and illustrators will be showcased and the creators themselves will be at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center for special appearances. All genres will be represented on stages — Children, Teens, Picture Books, Contemporary Life, Culinary Arts, Fiction & Mystery, History & Biography, Poetry & Prose, Science and Special Programs — where readings, presentations, book signings, photo ops with writers (and costumed PBS characters), and more exciting experiences for guests will take place. Check out authors scheduled to appear to help plan your day there.

Occoquan Fall Arts & Crafts Show
Where: Mill Street in Occoquan, VA
When: September 24-25
Admission: Free

Plan for a day of family fun as the streets of Occoquan come to life with beautiful art, live music and great food! For the 47th year, the historic town will close its streets and host over 300 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 Washington 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.

Fall Pumpkin Festival
Where: Ticonderoga Farm, Chantilly, VA
When: September 24 – October 31
Admission: $9.95/weekdays, $16.95/holiday and weekends

This festival at one of my favorite farms in the area has all the trappings for a great time on the farm: hayrides, swings, Noah’s Ark playground, hillside slides, s’mores roasting, cornshucking demos, a petting farm, a bamboo maze, antique tractors and firetruck, a pumpkin patch, and much, much more. Some features are available weekends only, but there’s more than plenty to keep kids entertained any day of the week. For a peek at it all, see this post about their Winter Festival and this one about a field trip there.

Harvest Festival
Where: Belvedere Plantation
When: September 24 – November 5
Admission: $9.25 – $22.50, depending on day/time (look for a deal here)

The Fredericksburg farm has loads to keep the whole gang entertained for hours. Slides, hayrides, ziplines, pumpkin patch, playground, flower picking, jumping pillow are just some of the attractions that little ones will love. And the Maize Maze, with a rooster path to navigate, is an adventure in itself. Plan to eat there — the Red Rooster Grill offers a variety of grilled favorites to satisfy all appetites.

Harvest Happenings
Where: McLean Community Center
When: September 24
Admission: $5

A fun and exciting day for your whole family, activities include field games, fall-inspired arts & crafts projects, a hands-on educational experience with Squeals on Wheels Traveling Petting Zoo, children’s entertainers, yummy concessions, and pumpkin decorating. All activities are included in the entrance fee with the exception of the purchase of pumpkins for $3 and food concessions.

Jumbo’s Pumpkin Patch
Where: Middletown, MD
When: September 24 – October 31
Admission: Free

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.

Fall Adventures at Summers Farm
Where: Frederick, MD
When: September 24 – October 31
Admission: $7.95/weekdays, $11.95/weekends (look for a deal here)

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.

Barracks Row Fall Festival
Where: 8th Street SE, Capitol Hill, WDC
When: September 24
Admission: Free

Showcasing the marine barracks and commerce of 8th Street SE on Capitol Hill, this annual festival is fun for all ages. Enjoy tours of the historic barracks, live entertainment, a petting zoo, food and art vendors, and tons of fun for kids, including the National Symphony Orchestra’s Instrument Petting Zoo, back for another round of musical amusement. A Beer Garden for grown-ups is a bonus.

Autumn Activities
Where: Larriland Farm
When: Late September & through October
Admission: Free

Larriland is best known for their pesticide-free 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 corn maze. Hayrides are only offered on weekends, while the barn and maze are open every day the farm is open.

Taste of Georgetown
Where: K Street NW, Wisconsin to Thomas Jefferson
When: October 1, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free, but pay per taste

In its 23rd year, the Taste of Georgetown will showcase the spectacular cuisine of over 30 of the neighborhood’s premier restaurants, highlighting Georgetown’s culinary personalities and featuring more than 60 delectable dishes to sample, as well as wine pairings. Bring young foodies for free activities including face painting, balloon art, and more fun for kids of all ages. Tasting tickets can be purchased online or at the event.

Taste of Bethesda
Where: Woodmont Triangle
When: October 1, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free, but you pay for food samples

According to some stats, Bethesda has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the U.S. Accurate or not, DC’s suburban neighbor definitely has a food scene worth celebrating. The 27th year of Bethesda’s famous food and music festival will bring 60 restaurants and five stages of entertainment to the downtown’s Woodmont Triangle. Along with delicious food samples and live entertainment, there will be a kid’s corner for face painting, arts & crafts, and more fun for young ones. Admission is free, and taste tickets are sold on-site in bundles of four tickets for $5. Food servings cost one to four tickets. Ticket sales end at 3:30pm.

Butler’s Orchard Pumpkin Festival
Where: Germantown, MD
When: Weekends October 1-30
Admission: $11, free for children 2 and under

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!

Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival
Where: Great Country Farms, Bluemont, VA
When: October 1-31
Admission: $10/adults $8/kids weekdays, $12/adult $10/kids weekends, ages 2 and under are free

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; Rubber Ridge, the tractor tire mountain; the Pumpkin Princess in the pumpkin patch, a giant Pumpkin’ Jumpin’ Pillow; five mazes; 60-foot slides, rope swings, tractor rides, and even more fun in the country. Find a future jack o’ lantern in the pumpkin patch, the largest u-pick patch in the area. See a weekend schedule of activities here.

Fall For Fairfax KidsFest
Where: Fairfax County Government Center, VA
When: October 1-2
Admission: Free

This annual event by Celebrate Fairfax, Inc. includes exciting, interactive, and educational programs, entertainment and activities. Especially designed for families with elementary and pre-K aged children, activities include scarecrow making, pumpkin painting, public safety and recycling-themed exhibits, pony rides, a petting zoo, hay rides, model trains, and the KidWay MidWay with more than a dozen rides, bounces, and attractions. And that’s just for the kids. Adults can enjoy more than 75 exhibits, live entertainment, activities, and great festival food. While admission is free, some rides and concessions will require a fee. And be sure to check back on their website – the live entertainment has yet to be announced, and they usually have some pretty big-name acts perform.

Frederick’s Oktoberfest
Where: Great Frederick Fairgrounds, MD
When: October 1-2
Admission: $7/21+, $5/ages 4-20, free for 3 and under

The Frederick Fairgrounds are 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, musical entertainment, and they claim they have a few more tricks up their sleeves just to keep everyone surprised. (See a schedule of activities here.) This all benefits Frederick County charities.

Autumn Harvest
Where: Schlagel Farm
When: Weekends in October, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $8/ages 2 and up

The farm known for it’s 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.

Taste of DC
Where: Pennsylvania Ave., 3rd-7th Streets NW, WDC
When: October 8-9, 12-7pm
Admission: Start at $10

Celebrate the food, wine, and culture of our the city during Columbus Day weekend. Along with the obvious — tastings from more than 50 area restaurants — there will be cooking demos, live entertainment, a beer garden, and an area with activities — dancing, games, storytelling, arts & crafts,and more — especially for kids.

Farm Harvest Days & Carnival Fun
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park
When: October 13-16
Admission: Free, but activities are extra

Fall is a busy — and fun — time on the farm, and you can be part of it at Frying Pan’s annual festival! Carnival fun and games start on run October 13-16 with rides, games, fair food, and more. On Saturday & Sunday, you can also watch the cider press in action, milk a goat, shell corn, peel apples, meet farm animals, and see traditional farm demonstrations.

18th Century Autumn Market Fair
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: October 15-16, 11am – 4:30pm
Admission: $8/adult, $3/ages 3-12, under 3 are free

Enjoy the splendor of fall on a living history farm. Warm yourself by the fire while savor crisp local apples, spit roasted chicken, and hearty breads. Watch and participate with period tradesmen like the spinners and blacksmith. Live music, singing and dancing, and games are also among the festivities. And kids will delight in seeing turkeys, pigs, and chickens. Period food, beverages, and wares available for purchase.

Game On, Greater Washington
Where: FedEx Field
When: Saturday,
Admission: Free (but some activities are extra)

The American Diabetes Association is teaming up with the Washington Redskins for this one-of-a-kind festival featuring activities for the entire community, from rappelling and zip lining, to biking and fun runs, and everything in between. Including a ton of family and kid friendly events (kids’ zone with glitter tattoos, inflatable bounce and slide and so much more), the adventure-filled day is designed to raise funds for diabetes education, programs, research and advocacy. Registration fees vary depending on activity but the Kids’ Zone and entrance is free, and it’s an awesome opportunity to check out the Redskins stadium like never before, all while having fun for a good cause.

Fall Festival and Craft Beer Showcase
Where: Cathedral Commons
When: October 22
Admission: Free

Cathedral Commons, the mixed-use development located on Wisconsin Avenue, is hosting its second annual Fall Festival & Craft Beer Showcase. The free community event will feature live entertainment including craft beer tastings, live music, food offerings from neighborhood restaurants, and fall activities for the kids — a pumpkin patch, pumpkin decorating, face painting, and an inflatable slide.

Marker-Miller Orchards Festivals
Where: Winchester, VA
When: Several weekends in October
Admission: Free

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 8-9, offering a weekend of, well, everything apples: 20 varieties of apples, apple cobbler, apple caramel sundaes, plus the wagon rides and cow train for kids. October 22 is their annual Pumpkin Festival, when you can find your own Great Pumpkin and enjoy all the usual festivities at the orchard.

Homestead Farm Fall Festival
Where: Poolesville, MD
When: October – exact dates TBD
Admission: Free, but there are fees for 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. And the good thing about the lack of a festival, admission is free! You still pay for pumpkins and cider – and their can’t-miss caramel apples.

Have a favorite festival you don’t see listed here? Let us know about it in the comments!


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Farm, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: December 18-20

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We’re kicking off Winter Break with a weekend full of ways to celebrate the season and then some. Holiday events, live entertainment, ice skating, college hoops, outdoor pursuits, and some movie about the force are all among this round-up of recs. Plus, the Everyday Play page has even more ideas for ongoing DC fun. Happy Weekend!

Season’s Greenings
Where: US Botanic Garden
When: Through the weekend
Admission: Free

The Botanic Garden’s annual holiday attraction never disappoints. The conservatory exhibit features Washington landmarks constructed from plant materials and one of the city’s largest Christmas trees. But the highlight, hands-down, is the garden railway, which never fails to impress and enchant with intricate, imaginative designs. This year’s theme “Pollination Station ” features oversized flowers, bees, and butterflies in a scenic wonderland. A heads-up that it’ll probably be crowded, but the line usually moves quickly, and it really is a beautiful, fun, unique display to see!

Step Afrika!’s Magical, Musical Holiday Step Show
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Tickets: $15-38

Put a little stomp in your step for the holidays! DC’s internationally-known percussive dance company invites you to celebrate the season with clapping, stomping, and all around fun for all ages, featuring their furry friends from the Animal Kingdom and a special dance party with DJ Frosty the Snowman! If you’re bringing the whole family, check out the Family Fun Pack: Four tickets, four snacks, four non-alcoholic drinks, all for $100!

Holiday Party & Puppet Show Anniversary
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park
When: Saturday, 10am
Admission: Free

The Fairfax County Park Authority is celebrating its 65th anniversary with a family-friendly holiday party that includes puppet show performances, plus treats and visits with farm animals. Showtimes are 10:45am and 12:30pm. Inside the Visitors Center, guests can enjoy hot cocoa, cider, and cookies. Outside, they can visit with furry friends from Kidwell Farm.

Skaters Gonna Skate
Where: Local ice rinks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

‘Tis the season for outdoor ice skating, so lace up and get gliding. Enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; circle the rink at Washington Harbour; meander the paths at Canal Park; or do some holiday shopping then skate at Pentagon Row, Veteran’s Plaza, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. This post has details on alfresco (and indoor) ice skating options in the area. And note that both at Canal Park and Washington Harbor are hosting Cartoon Skate on Saturday morning!

Christmas on the Potomac
Where: National Harbor
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The Gaylord National Resort’s annual holiday extravaganza has festivities galore that capture the spirit of the season. And the best part is that there are activities for all ages at varying price points (even free!), from dancing fountains and indoor snowfalls to a tour of amazing “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town”-themed ice sculptures. Get details and a glimpse of it all here.

Rocknoceros Holiday Singalong
Where: Jammin’ Java
When: Saturday, 11am & 2pm
Admission: $10

Get in the holiday mood and ready to sing as one of the area’s favorite kindie rock bands returns to Jammin’ Java for their 9th year of fun holiday songs and Rockno classics. Belt out the tunes along with them, and enjoy a full lunch and drink menu, too.

More Holiday Entertainment
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Much of the live entertainment on local stages right now is holiday-inspired. See the ultimate holiday classic The Nutcracker performed by the Washington Ballet at the Warner Theatre or catch a tot-friendly version at The Puppet Co. Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead Scrooge on A Christmas Carol journey at Ford’s Theatre. Enjoy A Lump of Coal for Christmas at Adventure Theatre or A Year with Frog and Toad at Imagination Stage. Get details on these shows and others in the 2015 Holiday Guide.

Showtime Beyond the Holidays
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by performance

– The Broadway hit Matilda the Musical just opened at the Kennedy Center
– The adorable Elephant and Piggies’s We are in a Play is also running there
Oliver! and Akeelah and the Bee are on the Arena Stage
– Catch a performance of How to Catch a Leprechan at The Keegan Theatre
– Faction of Fools presents Pinocchio is at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop
– See Seussical the Musical is at NextStop Theatre
– If you’re looking for a date night idea, Kiss Me, Kate is at Sidney Harman Hall and Bright Star is at the Kennedy Center.
– Little ones will love Wake Up, Brother Bear at Imagination Stage

‘O’pen House Shopping & Tours
Where: Mansion on O Street
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Starts at $15

Take a holiday tour of one of the most wonderfully outrageous places in DC while its halls are bedecked with seasonal trimmings. At this one-of-a-kind mansion in the heart of Dupont Circle, explore fantastically-themed rooms, search for secret doors, and shop — just about everything there is for sale — while enjoying the season with family and friends. Read more about the Mansion on O Street in this KFDC post.

Night Lights
Where: Around the area
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday Evenings
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. Visit the Zoo or one of several parks in the area that has transformed into a sparkling wonderland. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. Either way, get ready to be dazzled.

College Hoops
Where: Local colleges
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Ticket prices vary

College basketball season begins this weekend, and with so many universities in the area, there’s always some good hoops action going on. The GW men’s team hosts St. Peter’s on Saturday, while the women welcome Iona on Sunday(tickets here). The Hoya men play UNC Asheville at the Verizon Center on Saturday (tickets here). At George Mason, the women play Air Force SAturday afternoon, and the men match up against Longwood Saturday evening (tickets here). Both Maryland teams are away this weekend, but they still get a ‘Go, Terps!’

Welcome to Beynia
Where: Mystic Emporium
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 5pm
Admission: Free (but $5 to play)

Remember Beyblades, the big toy trend a couple of years ago? They’re still a big thing with many who take them to tourney and compete for prizes. If your kid is (or was) an enthusiast, consider checking out this indoor tournament taking place in Silver Spring. Word has it the events are fun, inclusive, and a great bargain. See the website for registration and event times. Mystic Emporium is located at 7896 Georgia Ave. in Silver Spring.

Kids’ Fête de Noël
Where: Alliance Francaise
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Admission: $8/non-member, $5/member

Celebrate the winter holidays with AFDC! With both French and English spoken, the event will feature an activity hour for kids and families, including a fun craft and caroling in French. Snacks will also be served to guests.

Challah Hootenanny!
Where: The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington
When: Sunday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $15

Join PJ Library, The Jewish Food Experience, and their partners for a celebration at a family-friendly morning of Jewish bluegrass music, crafts, food fun, and more, featuring a performance by Mama Doni and Eric Lindberg. Bring a new pair of adult-size socks or gloves to be distributed through D25: December 25th Day of Service. Location is 6101 Executive Blvd. in North Bethesda.

Holiday Shop
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Mostly free

If you’re still working through your gift list, there are several special holiday markets around the area, where you can find unique presents by local vendors and then some. Head to Penn Quarter, National Harbor, or Alexandria for great seasonal markets or to Capitol Hill for a weekend institution. More info about all of them is available in the 2015 Holiday Guide. And if you need some gift ideas, be sure check out the KFDC Holiday Gift Guide!

Chill Out(side)
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Just because the temps are dropping, that doesn’t mean you can’t spend time outdoors – bundle up and enjoy some time in the fresh air under sunny skies! Roam free at Dumbarton Oaks (no admission fee this time of year). Hit the trail at Riverbend, Cunningham Falls, Rock Creek, and more. Explore the National Arboretum or Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. Hang out at Hains Point. Hit the playground at Watkins, Cabin John, or ClemyjontriParks. Find even more ideas in this post about great outdoor pursuits with kids.

See the Force
Where: Local movie theaters
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by theater

So, there’s this movie out that a bunch of people are pretty excited to see… If you’re planning to take the kids to see the new Star Wars film, check out these Washington Post recommendations for the best places in the DC area to see it. And buy your tickets in advance.

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The Weekend Round-Up: December 11-13

Make a stop at Pollination Station, the model train display at the U.S. Botanic Garden

Make a stop at Pollination Station, the model train display at the U.S. Botanic Garden



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Whether or not you think it’s the most wonderful time of the year, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a wonderful time with so many awesome events and activities going on, both holiday-inspired and not. Happy Weekend!

Building Museum Birthday Bash
Where: National Building Museum
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: FREE

To celebrate 35 years of operation, the National Building Museum welcomes the public to enjoy special activities and visit ALL of their exhibitions free of charge! Enjoy PLAY, WORK, BUILD; explore the Building Zone; tour House & Home; and get new perspectives of DC in Scaling Washington. Join in a LEGO® community build, where families, visitors of all ages, and built environment professionals build and rebuild a collective structure over the day. There will also be a giveaway of special treats (limited quantities) for Museum members to enjoy!

‘Tis the Season
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

There are so many great activities running through the season to celebrate the holidays in DC. Watch model trains buzz around the Pollination Station-themed display at the Botanic Garden’s Season’s Greetings exhibit. ICE! it up and enjoy and atrium full of spectacular decor and neat activities at Christmas on the Potomac. View holiday planes and trains at the Aviation Museum. See the National Menorah and National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse. Take a street car ride with Santa at the Holly Trolley Fest. If you hope to hit ‘em all, you better get on it! For the complete rundown on all the area’s holiday happenings, see the 2015 KFDC Holiday Guide.

“Yes, Virginia” Family Day
Where: Newseum, 9am – 4pm
When: Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015
Admission: FREE for kids (details below), $19.50/adult

Celebrate the season with the Newseum at its 17th annual “Yes, Virginia” Family. Enjoy holiday treats and crafts, train rides, music by the Figgy Puddings Holiday Carolers, a visit from the One-and-Only Macy’s Santa Claus ,and more on a day inspired by the most reprinted newspaper editorial in history. Youth 18 and under will receive free admission to the Newseum when they bring a “letter for Santa” to put in the Macy’s Believe Mailbox – Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish® for every letter collected. For more about the museum, see this KFDC post.

Holiday Card Workshop
Where: National Postal Museum
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the holiday season by creating one-of-a-kind handmade cards. The National Postal Museum provides beautiful holiday stamps from all over the world, along with a variety of crafts supplies to both inspire your creativity and decorate your cards. We’ve attended this annual event a few times, and its always very well-organized and tons of fun. Plan to stay after to tour the exhibits, many of them interactive and interesting for all ages. Read more about the museum in this KFDC post.

EdFEST
Where: DC Armory
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Explore the city’s many public school PK3-12 options for your child. Representatives from DC public schools (DCPS) and DC public charter schools will showcase their programs, just in time to help you make informed school selections for the 2016-17 school year common lottery. The event will also feature many free services and fun activities for the whole family, including games and entertainment; sports activities; story time; and flu shots, immunizations, and dental services.

Winter’s Eve
Where: Glen Echo Park
When: December 12, 4-7pm
Admission: Free

Get into the holiday spirit at Glen Echo Park’s annual Winter’s Eve celebration. It’s free, open to the public, and visitors of all ages can enjoy performances, arts & crafts open studios, hot chocolate, and a holiday sing-along. Browse and buy fine artworks at the Holiday Art Show and artist studios. Kids and adults can create gifts to share in the holiday-themed craft rooms.

Nats Winterfest
Where: Washington Convention Center
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11:30am – 4pm
Admission: $30/adult, $20/ages 12 and under (increases at door)

Get your Nats fix during the off-season! The annual Winterfest event features interactive holiday and baseball activities for fans of all ages. Enjoy meet-and-greets with your favorite Nationals players and mascots, get a photo with Santa, join clinics with players and coaches, take a swing at batting practice, and tons more activities throughout the day!

Holidays on the Stage
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Much of the live entertainment on local stages right now is holiday-inspired. Enjoy A Lump of Coal for Christmas at Adventure Theatre or A Year with Frog and Toad at Imagination Stage. See the ultimate holiday classic The Nutcracker performed by the Washington Ballet at the Warner Theatre or catch a tot-friendly version at The Puppet Co. Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead Scrooge on A Christmas Carol journey at Ford’s Theatre. Get details on these shows and others in the 2015 Holiday Guide.

Family Joy!
Where: Washington National Cathedral
When: December 12
Admission: $25

Join the Cathedral Choral Societyat the Washington National Cathedral,for a special Christmas Concert. This one-hour program has something for all ages, including a kids-only sing-along. Bring the whole family and get swept up in the sounds of the season.

Show Time (that isn’t holiday inspired)
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by performance

For shows without the seasonal trimmings, there’s Elephant and Piggies’s We are in a Play at the Kennedy Center (so cute!), Oliver! and Akeelah and the Bee at Arena Stage, and if you’re looking for a date night idea, Kiss Me, Kate is at Sidney Harman Hall and Bright Star is at the Kennedy Center. Read more about all of them in this list of live entertainment through winter.

Family Piano Duel
Where: Bobby McKeys at National Harbor
When: Saturday & Sunday, 1:30-3:30pm (doors open at 1)
Admission: $18/ages 2 and up

The whole family can enjoy an afternoon of fun at one of Bobby McKey’s dueling piano shows. It’s two hours of all-request live music paired with a lunch buffet that’s sure to make everyone happy. This is a performance where kids are encouraged to wiggle in their seats and dance in the aisles!

All Aboard for a Model Train Holiday Open House
Where: Historic Vienna Depot of the W&OD Railroad
When: Saturday, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

Chug on down to Vienna this holiday season to watch model train activities that realistically depict an actual railroad that existed in North Carolina in the 1950′s, the Western North Carolina (WNC). Every hill, town, building, locomotive, rail car, and industry in this layout is modeled after those places and things as they looked in that era. Well, almost everything. Since the holidays are here, the Polar Express makes an appearance, and Thomas the Tank Engine (and a few of his friends) can also be seen chugging around among the bigger steam and diesel locomotives. The Vienna Depot is located at 231 Dominion Road NE in Vienna, Virginia just down the street from the red caboose. It is sponsored by the Northern Virginia Model Railroaders. Check out a virtual tour here.

Colonial Wassail
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: $3/adult, $2/ages 3-12, free for 2 and under

Stand fast, root! Bear well, top! God send us a howling crop! In the dead of winter the Claude Moore Colonial Farm’s apple trees need encouragement to bear well in the coming year. Gather in the Farm’s orchard to wassail the trees with singing, dancing and chants to ensure a “howling crop.” Enjoy hot spiced cider, sugar cakes, a roaring bonfire, and 18th century games. Weather permitting.

Art and Me: Playful Fish Prints
Where: Freer | Sackler Gallery
When: Saturday, 1-2pm, 3-4pm
Admission: Free

Make your own waves as you explore Sōtatsu: Making Waves. Begin with an educator-led tour of the exhibition then use authentic materials to make your own gyotaku (Japanese for “fish print”). This program is designed for children ages 3–5 with adult participation. Registration is required.

Open House
Where: New Mormons on the Hill Chapel
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Head over to Capitol Hill for an open house to celebrate the opening of a new chapel for Mormons on the Hill. Join them to celebrate with food, holiday crafts, carol sing-alongs, building tours (with a scavenger hunt), and to meet and talk with neighbors who will call this new chapel home.

Brunch with Santa
Where: Pinstripes Bistro Bowling and Bocce
When: Sunday, 9:30am – 3pm
Admission: $34/adult, $15/child 6-12, 5 and under eat free

Just in time for the holiday season Santa is stopping by Pinstripes’ brunch that is sure to get the whole family in the holiday spirit! Spread the cheer on Sunday and don’t forget to snap a photo with Santa. And plan for some bowling or bocce while you’re there!

Family Chanukah Celebration
Where: WDCJCC
When: Sunday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $20/family ($18 Discounted Member Rate)

Grab your socks and your yarmulke, it’s time to bounce for Chanukah! The Washington DC JCC welcomes families to celebrate at this year’s rockin’ Chanukah party, which will feature a moon bounce, games, crafts, treats and plenty of fun for all ages.

Family Kwanzaa Celebration
Where: Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre
When: Sunday, 4pm
Tickets: $25/adult in advance, $30/at door, $15/ages 17 and under

Welcome the holiday season with Dance Place’s annual Kwanzaa Celebration! Gather family and friends to join Coyaba Academy, Coyaba Dance Theater, and special guests to celebrate the seven principles of Kwanzaa. During this special Family Series performance, reserve 1 free ticket for a child 12 & under with paying adult!

Pictures with Santa
Where: Courtyard Marriott Navy Yard
When: Sunday, 4-8pm
Admission: Free

Waterfront Church invites you to celebrate the holidays with Santa, Olaf, Sven, and other characters kids adore. Each family will receive a picture with Santa time when they arrive, and then can head upstairs to hang out with his friends, enjoy jumpers, activities, cookies, and hot cocoa. And guests will leave with two 5×7 photos of their picture with Santa. The Courtyard Marriott Navy Yard is located at 140 L Street SE.

Night Sky in Daytime
Where: Rock Creek Park Planetarium
When: Sunday, 1-2pm
Admission: Free

Explore the night sky while the sun shines outside! The Rock Creek Park Planetarium, located witin the Rock Creek Nature Center, uses high-tech Spitz software to project the image of the night sky onto a large, dome-shaped ceiling. Then, Rangers lead you on a journey of exploration into our solar system, galaxy, and beyond. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Read more about the experience in this KFDC post.

Holiday Shop
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Mostly free

Get through your gift list and have a good time! There are several special holiday markets around the area, where you can find unique presents and then some. Head to Penn Quarter, National Harbor, or Alexandria for great seasonal markets or to Capitol Hill for a weekend institution. Or shop a local school’s holiday pop-up. More info about all of them is available in the 2015 Holiday Guide. And if you need gift ideas, be sure to check out the KFDC Gift Guide!

Let There Be Holiday Lights
Where: Around the area
When: Evenings
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. Visit one of several parks or gardens (or the Zoo!) in the area that has transformed into a sparkling wonderland. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. If you opt for the latter, dress the kids in PJ’s, turn up the holiday tunes, and bring along a thermos of hot chocolate. Either way, be prepared to be dazzled!

On the Calendar…
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Did you know the KFDC Calendar is back? Along with big events, it lists many ongoing activities that might not make it to the Round-Up, so be sure to have a browse to see what else is going on!


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, Chanukah, Christmas, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Outdoor, School Event, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: December 4-6

Headed to a wonderland of ICE! at National Harbor

Headed to a wonderland of ICE! at National Harbor



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Holiday cheer is abundant this weekend with all kinds of events and activities that celebrate the season, from Smithsonian’s big festival to Bethesda’s annual event to Chanukah fun on the first night to lights and trains and markets and more. If you’re doing some holiday shopping, check out the first-ever KFDC Gift Guide for some unique and local ideas. And if you’re still not quite ready to embrace the spirit, head up to Baltimore for Dollar Days or find some ongoing DC fun. Happy Weekend!

Smithsonian Holiday Festival
Where: Smithsonian Museums
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the holiday season at Smithsonian Museums — Air & Space Museum, Natural History, American History, Freer-Sackler, American Art, American Indian, African American Art, the Postal Museum, the Hirshhorn, and Smithsonian Castle! This Holiday Festival has tons going on, something for everyone in your crew — concerts by the U.S. Air Force’s Max Impact, Silver Wings, and Celtic Aire; Mars Chocolate demons; a Star Wars C-3PO costume exhibit; the world’s largest LEGO American Flag; family holiday photo ops; free film screenings; trunk shows featuring apparel, jewelry and art; book signings; festive food; and hours of additional family-friendly entertainment. See the schedule for more details.

Holiday Happenings
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

There are so great activities running through the season to celebrate the holidays in DC. See model trains and a gorgeous botanic display at Season’s Greetings. ICE! it up and enjoy and atrium full of spectacular decor and cute activities at Christmas on the Potomac. Take a street car ride with Santa at the Holly Trolley Fest. If you hope to hit ‘em all, get on it now. For the complete rundown on all the area’s holiday happenings, see the 2015 KFDC Holiday Guide.

Fun for a Buck — or Free
Where: Baltimore
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free or $1

In the spirit of the holidays, the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore presents Dollar or Less Days on this weekend when participating attractions will open their doors offering free or $1 admission! The Maryland Science Center, Babe Ruth Museum, Port Discovery, National Aquarium, Historic Ships of Baltimore, Christmas Village, and more exciting places will be welcoming guests to take advantage. Go here for the full list of participating venues.

Bethesda’s Winter Wonderland
Where: Downtown Bethesda
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free, but concerts and events cost extra

Bethesda’s Winter Wonderland is back, turning Bethesda Row into an outdoor street bazaar. The celebration features holiday performances, a live ice sculpting presentation, and a visit from Santa Claus in Veterans Park.

Scottish Christmas Walk Parade
Where: Old Town Alexandria
When: December 5, 11am
Admission: Free

For the 45th consecutive year, the Scottish Christmas Walk Parade will showcase marching units filled with the magnificent tartans of Scottish Clans, the stirring sound of Scottish bagpipes and drums, Scottish dancers, reenactment groups, Scottie dogs, dignitaries, classic cars, Santa Claus, and more. The parade begins at St. Asaph and Wilkes Streets and concludes at Market Square with a massed band concert. There will also be other festive events throughout the weekend — see the website for details.

Winter Wonderland
Where: Burke Lake Park
When: Saturday
Admission: $15/advance, $20/at event

Celebrate the season with a train ride on the Holiday Express at Burke Lake’s Winter Wonderland. Enjoy a tour on the U.S.S. Reindeer, then take a spin on the Carolers Carousel, experience the Snowman’s Wagon Ride, play Gingerbread Man’s Golf, or warm yourself by the fire and toast s’mores. Hot chocolate, spiced cider and candy canes will also be available. And don’t miss a visit with Santa!

Grand Opening Celebration
Where: Bright Horizons Rockville
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Bright Horizons recently opened its early education center in Rockville, and they are hosting a party to celebrate the launch! On Saturday, parents and children are invited to enjoy all kinds of family fun and get a first look at the new location. Festivities will include carnival style activities, games and prizes, and a ribbon cutting ceremony courtesy of the Rockville Chamber of Commerce.

Italian Holiday Family Festival
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the wonders of the holiday season and Italian culture at SAAM. Enjoy performances by The Italian Fairy, The Flusso Dance Project, seasonal music by The Capital Hearings, and traditional Italian bagpipers, as well as festive craft activities, face painting, café specials, and more. Mention “Buone Feste” and receive a 10% store discount.

Children’s Holiday Shopping
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Kids can do some of their own gift shopping during the park’s annual Children’s Holiday Shopping. Volunteers help children shop for everybody on their holiday list. The Country Store stocks many unique items in all price ranges. Free wrapping assures surprises for family and friends. No reservations are required. Meet at the Old Floris School House.

Gifts That Give Hope Gift Fair
Where: Key Elementary School in Arlington
When: December 5, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Instead of giving another tie or candle this year, how about boxing up hope and happiness? At a Gifts That Give Hope event, you can support the community and find unique and meaningful gifts for loved ones, co-workers, teachers and holiday hosts. Learn more about 16 locally based nonprofit organizations, enjoy festive holiday music and refreshments, visits with Santa, face painting, and other children’s activities. Shoppers of all ages are making GTGH an annual tradition, and young shoppers in particular come back each year to learn the true meaning of giving by participating in the Children’s Gift Fair.

Holidays on the Stage
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Much of the live entertainment on local stages right now is holiday-inspired. Enjoy A Lump of Coal for Christmas at Adventure Theatre or A Year with Frog and Toad at Imagination Stage. See the ultimate holiday classic The Nutcracker performed by the Washington Ballet at the Warner Theatre or catch a tot-friendly version at The Puppet Co. Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead Scrooge on A Christmas Carol journey at Ford’s Theatre. Get details on these shows and others in the 2015 Holiday Guide.

Show Time (that isn’t holiday inspired)
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by performance

For shows without the seasonal trimmings, there’s Elephant and Piggies’s We are in a Play at the Kennedy Center (so cute!), Oliver! and Akeelah and the Bee at Arena Stage, and if you’re looking for a date night idea, Kiss Me, Kate is at Sidney Harman Hall. Read more about all of them in this list of live entertainment through winter.

Artfête Weekend
Where: The Art League’s Madison Annex
When: December 4-6
Admission: Free

Join The Art League as they kick-off the holiday season with live music, great artwork, artist demos, and more. Shop for handmade ceramics and jewelry, view artwork, enjoy instructor demos and live music, watch a wearable art runway show, and check out exciting art classes. Food and drinks will also be for sale.

Parcel Market
Where: Canal Park
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free

PARCEL Market returns to Canal Park for its 2nd year! Featuring the 1,000 square-foot Canal Park Ice Rink, the Market urbanizes the holiday market with three city blocks of hand-made modern styling, interactive art, musical talents, activities, and a showcase of emerging independent brands, chefs, and retailers.

Tenley WinterFest
Where: Around Tenleytown
When: Through December 5
Admission: Free

The fourth annual Tenley WinterFest offers fun for all ages in Area schools, the library, fire station, shops, and restaurants are working together to create another unique, yeti-themed seasonal celebration for the community. Festivities include a scavenger hunt, a drawing project, historic walking tours, dining specials, story time, a kids movie screening, and more winter fun.

The Measure of Our Lives
Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: Saturday, 12pm & 2pm
Admission: Free

See portraits of significant individuals who have influenced American history and culture brought to life on this special tour. Students from the University of Maryland, College Park’s Theatre Department choose a person from the museum’s collection who inspires them, then develop monologues that tell key moments in the subject’s life.

National Lionel Train Day
Where: Side Track Hobbies – Leonardtown, MD
When: Saturday
Admission: Free

Helping to kick off the holiday season and commemorate its 115th anniversary, Lionel, the iconic model train company, is introducing its first-ever National Lionel Train Day. The public is invited to join Lionel at Side Track Hobbies to help celebrate with a variety of activities for kids and families. Operate model train layouts; collect conductor hats, temporary tattoos, enter raffles, and pre-order a collectible boxcar!

Winter Festival
Where: Ticonderoga Farms
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $9.95/person, free for children under 2

The annual festival includes hayrides to the white pine fields with access to all of the farm attractions — swings, forts, slides, tunnels, and more. Fire pits are inviting to keep you warm and make some s’mores or roast hot dogs. Cut down your Christmas tree while you’re there or buy one from the lot. Read more about the Festival in this post about one of our experiences there.

Holiday Festival & Boat Parade of Lights
Where: Alexandria
When: Saturday, 4-9pm
Admission: Free

Alexandria’s harbor lights up when more than 50 illuminated boats cruise the Potomac River at the historic waterfront, led by Alexandria’s fireboat Vigilant and Washington, DC’s fireboat John Glenn. Before and after the parade, stop in to the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s Holiday Open House between 4-9pm to enjoy performances by the Alexandria Choral Society plus gift shopping in open artist studios.

Here Comes Chanukah!
Where: Around the area
When: Sunday
Admission: Varies by activity

It’s almost time to light the menorah! The first night of Chanukah begins Sunday at sundown, but you can start the celebration a little early in the day at a couple of area events, including the National Menorah Lighting on the Ellipse. There are also family activities, plus Matisyahu in concert at Strathmore (I highly recommend seeing him live). The 2015 KFDC Holiday Guide has details on all of the Chanukah fun.

Night Lights
Where: Around the area
When: Evenings
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. Visit one of several parks or gardens (or the Zoo!) in the area that has transformed into a sparkling wonderland. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. If you opt for the latter, dress the kids in PJ’s, turn up the holiday tunes, and bring along a thermos of hot chocolate — it doesn’t get much cozier than that!

Out & About
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Crisp, sunny weather will make it a great time to be outside, so browse the list of The Best Places in the DC Area to Spend a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids and take advantage.


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, Chanukah, Christmas, Date Night, DC, Discount, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Farm, Festival, Free, Fundraiser, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend