Tag Archives: Family Fun

The Best Tip You’ll Get for the Rest of this Year’s Ren Fest

 

The Maryland Renaissance Festival has been bringing merriment galore to Revel Grove, a charming hamlet in the woods of Crownesville, MD, since late August.  But with a very busy schedule this fall, we didn’t make it there until yesterday.  This was actually quite serendipitous, as it turned out to be one of the most beautiful days of the season so far.  The cool, crisp,  sunny weather made for perfect conditions to roam the lively, sprawling grounds.  And the early fall scenery, with the first tinges of autumn foliage glowing amid the fading green, was a gorgeous backdrop for all the festivities.

 

Surely, you know by now how much I love Ren Fest and how strongly I recommend it for a fantastic, fun-filled outing.  So, I’ll just get to the gist of this post.  Along with scenes from our day there yesterday, I wanted to share a few extra tips (more are already listed here).  Let’s get to it…

 

1) The best tip you’ll get for the rest of this year’s Ren Fest is DO NOT WAIT TO GET TICKETS!  They are selling out, and earlier than they have in previous years.  This past Saturday was sold out by Wednesday.  I bought Sunday tickets for our family early in the day last Thursday, and when I went back on the website to get a couple more for friends, they were all gone.  And I just checked… the weekend of October 15-16 is already sold out, leaving only the last weekend, October 22-23. So, again, if you know you want to go, get your tickets!

 

2) It almost pains me to share this one because I never want to discourage anyone from going to Ren Fest, BUT if you really hate crowds and being around a lot of people, this may not be the event for you. A lot of people love Ren Fest, and sold out days means a lot of people will be there.  It’s not like you’ll be walking shoulder-to-shoulder — there is still plenty of space to move around  comfortably — but it’s heavy on stimulus and lines can get long.

 

3) And that leads to my next tip… be prepared to wait in lines for food and drinks, especially right around lunchtime.  This can be tough with little ones, but you can be strategic about it if you’re with other adults and take turns waiting and walking around with the kiddos (but note that if you’re buying adult beverages, all must be there, only one per person).  You can also plan to eat a little later in the afternoon when the lines let up.  But don’t skip the food!  There are so many fun, yummy options:  Turkey legs!  Meat on sticks! Fried mac-n-cheese balls! Fried pickle chips! Cones of cookies!  And much, much more.

 

4) Get to the jousting area early, at least 30 minutes ahead, if you want decent seats to see the show.  The jousts are a highlight of Ren Fest (fun fact: jousting is Maryland’s state sport!), and if you want to guarantee you and the kids get a good view, you need to get seats.  I suggest getting food and “having a picnic” at your joust seats to pass the time while you wait for the events to begin.

 

5) Dress up!  Our crew did not, but it felt like more people than ever were in costume this year.  It makes for the best people watching, and it would have been fun to be part of it.

 

6) This one is random, but good (credit goes to my friend, Margaret, for it) …  If you plan to eat a turkey leg, bring some of these along. It will make a big difference in your comfort for the rest of your day.

 

So, between these tips and my usual KFDC tips here, you’re all set for a fantastic time at Ren Fest.  Now go reserve your tickets.  And have a blast!

Huzzah!

Maryland Renaissance Festival
Where: Revel Grove | Crownsville, MD ( get directions)
When: Weekends through October 23, 10am – 7pm
Admission: $30/adult, $26/senior, $15/age 7-15, free/6 & under

 

A few more scenes…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 2022, Fall, Festival, Maryland, Weekend

Huzzaaah! It’s Time for Ren Fest!

 

I won’t go into a long, rambling introduction about this one, because if you’ve been reading KFDC for any length of time longer than a year, you likely already know how I feel about the Maryland Renaissance Festival.

That it’s my hands-down very, VERY favorite annual event in the area.  That I’ve adored it since well before I  had kids.  That I love not just the fun and food and entertainment and amazing people watching it brings, but also that it celebrates eccentricity, welcomes the weird with open arms, and presents all its mirth and delight in an easy, free-flowing way.  If you want more specifics on all of that, just go here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, or here.  And if you want to enjoy a day of extraordinary fun , just go.

Logistics
The merriment begins this Saturday, August 27, and runs every weekend, rain or shine, through October 23 in the lovely 16th century-style hamlet of Revel Grove in Crownsville, MD. Hours are 10am – 7pm. Through September 11, admission is $24/adults, $21/seniors, $12/ages 7-15, free for ages 6 and under.  After that, ticket prices go up to $30/adults, $26/seniors, $15/ages 7-15, still free for 6 and under. Multi-day passes that offer a discount are also available. Like last year, tickets must be reserved in advance online. There are no day-of, in-person ticket sales.

 

Notable Dates
There are promos and special themes on many weekends. Here’s a quick list, and you can find more info here.
*  August 27-28: Children’s Weekend – FREE admission for ages 15 and under with adult
*  September 3-4: Romance Weekend — Special events for singles 21+ on 9/3 & partners can renew their commitments in a ceremony on 9/4
*  September 5: Seniors day — Free admission for all seniors age 62+
*  September 10-11: Celtic Celebration
*  September 11 & October 10: ASL Interpretation Days – Selected stage shows will be interpreted in ASL
*  September 17-18: Pirate Adventure Weekend
*  September 24 & 25: Myth & Magic Weekend
*  October 1 & 2: Shakespeare Weekend

KFDC Tips
*  Bring a stroller or carrier for little ones, as there is  a lot of walking. I recommend a stroller that rolls over rough terrain easily.
*  Get a map and schedule on your way in to help you navigate and plan your day, but I recommend not overthinking it; Ren Fest is best experienced with a “go with the flow” mindset.
*  If there’s a show you really want to see, get to the stage a few minutes ahead of time to get good seats, so the kids have a good view.
You might encounter less crowds on Sunday, when many folks are watching football.
*  Plan to spend on extras like food, games, and fun for kids — all reasonably priced, but it can add up.
*  Tickets can sell out, especially on beautiful fall days as the chances to go dwindle. Between that and the online sales only, you might want to reserve further in advance than usual.
*  Consider pros and cons to going at different times: Early in the season, crowds are smaller because it’s usually very hot, and the admission fee is lower. Later in the season, the cool, crisp weather and autumn foliage adds some extra splendor to the visit, but also draws the masses.
*  Let the kids dress up! Princesses, knights, fairies, and pirates will fit right in.

Maryland Renaissance Festival
Where: Revel Grove | Crownsville, MD ( get directions)
When: Weekends August 28 – October 23, 10am – 7pm
Admission: $24-30/adult, $21-26/senior, $12-15/age 7-15, free/6 & under

* * * 

Growing up, Ren Fest-style (2013 & 2021)…

 

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Filed under 2022, Fall, Festival, Maryland, Special Event, Summer, Weekend

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

Music & Stamps Family Day at the National Postal Museum this Saturday!

 

Save the date for this coming Saturday, August 6!  The National Postal Museum is hosting its first in-person Family Day in over two years — and if it’s anything like its pre-pandemic events, it’s sure to be a festive, well organized, and super fun time.

The United States Postal Service recently issued a series of five postage stamps depicting mariachi musicians. Designed by the Postal Museum’s Guest Artist, Rafael Lopez, the stamps joyfully celebrate the vibrant colors and sounds of mariachi music and Mexican culture.

This weekend, you can join Rafael for Music & Stamps Family Day, a celebration of Latinx music and the new mariachi stamps.  He’ll be at the museum leading visitors through stories, musical performances, crafts, and games.

Keeping visitor comfort in mind, a Take-A-Break space will be available throughout the program for anyone who needs to step away from the festivities. And, of course, the rest of the museum is fantastic to explore — I’ve always recommended it as an especially great one with young children.

Music & Stamps Family Day
Where: National Postal Museum | 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE, DC
When: Saturday, August 6, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

 

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

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Filed under 2022, All ages, DC, Museums, Special Event, Summer, Weekend

Where to Go & What to Do During Spring Break 2022

 

Spring Break has begun in the DC area, so you may be in need of some extra reminders of all the great activities there are to do around the area to keep your kids entertained over the next few weeks — depending on when they’re off from school. And if some of this sounds familiar, that’s because a version of this post has been published in many previous years, but it’s been updated to reflect what’s going on now.

Many of the ideas here are already on the blog, but sometimes a little guidance for what’s best at certain times helps. Among these recommendations are special and seasonal activities,  exhibits and shows that are currently running, and outings that take advantage of the (usually) great spring weather.

And, of course, the rest of the blog is full of suggestions if you want even more options. So, whether you’re enjoying a staycation or visiting from out of town, you should have no problem keeping the kids (and yourself!) happy during the week off — or on, depending how you look at it. Happy Spring Break!

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Filed under 2022, DC, Maryland, Seasonal, Spring, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend