Top Eleven Family Festivals this Summer and Fall

There’s no rest from “fests” here in State College! Fresh off of the celebration of the 4th is Arts Fest! Officially known as the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, thousands of alumni, families, and fans trek back to Happy Valley to meet up with the locals for summer fun.

Of all the crafts, foods and festivities, our favorite feature is Children’s Day! On July 7, dozens of super kids display their artistic wares, and there is plenty of activities and entertainment geared towards the young ones. As we have for many years, here at Growing Tree Toys, we welcome children of all ages to make a fun free craft. (This photo is from last year’s visor-making!) It runs from 10am to 3pm, but if you’re planning on coming, let us recommend you come early!

Check out the Arts Fest blog for neat insight on this year’s activities, and check back next week for our own recap of the fun.

So, now we take a quick trip around the country for other neat family festivals that take pride in their hometowns, as well as take advantage of the warm summer and fall weather. The following is ordered by date and we hope it makes you consider where to head for your next family trip!

Redmond Derby Days (July 9-10, 2010) – Celebrating the 70th anniversary this year, Derby Days in Redmond, Washington has the longest running bike race.
Fun for kids: Carnival, Lego Building Tent, Airbrush Face Painting, Bubble Ponds, Inflatable Fun

Gilroy Garlic Festival (July 23-25, 2010) – My personal favorite; three tasty days in the Garlic Capital of the World.
Fun for kids: Build your own Terrarium, Wax Hands crafts, Mini-Rides, Caricatures

Maine Lobster Festival (August 4-8, 2010) – I’d be happy to be a taster for their cooking contest! The Lobster Crate Race is one of the main highlights.
Fun for kids: Diaper Derby, Lobster Eating Contest, Cod Fish Carry, Costume Parade

Hanover Harvest Festival (August 7, 2010) – This Minnesota festival has a bit of everything, including a new bicycle stunt show this year.
Fun for kids: Batting Cage, Turtle Races, Helicopter Visit, Petting Zoo

Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival (August 20-21, 2010) – 45 years ago, Reynoldsburg, Ohio was recognized as the birthplace of the commercial tomato, and has been celebrating since!
Fun for kids: Western Obstacle Course, Pig Races, Corn Hole Competition, Make-Your-Own Stuffed Animals

Alaska State Fair (Aug. 26 – Sept. 6, 2010) – I’m featuring the Alaska State Fair because they feature enormous (and world record holding) fruits and vegetables! How about a 127-lb. head of cabbage?
Fun for kids: Sealife Center Exhibit (sea lions, ducks, etc.), Moose Calling Contest

Beetlefest (September 11, 2010) – Frisco, Colorado combines fun and function with a festival about the mountain pine beetle and the problems the species causes in the mountains.
Fun for kids: Bug Petting Zoo, Lumberjack Show, Smokey the Bear Appearance

Cherokee Strip Days Celebration (September 17, 2010) – This year’s festival honors the Oklahoma town with a theme of “Celebrate Enid!” and always recognizes the 1893 Land Run.
Fun for kids: Basket Making, Music, Chuck Wagon Cooking

National Storytelling Festival (October 1-3, 2010) – Now this is neat: three straight days of acclaimed storytellers under festival tents and under the stars in Jonesborough, Tennessee.
Fun for kids: Stories! Some are not appropriate for all ages; see the website.

Marble Festival (October 2-3, 2010) – Tour the marble quarry and see marble sculptors, plus celebrate 30 years of the festival in Jasper, Georgia.
Fun for kids: Trackless Train, Petting Zoo, Obstacle Course, Free Arts & Crafts

Want to see more? Check out other family travel ideas we’ve recently posted on our blog!

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