As regular readers know, I love a festival. And summers in Baltimore are a goldmine for festivals, from big ones like Artscape and Honfest to all the ethnic fests, Ukrainian to African American, and unique treasures like the Baltimore Book Festival (tip: our May issue, which comes out in a couple weeks, is our "Summer in the City" issue, and it runs through all the fests and a million more things to do this summer - check it out).
Well, festival season is finally getting underway this weekend. Let's hope it doesn't rain: There's the ECOFEST (pictured) in Druid Hill Park, a generally unheralded event with lots of vendor booths, a stage of great local, live music, a creative kids' play area, and, of course, food. Two years ago, when Benny was a baby, I took both kids to this solo. There was an awesome drum circle going by one booth (yeah, the fest has a kind of hippie vibe, but I love hippies). I pulled up the stroller where Benny was sleeping and Jack and I shared a drum. A few minutes later, someone sat down next to us and started drumming. I looked over and it was none other than now-disgraced former mayor Sheila Dixon. She was great and spent a lot of time cooing over Benny.
Also this weekend is Johns Hopkins' Spring Fair, which actually started today. It's a behemoth with all kinds of activities including several stages of music, a beer garden, an arts and crafts section and a large family/kids area with face painting, a moon bounce, story-telling with the ladies of Kappa Kappa Gamma, airbrush tattoos, clowns, animal visits, magic shows, and lots more.
In non-festival news, the BSO will perform the score to Charlie Chaplin's classic silent film The Gold Rush, along with a screening. I really love this movie and I was debating whether or not to take Jack, who is 4 years old—the Friday and Saturday night shows are at 8 p.m., but there's a Sunday one at 3 p.m. I spoke to someone at the BSO, who recommended only taking kids 8 and up, so I decided not to go, but I suspect the show could entrance kids much younger. They're also offered deep-discount $20 tickets.
Of course, there are always the perrenially great-for-kids activities, including the Walters Art Museum, which, besides the great, often kid-friendly exhibits, has a fantastic play area on the lower level with lots of dress up stuff, puppets, puzzles, and an art room where there are facilitators to help you and are kids make great projects and bonus: FREE; Also, the Marlyland Science Center ($3 off admission before noon on Saturdays, plus the weekly egg-drop contest), Port Discovery Children's Museum, The Zoo, two Storyville locations (we LOVE Storyville), The American Visionary Art Museum (also with kid-friendly exhibits, and the treehouse/sculpture out back), the various nature centers and conservancies (Oregon Ridge, Irvine, Howard County), and—of course!— the Aquarium.