This Saturday, April 30, the National Gallery of Art welcomes you to join the Afro-Atlantic Histories Festival, a special day-long event highlighting the arts and culture of the African Diaspora.
This John Wilmerding Community Celebration will be offered in conjunction with the new Afro-Atlantic Histories exhibition, an enlightening and in-depth look at the historical experiences and cultural formations of Black and African people since the 17th century. If you haven’t yet experienced it, this weekend is a perfect time to go, when there will be activities for all ages to enjoy along with the collection of art!
Highlights of the festival include:
Jamaican cooking demonstrations and free samples from Executive Chef Christopher Curtis (12pm, 1pm, and 2pm — registration required)
The Festival will take place in various locations of the museum’s West Building. Catch musical performances at the National Mall entrance and the West Garden Court. Food Demos will be held in the Cascade Café, and you can find creator pop-ups and other festivities in the East Garden Court. View more details and the full schedule of the day’s activities here.
The National Gallery of Art reopened its doors last spring, and it’s been wonderful to return to one of our favorite museums again. Even better, it’s open daily, making it a go-to any day of the week. But this coming weekend, September 24-26, will be an especially great time to visit, as the museum hosts a Community Celebration honoring late pioneering artist Alma Thomas!
The in-person, on-site event will feature a variety of activities and experiences that explore Thomas’s life and her wide range of creative endeavors, all of them self-guided for Covid safety. Plus, there are extra goodies and discounts to enjoy while you’re there! The weekend offerings and festivities include:
· Free art kits with a coloring book of National Gallery works by local artists, coloring materials, and a cutout doll designed by Brittany Jackson, illustrator of the acclaimed children’s book Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment.
· A special flower displayinspired by Alma Thomas’s Pansies in Washington (1969)
· A display showcasing works by local community members, celebrating Alma Thomas’s art and legacy
· 50% discount on Alma Thomas-inspired gelato at the Espresso & Gelato Bar
· 15% discount on shops purchases with the code ALMA15 (onsite and online)
· A pop-up performance from Howard University Bands at 4pm on Sunday
Thomas’ painting, Tiptoe Through the Tulips, inspired by sights, sounds, & smells of DC
The event is part of a larger citywide celebration featuring a symposium with virtual sessions September 22-23. Geared toward adults, it will bring together noted scholars, artists, and curators to discuss Alma Thomas’s life and legacy, including an introduction by Michelle Obama.
The National Gallery of Art’s Community Celebration will take place in the East Building from 1-5pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Admission is free.
A few days ago, when I said there’s a LOT of great stuff going on this weekend, I wasn’t joking. There are several biggies happening, all are worth checking out. Geek out in a good way at the Science & Engineering Festival, experience a campus full of fun at Maryland Day, celebrate the carousel and season at Glen Echo, explore and play at Great Country Farms, say “Qui!” to a Georgetown outing, and much more. And these are just timely ideas. For more mainstay recreation, see these outdoor suggestions as well as this newly revamped list of ideas for indoor fun. Happy Weekend!
USA Science & Engineering Festival
Where: Washington Convention Center
When: Saturday 10am – 6pm, Sunday 10am – 4pm
If your child has any inkling of interest in science and engineering, likes to do hands-on experiments, see fascinating live demos, or talk first-hand with the experts, then chances are very good that they will dig this event. (And so will you, parents.) Over 3,000 interactive exhibits and 150 stage shows will highlight all kinds of science-related topics in fun, engaging, exciting ways. Attendees can discover the science of Harry Potter magic, the mathematics of jump roping, the physics of superheroes, the chemistry of Thanksgiving Dinner, the engineering of baseball bats and balls, the science behind special effects in movies, trends in Global Warming, renewable energy sources of the future, and much, much, much more.
Go Terps! Where: University of Maryland When: Saturday 10am – 6pm Admission: Free
This celebration in College Park gets a big thumbs-up from me, and not just because it’s my alma mater. Maryland Day is a fantastic event for families, and I know from experience. The University is hosting a huge open house for, well, everybody. “Explore Our World” is the theme of the annual fair, and guests will be able to do that and then some. There will be loads of activities for kids, including learning games; caricature drawings; arts & crafts; farm animal visits; puppet shows; insect and instrument petting zoos; and much more. It’s spread out all over campus, and it’s a big campus. Be prepared for lots of walking – worth every step – and be sure to bring a stroller for little ones.
Glen Echo Family Day Where: Glen Echo Park When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm, Admission: Free
Celebrate the seasonal opening of the park’s beautiful Dentzel Carousel. Along with rides on the merry-go-round ($1.25/ride), guests of all ages can enjoy all kinds of activities. Magic shows, dance performances, arts & crafts, face painting, photo exhibits, and balloon animals are just some of the festivities. The full schedule of events is available of the Glen Echo website.
Open House on the Farm Where: Great Country Farms When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm Admission: $8/child, $10/adult, free for CSA and fan members
Who’s your farmer? You can get to know one at Great Country Farms’ Open House on Saturday! Guests will have the opportunity to talk with Farmer Mark – he’ll be there from 11am – 1pm to discuss his bountiful harvest and passion for growing fruits and vegetables. Viitors can also sample farm products and enjoy the five-acre children’s play area, including giant jumping pillow, slides, rope swings, and more farm fun.
Georgetown French Market Where: Wisconsin Avenue NW, between P St. & Reservoir Rd. When: Friday & Saturday, 10am – 5pm Admission: Free
The Georgetown French Market returns for its 9th year. Book Hill’s signature European open air market will feature nearly 40 Georgetown boutiques, antique shops, restaurants and galleries, art and antique home furnishings. But it’s not all about the shopping; kids will enjoy the strolling mimes, children’s activities, live music, and French cuisine from Georgetown cafes and restaurants. Visit the website to download a schedule of events and list of participating shops.
JAM-min’ Family Day Where: American Art Museum When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3pm Admission: Free
American Art celebrates Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM)! Baltimore Jazz Alliance’s Jazz for Kids band presents an introduction to jazz music, with a family-friendly mini-concert that invites audience participation. Children can also visit a “petting zoo” of musical instruments, where they try out some or all the band’s instruments — drums, flute, saxophone, clarinet, recorder, bass, violin, guitar, trumpet, and trombone. There will also be sheet music origami, Jazz Nickname Name Tags, and face painters to jazz up the afternoon.
Letter Writing Social Where: National Postal Museum When: Saturday, 12-3pm Admission: Free
Remember when people wrote each other letters on paper? At this workshop, guests can amaze a friend by sending an artfully handwritten, paper-based message instead of the usual tweet or text. (They might just write back!) One-of-a-kind stationery, unique postcards, pretty paper, ink stamps, retro airmail labels, cancelled stamps, a somewhat functional typewriter, and mailable supplies are provided in this veritable letter-writing lounge. Postage stamps will be available for purchase in the museum’s Stamp Store.
Taste of Vienna Where: Vienna Volunteer Fire Dept. Grounds When: Saturday, 11am – 8pm Admission: Free
The Vienna Volunteer Fire Department (VVFD) is hosting the 1st Annual Taste of Vienna, showcasing the many excellent restaurants that the Vienna area has to offer. The VVFD parking lot will be lined with many local favorites, and the event is expected to draw large crowds of area diners. While admission is free, guests will be able to purchase restaurant food and beverages to sample. The event will go on rain or shine.
South Mountain Creamery Spring Festival Where: South Mountain Creamery When: Saturday10am – 5pm, Sunday 11am – 5pm Admission: Free
Take a ride out to the country and experience farm fresh hospitality at South Mountain Creamery’s annual festival. Both kids and adults will enjoy an inside look at where their food originates. There will also be lots of farm fun for all ages — go on a hayride, feed a calf, make some butter, sample SMC products, listen to Bluegrass, and more. BBQ, ice cream, drinks, and other concessions will be available for purchase.
On Stages Where:Theaters throughout the area When: All weekend long Admission: Varies by venue Five Little Monkeys opens at Adventure Theatre today. We caught a preview performance last night, and 6-year-old Owen thought it was great. (My review to come soon.) The Puppet Co. presents both Tiny Tots and Pinocchio this weekend. The free Saturday Morning at the National, presented by Bright Star Theatre, focuses on notable women. The Maryland Youth Ballet is dancing a special children’s performance of Caroline Goes to the Seashore. Imagination Stage presents four performances of Rapunzel this weekend. And Barry Louis Polisar, renowned children’s musician, will play at 1st Stage Theater in Tyson’s Corner on Saturday.
Park It Where: All National Parks When: Through the weekend Admission: FREE
It’s National Park Week through this Sunday, and entrance to over 100 parks that usually charge admission is free. If weather permits, take advantage and hit the trails at a local park or even one a bit further away. For suggestions on good hikes with kids, see this post about tramping with little ones.