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The Library of Congress 2013 National Book Festival

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Book lovers, mark your calendars! On September 21 & 22, readers of all ages are invited to join some of the country’s most celebrated authors on the National Mall for the 13th Annual Library of Congress National Book Festival.

More than 100 authors, illustrators, and poets will be part of the Festival weekend focusing on “Books That Shaped the World.” Book enthusiasts, young and old, come from all over for presentations, book signings, photo ops with writers (and costumed PBS characters), and more reading-related activities. In 2012, over 200,000 people attended over the two days of the event.

If you were following KFDC last year, you might remember this is where Owen got to meet and interview one his favorite authors, Mary Pope Osborne, who writes the oh-so-popular Magic Treehouse series. And while that was a special opportunity, it really is possible to meet many celebs of the book world, even exchange some words with them.

Several pavilions will be set up throughout the Festival where visitors can enjoy a variety of activities and entertainment set up by book category — Children, Teens & Children, Fiction & Mystery, History & Biography, Contemporary Life, Poetry & Prose, Graphic Novels & Science Fiction — as well as special programs. The Pavilion of the States salutes the literary traditions of all 50 states, 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.

If your children love books, chances are an author of one of their favorite stories will be there (Owen author Kevin Henkes, creator of the How Do Dinosaurs… series Mark Teague, and Smash Crash author Jon Scieszka are among the children’s book writers). And there’s bound to be a writer — or many — that you parents will be excited about, too. I know there are several on the list that I can’t wait to see. Have a look for yourself and start planning your Festival weekend.

The National Book Festival will will be held on the National Mall between 9th and 14th streets on Saturday, September 21, from 10am to 5:30pm and on Sunday, September 22, from 12pm to 5:30pm, rain or shine. The event is free and open to the public.

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The 2012 Library of Congress National Book Festival

Last week, when I posted a compilation of fall festivals taking place around the DC area, I purposely excluded a big one. That’s because the annual Library of Congress National Book Festival deserves a post all its own. The DC tradition, a celebration of books, reading, and literature, consistently draws hundreds of thousands of people to the National Mall every year, giving book lovers of all ages a rare opportunity to interact with and get their books signed by their favorite authors.

This year’s event will take place September 22-23 with the theme “Books that Shaped America, ” inviting authors and the public to share their favorite books that shaped who they’ve become. More than 100 authors, poets, and illustrators from all literary genres will make presentations on the Mall throughout the weekend.

So, I know at least one 6-year-old who is going to particularly excited about the Festival this year when he finds out the author of his favorite book series is part of the event, and I bet there are lots of kids who will be thrilled along with him. Mary Pope Osborne, creator of the wonderful Magic Treehouse books, is among the children’s authors who will be presenting. (I, too, am pretty psyched to meet the writer whose stories pique Owen’s imagination and help foster his zest for reading.)

Many more celebrated authors of books for young and old will be there — you can view the complete lineup and schedule of presentations on the Festival website. And a KFDC tip: If you really want to get a spot in a pavilion to see an author, plan to arrive to their presentation early, as space fills up fast. And if you want to pick up a copy of their book for signings, there will be a whole pavilion dedicated to book sales.

Super Reader to the rescue at last year's festival

And that’s not all you’ll find at the Festival. There will be family storytelling events and reading-related activities for kids in the Let’s Read America pavilion; popular PBS characters on hand to greet children and pose for photo ops; the Gateway to Knowledge truck, which houses some of the top treasures and information about the millions of resources in the Library of Congress’ collections; the Digital Bookmobile, where visitors can explore download services from community libraries nationwide at interactive learning stations; and a 50th birthday celebration for Clifford the Big Red Dog.

The public is invited to enjoy this all rain or shine on Saturday, September 22, from 10am – 5:30pm and Sunday, September 23, from 12 – 5:30pm. Admission is FREE. For more information, visit the Library of Congress website.

 

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The Weekend Round-Up: May 25-28

Get the weekend and "summer" started with a Friday evening concert at the Yards

 

Memorial Day weekend.  A time to honor those who have served and sacrificed for our country, the unofficial start to summer, an annual getaway for us.  But if you’re sticking around town — or visiting DC for the holiday weekend — you’ve got your pick of things to do. Whether you seek events to observe the holiday, are ready to embrace that summer feeling, or just want to enjoy some quality time with the kids over the long weekend, these ideas for family recreation should have you covered. Happy Weekend!

Summer in the City
Where: Throughout the area
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by activity

Celebrate the unofficial start of summer with an activity exclusive to this time of year. Jazz in the Garden begins this evening and other free concert series have already started; outdoor public pools, spraygrounds, and water parks open Saturday; the strawberry picking season is  underway; and blue crabs are making many a feaster very happy. This post has specifics on all of the special events and series that come with the warm months.

Sunset Celebration
Where: Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens
When: Friday – Sunday, 6-9pm
Admission: $18/adults, $12/ages 6-11, free for children 5 and under

Visit Mount Vernon after the daytime crowds have departed for a special Memorial Day weekend celebration. Guests can take evening tours of the Mansion, relax and enjoy wine and desserts available for purchase, and delight in 18th-century music, dancing, games, and wagon rides. Stroll the lantern-lit grounds and immerse yourself in the 18th century as the sun sets on the plantation and costumed residents like the charming Lady Washington and her granddaughter Nelly interact with visitors. This family-friendly event celebrates the beginning of summer on the plantation

National Memorial Day Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue NW, 7th to 17th Streets
When: Monday, 2pm
Admission: Free
The annual National Memorial Day Parade celebrates and honors American veterans with a grand procession through the city. Get a curbside view of military units and vehicles, marching bands, flag teams, and hundreds of veterans as they travel up Constitution Avenue. This year’s parade will feature a tribute to the generation that served and sacrificed in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn, following the formal end of the war last December.

National Memorial Day Concert
Where: West lawn of the Capitol
When: Sunday, 8-9:30pm, gates open at 5pm (or Saturday for the dress rehearsal)
Admission: Free
Why watch on TV when you can be there in person? The 2012 National Memorial Day Concert will take place on the west lawn of the Capitol on Sunday from 8 – 9:30pm. Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna are hosting the event once again, and an all-star line-up of artists will join the National Symphony Orchestra in honoring those who have served and sacrificed for the U.S.  If you’re planning to go, this FAQ page on the concert website is worth a read. If you can’t make Sunday’s show or don’t want to deal with the crowds, Saturday’s dress rehearsal is also open to the public — gates open at 5pm, and the show begins at 7:30pm.

Memorials on the Mall
Where: National Mall
When: All Weekend
Admission: Free
Tributes to those who have served our country will take place at the many memorials and monuments on the National Mall throughout the weekend. Times vary, but you can look for schedules on the National Park Service website. The Mall is guaranteed to be crowded, so plan accordingly.

DC United Kids Day
Where: RFK Stadium
When: Saturday, 6:30pm
Admission: Free with admission to match
Kick it DC United-style before Saturday’s match against the New England Revolution! This family-friendly event is designed specifically with the smallest fans in mind. The fun begins at 6:30pm when gates open in the VW Garage. Kids get a passport upon entry that gets stamped as they complete a variety of fun, interactive stations, including a NASA Goddard Space Flight Center astronaut photo booth, soccer obstacle cours, Memorial Day Thank You cards for the troops, a cheer card station, and a National Air & Space Museum interactive motion exhibit. When they have 8-10 stamps, they can redeem their passport for an exclusive Kids’ Day goody bag.

Titanic: 100 Year Obsession
Where: National Geographic Museum
When: Daily
Admission: $6/adult, $4/ages 5-12, free for 4 and under
This is a must-experience for anyone with even a mild interest in the Titanic. Covering the ship’s complete history, from construction to completion, its demise to the search for remains, its discovery to continued exploration, the exhibit is presented through a variety of fascinating and many interactive displays. Read the KFDC review for more info.

Savage Gardens
Where: U.S. Botanic Garden
When: All Weekend (runs May 26 – October 8th)
Admission: Free
This exhibit all about carnivorous plants is opening at the Botanic Garden on Saturday. Savage Gardens tells the story of their astounding adaptations to inhospitable habitats. Through displays in the Conservatory Terrace, East Gallery, and National Garden, feed your senses with the captivating, the bizarre, the larger-than-life, real and imaginary world of these unique plants.

Say Aloha!
Where: National Museum of the American Indian
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10:30am – 5pm
Admission: Free
In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the museum welcomes Hawaiian artists, performers, and practitioners of traditional Hawaiian healing and culture. Visitors can learn about living a life of “aloha” by watching and learning about hula, watching films and presentations, and meeting and greeting Hawaiian guests.

Reap the Fruits
Where: Farms throughout the area
When: All weekend
Admission: Varies by location
The strawberry season is in full swing, and the pickings are still good at area farms. You can get in on the pick-your-own action; this post has all the info you need to get started.

Best in Shows
Where: Theatres around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Five Little Monkeys is at Adventure Theatre. Tiny Tots and Pinocchio are on The Puppet Co. stage. Shine and the Moonbeams is performing at Jammin’ Java. Find details on all of these shows in this post about live entertainment in late spring.

For even more ideas for fun with the kids, outside and in, check out these popular KFDC posts:

The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids

The Great Indoors

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The 2011 National Book Festival

Whatever you are doing the weekend of September 24-25, be sure to carve out some time for one of the best annual events to take place in Washington, DC: 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. And with an additional day of festivities — this is the first time in 11 years that the Festival is taking place over two days — that number is sure to grow even more.This year’s Festival will feature some of the country’s most celebrated personalities in the literary world, including Amy Chua, Toni Morrison, Dave Eggers, Julianne Moore, and Garrison Keillor, among others.  More than 100 other authors, poets, and illustrators will be presenting, signing, and possibly posing for photo ops. Presentations take place in various pavilions organized by genre — Fiction & Mystery, History & Biography, Contemporary Life, Poetry & Prose.  Then there’s the Pavilion of the States, which will feature The Family Storytelling Stage, The Cutting Edge, State Poets Laureate, and Graphic Novels.

If you really want to get a spot in a pavilion to see an author, plan to arrive to their presentation early, as space fills up fast. And if you want to pick up a copy of their book for signings, there’s a whole pavilion dedicated to book sales.

And that’s not all you’ll find at the Festival.  There will be family storytelling events and reading-related activities for kids in the Lets Read America pavilion; popular PBS characters on hand to greet children and pose for photo ops; the Gateway to Knowledge truck, which houses some of the top treasures and information about the millions of resources in the Library of Congress’ collections; and the Digital Bookmobile, where visitors can explore download services from community libraries nationwide at interactive learning stations.

This public is invited to enjoy this all for free on Saturday, September 24, from 10am – 5:30pm and Sunday, September 25, from 1 – 5:30pm. The complete schedule of events and list of featured authors is available on the Library of Congress website.

 

 

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The 2011 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The National Mall is going to be one happening spot for the next couple of weeks.  The 2011 Smithsonian Folklife Festival is about to begin, celebrating living cultural heritage and community traditions around the globe. (Couple that with the big annual July 4th celebration and there will be lots of action on the green amid our museums around the holiday weekend.)

This year’s festival will celebrate the nature of Colombia, 50 years of the Peace Corps, and Rhythm & Blues music in the United States.  Special exhibits and programs will offer guests all kinds of opportunities — workshops, performances, exhibits, demos, and more — to discover and explore all three genres, including plenty of activities especially children.  For specifics, see the full festival schedule.

This will all take place along the National Mall from June 30 – July 5 and July 7 -11. Festival hours are 11am – 5:30pm with special performances taking place later most evenings. And in true Smithsonian spirit, all of it is free and open to the public.

So, here’s the scoop: The Mall will be crowded during this time.  Besides the throngs of tourists that visit DC during the summer, the July 4th celebration draws even more crowds, especially in the days leading up to the event (on the day of, it’s jam-packed).  That said, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival is definitely worth checking out.  We go at some point every year — it’s a convenient stroll or Metro ride there — and always find exhibits and activities that are interesting for the whole family. Generally, I always recommend taking Metro to the Mall.  The Smithsonian stop on the Blue/Orange line lets out right by the Festival, and the Federal Triangle (also Blue/Orange) and National Archives/Navy Memorial (Yellow/Green line) stops are also close  by.

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