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Yippee for Labor Day!  Ten Terrific Places to Celebrate. As the summer season blends into autumn and family calendars get populated with things to do, making time for family fun can become a challenge so family fun is often condensed to weekends and holidays. Celebrate Bandera Labor Day Weekend Parade

Yippee for Labor Day!  The best Labor Day festivals for families are both lively and interactive. From the Festival of Sail at the Maritime Museum in San Diego to classic, western family fun in Bandera Texas sharing unique experiences is the whole idea. Thanks to parent feedback ten family-friendly festivals or events made our list for 2015. LEGO Brick Pile Family Fun Labor Day Weekend 

KidFest and the LEGO Creativity Tour in Austin, Texas. If spending time in the Texas sun is not your idea of family fun then LEGO KidsFest at Austin Convention Center may be the solution. The interactive LEGO® extravaganza brings all of the creative hands-on, minds-on fun of LEGO building together in an activity and entertainment-packed family event for children of all ages and builders of all skills and interests. There will be five sessions over three the days of Labor Day weekend. Each of the sessions offers the same interactive activities and play areas for all ages. Popular activities include Creation Nation, Race Ramps, Mindstorms, and Star Wars. LEGO DUPLO® blocks will be part of the experience for tiny tykes. (Austin Convention Center 500 East Cesar Chavez Austin, TX 78701 or www.legokidsfest.com)

Light, life and Shakespeare in San Francisco.
The California Academy of Sciences is showcasing its newest exhibition Color of Life revealing nature’s secret language of light.  Immersive interactives invite visitors to touch, see, and experience the often surprising ways that nature’s colors reflect the health of ecosystems and the interconnectedness of life on Earth. Join on of the Academy’s Living Roof experiences and explore the hidden universe using infrared light. Add to your weekend some time with the Bard in the park. Pack snacks and a comfy blanket to attend one of SFShakes free Shakespeare in the Park productions of Romeo and Juliet at The Presidio on the Main Post Parade Ground Lawn. (Details at California Academy of Sciences and SFShakes)

Carnival rides, raptors, magic, and rodeo fun at the Colorado State Fair. State fairs provide family entertainment for all ages and Colorado’s is one of the best. From pro rodeo entertainment and a livestock and horse show to parades, country concerts, an arts exhibition, raptor experiences, magic shows and more than 45 carnival rides, the Pueblo Fairgrounds is populated with ways to share the fun. Kids love the Krazy Maze and the LEGO build area. Extra Fun: Labor Day weekend will celebrate history of the true Charro, featuring the rich Hispanic culture steeped in superior horsemanship skills and time-honored music with Mariac Nuevo Sonido and Luis Canela. (Colorado State Fair Box Office at (719) 404-2071, toll-free 1-866-461-6556 or www.coloradostatefair.com)San Diego Festival of Sail Family Fun

Tall ships and mini sails - Festival of Sail 2015.
I like Maritime Museum of San Diego because there is always something clever and engaging happening all year long. By far their biggest effort of the year is the awesome Festival of Sail loaded with possibilities for family fun and shared learning. The festival transforms San Diego’s North Embarcadero area featuring nautical themed experiences on and off the water, artisan’s booths, a play zone for young children, and plenty of energizing musical entertainment. From the dramatic tall ships parade and the symbolic cannon fire salutes to Naval living history re-enactors the event promises to deliver family fun by the sea. Extra Fun: Mid-day sails, and 30-minute bay cruises will be available. (Maritime Museum 1492 North Harbor Dr. San Diego, CA 92101. (619) 234-9153 or www.sdmaritime.org)

Great music and beachfront fireworks – Virginia Beach American Music Festival.
 Music and beachfront fireworks – Virginia Beach American Music Festival. The BeachStreetUSA series of summer entertainment provides visitors with magicians, mimes, jugglers, musicians, and costumed characters from mid –June through Labor Day weekend. The annual American Music Festival is the iconic end of summer celebration. The three days are always packed with an eclectic mix of the best of country, jazz, rock and R&B. Extra Fun: Look for the fireworks from the boardwalk off 20th Street. Extra Fun: Look for the fireworks from the boardwalk off 20th Street. (24th Street Park or Virginia Beach American Music Festival)Celebrate Bandera with Dance

Texas cowboys and Indians - Celebrate Bandera. This annual event in Bandera, Texas offers classic (sometimes slightly quirky) cowboy style fun – dusty, engaging and lively. Because it is not far from my husband’s hometown we have enjoyed several versions of the celebrations with our kids – each unique. From rodeo competitions and antics, an intertribal pow wow and an awesome wild west show to longhorns on parade, gun slingers, stage coach rides and the best western swing music in the country, it’s family friendly at every turn. Extra Fun: Frontier living history on Main St. and cow patty bingo. (Celebrate Bandera Toll-free 1-800-364-3833 or www.celebratebandera.com)

Seeing green - Atlanta Botanical Garden Showcases Bruce Munro: Light in the Garden. The Botanical Garden is always a treat for families providing creative green spaces and innovative, screen-free family program for all ages. The highlight of the season is Bruce Munro: Light in the Garden, an expansive exhibition of light throughout the gardens and inside the conservatories – some set to music. The show’s largest and most spectacular installation, Forest of Light, features more than 30,000 flower-like stems of lights blanketing Storza Woods providing a surreal view from the Canopy Walk. Perhaps most memorable is for its earth friendly nature is Water-Towers, a composition of six-foot tall cylindrical sculptures made of thousands of lighted, water-filled one-liter recyclable bottles. (Atlanta Botanical Gardens 1345 Piedmont Avenue NE Atlanta, Georgia 30309. (404) 876-5859 or www.atlantabotanicalgarden.org)

Celebrate the arts in life – Seattle’s Bumbershoot. Imagine one festival with energizing music including electronic, Americana, blues, global, hip hop, jazz, rock, soul, pop, plus comedy, film, theatre, and visual arts. And the deal is - children 10 and younger receive free admittance when accompanied by a paying adult. To make the festival even better for families there is Youngershoot - a festival within the festival created just for kids and curated by Seattle Children’s Museum. Extra Fun: Look for Brian Vogan & His Good Buddies to enjoy lively tunes and make time for the Little Wing activity tables. (Festival entrance at Seattle Center on Mercer Street, between the Intiman Theater and Exhibition Hall. Bumbershoot’s Youngershoot

Something old, something new - Gloucester Schooner Festival. Massachusetts has always embraced the sea and this classic seaside festival reflects its beauty and bounty and showcases dozens of sea going vessels of all ages and sizes. Even better – the Festival is not just family friendly but also free. Iconic to the event is the Parade of Sail with more than two dozen schooners sailing through the harbor. Extra Fun: Maritime Gloucester’s annual Heritage Day coincides with the weekend festivities and includes free admission exhibits and aquarium, craft demonstrations, interactive exhibits, and live music. (23 Harbor Loop, Gloucester, MA 01930. (978) 281-0470 or Gloucester Schooner Festival

Books, Music and Shakespeare for Labor Day Weekend in Washington DC.
The possibilities for free fun, discoveries and perhaps a little inspiration are many in the DC area. The National Book Festival returns to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center offering a variety of interactive family-centered activities about the importance of lifelong literacy. The 2015 festival theme is "I Cannot Live without Books," a tribute to Thomas Jefferson.  More than 175 award-winning authors, illustrators and poets will talk about and sign their books. The annual concert featuring the National Symphony Orchestra takes place on the Sunday before Labor Day on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Extra Fun: During the weekend five Midsummer Night’s Dream performances are free as part of Shakespeare Theatre Company's annual “Free for All.” (More ideas at visit Washington DC)
Best Festivals & Events for Family Fun
More family-friendly festivals and events may be found in our Festivals & Events folder.  

Content researched and posted by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files with images courtesy , Celebrate Bandera, LEGO KidFest, and by Maggie Walton for San Diego Maritime Museum. Copyright updated 2017.

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