The 2014 Library of Congress National Book Festival

natl_book_fest

This one snuck up on me, as it usually happens in late September and most years has taken place on the National Mall. But no matter where or when the annual Library of Congress National Book Festival occurs, it’s an event worth clearing time for in your weekend schedule.

That time would be this Saturday, August 30, from 10am – 10pm. For the first year ever, the Festival will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. It will be run much like it has been for the last 13 years with various pavilions highlighting the works of over 100 authors, illustrators, and poets.

Book enthusiasts, young and old, come from all over for a day of reading-related activities. Pavilions categorized by genre — Children, Teens, Picture Books, Contemporary Life, Culinary Arts, Fiction & Mystery, History & Biography, Poetry & Prose, Science and Special Programs — host presentations, book signings, photo ops with writers (and costumed PBS characters), and more exciting experiences for guests.

The Pavilion of the States salutes the literary traditions of all 50 states plus the territories the Library of Congress Pavilion provides an inside look into the workings of the world’s largest library, and a Book Sales Pavilion gives guests an opportunity to purchase selected reads — and possibly have them signed by the authors. The Let’s Read America Pavilion offers lots of activities for children and families to enjoy, including story time, live entertainment, and arts & crafts. New this year is an International pavilion featuring artists from around the world as well as evening hours, when special programs will occur.

If your children love books, chances are an author of one of their favorite stories will be there (Andrea Beaty, author of the much loved Iggy Peck Architect and Rosie Revere Engineer is among the presenters!). And there’s bound to be a writer — or many — that parents will be excited about, too. Have a look for yourself and start planning your Festival experience!

The National Book Festival will be held at the Washington Convention Center on Saturday, August 30, from 10am to 10pm. Admission is free.


Leave a Comment

Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Library of Congress, Live Entertainment, Summer, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: August 25-29

A peaceful moment at the National Arboretum

A peaceful moment at the National Arboretum



Monday - Visit the National Arboretum on one of the two weekdays it’s open to the public (it’s closed Tuesday – Thursday). Tour the plant collections, visit the Washington Youth Garden and play in the natural playground, romp at the old Capitol columns, see the details of the bonzais. There are acres upon acres to explore! Hours are 8am – 5pm, and admission is free.

Tuesday - Play in the sprays at Canal Park. The recreational space in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood has both a gentle, shallow fountain that is perfect for really little ones, plus a bigger one for more enthusiastic play where the ice rink is in the winter. Admission is free. Grab a bite to eat at the Park Tavern on premises at another nearby eatery (there are options right across the street and food trucks often in the area), or pack lunch for a picnic.

Wednesday - See a show especially for little ones at The Puppet Co. Mother Goose Caboose is this week’s Tiny Tots, where the lights stay on and doors stay open during performances for the youngest audiences. Showtime is 10am. Tickets are $5 for everyone, including babies. Plan to hang out at Glen Echo Park for some fun on the playground afterwards.

Thursday - Go play at Clemyjontri, the brilliantly colored, sprawling playground in McLean that accommodates kids of all abilities. Hours are 7am to dusk, and admission is free.

Friday - Get creative at a National Portrait Gallery Open Studio Friday session. All ages are welcome to explore a different art medium each week with all kinds of fun projects. Drop in anytime from 1-4pm. Admission is free.


Leave a Comment

Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Play, Seasonal, Summer, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays

The Weekend Round-Up: August 22-24

Scaling a castle wall is a possibility this weekend

Scaling a castle wall is a possibility this weekend





The old “time flies when you’re having fun” adage has been confirmed by this summer break. It seems like yesterday the kids gleefully left school, ready for camp and seasonal adventures. But here we are, two fun-filled months later, in the last weekend before they head back to class again. Good timing, though, because there are plenty of ways to get in a good last hurrah (or, in one case, huzzah!) of the summer. Happy Weekend!

Huzzah for Ren Fest!
Where: Revel Grove in Crownsville, Md
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 7pm
Admission: $17/adults, $15/seniors, free for 11 and under

The best — or my very favorite, anyway — annual event of the area begins this weekend! The Maryland Renaissance Festival is a fantastic day trip back to medieval times that appeals to all ages and sensibilities. Enjoy jousting matches, kids shows, cheeky comedy, tight rope walkers, jugglers, puppetry, Celtic music… and that’s just some of the live entertainment. There are also pony rides, a pirate playground, a giant slide, and all kinds of fun, fascinating things to see. Walk among knights, maidens, pirates, and villagers in puffy shirts in a 16th-century village as you chomp on turkey legs and down cups of mead. The Faire runs every weekend through October 17, and this weekend kids ages 11 and under get in for FREE. Huzzah!

Happy 1st Birthday, Bao Bao!
Where: National Zoo
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

It was a year ago this time that we were all glued to our screens as the Zoo’s webcam followed the new baby panda’s every move. To mark the milestone, Bao Bao and Mei Xiang will receive a specially made frozen cake at 11:30am, and keepers will give panda talks at 11am and 1:30pm. And guests can enjoy complimentary dandan (dahn-dahn) noodles (a cold dish from Sichuan province where the China Conservation and Research Center in Wolong is located) on a first-come first-served basis. Bearitos® healthy snacks, and its signature mascot, Louie, are also helping fellow bear, Bao Bao, celebrate her first birthday party. Join them at the National Zoo on Saturday at the entrance to the Asia Trail as they ring in Bao Bao’s new year. The Bearitos Bear Den will offer fun games, giveaways and, of course, Bearitos samples for the whole family.

DCPS Beautification Day
Where: DC Public Schools
When: Saturday, 9am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Help local schools get ready for the new year as DCPS holds its 10th annual Beautification Day on Saturday. DCPS needs volunteers for a variety of projects to help clean up and spruce up schools in preparation for the first day of school. Activities will include gardening and landscaping, organizing books and libraries, painting, flower planting and more. Volunteers are needed at nearly 100 schools city-wide. This is a great opportunity to contribute to neighborhood schools. For more info, to volunteer, or donate supplies, go here.

Logan Chugs into Town
Where: Barston’s Child’s Play
When: Saturday, 2pm
Admission: Free

All Aboard! Barstons Child’s Play in DC is celebrating the arrival of Thomas & Friends’ newest engine, Logan, with a special family friendly welcome bash. The newest engine to Sodor is a limited-release being introduced to the Thomas crew. Little engineers are invited to test out the all new Thomas Wooden Railway track sets in person as well as participate in family-fun Thomas-themed activities. Each attending family will also be entered for the chance to win some great Thomas & Friends prizes. Barston’s is located at at 5536 Connecticut Ave. NW.

Nats vs. Giants
Where: Nationals Park
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Ticket prices vary

It’s a weekend of home games for the Nats as they host the San Francisco Giants. There are games tonight at 7:05pm, Saturday at 4:05pm, and Sunday at 1:35pm. Take advantage of the Harris Teeter Family Fun Pack and Kids Run the Bases invites young fans ages 4-12 to do just that after Sunday’s game.

Summer Fun
Where: Throughout the area
When: All weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

There’s not much time left to enjoy some of the best activities of the season. Outdoor pools and spraygrounds, music and movies in the open air, mini golf and carousels rides at local parks and museums, or a good ol’ crab feast. The Summer 2014 guide has all the inspiration you need to eke out the most of the summer wind-down.

Show Time
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

* Children’s musician Brady Rymer is playing the Saturday morning show at Jammin’ Java
* The Puppet Co. presents Little Red Riding Hood & the 3 Little Pigs on the Main Stage
* Clowning Around and Bunny Business are the The Puppet Co.’s featured Tiny Tots shows
* Be wowed by Cirque de Soleil’s Amaluna at National Harbor
* Synetic Theatre’s Miraculous Magic Ballon is this week’s free Saturday Morning at the National performance
* Catch a colorful show as Pinkalicious is performed at Adventure Theatre

Canstruction
Where: National Building Museum
When: Through September 5
Admission: Free

This design/build competition features amazing structures made entirely of canned goods by local architecture and construction teams, benefitting the Capital Area Food Bank. This year, teams build off of the theme “play with your food.” See entries on display in the Great Hall starting Saturday through September 5. (De-Canstruction takes place on September 6 as the teams disassemble their entries to donate the canned food used in their projects.)

Sing-a-long Sound of Music
Where: Wolf Trap
When: Saturday, 7:30
Admission: $25-38

A few of your favorite things are back! Quickly becoming a Wolf Trap tradition, this Oscar-winning movie will be shown on HUGE screens in-house and on the lawn, accompanied by an audience sing-a-long. Be sure to dress in your Sound of Music best – the sing-a-long is paired with an unforgettable costume contest.

BlackRock Open House
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts
When: Saturday, 10am -1pm
Admission: Free

Help BlackRock Center kick off its 2013-14 season at an Open House on Saturday. Join them for a complimentary day of fun and activities for the whole family and get a taste of all that BlackRock offers, from sample classes in dance, music, theater, and art to exciting performances and exhibits in their gallery. There will also be a “Discover BlackRock” Scavenger Hunt; opportunities to try ballet, piano, printmaking, painting and more; tours of the center; arts and crafts activities; performances by Rolie Polie Guacamole; and a cupcake toast to welcome the season.

Battle of Bladensburg Commemoration
Where: Bladensburg Waterfront Park
When: Saturday, 11am – 9pm
Admission: Free

Festivities will start with a dedication of the new monument, followed by a Grand Procession into Bladensburg Waterfront Park, then conclude with a thrilling battle re-enactment! Throughout the day enjoy the activities from trade demonstrations to boat rides to live entertainment – fun for kids and adults alike!

Wags n’ Whiskers
Where: Village at Shirlington
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

This animal-centric event a community-oriented event for animal loving shoppers of all ages to spend an afternoon at The Village at Shirlington with their pet. The event will feature demonstrations, exhibitions, pet portrait photos, children’s activities, live music, and more along with Village at Shirlington merchant specials and free giveaways.

Dragon Boat Regatta
Where: Southwest Waterfront
When: Saturday, 8am – 5pm
Admission: Free

The 3rd annual National Harbor Dragon Boat Regatta takes place on Saturday. This family-friendly event will feature the best premier and local dragon boat teams from along the east coast racing in multiple distances over the course of the day. The event is free to the public to watch and will highlight this wonderful example of Asian culture.

Meet the Peeps
Where: Pasture Raised Eggs Farm
When: Saturday, 12-5pm
Admission: Free

Fluffy baby peeps will be making their debut at Pasture Raised Eggs’ farm in Purceville. These balls of fluff on toothpick salmon colored legs will fearlessly explore their environment (and you) looking for food, water and shelter. You are invited to come stop the farm to meet the peeps, feed the laying hens treats, and see if you can spot all 300 trout in the pond. At noon a Q&A session will answer visitors’ questions.

Ice Cream at George’s Place
Where: Mount Vernon Estate
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Admission: $17/adults, $8/ages 6-11, free for 5 and under

Get a glimpse of culinary life in the 18th century through ice cream making demos every Saturday in August at Mount Vernon. Visitors can watch as costumed staff make one of George Washington’s favorite desserts using reproduction period equipment to emulate ice cream-making process of the olden times.

Big Fun at the Big Maze
Where: National Building Museum
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $10/adult, $5/age 3-11 members; $16/adult, $13/age 3-11 non-members

You have just over a week left to experience this super cool installation at one of our favorite museums. It looms up to 18 feet high in the Great Hall and measures 60 feet by 60 feet. Within there are twists and turns and dead ends, all formed by finely constructed walls of maple plywood at varying heights. Navigating it is a blast, especially for the kids, and viewed from upper levels, it’s like a work of art. Read more about it and get a glimpse here.

The Lego Movie en Español
Where: Mosaic District
When: Sunday, 5pm
Admission: Free

Language Stars, the national leader in early childhood foreign language, will host the first annual Language Stars Family Foreign Language Film Festival this Sunday to expose children and their families to movies in other languages. The debut film, The LEGO® Movie, will be played in Spanish with English subtitles. Based on the LEGO line of construction toys, the film tells the story of an ordinary LEGO construction worker who is prophesised to save the LEGO universe from an evil tyrant bent on gluing it into eternal stasis.

Drum Circle
Where: Meridian Hill Park, upper pavilion
When: Sunday, 3:30-6:30pm
Admission: Free

This weekly drumming circle doubles as a veritable amusement park for kids and is filled with good sights, plus picnicking, for everyone. This summer there’s been hammocks and tightropes, hula hooping and soccer pick-up, practitioners of ‘aerial yoga’ doing their thing, and more. Plus this coming Sunday you can find Moms Clean Air Force, an organization that fights climate change with mom-power, there too — with a big earth parachute for the kids. MCAF’s DC Field Organizer will be happy to chat with moms and dads about how to get involved in the organization. Look for the red balloons. Can’t make it? Attend another MCAF social around town. RSVPs appreciated to jhantman@momscleanairforce.org.

The Great Indoors
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

It appears there may be a disruption in the streak of sublime weekends we’ve been having (ie, rain in the forecast), so keep the list of indoor activities handy. It’s stacked with ideas for ongoing pursuits that will keep you sheltered from the elements.


Leave a Comment

Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, DC, DC Public Schools, DC Volunteer Opportunities, DCPS Beautification Day, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, School Event, Seasonal, Summer, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

Where in DC?

whereindc_22

Do you know where this photo was shot? If you think you do, then enter to win this latest Where in DC? photo contest!

Just leave a comment below naming the location — be as specific as possible — and those of you who answer correctly will be included in a drawing to win FOUR of these Certifikid deals for a One-Hour Kayak or Paddleboard Rental.

This contest will run through tomorrow, and a winner will be picked this weekend, so get your guesses in soon. Good luck!


19 Comments

Filed under Contest, Giveaway

Merriment is Coming

The Sashbuckler is ready!

The Sashbuckler is ready!



You guys. It’s time.

Those who have been reading KFDC for awhile likely know what I’m talking about. But if you’re fairly new here, you’re about to learn about my most absolute hands-down favorite-because-it-truly-is-the-best area event of the year: The Maryland Renaissance Festival.

renfest_owen

This fantastic time trip to the 16th-century returns annually in late summer and early fall to its delightful hamlet in Crownsville, Md, called Revel Grove. Yes, this faire is so wonderful and clever, it has its own English Tudor village just for its two-month run every year. It sprawls gloriously through 25 acres of woods with several stages, a jousting ring, cute little shops and food stands, open air taverns, fountains, play structures, and other fun and charming features.

Did you know jousting is Maryland's state sport?

Did you know jousting is Maryland's state sport?

Band of merry boys catching a show

Band of merry boys catching a show

But it’s what happens when Ren Fest is in season that makes Revel Grove so magical. It fills up with all kinds of amusement for all ages. The live entertainment alone includes exciting jousting matches, cheeky comedy shows, fire eaters, sword swallowers, tight rope walkers and other balancing acts, jugglers, musical performances, puppetry, even a flea circus.

Keep on rockin' in the medieval world

Keep on rockin’ in the medieval world

As funny as he is thrilling

As funny as he is thrilling

There are also roaming performers who might provide one of the best laughs you have all year, you know the kind where you laugh so hard you end up sobbing from the sheer pain of guffawing so uncontrollably (this might have actually happened last year). There is a fun wooden slide to whiz down, a pirate playground for kids, castle walls to scale, a twisting maze to navigate, grub and mead, pony rides, glass blowing demos, hair braiding, a massage tent, a reptile exhibit, and, if you can believe it, even more!

"Hi, Jo!"

“Hi, Jo!”

Faire fare

Faire fare

You can walk around with a giant turkey leg and a nice, cold cup of cider (the grown-up kind) while the kids delight in giant bubbles, spontaneous outbursts of song, and Renfesters dressed to the medieval nines. It’s pure fanciful entertainment in every direction.

The Game of Thrones set is thata way

The Game of Thrones set is thata way

Now you know where to get your dragon stuff

Now you know where to get your dragon stuff

I realize there are skeptics, those who think one event couldn’t possibly be so awesome in so many ways for so many people. I knew some those people. And I use past tense not because they are no longer my friends for being Ren Fest nonbelievers; I say that because they have been converted (you know who you are and you are welcome) and accept Ren Fest as their recreation nirvana. And so will you.

So many fun shows, and audience participation is encouraged

So many fun shows, and audience participation is encouraged

renfest_sashbaby

So, this year’s logistics: The 2014 Maryland Renaissance Festival begins this Saturday, August 23, and will run every weekend through October 19. Hours are 10am – 7pm. Admission is $17/adults, $15/seniors, $8/ages 7-15, free for 6 and under through September 14. After that, tickets go up to $22/adults, $19/seniors, $10/ages 7-15, still free for 6 and under. Multi-day passes that offer a discount are also available.

There are special events to take note of as well:
* August 23-24 is Children’s Weekend – free admission for ages 11 and under
* September 1 – free admission for seniors 62 and over
* September 6-7 is Pirate Weekend – dress in your pirate best!
* September 20-21 is a Scottish Celebration
* October 4-5 is Romance Weekend – a vowel renewal ceremony is open to all couples!
* October 12 is ASL interpretation day
* October 18-19 is a jousting competition

If you need a little more convincing or just want to see some photos of our experiences at Ren Fests past, go here, here, here, and here. Otherwise, just go to Ren Fest.

Huzzah!


3 Comments

Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Festival, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Outdoor, Seasonal, Summer, Theatre, Weekend