Ferris wheel at a fair

Summer Festivals, Fairs and Fun

From fests to parades, there’s always something going on in the nation’s capital when the weather starts to warm up. Locals are a little spoiled, especially since visitors often save for months or spend their life savings to come here when we have access to the greatest tastings, festivals, fairs, and events year round. Don’t be afraid to venture out to fests in the ‘burbs. You can have some fun, enjoy some good eats, and breathe some fresh air (for a change). For a comprehensive look at what’s happening now and throughout the summertime, check out this listing below for food, wine and good ol’ wholesome family fun.

Upcoming Food Events

July 4th Celebrations: Celebrate the Fourth of July in Tysons‬! Let loose on America’s birthday by going to one of these fun, local events. Live music, food, drinks, parades, and more make up this year’s offerings. Don’t forget to cap off the evening with a spectacular ‪‎fireworks‬ display!

Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival – June 29- July 4; July 7-10: This engrossing two-week festival on the National Mall juxtaposes the rich traditions of various corners of the United States and cultures around the world. Highlights include traditional dance and music performances, storytelling, and ethnic food of all sorts.  Themes this year include Basque: Innovation through culture and California Music.  Discover how the Basque Country sustains culture, drawing on traditions to innovate in a rapidly changing world. Learn renowned cooking techniques and phrases in the Euskara language. Experience bertsolaritza poetry competitions and stone-lifting matches. Drink a refreshing glass of cider or rioja wine and meet master artisans.
Explore the Sounds of California through the music and stories of immigrant communities shaping the diverse state. Interact with artists in music workshops and stretch out on the lawn for an evening concert series. The Festival is held outdoors on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between the Smithsonian museums. Activities include daily and evening music performances, crafts and cooking demonstrations, storytelling and discussions of cultural issues. There is no admission charge.  Festival hours are 11 am to 5:30 pm.

Truckeroo Food Truck Festival – July 8, 2016: Truckeroo brings local food trucks to the Fairgrounds at Yards Park (1299 Half St., SE) to dole out everything from cookies and milk to Vietnamese sandwiches. About two dozen wheeled food sellers show up, and there are picnic tables and shade to keep things cool. 11 am – 11 pm. Sample the fare from more than 20 food trucks while enjoying live music, cornhole, and a festive atmosphere. Free admission; food prices vary.

Barrel & Bushel Virginia Craft Beer Festival – July 16, 2016: Mark your calendar for the first Barrel & Bushel Virginia Craft Beer Festival! This event is bringing together more than 50 regional breweries showcasing the season’s best brews! You’ll be able to spend the afternoon meeting the brewers, tasting delicious handcrafted food, sampling the industry’s best bourbons, listening to live music, and working on your tan. Your ticket includes a limited edition tasting glass, 2 drink tickets and some fun summer swag! Saturday, July 16: 12pm – 7pm; Sunday, July 17: 12pm – 5pm

Brew at the Zoo – July 21, 2016: Raise your glass to conservation! Join FONZ at their 12th annual beer fest, where you’ll sample beers from more than 75 craft breweries. Guests will also enjoy live entertainment by local band The Reagan Years, lawn games, and animal demonstrations. Plus, purchase fare from popular food trucks that will be on site. Proceeds benefit animal care and conservation science at Smithsonian’s National Zoo. So raise your glass and toast to the animals! All guests must be 21 and over to attend. A photo ID is required. Children, infants, strollers, and infant carriers are not permitted. 6-9 pm

County Fairs

August 4-6 (2016)

  • Loudoun County Fair: Held annually in Leesburg, VA, experience a true country fair featuring 4-H animals, crafts, carnival rides, entertainment, food, livestock auctions, professional bull riding, and a mini demolition derby. Enjoy a carnival, children’s activities, educational demonstrations, a pet show, vendors, kiss-a-pig contest, and much more!

August 4-6 (2016)

  • Pig Races

    68th Annual Fairfax 4-H Fair and Frying Pan Park Farm Show: This 68th Annual event is great fun for the whole family! Fairgoers will also enjoy the fantastic Frying Pan Park Farm Show and Fairfax County Park Authority’s 1920′s-era Kidwell Farm. Held at Frying Pan Park (2709 W Ox Rd.), activities include live entertainment, carnival rides and games, hayrides, cow milking, blacksmith and farrier demos, animal washing and grooming, sheep shearing, and lots more! Enjoy a free concert (Thurs), see the Big Truck show (Fri), watch the Tractor Pull (Sat), see the 4H exhibits, animal shows, and entertainment (Sat & Sun), or ride the carnival rides all 4 days of the event. There will be a $7 parking fee, however admission to the Fair is free. Saturday: 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m

August 12-21 (2016)

  • Cole Amusements

    Arlington County Fair: Now in its 40th year, enjoy a classic county fair with carnival rides, face painting, competitive exhibits, arts and crafts, great international cuisine, live entertainment, pony rides, pig and goat races, a petting zoo and much more, held at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 South Second St.). Cole Shows Amusement Company will return this year to provide amusement rides, midway games, and nostalgic carnival food for fair-goers of all ages. All of the most popular rides from past years, including the Zipper, the Heart Flip, and the Rainbow, will be back!  Rides: single tickets for $1, 24 tickets for $20, and 48 tickets for $40. Catch an outdoor flick at the fair: Friday night’s movie will be family-friendly and Saturday night’s movie will be for teens. The movies will be shown on the tennis courts next to the midway and will start as soon as the sun goes down.Wed/Thur: 5-10 p.m.; Fri/Sat: 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Admission: Free

August 12-20 (2016)

  • Photo by Johnathon Potts

    The Montgomery County Agricultural Fair is the largest county fair in the State of Maryland. Since 1949, the Fair (500 Perry Pkwy, Gaithersburg, MD) has been a showcase of farm life and is a family event with lots of carnival rides, great entertainment, wonderful foods, and fun activities for all ages. This event is chock full of amazing events and performances, including dog show, pick races, demolition derby, tractor pull, monster truck rides, and more! Adult: $10 (12yrs+); Child: FREE (11yrs and younger). Ticket packages and discounts available online. 10am-midnight.

August 12-20 (2016)

  • The Prince William County Fair started in 1949 by a group of WWII veterans, and is the largest in the state of Virginia, held at the Prince William County Fairgrounds (10624 Dumfries Road, at Route 234 Manassas, VA ).  The annual event includes livestock exhibits, home arts exhibits, tractor pulls, a rodeo, demolition derbies, baby contests, live music and a variety of midway shows. Adult: $8 in advance; Child/Senior (5-13yrs and 60+yrs): $5. This year, Half Price Day will be Monday, August 11th. Admission to the Fair and ride wrist bands will be half price! That’s $4.00 for adult admission and only $10.00 for the ride wrist band.

August 20 (2016)

  • Vienna Country Fair: On Saturday, August 20, from noon to 4 PM, Historic Vienna, Inc. will host the first Vienna Country Fair on the grounds of the Freeman Store & Museum, 131 Church Street, NE, Vienna, VA 22180. Unplug and return to a simpler time at this family friendly event. The Country Fair will feature farm animals, cow milking, butter to churn, barn dancing, woodcarving, beekeeping, farm crafts and games, races for the kids, a flower show, live music by the Difficult Run String Band, and a farm tractor from Vienna’s Maple Avenue Market. There will also be a fruit and vegetable competition during the Fair. Members of the public wishing to participate in the competition should bring their best tomatoes, squash, berries, patio pots or other items to the Freeman Store between 8 and 10 AM the morning of the Fair.
    The afternoon will feature Historic Vienna’s second annual Bike Decorating Contest and Bike Parade at 3 PM. “Kids” of all ages are welcome to participate, no pre-registration is necessary.
    Burgers, hotdogs and other refreshments will be available for purchase at the Fair from the Sons of the American Legion of Vienna’s Dyer-Gunnell American Legion Post 180.
    Bring your family and friends to this wonderful event. Admission to the Fair is free. For more information visit historicviennainc.org or call 703-938-5187.

 Past Events

36th Annual Herndon Festival – June 2 – June 5, 2016: There is a large array of activities to keep festival patrons entertained. This time-honored event, is a four-day outdoor festival featuring dynamic entertainment on three stages, a carnival, two fireworks displays, Kids’ Alley with children’s hands-on art area, arts & crafts show, business expo, 10K/5K races and fitness expo, complimentary shuttle bus service, and a wide variety of high-quality food vendors. All these great offerings attract an average of 80,000 people each year.

Saint Katherine Greek Orthodox Festival – June 3 – June 5, 2016: The annual Spring 2016 Greek Festival draws hundreds of locals to enjoy live music, dance, and of course delicious Greek home-made treats and specialties like Moussaka, Pastitsio, Spanakopita and more! Held June 3-5, 11 am-10 pm daily.

Vintage Virginia – June 3 – June 5, 2016: Calling all wine lovers and foodies! Enjoy live music, delicious food and all you can taste wine. 11 am – 6 pm VIP Admission, Noon – 6pm $30 General Admission at Bull Run Special Events Center (7700 Bull Run Dr. Centreville, VA).

Celebrate Fairfax– June 10-12, 2016: This annual community-wide celebration is held at the Fairfax County Government Center in Fairfax County, Virginia (12000 Government Center Parkway) and hosts more than 70,000 visitors each year. Now in its 33rd year, expect the very best! Sample more than 30 food vendors with a variety of menus, styles and tastes. The 25-acre site was magically filled with fascinating sights and sounds of more than 300 exhibitors, food vendors, and interactive activities. Celebrate Fairfax! showcases live concerts on eight stages, Innovation Health Children’s Avenue, a petting zoo, the Fairfax County Karaoke Championship, carnival rides, and great festival foods. Kids will love their huge carnival and games area, including the enormous ferris wheel. Another fun free activity for kids is the Fairfax Express Trackless Train Ride. Nightly fireworks, presented by Leidos, are a highlight of the festival, and one of many great family programs. This year’s Bud Light Main Stage will feature top national headline performers Plain White T’s, The B-52’s, and Living Colour.For more information about ticketing, visit the festival’s Early Bird Tickets Page. Save money by ordering online now. Festival Hours: Friday 6pm-12am, Saturday 10am-12am and Sunday 11am-7pm.

Taste of Reston – June 17-18, 2016: Northern Virginia’s largest outdoor food festival, produced by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, will take place on Market Street at the Reston Town Center (11900 Market Street  Reston, VA). This year’s event marking their 25th year celebration, will feature more than 30 area restaurants, a full line-up of musical entertainment, a kid’s activity tent, and for returning is their chef’s demonstration stage or “Wine n’ Dine” area. Best of all, admission to Taste of Reston is FREE, but Taste Tickets and Carnival Tickets are necessary to sample food or take a spin on your favorite ride. Taste Tickets are $1 per ticket or $20 for a sheet of 24 tickets! Each sample ranges from 1-5 tickets. Hours: FRI 3-11 pm; SAT 12-11 pm Avoid the lines and buy taste tickets online here.

Truckeroo Food Truck Festival – June 17, 2016: Truckeroo brings local food trucks to the Fairgrounds at Yards Park (1299 Half St., SE) to dole out everything from cookies and milk to Vietnamese sandwiches. About two dozen wheeled food sellers show up, and there are picnic tables and shade to keep things cool. 11 am – 11 pm. Sample the fare from more than 20 food trucks while enjoying live music, cornhole, and a festive atmosphere. Free admission; food prices vary.

At the National Harbor!

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival – June 17 – 18, 2016:  You’ll not want to miss this fest for a great day of beer sippin’, bourbon tastin’, music listenin’, cigar smokin’, and barbeque eatin’ at the gorgeous National Harbor (137 National Plaza, National Harbor, MD). Your admission buys you a sampling glass so you can enjoy an ALL-YOU-CARE –TO-TASTE sampling of beer and bourbon. There will be 40+ Bourbons and 60+ Beers on Tap. Some of the best barbeque vendors are on-site if you get hungry all while enjoying seminars in the tasting theater and live music all day. Enjoy the great barbeque selection – pulled pork from whole hogs, ribs, brisket, chickens, sausages and any fixin’ you could imagine. Enjoy Seminars in the Tasting Theater with Master Distillers, Brewmasters, and Pit Masters From the Deep South. Enjoy live Rock & Blues Music and great Bluegrass on The Main Stage and 5,000 square foot games area featuring Racing Trikes, Cornhole, Foozeball, Giant Jenga and much more! Fest Hours: Friday 6– 10:00pm & Saturday 12 – 6pm. General Admission: $35; Two-Day access: $59-89 (it sells out, so get tickets!)

Safeway BBQ Battle takes over Pennsylvania Ave.

The 24th Annual Giant Barbecue Battle: June 25-26, 2016 The two-day festival (Saturday: 11 AM to 9:00 PM; Sunday: 11 AM to 7:30 PM) downtown (1100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW) includes delicious barbecue and tasty treats of all kinds from top vendors, plenty of delicious free food samples and live entertainment including 30 bands on multiple stages all surrounding one of the nation’s top barbecue cooking competitions. The ever-popular Sampling Pavilion showcases a line-up of delicious and tempting free food samples while celebrity chefs and cookbook authors entertain with cooking demonstrations on the Demonstration Stage. Musical entertainment includes nationally-known bands. Barbecue legends like Myron Mixon and Tuffy Stone from TV’s “BBQ Pit Masters Show,” compete side-by-side with top BBQ Chefs and mom-and-pop teams, for the coveted title of National Barbecue Champion.  In 2016, military chefs from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine
Corps and Coast Guard will participate in a special cook-off to benefit the USO of Metropolitan Washington. Besides all the great food, music, cooking entertainment and competition, there are activities for kids of all ages to enjoy. Children’s rides and activities and sports attractions, including NBA Nation Tour featuring NBA star players, Man Vs. Food Tour (Food Network), Disney’s Ratatouille Tour, Destination America’s popular “BBQ Pitmasters,” National Pork Tour, Perdue Cooking with Kids, Johnsonville (World’s Largest) Big Taste Grill, Charbroil Grill Tour, History Channel Cross Country Cookout, Kraft Mac & Cheese Tour, Nascar Kids Racing Tour, Lego Experience, Xbox Live and more help make the Barbecue Battle the perfect way to kick off summer in Washington! Hours: Saturday: 11 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Sunday: 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. General Admission: Adult $15; Weekend pass (both days): $30.

5th Annual Alexandria Food & Wine Festival – June 25, 2016: After the huge success of Alexandria’s Food and Wine Festival, the festival will return but with a new waterfront location – Oronoco Bay Park.  The festival is a community-based event featuring tastes of local foods and wine, as well as artisans, a Children’s Corner, and live entertainment. Attendees will be able to sample food and wine from a variety of local restaurants and Virginia’s wineries. Local restaurants will compete for the best appetizer, the best main course and the best dessert – judged by notable DC foodie judges. There will also be food demonstrations throughout the day. Alexandria’s Food & Wine Festival participating restaurants and wineries include: Wineries: Democracy Vineyard, Mattaponi Winery, Horton Winery, The Williamsburg Winery, Rogers Ford, Rebec Vineyards, James River Cellars, Desert Rose, Lake Anna Winery, and Athena Vineyards. (more to be announced) Restaurants/Food Vendors: Mum Mum Thai Restaurant, La Tasca, Wholefoods Market, Ben & Jerry’s, Delia’s Mediterranean Grill, Uno Pizzeria & Grill, Cupcaked Bakery, Talk of Di Town, A La Lucia, Hunting Creek, Olio Tasting Room, The Peppers, Popcorn Queens, Passanante’s Home Food Service, The Capital Candy Jar, Juicie, Robeks Fruit Smoothies, and Laconiko.
This is a free event to attend; however tickets are needed to sample food and beverages. Tickets are $15 (per area, wine area + food area) and can be purchased online at the festival website. area) on site. Each booklet is comprised of a total of 25 Taste tickets at the price of $20. Each food item costs between 1 to 5 tickets. Hours: 12-6 p.m.

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