Say farewell to summer and welcome fall with an amazing selection of possibilities for family fun. Seriously, this weekend is jam-packed with ubercool things to do. Happy Weekend!
The Big Build
Where: National Building Museum
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Any kid (or adult, for that matter) with an interest in building and construction will dig the National Building Museum’s big annual event celebrating all things, well, building. The Great Hall will be full of different stations where guests of all ages aren’t just welcome, but encouraged, to try their hands at all kinds of construction and design techniques. There will opportunities to build a brick wall, explore construction vehicles, carve stone, build a log cabin, imagine a sculpture of plumbing pipes, create a hardware wind chime, and so much more. And it’s all totally free!
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $6/adult, free for ages 11 and under
Head out to Solomons, MD, for an art-filled experience at a magical place! The 22nd Annual ArtsFest is a family fun weekend of fine art shopping, children’s activities, live music, delicious food & drink, wine & beer, and more – all set amidst the lovely trees and artwork of Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center. Browse and shop more than 160 artist booths throughout gardens and in the arts building. Enjoy entertainment from more than 25 musicians — jazz, rock, folk, blues, and country – and strolling performers. Kids will love activities in the Discovery Tent and Zany Zone, plus creative free-play in the gorgeous Fairy Lolly, the Studio School, and the Children’s Garden. There’s something for everyone at this anniversary celebration of the visual, performing, and creative arts. For more about Annmarie Sculpture Garden, see this KFDC post.
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale
As summer officially comes to a close, you can celebrate the new season and then some at one of many festivals happening this weekend, from city streets to country farms. The popular H Street Festival is on Saturday (see below), Ren Fest gets medieval every weekend through October, and more farms are opening to welcome visitors for all kinds of autumn-inspired fun. Get details on all of them in this guide to fall festivals around area.
Up in the Air
Where: Andrews Air Force Base
When: Saturday, 9am – 3pm
See thrilling action in the sky and on the ground at the 2015 Joint Service Open House and Air Show. Thunderbirds, Trojan Horsemen, the F-22 Demo Team, and the Jelly Belly plane are among the featured performers — a full schedule and more info is available on the Air Show website. Unauthorized vehicles are not permitted on Andrews Air Force Base, but shuttle buses from the FedEx Field parking lot and Branch Avenue Metro will provide free transportation.
Colonial Market Fair
Where: Mount Vernon
When: Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $17/adult, $9/child, free for ages 5 and under
At George Washington’s old digs, 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.
J.A.M 5th Element
Where: Joe’s Movement Emporium
When: Friday & Saturday, 8pm
Admission: $20/online, $25/at door
Watch a showcase of Washington-area performers celebrate the two-year anniversary of J.A.M Revuw, an exciting song and dance revue in DC. This year they’ll pay tribute to some of the hottest songs from across the years that are “J.A.M.med” into one show-stopping production.
Gimme an H!
Where: H Street NE
The annual festival on northeast DC’s thriving corridor is always a big one. If you don’t mind crowds, there is a lot to see and do. The event features loads of live entertainment, including a kids stage; 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. This year, check out “Mobilizing the Community,” a fantastic art installation of 50 mobiles being unveiled at 12:30pm the Atlas Performing Arts Center (which many local elementary school classes contributed to, including Owen’s). I recommend taking public transportation there, as parking is guaranteed to be difficult.
Where: Koshland Science Museum
When: Saturday,11am – 4pm
It’s game on at the Koshland Science Museum! Bring the whole family for a free community event highlighting local games and their developers. Play STEM/ STEAM-themed games like Brain Garden, Immune Defense, and That Rock Paper Scissor Game; hear talks from the people who created them; and win prizes.
Teddy Bear Clinic
Where: National Museum of Health & Medicine
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Children can bring their favorite stuffed friends and explore the Teddy Bear Clinic at the National Museum of Health and Medicine with activities and crafts designed to highlight the body, physical fitness and healthy habits. Recommended for children in PreK – 2nd grade, this family program is free and open to the public. For more about the museum, see this past KFDC post.
Dulles Plane Pull
Where: Dulles Airport
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Airplane tug o’ war, anyone? This annual event is Special Olympics Virginia’s “heaviest” fundraiser, pitting teams of 25 against one another to see who can pull a 164,000+ pound Airbus 12 feet the fastest. And the public is invited to watch it all go down. Along with the tug o’ airplane, there will be live music, a car show, military and civilian aircraft displays, business exhibits, and children’s games and entertainment. Gates open at 10:30am. Go here for directions and parking information.
Dragons, Tacos and Crafts – Oh My!
Where: Room and Board
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Bring your family for a morning of fun inspired by the bestselling children’s book, Dragons Love Tacos. Kids of all ages will love the live storytelling and dragon-and-taco-themed crafts and activities. Come hungry and enjoy the Taqueria Nacional taco bar and discover how to create an imaginative space for children using American-made furnishings. Readings will be at 10:30am & 11:30am. RSVP here.
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue
* See Caps for Sale, the world premiere musical at Adventure Theatre (look for a ticket deal)
* Let little ones discover their inner superhero at the InterAct Story Theatre’s The Hero of EVERYTHING
* City Kids Theatre is debuting The Story Thief and the Princess of Dreams in Georgetown
* Catch a classic story on strings as The Puppet Co. present The Velveteen Rabbit
* And really little ones can enjoy a Tiny Tots Sing-a-long at the Glen Echo venue
* Head to the U.S. Botanic Garden for The Cerulean Time Capsule, an interactive theatrical adventure
* Micheal Shwedick – Reptile World is this week’s Saturday Morning at the National show
* Join a Baby Loves Disco dance part at Jammin’ Java on Saturday
Nats vs. Marlins
Where: Nationals Park
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Ticket prices vary
The Nats are hosting the Florida Marlins as they wind down the season. Catch an evening game on Friday or afternoon games on Saturday and Sunday. And be sure to check out this post on how to do a Nats game without breaking the bank.
Colonial Spinning & Dyeing
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Help the Claude Moore Colonial Farm family card, spin, and dye wool for knitting. Learn the differences between wool processing and flax from the working farm staff in character and costume. This fun and educational event is great for families and small groups.
King Street Art Festival
Where: Old Town Alexandria
When: Saturday, 12-5pm
The 13th Annual King Street Art Festival on Saturday, September 19, continues across Union Street with live music, special programming, and more than 100 artists’ work available for purchase at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. See work being created in the makerspace, follow the trail of bubbles and spot the Torpedo Bike riding along the waterfront, dance along with the Flashback party band, and more. Also, the annual Ice Cream Bowl will be back. Purchase one of 1,000+ hand-made bowls created by the talented and prolific artists of The Art League’s Ceramics Department and enjoy local artisan ice cream from Artfully Chocolate in Alexandria – all for only $15 per bowl! Proceeds go to benefit The Art League’s Ceramics department.
Walk This Town
Where: Various DC neighborhood
When: Throughout the weekend (and week)
Put on your walking shoes for a free guided stroll in the city! WalkingTown DC features outdoor walking tours of DC’s most interesting locations and neighborhoods September 19-27. The tours take place outside, rain or shine, and many include a restroom break. Just about all of the tours are family-friendly and wheelchair accessible and take place at varying times throughout the day. See the schedule for details and to sign up.
Fall into Fall
Where: Tudor House
When: Saturday, 10:30-11:15am
Admission: $5/child, free for adults
Experience the 200-year history of Tudor House with your favorite little one as they read, sing, and play in the garden. Children will participate in an interactive read-aloud, learn songs and related movements, and make a craft to take home, all geared to understanding and delighting in the season’s change. Recommended for ages 2- 4. Tickets available here.
Where: National Zoo
When: Sunday, 10am – 2pm
¡Celebramos! Celebrate Hispanic Heritage month at ZooFiesta. See animal demonstrations and learn about animals native to Latin America, such as golden lion tamarins, sloths, Andean bears, and anteaters. Meet Zoo experts and learn how they are working to save these species and more. Family activities include animal feedings, arts and crafts, musical entertainment, educational activities highlighting conservation research in Central and South America, and authentic gourmet cuisine at a Latin American inspired food bazaar. Bring the whole familia!
Takoma Park Folk Fest
Where: Takoma Park Middle School
When: Sunday, 10:30am – 6:30pm
Folk music and performances from around the world will be on six stages at the annual Takoma Park Folk Festival. The Grassy Nook Stage will offer activities for children — folksinging, musical games and dancing, storytelling, and more. And a crafts show and sale will showcase the works of local artisans. Pack snacks or purchase food from vendors there. Rain or shine.
Yoga Reggae Festival
Where: Gateway DC East
Admission: $40/adult, $15/student, $1/child
This all-day, family-friendly music and wellness festival is a fusion of live reggae and yoga that aims to bring health, relaxation and the art of peaceful living to urban areas like Southeast D.C.
Enjoy music from Grammy-nominated band “Third World” and local performers from the D.C. community, plus health food and craft vendors, wellness workshops, and premier yoga and fitness instructors.
Silver Spring Maker Faire
Where: Veteran’s Plaza, Silver Spring Civic Building
When: Sunday, 12-5pm
Robots, interactive art, flying machines, and so much to do and see! KID Museum, the new children’s museum serving the DC-Metro is hosting Maker Faire Silver Spring on Sunday. Featuring family activities and innovative projects created by inventors, hackers, crafters, artists, and do-it-yourselfers of all kinds, the Maker Faires demonstrate creative and unusual projects and pursuits that encourage attendees to explore their own curiosity and to make something new and different. Is event will also feature two performance stages as well as interactive activities for children and adults of all ages.
Food Truck Fest
Where: Cheverly Community Center
When: Sunday, 4-7pm
Admission: Free, but be ready to buy food!
Fill up on food and fun at the 2nd Annual Cheverly Food Truck Festival. Lot of food trucks, kid friendly activities, a beer and wine tent, and live music will be among the enjoyment and entertainment. Kids can get amazing balloon creations for free, face painting and tattoos for just a couple of bucks, and more. Feed the fam and have a blast!
Cavalcade of Streetcars
Where: National Capital Trolley Museum
When: Sunday, 12-5pm
Admission: $7/ages 18 and up, $5/ages 2-17
Hop on for a day of fun! Along with the museum’s array of exhibits, enjoy trolley rides on several of the cars from the museum’s collection. This event only happens a few times a year so take advantage while you can!
A Dynamite Celebration
Where: Dynamite Gymnastics Center
When: Sunday, 2-6pm
Dynamite Gymnastics and Agility Centers are having a 6th birthday celebration, and you’re invited to join them for family-centered activities, including tumbling and trampoline, parkour, music, food trucks, crafts, and raffles, and more. Wear your gym clothes for demos and sample classes. Festivities will take place indoors and out. Bring cash to buy tickets to indoor events — approximately $5 per activity — and enjoy the street fair atmosphere and outdoor fun. Open gym welcomes ages 18 months to 18 years, sample classes 3 years to adults.
Back (in Time) to School
Where: Mountain Gap Schoolhouse
When: Sunday, 1:15, 2:15, 3:15 and 4:15
Admission: $20/family or car
See how different school was in an earlier era as Oatlands Historic House and Gardens opens the Mountain Gap Schoolhouse during their School’s in Session Open House Days! The curriculum includes a guide dressed in period “schoolmarm” clothing, a lesson in the history of the school and a one-room schoolhouse education, a sample of typical 19th-century school day with lessons in the 3 R’s: Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.
Savor the Day
Where: Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard
When: Daily, 12-6pm
Enjoy a perfect balance of kid and grown-up fun at the Dickerson, MD, locale. Sugarloaf welcomes children to join adults at the winery and even has a designated Play Area where all ages can kick balls, throw Frisbees, and be active. Bring along a picnic, listen to live music, and maybe do some hiking nearby. And be sure to savor the house specialty, of course — I highly recommend the rosé!