When it comes to spring festivals, the National Cherry Blossom Festival isn’t the only game in town. In fact, our area is home to several family-friendly celebrations of everything from picture books to produce. Here’s our list of local can’t-miss festivals for this season:

7871461912_a00e13c0a5_zPhoto: Owen Allen via Flickr

Culpeper Tells Annual Storytelling Festival
Fans of fairy tales and family legends will love this day dedicated to the art of storytelling. Held in historic Culpeper, professional and amateur storytellers will take to the stage to share famous fables and new narratives for all ages at this self-proclaimed “festival of words.” Another reason you’ll find a happy ending here? There’s free admission for children under 12!

When: March 12
Culpeper Center
137 S. Main St. (Culpeper, Va.)
Online: culpepertells.com

kite festival _18-XLPhoto: Ryan Somma via flickr

Blossom Kite Festival: April 2
Channel your inner Mary Poppins and celebrate 50 years of flying kites on the National Mall! This festival, one of our favorite parts of the cherry blossom celebration, features kite flying demonstrations and competitions among fliers from across the country. You can BYOK (bring your own kite) or make one at the festival’s free activity stations.

When: April 2
Grounds of the Washington Monument near 17th St., NW and Constitution Ave. (Washington, D.C.)
Online: nationacherryblossomfestival.org

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Photo: Woodleywonderworks via flickr 

Big Band Jam
It’s time to tune your trumpet and bust out your bass.The Big Band Jam is coming to D.C.! Celebrating its 12th year, this festival is the nation’s only jazz festival created for kids by kids. The two-week schedule is packed with classes, concerts, and informal jam sessions at famous locales like Blues Alley and the National Press Club. Check out their free tribute performance to introduce your youngins to the styles of John Coltrane.

When: April 18-30
Various Locations
202-337-4141
Online: bigbandjam.org

3482471484_b42bf03077_zPhoto: Mike D via Flickr

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival: April 22-May 1, 2016
Let your city kids in on the secrets of small town fun with a road trip to this Winchester festival. In just 90 minutes, you may find your fam catching candy at a firefighters’ parade, running in the “Bloomin’ Mile” race, or playing in the inflatable playground. Other featured events include a classic car cruise-in, a pie baking contest and the Miss Apple Blossom pageant. Need a pit stop on the way back? Check out the Shenandoah Kids Trail to hike off that extra piece of apple pie.

When: April 22-May 1
135 North Cameron St. (Winchester, Va.)
Online: thebloom.com

FineArtsFest3Photo: Bethesda Fine Arts Festival 

Bethesda Fine Arts Festival
Have a budding Picasso or Mozart on your hands? Share some of the nation’s finest art with him or her at this annual event. More than 130 artists gather in Bethesda’s Woodmont Triangle for the weekend to showcase their visual art while musicians, mimes, and other entertainers take to the stage for family-friendly performances. Attendees also have access to free parking – definitely a perk in busy Bethesda!

When: May 14-15
Woodmont Triangle (Bethesda, Md.)
Online: bethesda.org

4667500148_8f41fcb10f_zPhoto: Bethany King via Flickr

ViVa! Vienna! Memorial Day Festival: May 28-30, 2016
If you’re looking for a family-friendly way to celebrate Memorial Day, look no further than the ViVa! Vienna! festival. From rides to fried food, your littles will get the quintessential fair experience just 45 minutes outside the city limits. But’s it’s not just about funnel cakes and ferris wheels. ViVa! Vienna! also features a special children’s music stage, crafts, and visits from the local fire and police departments.

When: May 28-30
245 Maple Ave. W (Vienna, Va.)
Online: vivavienna.org

Let us know your family’s favorite festivals in the comments section below.

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–Sarah Vogel