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28 fairs and festivals in New York for kids in June 2013

Returning favorites (think Figment) plus newcomers like the Carnival & Science Spectacular make up our list of June fairs and festivals in New York for kids.

  • Photograph: Bernard Morisette

    Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: Harborlore Festival

  • Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: Brooklyn Film Festival kidsfilmfest

  • Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: DayLife

  • Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: Highland Park Strawberry Festival

  • Photograph: Roe Carrol

    Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: Howl! Festival

  • Courtesy Spoke the Hub

    Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: Local Produce Festival

  • Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: PLAYground Family Music Festival

  • Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: Red Hook Fest

  • Photograph: Courtesy of the World Science Festival

    Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: World Science Festival

  • Photograph: Courtesy Bronx River Alliance

    Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: Bronx River Festival

  • Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: Carnival and Science Spectacular 

  • Photograph: Jonathan Aprea

    Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: NatureFest 2013

  • Photograph: Lindsay Buckley

    Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: Figment

  • Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: The Almost Summer Celebration and Concert

     

  • Photograph: Kate Milford

    Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: Egg Rolls and Egg Cream Festival

  • Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: Williamsburg 9th Annual Kite Festival

  • Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: Red Hook Jazz Festival

  • Photograph: Donna Aceto

    Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: Museum Mile

  • Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: Brooklyn Bridge Cup and Block Party

  • Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: Puppetry Arts Fifth Ave Festival

  • Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: NYC Kidsfest

  • Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: North River Historic Ship Festival

     

  • Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: Make Music New York

     

  • Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: State Fair Meadowlands

  • Photograph: Carl Saytor

    Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: Coney Island Mermaid Parade

  • Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: Family Fishing Celebration

     

  • Courtesy NYC Parks and Recreation

    Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: River Fish Celebration

Photograph: Bernard Morisette

Fairs and festivals in New York for kids: Harborlore Festival

From fishing celebrations in Manhattan to a soccer-themed block party in Brooklyn, each weekend of June is jam packed with outdoor fairs and festivals in New York. Families can attend an interactive outdoor laboratory courtesy of the World Science Festival, play a game of mini-golf at Figment on Governors Island and learn about Jewish and Chinese cultures at the popular Egg Rolls and Egg Creams Festival on the Lower East Side. Also on our radar: The Coney Island Mermaid Parade (which was just saved thanks to a fundraising campaign!), a new science spectacular on the grounds of the Staten Island Children's Museum and a kite festival in Williamsburg. Read on to find out more about the 28 fairs and festivals in New York we're looking forward to this month!


RECOMMENDED: More summer activities for kids in New York City


Fairs and festivals in New York

Harborlore Festival

Twelve dance, music and storytelling events held throughout the borough make up the Brooklyn Arts Council's ode to water in post-Sandy New York. Events range from taking part in a story circle with waterfront workers (May 25) to listening to traditional maritime songs (May 30). Some events are held in conjunction with other festivals, like the dance tribute to Sandy survivors at the 20th annual Red Hook Fest (June 1). On June 2, there's a workshop designed specifically for families, in which they'll join traditional dancers from a multitude of cultures performing along the Coney Island shore; and on June 8, participate in a ceremony memorializing the slaves who were forced to cross the Middle Passage. Families are also welcome to attend a symposium where artists and scholars discuss how to deal with future natural disasters (June 13). The festival culminates at Brooklyn Bridge Park for more performances, workshops and water lore. Kids learn a net fishing dance, join a drum circle (B.Y.O. instrument) and decorate their own leaf lamps to then set them afloat on the river. There are rain dates for all of the events—check the website for details. Ages 5 and up.

  1. Various locations Main St, at Fulton Ferry Landing, 11201
  2. Through Sat Jun 15
More info

Brooklyn Film Festival kidsfilmfest

  • Price band: 1/4

Young film buffs can spend an hour watching live action and animated shorts from around the world in this cinema extravaganza created just for kids. This year's lineup features twelve new short films ranging from two to twelve minutes, plus Moongirl, a 2006 entry that's back by popular demand. Throughout the day, expect to see a boy who finds a video game console with special powers (CTRL), a silly study hall mishap that lands three boys in big trouble (Detention), a baby dinosaur who lives in a city ravine (Peaceosaurus), and an underwater friendship between a whale and a toddler who fell overboard (Whale Song). Be sure to arrive early; tickets sell out quickly. All ages.

  1. IndieScreen 285 Kent Ave, at South 2nd St, 11211
  2. Until Sat May 30
More info

DayLife

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This outdoor street fair–the first installment for summer–features the best of LES shops, including Mission Chinese food and yoga lessons from Yoga High. Youngsters can partake in badminton and urban croquet, mellow out with face painting and see scarfers celebrate Katz’s Deli 125th anniversary with a pastrami eating contest. Orchard St between Delancey and E Houston Sts. All ages.

  1. Various locations
  2. Until Sun Jun 14
More info

Highland Park's Strawberry Festival

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Everyone's favorite little red fruit gets its own special day at this celebration of all things strawberry. Enjoy music from children's percussion group Hip Pickles, Broadhollow Theatre's performance of Freckle Face Strawberry, games, crafts and, of course, lots of strawberry eating. All ages.

  1. Highland Park Highland Blvd, between Bulwed Pl and Cypress HIlls St
  2. Until Sat Jun 1
More info

Howl! Festival

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Prowl the annual Howl! Festival, beginning with a reading of Allen Ginsberg's poem that inspired the arts fest. During the rest of the weekend, the Lower East Side’s bohemian roots are celebrated around Tompkins Square Park (the city’s ’60s counterculture epicenter) with concerts, poetry readings and art shows. Mini golf, mask-making and a midway with carnival booths add to the fun during the Great Howl! Out Loud Carnival for Kids (June 1, 2 11am–7pm). Check howlfestival.com for a complete schedule. All ages.

  1. Various locations
  2. Sat Jun 1 - Sun Jun 2
More info

Local Produce Festival at Old Stone House

For the 20th year in a row, the "virtual greenmarket" offers outdoor wellness activities, music and dance performances, and quirky workshops like creative movement (11am) and improv theater (4:30pm). Line up for the "As Long as It Rolls" parade (11:30am), where kids deck out their scooters, strollers and bikes and vie for prize-winning titles like Best Dressed Easy Rider. Then, join in a flash mob to a mashup of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" and the Harlem Shake (12:45pm). Little ones even get their own special corner with clowns and a puppet show (2–4pm), and the whole shabang wraps up with an open dance party in the street (8:30pm)—by that time, though, the kids'll likely be wiped out. All ages.

  1. Old Stone House Washington Park, at 3rd St, between Fourth and Fifth Aves
  2. Until Sat Jun 1
More info

PLAYground Family Music Festival

  • Price band: 2/4

Expect all the stops at this classic outdoor family fest: kids can get their faces painted, jump in a bouncy house, and pose for portraits while parents stock up on grub from local vendors like Urban Rustic market, Van Leeuwen's ice cream and Williamsburg Pizza. Burn off the cals dancing to tunes courtesy of R&B veterans Lee Fields & the Expressions and Charles Bradley. Proceeds benefit music programming at the Brooklyn Arbor school. All ages.

  1. Brooklyn Arbor P.S. 414 Playground Keap St, between S 2nd and S 3rd Sts, 11211
  2. Until Sat Jun 1
More info

Red Hook Fest

  • Free

Dance Theater Etcetera once again turns Valentino Park into an outdoor showcase for young spoken-word artists, performance troupes, dancers and hip-hop acts. This year’s lineup includes roots band Brown Rice Family (winners of WNYC's Battle of the Boroughs), "rappalachian" group Gangstagrass, old-school salsa band Avenida B, and local dance troupes led by Camille A. Brown and Nicholas Leichter. Kids will also love the gratis kayak rides in New York Harbor, in addition to the family barbecue and dance party the evening before (Fri May 31 6–8pm). Saturday's festivities kick off with a Red Hook Rebirth Parade (10am) through areas of the neighborhood hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy, led by the Hungry March Band. Rain date is June 2. Visit redhookfest.com for more information. All ages.

  1. Louis J. Valentino Jr. Park and Pier Coffey St, at Ferris St
  2. Sat Jun 6
More info

World Science Festival Ultimate Science Street Fair

  • Price band: 1/4

Shhh: Your kids might actually learn something while having fun at this educational celebration. The Ultimate Science Street Fair (June 2) takes over Washington Square Park with interactive exhibits, experiments and games for science enthusiasts. Stop by the stage for special performances including a talk by NBA All–Star and author Kareem Abdul Jabbar about African-American inventors in history, followed by a rundown of the physics of basketball. All ages.

Bronx River Festival

  • Free

The Bronx River Alliance sponsors an afternoon of nature scavenger hunts, canoe rides, bike rentals, guided Ramble tours, field games, food and live entertainment. All ages.

  1. Bronx River Forest Burke Ave, at Bronx River Pkwy
  2. Sat Jun 8
More info

Carnival & Science Spectacular

  • Price band: 2/4

Just outside on the lawn surrounding the building, the Staten Island Children's Museum presents its first–ever family festival featuring circus clowns from the Ringling Brothers, a performance by Patrick and the Rock–a–Silly Band plus games, rides and some seriously sweet giveaways (first prize in the raffle gets one lucky Belieber four luxury box–seat tickets to see him at the Barclays Center on August 2 as well as a limousine ride to and from the show). Lest we forget the importance of academics (even during summer vacation), there will also be 3–D printing, engineering and robotics demonstrations by local high school and college students for when wee ones are worn out. All ages.

  1. Staten Island Children's Museum 1000 Richmond Terr, at Snug Harbor Rd
  2. Sat Jun 8
More info

NatureFest 2013

  • Free

The Staten Island Museum's annual environmental fair is back again with a wealth of family offerings. Kids can try to find various animals and plants in a scavenger hunt, take a nature walk with a Staten Island Museum naturalist, expand their nature knowledge at information tables and dive into some arts and crafts. Snacks will be available for purchase at the carousel concession stand. Free. All ages.

  1. Willowbrook Park Eaton Pl, at Richmond Ave
  2. Sat Jun 8
More info

Figment NYC

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Governors Island explodes with artistic energy at this weekend devoted to outside-the-box creativity. One of our favorites is the artist-designed Minigolf Course, this year based on the theme “State of the Art.” The forward-thinking ten-hole course takes inspiration from past, present and future technological innovations and avant-garde design features. Kids can also play with (and on!) eleven oversized sculptures in the Interactive Sculpture Garden, and clamber into the wind- and solar energy-powered TreeHouse, this year with an added gazebo that doubles as another interactive art installation. And little ones and grown-ups alike will be amazed by the annually-elected City of Dreams Pavilion; the 2013 winner is a cloudlike structure called “Head in the Clouds,” made of recycled milk jugs and water bottles. All ages.

  1. Governors Island Governors Island
  2. Sat Jun 8 - Sun Jun 9
More info

The Almost Summer Celebration and Concert

  • Free

The Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Musuem of the American Indian bring families a multicultural celebration of that almost-but-not-quite summer season. Native American storytellers Raven Juarez (Blackfeet) and Genesis Tuyuc (Kaqchikel Mayan) read old legends; afterward, kids can burn off some energy playing lawn games, planting a sunflower (which they'll then take home), crafting dragonflies out of dried corn husks, and making flower hand puppets. Stick around for live performances by Grammy-winning kids' music phenom Dan Zanes and kindie folk superstar Elizabeth Mitchell (12pm). All ages.

  1. Robert F. Wagner Park Battery Pl, between West St and 1st Pl
  2. Until Sun Jun 8
More info

Egg Rolls and Egg Creams Festival

  • Free

Celebrate Jewish and Chinese cultures at the crossroads of the Lower East Side and Chinatown. Only here can you and your little ones marvel at Chinese opera and acrobatics while listening to klezmer music and learning Yiddish. Or, encourage your brood to look over the shoulders of a mah jongg pro after taking a synagogue tour. True to the festival’s name, kosher egg rolls and classic New York–style egg creams will also be in abundance. All ages.

  1. Museum at Eldridge Street 12 Eldridge St, between Canal and Division Sts, 10002
  2. Until Sun Jun 7
More info

Williamsburg 9th Annual Kite Festival

P.S. 132 and CitiStorage join forces to host the 9th Annual Kite Festival on the Williamsburg Waterfront. Treat your tot to a day of flying kites and creating crafts. Grab some delicious grub from local vendors, then let the wind rustle your hair as you buckle up for some small carnival rides. The Hungry Marching Band, Audra Rox and the I.S. 318 jazz band will provide sunny, kid-friendly tunes. All ages.

  1. The Williamsburg Waterfront 110 Kent Ave, at North 8th St
  2. Sun Jun 9
More info

Red Hook Jazz Festival

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

The rare music fest that's both family-friendly and cutting-edge, Red Hook Jazz Festival presents a typically strong lineup for its sixth annual installment. Located in Red Hook’s Urban Meadow and taking place over two consecutive Sundays, this annual festival features top-natch talent like saxophonist Seamus Blake, drummer Clarence Penn and trumpeter Ralph Alessi. Check urbanmeadowbrooklyn.blogspot.com for the full list of performers. All ages.

  1. The Urban Meadow President St , at Van Brunt St , 11231
  2. Until Sun Jun 15
More info

Museum Mile Festival

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Now in its 35th year, New York’s biggest block party hits town once more, offering free access to ten museums (from the Met to the Guggenheim) along a car-free mile sprinkled with music, art and entertainment. Kids can color up the sidewalk with chalk, attend live model-drawing classes, get their faces painted, and enjoy performances by clowns, magicians, jugglers, musicians and more. Visit museummilefestival.org for a complete schedule. Fifth Ave between 82nd and 105th Sts. All ages.

  1. Various locations
  2. Until Tue Jun 9
More info

Brooklyn Bridge Cup and Block Party

  • Free

Young soccer stars compete in the annual Brooklyn Bridge Cup, then celebrate in the closed-off block on Clermont Street, where Hip Tot Music Fest performers like AudraRox, Jack's Big Music Show, the City Billies and Love Funk serenade the (sweaty) crowd. Bubble play, chalk drawing, crafts, and food trucks from Kimchi Taco, Hibachi Heaven, Trusty Burgers & Bites, and Andy's Italian Ices round out the day. All ages.

  1. Brooklyn Tech Field 510 Clermont Ave, between Fulton St and Atlantic Ave, 11238
  2. Until Sat Jun 15
More info

Hunts Point Fish Parade and Summer Festival

  • Critics choice
  • Free

What originally began as a protest of the Fulton Fish Market has evolved into a neighborhood institution, loosely modeled on Coney Island's infamous Mermaid Parade. The day begins with a costumed parade from Hunts Point Riverside Park (11am) to Barretto Point Park, where the festivities continue with games, workshops and performances (until 5pm). All ages.

  1. Hunts Point Riverside Park Lafayette Ave, at Edgewater Rd
  2. Until Sat Jun 15
More info

Puppetry Arts 5th Avenue Family Festival

  • Free

Head down Fifth Ave to 4th St and you'll stumble upon puppet-making ($2), t-shirt decorating ($3), a bouncy house ($4), rock climbing with Brooklyn Boulders ($8) and tons of delicious festy food. Kids can even snag a photo op with a real, live Star Wars character (11:30am, 1:30pm) and afterwards, Between the Lions puppeteer Noel MacNeal will host a workshop and singalong with his furry friend Lionel (2pm). Proceeds benefit Puppetry Arts and their Youth Empowerment Program (YEP!) a volunteer program for kids. Fifth Ave at 4th St, Park Slope, Brooklyn. All ages.

NYC KidsFest

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Celebrate arts in the city with a schedule packed with performances, including a call-and-response poetry jam, a Conga workshop, a soccer demonstration with Brazilian player Carlos Oliveira, and face painting with makeup wizard Derek Little. All ages.

  1. Morningside Park Morningside Drive, from 110th to 123rd Sts
  2. Sun Jun 21
More info

Fifth Annual North River Historic Ship Festival

  • Price band: 1/4

Get a taste of life at sea when four historic ships dock at Hudson River Park’s Pier 25. This three-day fest will give little sailors the chance to climb aboard the Pegasus, the John J. Harvey, the Lehigh Valley Railroad Barge No. 79, and the Lilac. When tots aren’t exploring the ships on free dockside tours, they can set sail for educational trips on the Hudson River (reservations required), try their hand at maritime know-tying, or fish off the Lilac's deck. To top it all off, the Lehigh Valley Railroad Barge No. 79 will feature a Showboat Circus with high-flying circus acts right on the boat itself (tickets available for purchase at nrhss.org). All ages.

  1. Hudson River Park at Pier 25 West St, at North Moore St
  2. Until Sun Jun 23
More info

Make Music New York

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Musicians flood NYC's public spaces during this daylong, citywide, entirely free festival. Visit makemusicny.org for the full lineup of events and happenings spanning the five boroughs (you can even search by 'hood!) Highlights for 2013 include a session of Beck's 2012 sheet music album at the block party surrounding Joe's Pub, 22 mass single–instrument participatory concerts,144 singers in rowboats at the Central Park Lake, punk bands taking over Staten Island and much, much more. All ages.

  1. Various locations
  2. Until Sun Jun 21
More info

State Fair Meadowlands

  • Price band: 1/4

The giant fair offers more than 150 rides and attractions, plus tons of free entertainment, including master hypnotist Steve Bayner, racing pigs, Circus Maximus, a petting zoo and fireworks. On June 29, tots with strong stomachs can watch the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest Qualifier. All ages.

  1. Meadowlands Fairgrounds 50 Rte 120
  2. Sat Jun 22 - Mon Jul 8
More info

Coney Island Mermaid Parade

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Coney Island’s answer to Greenwich Village’s infamous Halloween parade might be a little risqué for some tiny ones, but plenty of families scope out King Neptune as he presides over wacky floats, marching bands, drill teams, vintage cars and a dazzling array of scantily clad seafaring sirens. From W 21st St and Surf Ave to the Boardwalk at W 10th St, Coney Island, Brooklyn. All ages.

  1. Coney Island
  2. Until Sat Jun 20
More info

Family Fishing Celebration

  • Free

One fish, two fish, catch fish, release fish. Celebrate aquatic creatures and their watery world at this event featuring storytelling, craft-making, microscopic explorations and, of course, catch-and-release fishing. All ages.

  1. Central Park, Charles A. Dana Discovery Center enter at E 110th St and Fifth Ave
  2. Until Sat Jun 29
More info

River Fish Celebration

  • Free

Explore the marine life swimming in the Hudson River at this day dedicated to fishing and community. Borrow a pole or bring your own and spend the afternoon waiting for a bite; then, dive into the river-related games and activites. All ages.

  1. Riverside Park Riverside Dr, between 72nd and 158th Sts
  2. Until Sat Jun 29
More info
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