We always look forward to the National Book Festival, but we’ve been particularly excited this year. Not only would Owen be attending for the first time as a full-fledged reader, but the author of his favorite book series was going to be there. Yes, the Mary Pope Osborne, creator of the wildly popular Magic Treehouse books, would be among the many celebrated authors at the Festival presenting and talking about their craft.
The best part: We had the wonderful opportunity to meet her and do a little interview. And since Owen has become a big Magic Treehouse enthusiast, he got to do the asking. (Though I have become a fan myself, my starstruck-ness revealing itself in utterances of “wow!”, “neat!”, and “cool!” during the video.) The clip is a little hard to hear because it was loud at the festival, so turn up the volume (it’s completely SFW). View it here!
A pretty good first interview for a six-year-old, in my totally biased opinion. And what a thrill to speak with Osborne and hear her present later on. As she addressed the huge crowd in the Children’s Pavilion, she connected her latest book, “A Perfect Time for Pandas” to the birth of the panda cub at the National Zoo, stressed the importance of reading, and took an informal poll of what her next book should be about: Catherine the Great, World Cup soccer, hippos, or Mayans (if it were up to Owen, we’d be getting a story about Pele, but we’ll be interested to see how that pans out).
In between Osborne encounters, the kids enjoyed activities in the PBS Kids and Let’s Read America Pavilions, including a reading of “The Wonderful Book” by the Wells Fargo Stagecoach.
Best seat in the house for storytime!
To add to the delights of the day, we also caught the end of Jewel’s presentation — she just published her first children’s book — and got to hear her yodel. (Yes, yodel!) Have a listen – it was fantastic.
Festivals dominate this weekend round-up. They celebrate everything from books to play time to autumn to neighborhood communities to medieval times. And to fill the time between all the festival-hopping, there are theatre performances, museum events, even a parade for playgrounds. Of course, all of it is chock full of fun for the whole family. Happy Weekend!
Worldwide Day of Play – It’s playtime, big time, at The Ellipse on Saturday as Nickelodeon celebrates the largest-ever Worldwide Day of Play, its annual event to encourage kids to turn off the TV and get outside. The star-studded event will include appearances by some of the network’s biggest names – Dora the Explorer, Big TIme Rush, the Fresh Beat Band, and SpongeBob SquarePants just to name a few. Plus, more than 50 organizations have partnered with Nickelodeon to set up activities that get kids moving like batting contests and clinics with MLB and Boys & Girls Club of America, soccer drills with MLS, and tennis workshops by USTA. This all takes pace from 10am – 4pm and is free to the public.
National Book Festival – One of the biggest annual events to take place in Washington, DC, is this weekend: The 2011 National Book Festival. Organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress, the Festival regularly attracts over 100,000 visitors to the National Mall for a celebration of books and reading. More than 100 authors, poets, and illustrators from every literary genre will be presenting and doings readings and signings. And for the first time in its 11 years, the Festival will take place over two days, on Saturday from 10am – 5:30pm and Sunday from 1 – 5:30pm. The free event is open to the public. See this post for more details.
Celebrate Fall – Ring in the new season at a festival this weekend. From pumpkin patches and apple picking to corn mazes and hayrides to giant slides and jumping pillows, there are activities galore to help folks embrace the autumn spirit. This post has details on a bunch of fall festivals in the area.
Museums for Free – Yes, there are some area museums that actually do charge admission. But on Saturday, Smithsonian Magazine is hosting it’s annual Museum Day, when those that require us to open our wallets, are free. A few that will be especially appealing to kids: President Lincoln’s Cottage, the B&O Railroad Museum, the Alexandria Archaeology Museum, and the College Park Aviation Museum. For more about the program, including how to get tickets, see this post from a few days ago.
The Play’s the Thing – Two new productions are opening at local theatres this weekend — Lilly’s Plastic Purse debuts at Adventure Theatre and Alladin’s Luck will take the Imagination Stage. Catch Lilly this evening at 7pm, or Saturday and Sunday at 11am and 2pm; tickets are $17. Performances of Alladin are at 10:30am today, 1pm on Saturday, and 1pm & 4pm on Sunday; tickets range from $10-22. And for more live entertainment in the area, check out this post about shows to catch this season.
Funville – Washington Parent Magazine is hosting this parenting fair at White Flint Mall from 10am – 4pm on Saturday. Guests can enjoy live performances, hands-on activities, giveaways, contests, plus demonstrations and interactive stations focusing on education, health, the arts, parties, and more.
Barracks Row Festival – Showcasing the marine barracks and commerce on 8th Street SE in Capitol Hill, this annual festival includes fun for all ages. There will be tours of the historic barracks and Home of Commandments, live entertainment, Trapeze School aerialists on silks posing on “silks” overhead, a petting zoo, food and art vendors, and tons of fun for kids (clowns, magicians, face painting, and more). And chef from all branches of the military will be back again for a cook-off to see who will be the Top Military Chef. The day will end with the United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon performing their unforgettable rifle and marching routines. This will all take place from 11am – 5pm. No admission fee.
Harvest Happenings – Join the McClean Community Center on Saturday from 11am – 2pm for a fun and exciting day for the whole family. The indoor/outdoor festival will include kids’ activities, live entertainment, fun snacks, games, and more. All activities, geared toward 3-8-year-olds, are included in the $5 entrance fee (free for children 2 and under). Food concessions will also be available.
Parade for Playgrounds – On Saturday join parents, children and community members in a walk down 7th Street NW to the National Mall to advocate for a safe play space in downtown D.C. Organized by Downtown DC Kids, the group meets at 10:30am at Calvary Baptist Church (755 8th Street NW), and the parade begins at 11am, heading over to 7th Street then making its way to the Children’s Pavilion and Storytelling Stage at the National Book Festival on the Mall. They will be giving out T-shirts and asking folks to sign a petition in support of their efforts to bring a playground to downtown. Visit their website for more information about the parade and the cause.
National Geographic Little Explorers – National Geographic and Pottery Barn Kids are joining forces to bring science to little ones through the Little Explorers series. This Saturday at 10am, PB Kids stores across the country invite children ages 3 and up to learn about lions, tigers, and other big cats through hands-on activities, songs, and more. Locally, this will take place at the Tyson’s Corner store, but you can search for others hosting the event on the website. This is a free event.
Chalk4Peace Family Festival – Join the American Art Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, and your friends outside on the F Street sidewalk for a day of chalk art and interactive fun. Make your mark and take your picture with a site-specific work in chalk by artist Michael Kirby and his team from Murals of Baltimore. This free event is happening from 11:30am – 3pm on Saturday.
SW ArtsFest – From Friday through Sunday, DC’s smallest quadrant will hold its first annual SW ArtsFest. SW ArtsFest 2011 will bring together ten different organizations to present a cross-section of Southwest’s cultural community through a three-day festival with the theme “Discover Southwest.” The collaboration will include the (e)merge art fair and the Marcātus Creative Art Market, performances and children’s activities at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, the 10th Annual DC Jazz Preservation Festival, the Human Rights Film Festival, an outdoor art studio for children, and much more. Merriment in Maryland – Take a day trip back to medieval times at the annual Maryland Renaissance Festival. The faire runs every weekend through October 24 and offers plenty for everyone in the family to enjoy. Read more about it here.
Awesome Airmail – Airmail is turning 100, and the public is invited to celebrate at the National Postal Museum on Saturday from 11am – 3pm. Join the staff beneath a 1911 plane that carried airmail and discover its fascinating story, and enjoy hands-on activities, tours, and more.
Bramble10 – Brambleton, the planned community in Ashburn, VA, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary with a weekend of family-friendly events. On Friday evening and all day Saturday, Brambleton Town Center will be the sight of live music, kids’ entertainment, comedy performances, a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, food vendors, balloon artists, fireworks and more. Admission is $5/person or $20/family. On Saturday a $10 entry and ride wristband is also available.
Every now and then a mom needs a weekend away with her girlfriends to hang out, catch up, shop, relax, dine, sip cocktails, and all the good grown-up stuff that’s difficult to do with the little ones in tow. I am about to embark on one of those weekends. And if I weren’t so @&*$#!% excited about my trip, I would be a kind of sad about missing some of the fantastic events that are happening around town this weekend.
For those who will be here and are looking for fun things to do with the kiddos, here’s what’s going on over the next few days.
National Book Festival
Okay, I am actually pretty bummed to miss this. Not only is it going to be a wonderful event for kids with many well-known children’s book authors doing readings and meeting young fans, some of my favorite writers will also be on hand giving talks and signing their works. The National Book Festival is free and will take place this Saturday, September 25, on the National Mall from 10am – 5:30pm. Check out this post from a few weeks back for more details.
Despite the warm weather, autumn has officially begun, and there are plenty of festivals happening to welcome the new season. The Barracks Row Fall Festival on Capitol Hill is on Saturday, and several area farms are hosting their annual celebrations with pumpkin and apple picking, hayrides, slides, swings, petting zoos, and more. Festivities are already underway at Cox and Ticonderoga Farms, and since it’s early in the season, the crowds are probably tolerable. For the full scoop on fall festivals, see this post from last week.
Happy Birthday, Rock Creek Park!
Washington’s urban oasis is turning 120 years old on Saturday, September 25, and the park is celebrating with a day full of fun activities for the family. Enjoy puppet shows, nature tours, animal encounters, crafts, planetarium shows, and more — all for free! Activities for all ages will be held at the Nature Center and Horse Center at 5200 Glover Road NW and in other locations throughout the park. Visit the National Park Service website for more information.
100 Years of Natural History
The National Museum of Natural History is also celebrating a birthday this weekend, and it’s a big one. NMNH was founded one hundred years ago and will be marking the occasion with a Centennial Celebration on Saturday, September 25. From 11am – 4pm, guests can talk to science experts, touch real fossils, create a souvenir using recycled materials, share ideas for the next 100 years, and more fun family activities. The event is free and takes place throughout the museum. Combine this with a visit to the National Book Festival, and you’ve got a well-rounded day of science and literature.
Head to the area around the Clarendon Metro station for an event that brings the local community together. Over 50 vendors, food from neighborhood restaurants, music on two stages, fitness classes, and kids activities will be part of the action. Clarendon Day is being held in conjunction with Virginia Hospital Center’s Family Fun Day, where you can enjoy performances, kids’ activities, free health screenings, seated massage, visits from local sports mascots, and more.
The National Geographic Museum will debut its new exhibit “Geckos: Tails to Toepads” on Friday, Septmber 24. Over 15 gecko species and cool interactives will thrill young reptilian fans. The exhibit runs through January 5. More info and admission details are available here.
Under the Big Top
The National Children’s Museum Launch Zone invites kids to see what it takes to be a circus performer at Under the Big Top on Saturday, September 25. Tightrope walking, plate spinning, face painting, and juggling will be part of the fun.
Maryland Renaissance Festival
Just a reminder that medieval merriment is still underway every weekend through October 24 in Crownesville, MD. Admission to the festival is $18/adult, $8/children 7 and older, free for children 6 and under. Open Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 7pm. Read about the festival here.