Spring has sprung and with it more flower festivals than you can count, along with music and food festivals. Summer may be the king of the festival season, but spring can definitely hold its own. Whether you are on the West Coast, headed to the Midwest or live on the East Coast, you can bet there is a festival that will entertain your family this season.
Skagit Tulip Festival (Washington)
Washington’s ever-popular tulip festival generally runs through the month of April. Families head about an hour north of Seattle to capture photos of their kids running through the multi-colored fields. Many farms offer food, drinks, and of course, tulips for sale. Although the festival is a month long, there is a parade, a Tulip Run, basketball tournaments, BBQs and other events to celebrate the tulip season. Check TulipFestival.org for more details and keep an eye on the bloom report before you head out so you know you will get that perfect photo you have been dreaming about.
California Strawberry Festival (California)
For any family who loves strawberries, you really can’t go wrong with a strawberry festival. Oxnard, CA opens its arms to over 50 food booths offering anything and everything one could make using strawberries—funnel cake, pizza, nachos, cotton candy, chocolate-covered strawberries, etc. Families should head to Strawberryland to hop on carnival rides, see special performances and the kids can even get their faces painted. Parents will love loading up on handcrafted goods in the Arts & Crafts tents, grabbing new recipes at the cooking demonstrations and saying hello to Miss Strawberry Shortcake.
National Cherry Blossom Festival (Washington DC)
DC is well known for its politics, but a close runner up is the cherry blossom festival around the Tidal Basin and across the city. Thousands of visitors descend on these pink and white blooms each year, and the city has enough activities to make it worth the trek. The Cherry Blossom Festival Parade celebrates the spring season with floats, giant helium balloons and marching bands. There is also the Waterfront Fireworks Festival and Blossom Kite Festival that families can enjoy together. The crowds can be rough with smaller children, but if you plan it right, you can break away from the crowds and really enjoy yourselves.
Chinese Lantern Festival at Franklin Square (Philadelphia)
This spring, Philadelphia will be home to 25 larger-than-life illuminated displays of giant flowers, a three-story pagoda, a huge Chinese dragon and more, created using traditional Chinese methods with thousands of LED lights in vibrant colors. Festival attendees will also enjoy food, daily performances, mini golf, a ride on the Parx Liberty Carousel and crafts created by working artists. Although Chinese lantern festivals are traditionally held on the 15th day of the first month of the Lunar New Year, Philadelphia opted to hold their lantern festival in the spring due to cold winter weather that would keep people away. This is a nighttime festival (so the lanterns are visible) and there will be a fee to enter the festival, but it will be low enough for the entire family to enjoy together.
Chicago Blues Festival (Illinois)
Just before spring turns into summer, Chicago rolls out the red carpet for some of the world’s greatest blues musicians. This free event in Grant Park is where parents can introduce their children to another musical genre in an easily accessible atmosphere. Kids play on the lawn, families set up picnics and food trucks pull up in droves in case you don’t want to worry about packing your own food. Past performers include Bonnie Raitt, Ray Charles, and the late B.B. King. Dancing is encouraged, so get ready to get up and move with your kids.
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