Get your party pants ready, it’s Spring festival season and this weekend is the unofficial launch. Whether you want to rock it like a Scandinavian, want to dive into a festival of books or participate in some historical entertainment at the  Renaissance Faire, there’s no shortage of celebrations. And if you want to join over 10,000 volunteers to do a little good, head to the LA River for the annual cleanup. Scroll through to see the rest of the weekends picks and let us know where you’re headed below!

photo: ScanFest via Facebook

Los Angeles

Hey Bookworms: The L.A. Times Festival of Books
The annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is back for its 23rd year! Join hundreds of authors, celebrities, musicians, artists and chefs for the largest literary festival in America, held at the University of Southern California. Outdoor stages will feature celebrity authors, family-friendly entertainment, cooking demonstrations, live music and poetry readings, in addition to discussion topics ranging from politics to pop culture. This year, look out for the NewStory experience, a special series of programs highlighting emerging forms of storytelling. The event is free to attend and open to the public. Sat.-Sun. Event details.

Salt & Straw Debuts Student Inventor Flavors
Salt & Straw debuts their annual student inventor series featuring five limited-edition flavors inspired by suggestions from local elementary school kids. A portion of the proceeds from these special flavors will benefit the schools — each located near one of Salt & Straw’s scoop shops. Co-founder and head ice cream maker Tyler Malek worked closely with the students at each school to bring their wildest flavor inventions to life. The flavors will be available at all LA scoop shops, including Arts District, Larchmont, Studio City, Venice and West Hollywood, through the month of April. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

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Odd Nights at the Autry
The Odd Market at the Autry is located directly across from the L.A. Zoo. There’s a huge kids area with a rock wall, massive inflatables, bungee and toddler wing, mobile boutiques with over 80 pop-up shops, access to the Autry Gallery until 9 p.m. is included in the admission price, a full bar (!), live music and guest DJs and pets are welcome. Not to mention free parking (you can use the zoo too). What are you waiting for? Fri. Event details.

Bowtie Field Day
Join Clockshop and California State Parks for Bowtie Field Day, an afternoon of outdoor activities along the Los Angeles River at the Bowtie Project. This free program is open to all ages and includes a campfire and s’mores at sunset. Tacos will be available for purchase until 6 p.m. Check the website for the list of exciting scheduled events! Sat. Event details.

The Great LA River CleanUp (La Gran Limpieza)!
During Earth Month, join the 29th LA River CleanUp by signing up for the biggest activation in the U.S.! Last year, over 10,000 volunteers, individuals, and groups of all ages and backgrounds demonstrated their passion for the LA River by joining the Friends of LA River (FoLAR) annual CleanUp. The 2018 CleanUp will be held at 9 sites along the River with different locations on each date. Pick a site best for you and your family! Volunteers will receive a FoLAR reusable tote bag, FoLAR t-shirt, and other goodies, have access to entertainment and the LA River Rover mobile visitor and education center. Sat. Event details. 

Thousand Oaks

Scandinavian Festival
A Viking village takes over the CLU campus. Two days of festivities include dancing around the maypole, fresh-flower garland making, historical games, music, crafts, and traditional food. Don’t leave without tasting the Swedish meatballs, Danish pastries, or Aebleskivers! Sat.-Sun. Event details.

DTLA

Union Station Spring Concert Series
Harpist Mary Lattimore, LA-based band El Rio, and acclaimed percussionists with legendary double violinist and vocalist Shenkar will perform three outdoor spring concerts on consecutive Sunday afternoons in historic Union Station’s North Patio. Sun. Event details. 

Hollywood

Don’t Fail To Visit
Visit The Museum of Failure, a one of a kind international collection of more than 100 innovation failures. For every successful product corporations put on the market, there are many failures behind it. The Museum explores these sometimes humorous misses, giving visitors a fascinating learning experience and insight into the risky business of innovation. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Worth the Drive

Renaissance Pleasure Faire
The Master of the Revels at this Faire in Port Deptford has searched for many fine things for young subjects to do. Those of fewer summers shall have the opportunity to create beautiful crafts, have great fun with games & rides, be entertained with fabulous stage shows, and be knighted by the King at the children’s knighting ceremony! Admission to the original Renaissance Faire includes all entertainment: the Joust, 4 parades, over 2,000 performers, music, dance, interactive living history exhibits, craft demonstrations and the battle pageant. Select lessons, activities, and pageants for children are also included. Bring the whole family! (Kids under 4 are free, and be sure to check the website for discounts and savings.) Fri.-Sun. Event details.

SCV Kids Consignment Spring 2018 Event
Making kids affordable! Find everything you need for your kids at a fraction of the cost. 550 families are contributing over 80,000 amazing new and gently-used items to the SCV Kids Consignment. You’ll find: clothes, toys, shoes, strollers, games, puzzles, DVDs, bikes, outdoor play equipment, maternity, furniture, women’s purses and more! Thousands of items are donated to local charities at the end of each event- blessing even more LA families. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

A Faery Hunt Mother Earth’s Day Show
We’ll go on a gentle quest through the forest to find the faeries and they’ll send us on a lovely, musical adventure celebrating the beauty of nature! A Faery Hunt shows are interactive performances designed for young audiences and families to inspire creativity, imagination & fun. Many children come in costume. Wings, garlands, wands, wizard hats and CD’s of the Faery hits from the shows are available there for $5-$10 for sale. Groups and parties are welcome! Sat. Event details.

Everything’s Coming Up Poppies
Pop quiz: what’s California’s State flower? The Poppy, of course. Have you ever wanted to reenact the scene in The Wizard of Oz and fall asleep in a huge field of gorgeous poppies?  Here’s your chance at the weekend-long festival that celebrates this beautiful flower. We’re so enamored, we found out all about it, and you can too if you read our handy guide. Sat.-Sun. Event details.

What are you checking out this weekend? Let us know in the comments below!

—Andie Huber

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