With the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year upon us, your wallet may feel a little lighter than usual. But it doesn’t mean you can’t have a bunch of fun with the kiddos this weekend. We found a handful of happenings that are each under $20 (a Renaissance fest!), and some are even free (dragon boat races!). Check out some more end of summer happenings that won’t break the bank.

dragon-boatPhoto: Avi Schwab via Flickr


Calling All Campers! Sizanani Family Fun Day
There’s no better way to understand why Global Camps Africa are important than to come to camp yourself! Experience the awesomeness of Global Camps Africa through theater, adventure and life skills activities at this free event. Any kid (5 and up) can join the fun activities, which will be led by experienced South African camp counselors. Bonus: there will also be a gratis hot dog lunch to nosh on. Fri., 10:30 am-12:30 pm. Free. Ages 5-18. Event details.

Southwest Waterfront

A Day With the Dragons 
On your marks…get set…GO! Celebrate Asian culture at this family-friendly event featuring dragon boat teams (their boats are literally shaped and designed to look like the mythical creatures)  from along the east coast competing in various races throughout the day. Between heats, stroll vendors or grab a bite. Fri., 8 am-5 pm. Free. Ages 5-18. Event details.


Maryland Renaissance Festival 
Hark now! The intersection of Route 450 and Crownsville Road in Crownsville, Maryland has been transformed into a 16th century English village, filled with crafts, food, live performances, a jousting arena and games for the whole family. There’s a lot to see, but if you don’t get through it all during your first time around, don’t worry–the festival takes place every weekend through Oct. 25. Fare thee well! Sat.-Sun., 10 am-7 pm. $19/adults; $8/kids ages 7-15; free/kids under 6. All ages. Event details.


The Museum Exhibit LEGO Enthusiasts Will Love
Builders of all ages will want to check out Port Discovery’s newest traveling exhibit, LEGO Castle Adventure. Visitors will be able to explore a giant castle filled with LEGO decor, sit in a king and queen’s thrones, aim a catapult, and joust. Oh, and it goes without saying that there are multiple opportunities to construct your own LEGO castles. Fri.-Sun. All ages. Event details.


Redskins Rides Car Show 
The car critic in your family will have a slew of exotic and classic rides to check out at this annual car show. In addition to a moonbounce, ongoing music and food stands, Redskin football players and cheerleaders will also be on hand for fun photo ops and autographs. Sun., 12 pm-5 pm. $15/adults; $10/kids; free/kids under 4. All ages. Event details.

National Harbor

Total Request Live…for Kids
Bobby McKey’s, a grown-up piano bar at the National Harbor, gets the kid-friendly treatment today when performers pound out tunes that the tot-set can recognize. Expect lots of wiggling, jumping, and dancing around (which is fully encouraged). Junior will walk away with a newfound appreciation for live music, and he may even want to start tickling the ivories for himself. Ticket includes buffet meal. Sat., 1 pm-3:30 pm. $18; free/kids under 2. All ages. Event details.

What are your money-saving weekend plans? Tell us in the comments section below. 

—Ayren Jackson-Cannady