Mt. Vernon

Wow- so much going on this weekend!  Better yet, it is going to feel like fall and be sunny all weekend.  Get out and enjoy it!  KidFriendly DC has a fantastic post about more Halloween related events coming up, so be sure to check it out as well.

Saturday, October 22nd

River Farm Fall Fest

9am – 12pm @ River Farm, Alexandria

Bring a picnic and the family to River Farm to enjoy story time in the garden, arts and crafts projects, a scavenger hunt, and more.  This event is free of charge, though donations are appreciated. Rain or shine (activities will be held indoors in the event of rain). For more details, call (703) 768-5700 ext. 126.

Annandale Fall Festival 

10am @  Safeway parking lot on Little River Turnpike, Annandale

Eighty merchants with jewelry, artwork, giftware, crafts, children’s toys & books, clothing, wood carvings and other gifts for your holiday shopping will fill the community market.  There will also be rock, jazz & country Bands along with International costumed dancers and swing dancersfor entertainment as well as tons of food.  The Kid’s Zone will challenge with a climbing wall, bungee jump, bungee basketball, face painting, Lil Pirate inflatable & toddler games, costumed characters, and The Secret Garden which will feature puppet shows at 1 & 3pm and The Traveling Storyteller at 12pm and 2pm along with interactive games for toddlers to teens.  The Annual Parade 10am – 12pm will finish at the festival grounds.


11am – 1pm @ Whole Foods Old Town, Alexandria

Transforming into a delicious orchard, Virginia Whole Foods Market’s AppleFest will be complete with inspiring cooking demonstrations, entertaining crafts, prizes, tastings and more! While exploring taste palates of sweet treats and savory apple infused dishes, customers will be exposed to and learn about the best apples that the harvest has to offer.   Featured activities will include mouth-watering samples and cooking demonstrations, carmel-apple making stations, hard apple cider on tap, apple sampling in every department, and apple scavenger hunts

Mousequerade Ball for Kids  

1pm – 2pm @ Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Alexandria

Families with children ages 4 – 7 can enjoy a reading of Alexander the Old Town Mouse by author Cheryl Barnes and have their books signed. Children will then create a mask and enjoy a ball of their own — in the very same room the story takes place! Costumes are encouraged but not required.  This hour-long program will be held at 1:00pm and 3:00pm. $10 per child (ages 2 and older); adults free with purchase of child ticket.

Wild Side Wagon Ride  

4pm @ Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria

Take a 90-minute tractor ride with a park naturalist to parts of the wetland that are difficult to reach on foot. Look for and learn about songbirds, wildflowers, butterflies and waterfowl, then stop for a snack at the observation platform. Meet at South King’s Highway park entrance.

Campfire: Popcorn

6pm – 7:15pm @ Long Branch Amphitheater, Arlington

The whole family is invited to join us at the Long Branch Amphitheater for lots of old-fashioned fun. This engaging program will be filled with entertaining activities, which may include stories, special animal guests, games, songs and of course, treats like s’mores.  Cost is $5 fee per person with a $20 max fee per family.

Fearless Fest

7pm @ Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Annandale

This fun event provides a lighthearted alternative to scary Halloween celebrations. The not-so-scary event is guaranteed to educate and entertain participants.  A naturalist will lead guests on a one-hour night hike into the woods to meet and interact with costumed creatures who explain away their scary reputations. The 52-acre forest surrounding the nature center is an ideal setting to hear ironic explanations from a black widow spider, a skunk, an owl, poison ivy, a dead tree, and other animals.  Indoor activities include craft projects and hands-on exploration. Guests will investigate real animal skulls in the graveyard, meet live reptiles and insects such as snakes, toads, and millipedes, and dissect owl pellets to learn about their diet and habitat.  The cost is $7 per Fairfax County resident and $9 for out-of-county guests. Families should bring a flashlight. This event is great for scout groups looking for a fun evening activity. Costumes are encouraged and are completely appropriate for the event’s festive, party-like atmosphere.

Sunday, October 23rd

Scarecrow Making Workshop

1pm & 2pm @ Frying Pan Farm Park, Herndon

Adults and children enjoy making scarecrows. Bring an outfit and a pair of pantyhose for each scarecrow.  They supply special touches for faces. Held outdoors, dress for the weather. Register to make a scarecrow. Canceled if rain.

Meet me on a Sunday at Potomac Overlook  

1:30pm – 3:30pm @ Potomac Overlook Regional Park, Arlington

Almost everyone needs more time in the great outdoors – time to take a walk, enjoy each others’ company, or to just sit and do nothing! So, come make a “natural connection” at Potomac Overlook Regional Park. Every Sunday afternoon, between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m., the park provides refreshments, games and hands-on nature exhibits, and a fun place to meet and enjoy the outdoors. There’s always something for families, groups, scouts, friends, couples, seniors . . . anyone!

Saturday, October 22nd & Sunday, October 23rd

Fall Harvest Family Days  

9am – 5pm @ Mount Vernon 

Mount Vernon welcomes the autumn season with Fall Harvest Family Days! The entire family enjoys autumn activities including wagon rides, wheat treading in the 16-sided barn, 18th-century dancing demonstrations, a straw bale maze, farrier (blacksmithing) demonstrations, apple-roasting, corn husk dolls demonstrations and early-American games and music. Potomac River sightseeing cruises are half-price during this weekend event. Fall Harvest Family Days are included in regular Estate admission on October 22&23: adults, $15.00; children ages 6-11, $7.00; and children 5 and under are admitted free.

Ghost Train Halloween Event  

10am – 5pm @ Burke Lake Park, Fairfax Station

Board the haunted train at Burke Lake Park for a special ride through the forest. Tickets are $4.50. The Ghost Train runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last ticket sold 4:15 p.m.) Tickets for the carousel are $1.75. Costumes are encouraged! For more information, call 703-323-6600.


Although there are no fireworks blasting off from Arlington, there are many great spots where you can view the National Mall fireworks.

Air Force Memorial is located on Columbia Pike by the Navy Annex.  There is a free Air Force Band concert beginning at 8pm.  The closest metro stations are Pentagon and Pentagon City.  It’s not too bad of a walk.  You can also park at Navy Annex parking lots or park at Pentagon Mall and walk over.

Gateway Park is a 3-acre park in Rosslyn just across the Key Bridge from Georgetown.  Bonus of restrooms at the park!

Gravelly Point is a great spot because it is directly across the river from the National Mall show, and reflection of the fireworks in the Potomac is amazing.  It is a fairly spacious grassy area along the Mount Vernon Trail.  No glass bottles or alcohol are allowed anywhere along the Parkway.  If you decide to drive, reaching the parking lot can be difficult. Head south on GW Parkway until you reach Reagan National Airport.  At the airport, circle back to head north onto the Parkway towards the 14th Street Bridge.  About a quarter of mile before the bridge, turn right into the parking area.  Parking in the lot is difficult as there are minimal spots, and bicycling and metro are great alternative options.  Crystal City metro is around a 20 minute walk along the Mt. Vernon Trail.  You can also take the Reagan National airport metro station, but you do have to walk through the airport and parking lots.

The Iwo Jima Memorial is also near the Rosslyn Metro station.  Iwo Jima is only around 5 blocks from the station.  As with all of these spots, you have to get there early to get a good spot!   Some people get there as early as 4pm.  Bring a blanket and picnic to pass the time.

Key BridgeAlthough there is no seating on the bridge, you can stand on the sidewalks.  There are pedestrian walkways on either side of the bridge to watch the show.

Lady Bird Johnson Park is a little tougher to get to than some of the other spots, but it is less crowded and has really great views.   Take the Arlington Cemetery metro station, and walk the bike path down toward the Columbia Island Marina.  Restrooms are open.  If you want to drive, head south on GW Parkway and turn right into Marina after signs for Lyndon B. Johnson Memorial Grove and Columbia Island Marina (before the Humpback Bridge).

Mount Vernon Trail  Yes, Gravely Point is a great spot, but there are many other places along the Mount Vernon Trail to watch the fireworks.  Simply walk along the trail and stake out a spot free of trees.

Another option is the Falls Church fireworks!  The show is at George Mason High School, with live music starting at 7pm, and fireworks will follow at 9:20pm.



Many neighborhoods in Arlington hold community parades on Independence Day.

  • Albemarle Street @ 9am- starts at 32nd and Albemarle Streets.
  • Barcroft Neighborhood @ 10am- starts at the Barcroft Community Center at 8th Street S. and S. Buchanan Street.
  • Bellevue Forest @ 9am- starts at Roberts Lane and Oxford Street.
  • Douglas Park @ 10:30am- starts at S. Monroe Street and 14th Street S.
  • Dover Crystal and Riverwood @ 10am- starts at 25th and Pollard Streets.
  • Fairlington Village @ 10am- S. 31st Street and S. Abingdon Streets.
  • Lyon Village @ 11am- starts at Key Boulevard and Highland Street.

The National Independence Day Parade in DC starts at 11:45 and runs down Constitution Avenue from 7th Street to 17th Street.  The Parade consists of bands, fife and drum corps, floats, military and specialty units, giant balloons, equestrian & drill teams, VIP’s, national dignitaries, and celebrity participants. During the afternoon, live entertainment will be on the Mall, and at the

The Capitol Hill Parade will begin at 8th and I streets S.E.  There will be classic cars, Boy & Girl Scouts, marching bands, the Fairy Princess Patrol, and dancers! Following the parade is a community fair at Eastern Market Metro Plaza with food, entertainment, and kid’s games.  The route: 8th and I SE north to D St SE, left on D, right on 7th St SE, the Metro plaza is on the right.  Parade starts at 10am and lasts for about an hour, ending at the Eastern Market Metro Plaza.

Other 4th of July Activities

National Archives Building annual reading of the Declaration of Independence at 10am.  On the Constitution Avenue steps, between 7th and 9th Streets, veteran news broadcaster John Palmer will be emcee, with a keynote address by the Honorable Royce C. Lamberth, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.  The main attraction is the annual dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence.  From 11am – 2pm there will be family activities inside the National Archives Building.  You can also meet historical figures in the rotunda, such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abigail Adams, and members of the American Historical Theatre.  You can also sign a full-size facsimile of the Declaration of Independence, and listen to stories of our patriotic past in the Boeing Learning Center at 11:30am, 12:30pm, and 1:30pm.

White House Visitor Center– from 10am to 3pm you will have the chance to be a “Signer of the Declaration of Independence for a Day,” with the help of NPS rangers and volunteers from President’s Park.  The day’s events include games, crafts, and other activities designed for both children and adults.  White House Visitor Center is located on Pennsylvania Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets, N.W., on the north side of the Commerce Department Building.

For many of you this is a three day weekend, and there is plenty going on to keep you and your family busy.  Hoping for great weather and good times!

Saturday, May 28th

Kids’ Farm Interpreters

10am – 4pm @ Kids Farm- National Zoo, Washington, DC

Learn about farming and how taking care of animals takes time, dedication, and knowledge.

Drumming with Dishes

10am @ Landmark Mall, Alexandria
The show is about an adventurous toddler as she introduces her imaginary friend to a very special kitchen, where instead of food, they cook up beautiful music.  Click here to read more about this great show!

The Lorax Speaks!

10am – 11:30am @ Dora Kelley Nature Park, Alexandria

Trees are a vital part of life on earth. The Lorax Speaks, an animated video, is about a conservation-minded creature who fights to save the forest.  After viewing the video, you will go on a hike through Dora Kelley Nature Park to identify some of the trees in the native woodlands and learn their unique role in nature.  Cost is $3, ages 6-12.

Island Safari

2pm – 3pm @ Theodore Roosevelt Island, Arlington

Explore the natural wonders and hidden history of Theodore Roosevelt Island with a ranger for a free one hour guided walk focused on the island’s wildlife and history. Meet at the footbridge, near the bike racks. Comfortable clothing and closed-toe shoes are recommended.  Call 703-289-2553 for more information. Reservations are not required, but please call ahead if you plan to bring a group of more than ten people.

Skinks and Snakes Campfire

7pm- 8:15pm @ Gulf Branch Nature Center, Arlington

The whole family is invited to the Gulf Branch fire ring for lots of old-fashioned fun. This engaging program will be filled with entertaining activities, which may include stories, special animal guests, games, songs and of course, treats like s’mores. Cost is $5 per person and $20 max per family- payable at the program. For more information call 703-228-3403.

Sunday, May 29th

Snake and Turtle Feeding

1:30pm – 2:30pm @ Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Annandale

Enjoy a brief presentation and demonstration by a staff member.  At least one snake, two turtles and a toad will be fed. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult. The cost is $5 person. Register online or call 703-222-4664. For information, call 703-941-1065.

Click here for more info.

Monday, May 30th

30th Annual Memorial Day Parade and Festival

9am to 5pm @ City Hall, Falls Church

Something for everyone throughout the day including Amusement Rides, Pony Rides, Arts and Crafts Booths, Food Vendors, Civic and Business Booths, and Live Entertainment.

Click here for more info.

Annual Memorial Day Ceremony

11am – 12pm @ Mount Vernon Recreation Center, Alexandria

The Program will include reading the names of the 67 heroes, a Tribute to Capt. Rocky Versace written by his fellow POW, COL James N. “Nick” Rowe (USMA 1960), guest speakers, a wreath laying, playing of “Taps” and the singing of “God Bless America.”

34th Annual Memorial Day Jazz Festival

1pm – 7pm @ Fort Ward Historic Site, Alexandria

American music played by jazz ensembles and orchestras performing in a variety of jazz styles. The park features amphitheater and grass seating. Attendees are welcome to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and picnic baskets. Food will be available for purchase, and grills are available in the park at the picnic sites.  Attendees may bring lawn chairs and blankets for lawn seating.  Food, such as ice cream, hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, subs, shaved ice, fresh fruit and vegetable juices are available for purchase.

National Memorial Day Parade
2pm @ Along Constitution Ave, Washington, DC
The parade includes nearly 200 elements, including marching bands, active duty and retired military units, youth groups, and parade floats—as well as hundreds of veterans.  It starts at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 7th Streets, NW and proceeds along Constitution Avenue, past the White House, ending at 17th Street.

Wreath Laying Ceremonies

Check out this site for info about various wreath laying ceremonies in the area.

Saturday, May 28th – Monday, May 30th

Celebration at Mount Vernon

6pm – 9pm @ Mount Vernon Estate, Mount Vernon

Historic Mount Vernon invites visitors to a fun evening experience.  Sunset Celebration at Mount Vernon, is a new event over Memorial Day weekend, and offers a rare opportunity to visit Mount Vernon after the daytime crowds have departed. Visitors may take evening tours of the Mansion, relax and enjoy wine and desserts available for purchase, and enjoy 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.  Adults are $18; children 6-11 are $12; and children under 5 are admitted free.


I really don’t want to jinx it, but it is really starting to feel spring-like out there!  Plenty of fun activities this weekend, so enjoy the outdoors (an indoors)!


Saturday, February 19th


St. Charles Baby & Children’s Consignment Sale

8:30am to 1pm @ Benedict Hall – St. Charles Borromeo Church, Arlington

One of the first consignment sales of the spring!  There will be toys, clothes, books and much more. 50% of proceeds benefit Borromeo Housing.

Email for more info.


Have a Ball in Ballston: A Winter Nature Celebration

10am to 2pm @ Ballston Mall Food Court, Arlington

The Arlington Children and Nature Network sponsored event will include nature crafts, games, and live animal visits.  At 10:30am WalkArlington will lead a kid-friendly, kid-sized Ballston Walkabout in- and outdoors, including a stop at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and prizes for participants.Then walkers can return to the Food Court for some hot chocolate and refreshments courtesy of Chik-fil-A.  The celebration concludes at 2:00 p.m.

Click here for more info.


Reading of Surf Creatures

11am – 2pm @ National Zoo Visitor Center Auditorium, Washington, DC

Head to the zoo and enjoy a book reading by surf legend and environmentalist, Shaun Tomson.  His beautifully illustrated book takes children on a journey through the actual and imagined activities of unique ocean inhabitants.  Shaun will also outline a few simple steps that children can take to preserve and protect the ocean environment.  After the presentation, come and meet Tomson at the Invertebrate Exhibit, and try out Surf Creatures on the iPad for yourself! Also, meet Zoo biologist Mike Henley, and watch him feed the Zoo’s octopus with Tomson.  This is open to people of all ages, but is best for kids 3 – 9.  This event is free and open to the public.


South Arlington Band Pyramid Concert

1pm @ Wakefield High School, Arlington

Students in grades 4-12 from S. Arlington public schools will participate in the concert.


Okee Dokee Brothers

1:30 & 2:15pm @ Calvary United Methodist Church, Arlington

Hailing from Minneapolis, The Okee Dokee Brothers blend a mixture of bluegrass with a bit of country, pop, and funk to create their own original music. They are performing at Calvary United Methodist Church as a fundraiser for Calvary Children’s School.  Cost is $5 per person, or $20 maximum per family.  You can purchase tickets at the door, or email Dana at danaldougherty@ or Kendall at to purchase tickets beforehand.  Great for all ages.  Check out my post for even more info!


Sunday, February 20th


The Washington Ballet: Rock & Roll: Kids!

5pm @ Harman Center for the ArtsSidney Harman Hall, Washington, DC

Join Septime Webre and Company dancers for this special kid-friendly version of TWB’s Rock & Roll ballet.  It features upbeat music and Mr. Webre’s “Make-a-Ballet” (an audience favorite), and invites kids to join in the dance- fun for the whole family!


Monday, February 21st


George Washington Birthday Parade

1pm – 3pm @ Old Town Alexandria

This is the largest parade celebrating George Washington’s birthday in the country! Starting at 1pm, the parade makes a loop around Old Town.  There will be marching bands, lots of floats, clowns, horses, Scouts, and antique cars. The parade begins at St. Asaph and Wilkes streets.  Click here for the parade route.


George Washington’s 279th Birthday Celebration

9am – 4pm @ Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens, Mount Vernon, VA

Celebrate the national observance of George Washington’s birthday by visiting his home and burial site.  A wreathlaying ceremony at Washington’s Tomb will take place at 10am, and Miss America 2010 Caressa Cameron, will sing the national anthem. Then the Old Guard Fife & Drum will perform military demonstrations on the bowling green.  At 1:30pm, attend George Washington’s surprise birthday party with characters from the 18th century.  After the birthday surprise, Washington will be given gifts which he will describe and react to during a speech to his birthday visitors.  According to the site, this is reminiscent of Washington’s birthday in 1778 during which the Continental Artillery band serenaded Washington at Valley Forge.  Admission is free on the 21st!

Click here for more info.

Great weekend to get out and pay tribute to those who died while in military service.  There are many activities to take part in this Memorial Day weekend.   Let me know if you know of any others.

Entire Weekend

Sunset Celebration at Mount Vernon– May 28 – May 30, 6pm – 9pm, Mount Vernon, VA – A new Memorial Day event, and the estate is open after normal business hours (very rare).  There will be tours of the mansion, 18th-century music, dancing, games, and wagon rides. The grounds will be lantern-lit and costumed workers will interact with visitors.  This is a family-friendly event.

Hometown Holidays– May 29 to May 31, Rockville, MD- A 3-day festival of food, a parade, kid activities, and music.  There will also be Memorial Day festivities honoring fallen services members.

Viva Vienna– May 29 to May 31, Vienna, VA- A 3-day festival to celebrate the community of Vienna, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Virginia.  There will be food, music, children’s activities, crafts, amusement rides, and a Memorial Day tribute.

Saturday, May 29

Tribute to a Generation” Celebration- @ 2pm, WWII Memorial, National Mall- The WWII memorial will be dedicated on Saturday afternoon, and gates will open 8am.  Tickets are required for seating, but there will also be non-ticketed viewing areas.  At 12pm, there will be 2 hours for pre-ceremony activities with video images and newsreel clips to evoke a wartime era feel.  There will also be musical groups from the armed forced entertaining the crowd.

Sunday, May 30

National Memorial Day Concert @ 8pm (gates open at 5pm), West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Held on the West Lawn of the US Capitol, the PBS concert consists of musical performances and dramatic readings to honor the service and sacrifice of men and women in the armed services.  The general public is usually allowed to enter the concert area starting 3 hours before the concert.  Gary Sinise, Joe Mantegna, Brad Paisley, Lionel Richie, and General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.),will join The National Symphony Orchestra to help honor service members.

Wolf Trap Farm Park– @ 8pm, Wolf Trap Farm, Vienna, VA- Summer Blast Off! “The President’s Own”. There will be a free performance by the US Marine Band, and then fireworks.  The gates open at 6:30pm, and the performance starts at 8pm.  Fireworks begin at 9:45pm.  Arrive early because the park closes once capacity is reached.

Monday, May 31

National Memorial Day Parade @ 2pm, Washington, DC- The parade starts at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 7th Streets, NW. It will proceed west down Constitution, past the White House, and end at 17th St.  There will be marching bands, active duty and retired military units, youth groups,  veterans and parade floats.

Arlington National Cemetery National Memorial Day Observance– @ 11am, Arlington National Cemetery- Armed Forces Full Honor Wreath-Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns.  A prelude by the U.S. Navy Band will begin in the amphitheater at 10:30am.  After the wreath-laying, there will be an observance program hosted by the DoD in the Memorial Amphitheater.  This is a free event and open to the public.  You are encouraged to be there by 9:30am.
On May 29 the Price of Freedom sculpture will be unveiled at 2pm in the Visitors Center, and the Fallen Heroes Portraits Display will be placed in Section 60.

If you are unable to attend the wreath-laying, please note that the Arlington National Cemetery is open to the public at 8am to 7pm on Saturday and Sunday. “Flags In” was conducted on May 29, and it is a powerful powerful reminder of the sacrifices made for our freedom.  Flags are placed one foot in front of each headstone in the cemetery, and are also placed at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Navy Memorial Wreath-laying @ 1pm, Navy Memorial, Washington, DC- Naval District Washington’s Wreath-laying ceremony accompanied by the U.S. Navy Band,

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Annual Memorial Day Ceremony– @ 1pm Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, DC- Hosted by Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael G. “Mike” Mullen, there will be a presentation of the Colors, as well as a wreath-laying service.

Air Force Memorial Wreath-laying Ceremony- @ 9am, Air Force Memorial, Arlington, VA- The Air Force Association/Air Force Sergeants Association Wreath-laying ceremony is open to the public.
Fort Ward Park Jazz Festival- 1pm – 7pm, Alexandria, VA- A jazz festival with great music and food.  Held in Lee Center’s Kauffman Auditorium.

Falls Church Memorial Day Parade & Festival– 9am – 5pm, Falls Church- A festival with a parade rides, crafts, pony rides, food, and musical entertainment.