If you’ve been waiting for months to shed your winter layers and bathe in sunlight, you’re probably ecstatic that summer is now definitely here. Many of us are already slathering on sunscreen, searching for our favorite pair of flip flops, and heading out to enjoy the great outdoors.
And there’s no better way to breathe in the fresh summer air and get the whole family active than heading out to one of the many outdoors festivals happening this summer. We’ve rounded up four cultural festivals happening this season that are sure to get your whole family up on their feet.
Where/when: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 29-July 3/ July 5-10, 2016
If you can make it to what is commonly known as the world’s largest music festival, book off time in late June/ early July and head straight to Wisconsin for Summerfest. The lineup for 2016 is incredible with stars like Paul McCartney, Weezer, Selena Gomez, Tim McGraw, Blink-182, Sting, Peter Gabriel, and many others.
Here are some fun activities that will get your kids playing, learning and moving:
2. The Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Where/when: Washington DC, June 29-July 4, July 7-10, 2016
- UB the Band!: the whole family gets to play with musical gear, and channel their inner rockstar on a stage equipped with real lighting sound, microphones and all the works.
- 537 Charger Robotics: High School students built miniature remote controlled robots, and participants get to take charge of the remote controls
- The Kohl’s captivation station: a range of arts, education and music workshops for all ages that includes present partners like Discovery World, Zoological Society of Milwaukee, and the Milwaukee Art Museum.
- Plenty of food stations throughout the festival, and on Children’s Fest Day
- School of Rock: a Battle of the Bands competition for top young musicians from across the world.
- Paddleboat Water Experience: Feel the wind on your back and watch as a beautiful view unfolds in front of you during 30-minute paddle boating sessions around the festival and downtown Milwaukee.
Held outdoors at the National Mall, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival celebrates cultures from all over the world. There are a ton of learning opportunities here for the whole family! This year, visitors get to learn about the Basque culture, food, arts, sports, music, and more. Bonus: learn how the Basque community leaned on old traditions to innovate for the future.
Other highlights of the 2016 Smithsonian Folklife Fest include a workshop on Migration and Immigration
, the diverse music of California
, and the Ralph Rinzler Memorial Concert
on July 3. Parents can also take their little ones to craft and food demonstrations and other fun activities in the Txiki-Txoko Kids’ Corner.
3. Higher Sierra Music Festival
Where/ when: Quincy California, June 30- July 3
Camp out in Quincy, California and listen to Ben Harper under a moon-lit sky. This festival has that kind of relaxed, bohemian and romantic vibe. High Sierra Music Fest also offers lots of opportunities to make art and music. Take your whole family to any one of these fun stations:
4. Strawberry Music Festival
Where/ when: Westside Park, Tuolumne, CA, September 1-4
- The Art House: see and make art alongside other families
- Sing Along Hut: a storytelling space, this is also where your kids can take part in some fun musical activities with other kids
- The Family Stage: fun stage acts, like a puppet theatre, a clown show, and plenty of music for all ages
- Village Greens: group games, bubbles, water balloons, unicorns, and more
- Little Bears Music: get the whole family moving as musicians lead groups in fun music, improve, and rhythm exercises
If you have a hippie side, you’re going to love the Strawberry Music Festival. This festival is held in Westside Park and offers a serene combination of serenading folk music and the natural beauty of Westside Park.
Enjoy a day of soulful music and chat with other festival-goers over ice-cold lemonade. Then wrap up your day by going on one of the many hiking and cycling paths that wind around ancient relics, and the Tuolumne River canyon. Enjoy a spectacular view of the Sierra Nevada Mountain and when you head back down prepared to lulled to sleep with some fine music.
If you’re travelling with kids, know there are a lot of fun activities for the whole family. But be warned: you might face some serious schedule negotiations with your little travellers. The Kids Parade happens on Sept. 4 as part of The Revival show, and other fun family-friendly events include dance, arts and crafts, music, and yoga workshops.
These are just some of the myriad of festivals happening in the next few months. Have you recently made great memories during a summer fest? Share your good times with us below in the comment section. Until then, stay hydrated and enjoy the sun!