Get the scoop on the best family activities in Seattle.

Step Right Up to the Coolest (and Most Eclectic) Carnival in Town

True carnivals seem to have gone the way of rotary telephones and record players, but we’re lucky here in Seattle. The hipster (and we mean that in the best way) neighborhood of Georgetown has been hosting their version of a carnival since 2006, and it rocks in all sorts of eclectic ways. From power tool races to Kidz Orchestra performances to the hippest midway that ever existed, we’ve got your insider’s guide to the coolest, most creative carnival in town.

Georgetown_Carnival_Equinox3

Magnificent Midway
Georgetown’s Equinox Studios has hosted the Midway at the carnival for the last few years, and we think it’s way more fascinating and fun than any “kids’ area” we’ve ever visited. (Our kiddos think so too!). Their working title this year is the “Equinox Highway of Hijinks! Art for All Ages!”, if that gives you a clue into the awesomeness. Their out-of-this-world objective is to make art as interactive as possible, and to help you if you’re not quite sure how, or might just be a little shy about it. From the obvious hands-on fun of Bangers and Clangers (which describes exactly what your mini Bam-Bam can do there) to the titillating-ly-named Maniacal Mural Mayhem to a possible visit by the Mighty Schmackammer (say it out loud in a big voice, and you’ll get the gist), you and your mini-me can easily spend an hour here, surveying the cool, getting your hands dirty, and possibly getting covered in paint. (A change of clothes might be a good idea-or not. You’ll fit right in either way).

georgetown carnival bangers

Tooling Around
Do you have a little one who loves helping Daddy (or Mommy) in the garage? Then Hazardfactory’s Power Tool Drag Races is for you! Head over to the Power Tool Races’ wooden track between 12 p.m.-5 p.m. on Airport Way, and check out the loads of creative and funny rigged-up power tools. You might see a belt-sander turned low-rider, a vacuum cleaner/power drill on wheels, or a table saw drag racer…you won’t know ’til you check it out (and even then you still may not be sure). Keep in mind that this race is less about winning and more about having fun, so expect creative genius, general silliness and all around tomfoolery. And the trophies’ artistry may surpass the power tools, so be sure to check those out too. Psst! Want to enter a crafty creation into the race with your mini-me? Check out HazardFactory’s website for more info, and get building!

Knitting Factory
New this year, Zoey Platt’s art installation “Suspension of Disbelief” is a dreamy climbing structure you won’t find at your kiddo’s favorite playground. This fun piece is made of many sections of crocheted rope and is meant to be climbed on, interacted with and played within by kids and adults. Although it will eventually be pieced together to form a 16’ high, 40’ by 40’ masterpiece at this year’s Burning Man, the section at the carnival will still be an impressive 16’ long, 9’ wide and 6’ high. Get your climbing feet ready and prepare to have fun!

gtown carnival SOD 1

Beach Bums
Did you know there’s a beach right in the middle of Georgetown? Open for volleyball all year round and fun preschool playtimes through June 26, Sandbox Sports is located smack-dab in the middle of all the fun, and will be offering an open playtime for kids ages 0-5 during the Carnival (as well as free volleyball time). They also offer kid-pleasing snacks and adult-friendly beer and hard cider, as well as much needed shade on a hot day. Although this is not a drop-off playtime for kids, it is close to the Carnival Stage (see below) and is a convenient pass through from the stage to the beer gardens, OddMall (see below) and other fun attractions further north. Or just buy a drink, find a seat and relax while your kiddo builds sandcastles!

Sandbox Sports kids playing little diggers

One-Of-A-Kind Finds
Is your summer filled with birthday parties for people who are just too hard to shop for? Then the OddMall may be just the trick for that picky family member. Started in Ohio in 2009 and expanded to Seattle in 2013, OddMall: Emporium of the Weird provides a space for mostly Northwest artists of unique and eclectic creations to come together and share and sell their wares. Their larger events happen twice a year (the next being in October 2014), but lucky for us they’re hosting 20 booths at the Carnival for all your unique gifting needs. From one-of-a-kind painted vinyl records to Mallory Milke’s beautiful hand painted animal portraits called Zen Tangles to Skull Shoppe’s skull reproductions used in movies and theater, you can bet you won’t find any of these gifts at your next birthday party.

And for even more unique gifts for you picky parents, check out the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall, which is open all year round on weekends at 11 a.m. and will have their trailer doors wide open during the Carnival for that one-of-a-kind find. From carnival glass to cowboy boots to vintage Le Creuset, there’s something for even the most discerning dad.

Georgetown carnival trailer park DeAnne E Yelp

Kid Rock (and Other Fun Stuff)
We’ve mentioned all the ways this carnival is kid-friendly, but to bring that point home, the Carnival Stage (one of three stages at the Carnival) is totally geared towards kids! (Adults will like it too, so don’t worry—the organizers like to call the music “dad rock”). If your kiddo is all about the rock and roll, then the punk/sixties style garage rock-influenced Neerdowells (featuring longtime Seattle Drum School student Eli shredding on guitar) and the Kidz Orchestra (featuring Seattle Drum School students ages 10 to 15) will be sure to hit a high note. If your Little prefers to look towards the skies, the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA) kids’ performances will give them wings. Along with poetry, brass bands, DJs and more—your cultured kiddo will surely find something to keep him rockin’ the day away.

Georgetown Carnival Neerdowells

Eat ‘Em Up
Yes, we know—kids need to eat approximately 20 times a day. Luckily, there are a ton of gastronomic goodies offered at the Carnival. From a plethora of kid-friendly restaurants to a street of food trucks (including favorites like Where Ya At, Matt? and Raney Brothers BBQ), you will have no problem keeping those bellies full and happy. And if you can tag team with a partner or friend, there will be two beer and wine gardens, both with live music. Cheers, happy parents!

georgetown carnival video game

Adventure Around Every Corner
If nothing else, the Georgetown Carnival is a fantastic place to watch people and take in all that is awesome about Georgetown. We’ve listed the stuff we think is extra-cool, but there will definitely be more stuff popping up on the day of the Carnival. Wander the streets and you just might find your new favorite thing. Interactive murals? Live street performances? Roaming bands of toys? Live action video games? A beer ATM? (Yes, that’s what we said.) Pinball? Combine that with a variety of great shops, tons of live music and performances and a funky vibe, the Georgetown Carnival is guaranteed to keep your kiddo busy, make you laugh out loud and leave you feeling good about this eclectic and awesome little neighborhood.

Georgetown Carnival
Along Airport Way between S. Corson St. and S. Bailey St.
Online: georgetownmerchants.org/georgetown_carnival_2014.html

When: Saturday, June 14, 2014
Time: 12 p.m.-10 p.m.
Cost: Free

Do you think you’ll visit the Georgetown Carnival this year? Have you visited before? Let us know your favorite part of the carnival in a comment below!

-Erin Cranston

 Photos courtesy of: Georgetown Carnival, DeAnne E on Yelp, Neerdowells Facebook Page, SOD & Erin Cranston

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