The sun is shining, the flowers are starting to bloom and the temperature is rising which means it’s time to come out of hibernation and enjoy the many spectacular festivals happening around our city. But which ones are best for families? We’ve done the legwork and handpicked 9 fabulous spring fests to fit everyone’s interests. From crafts and music to flowers and farm animals, scroll down and get ready to clear your calendars!
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
Spring has sprung when the tulips burst open! The month-long Skagit Valley Tulip Festival offers field upon field of vibrant color. Drive through the many fields scattered throughout Skagit Valley or make a stop at RoozenGaarde and Tulip Town to visit the gardens, see beautiful displays and snap some photos of the fam in the brightly-colored fields.
There are all kinds of special events in honor of the festival. April 7th is a big day in the land of the tulips. In addition to the annual Tulip Run, the Annual Kiwanis Club of La Conner Not So Impromptu Kiwanis Tulip Parade presented by US Bank will take place at 2 p.m. at the Port of Skagit complex in LaConer. On the 14th, the PACCAR Technical Center will hold its Annual Open House from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. with free admission. The truck testing facility only opens to the public once a year and allows you to get up close with the big rigs (kids can even sit in them!). April 20-22, ( .) is the annual Downtown Mount Vernon Street Fair (on S. First St.) with hundreds of juried arts and crafts, unique gifts, live music, gourmet food and children’s activities.
Good to know: According to festival organizers, the tulips are on target for an April bloom this year which means you should see color in the fields by the first week of April and fields in full bloom by the second week of April. And unlike the blooms in 2015 and 2016, there will be tulips to see throughout the entire month of April. Since blooms can change in a short amount of time, check the bloom status before you go or call 360-428-5959 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dates: Apr. 1–30, 2018
Cost: Free to drive around Skagit Valley; various admission fees to enter gardens.
Daffodil Festival Parade
Who doesn't love the fanfare of a great parade? The 85th Annual Daffodil Grand Floral Parade, one of the region’s longest running festivals, celebrates the community, history and traditions of Pierce County. The parade consists of over 180 entries, including high school bands, marching units and floats decorated with thousands of fresh-cut daffodils commemorating the daffodil fields that once covered Puyallup Valley. The parade travels through four cities throughout the day, beginning in Tacoma and ending in Orting, so you have multiple chances to catch it.
Date: Apr. 7, 2018
Times: 10:15 a.m. in Tacoma; 12:45 p.m. in Puyallup; 2:30 p.m. in Sumner; 5 p.m. in Orting
Seattle International Children’s Friendship Festival
Celebrate the rich traditions of cultures from around the globe at the International Children’s Friendship Festival. This annual festival is for kids, by kids, featuring cultural exhibits and stage performances including music, ballet, and folk dance highlighting local kids’ ethnic heritages. Sponsored by the Turkish American Cultural Association of Washington (TACAWA), this festival unites kids through the universal language of art, fostering cultural exchange and friendship in a creative, festive environment.
Date: Apr. 14-15, 2018
Time: 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Seattle Center - Fisher Pavilion
305 Harrison St.
Seattle, Wa 98109
Washington State Spring Fair
Welcome the warmer weather and sunshine with a visit to the Washington State Events Center for the annual Washington State Spring Fair. Take in favorite fair attractions, including baby animal exhibits, carnival rides, music, entertainment, and of course, amazing eats... can you say hot Fisher scones?
Be sure to visit Fun on the Farm, a fun area for kids with a petting zoo and interactive zone where future farmers can try their hand at milking a faux cow. Check out the racing pigs and leaping dock dogs or hang out at the hands-on KidZone—an entire building dedicated to kids. Motorsport Mayhem will be rockin’ all weekend with tricked-out monster trucks on Friday and an action-packed Slamfest Demolition Derby on Saturday and Sunday. Psst...stick around on Friday and Saturday evening to enjoy the fireworks that will be set off from the Grandstand and visible from various locations throughout the grounds. Show begins at approximately 9 p.m., after the Motorsport Mayhem show.
Good to know: All kids 18 years and under are free on Thurs., Apr. 19 from 2 p.m.-10 p.m. with a non-perishable food donation. Military Appreciation Day, presented by KVI 570 AM and KOMO News Radio 1000 AM/97.7 FM, will be on Fri., April 20 with free gate admission to active, reserve, retired military and their dependents with valid military ID.
Dates: Apr. 19-22, 2018
Time: Thurs., 2 p.m.–10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
Cost: $12/Adults; $10/Students (6-18); 5 & under Free (pre-fair discounts available online). Parking is free on Thurs. & Fri; $10 on Sat. & Sun.
Washington State Fair Events Center
110 9th Ave. S.W.
Puyallup, Wa 98371
Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival
Seattle’s beautiful cherry blossoms are a-bloomin’, so that means it’s time to celebrate the Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival. Founded over 40 years ago in appreciation of 1,000 cherry trees gifted to Seattle by the Japanese government, this award-winning festival aims to increase the understanding and friendship between the people of Japan and the Pacific Northwest.
This year’s events focus on American and Japanese milestones in history. Experience the rich heritage and contemporary influences of Japanese culture through visual arts and technology, hands-on activities, food and games, including Taiko drumming and a theatrical stage production.
Date: Apr. 20-22, 2018
Time: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Seattle Center Armory & Fisher Pavilion
305 Harrison St.
Seattle, Wa 98109
Mercer Island Preschool Association (MIPA) Circus
If you've never been to the MIPA Circus before, then you're in for a real treat this year! This annual extravaganza, celebrating its 52nd year this April, is going to be the organization's biggest Circus yet. And tykes ages 2-8 and their families can expect non-stop fun. There will be carnival games and prizes, live entertainment, face painting, pony rides and a cupcake walk. Plus, bouncy houses, a dunk tank and so much more. Psst! Be sure to come hungry and take advantage of the delicious food trucks that will be on site.
Good to know: Recess Monkey will be taking the stage at 1 p.m. and you don't want to miss this high-energy performance!
Date: April 21, 2018
Time: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Cost: $15/Kids (includes all access wrist band); Adults are Free. $5 for pony rides. Food is extra.
Mercer Island High School
9100 S.E. 42nd St
Mercer Island, Wa 98040
A Festival for May
Knights and fair maidens gather together to usher in the magical month of May at Camlann Medieval Village. May Day was a popular holiday in the Middle Ages when villagers would enjoy dancing, games, feasting and contests. The 20th Annual Festival for May brings the fun and festivities of springtime to the beautiful Seattle countryside. Catch a glimpse of what May Day might have looked like hundreds of years ago as you experience entertainment and craft shops, including garland weaving, wool dyeing and blacksmithing. Psst! Get in the spirit by donning medieval garb (optional, but super authentic).
Good to know: The festival culminates with a colorful Maypole ceremony and selection of the Queen of May at 4:30 p.m., followed by a traditional feast. Dinner is by reservation; $45/person for festival and feast.
Dates: May 5-6, 2018
Time: noon–5 p.m.
Cost: $10/Adults (13+); $6/Seniors and Kids (12 & under); 5 & under Free
Camlann Medieval Village
10320 Kelly Rd. N.E.
Carnation, Wa 98014
Northwest Folklife Festival
For over 45 years, Memorial Day Weekend in Seattle has been synonymous with the Northwest Folklife Festival. This four-day celebration of the evolving folk and ethnic traditions of the Pacific Northwest is commemorated through the arts and music. Kids can party and jam in a special area designated for families or hang out in the Discovery Zone that will be overflowing with age-appropriate adventures, hands-on activities, performances and workshops.
Good to know: The festival schedule will be posted on May 1, 2018, so be sure to check the website.
Date: May 25-28, 2018
Time: Fri.–Sun., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Mon., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Kids’ Discovery Zone open daily from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Food vendor hours vary.
305 Harrison St.
Seattle, Wa 98109
Does your family have a favorite spring festival? Tell us in the comments below.
— Kristina Moy & Abbey McGee
Feature photo courtesy of Patrick Hagerty.