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NYC festival and fair guide for families: spring 2014

Plan your family’s perfect springtime with our spring festival and fair guide, including the Jazz Age Lawn Party, Figment and more!

  • Courtesy Affordable Art Fair

    NYC festival and fair guide for families: Affordable Art Fair

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    NYC festival and fair guide for families: Whitney Biennial Family Day

  • Photograph: courtesy Brooklyn Flea

    NYC festival and fair guide for families: Family Flea Edutainment at PS 321

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    NYC festival and fair guide for families: Smorgasburg

  • Photograph: courtesy the Society of Illustrators

    NYC festival and fair guide for families: MoCCA Arts Festival

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    NYC festival and fair guide for families: Children's Carnival at the Queens County Farm Museum

  • NYC festival and fair guide for families: Hip Tot Music Fest

  • Photograph: Dominic Perri

    NYC festival and fair guide for families: Super Sabado

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

     NYC festival and fair guide for families: Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival

  • Photograph: Courtesy of Baby Loves Disco

     NYC festival and fair guide for families: Freedom Art Jam

  • Photograph: Paul Martinka

     NYC festival and fair guide for families: Arbor Day Celebration in Prospect Park

  • NYC festival and fair guide for families: Puppetry Arts Park Slope Family Festival

  • Photograph: Nick Stevens

    NYC festival and fair guide for families: Prospect Park Fair

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    NYC festival and fair guide for families: Sakura Matsuri

  • Photograph: Grace Chu

    NYC festival and fair guide for families: Tribeca Film Festival Family Street Fair

  • NYC festival and fair guide for families: Jack and Jill School Spring Fair

  • Photograph: Laura McGowan

    NYC festival and fair guide for families: Morgan Library Spring Family Fair

Courtesy Affordable Art Fair

NYC festival and fair guide for families: Affordable Art Fair

We thought we couldn’t possibly love this time of year any more, but this season’s crop of outdoor family fun will put an even bigger spring in your step. Presenting: our spring fair and festival guide that’ll keep your crew busy all through April, May and June. Taste yummy street fare at foodie faves like Smorgasburg and Taste of Tribeca, plus big annual hurrahs including Sakura Matsuri, Figment and the Coney Island Mermaid Parade! Click through the rest of our fair and festival guide to find even more reasons to get excited for springtime.


RECOMMENDED: 50 things to do this spring


Affordable Art Fair

This four-day art fair makes an ideal way for families to gallery-hop within the confines of one venue. 78 booths will be showcasing works on the lower end of the price spectrum ($100–$10,000, with half the works priced at $5,000 or less), many by up-and-coming talents not yet on the international radar. Families won't want to miss interactive art tours at this year's fair, plus a candy art–making session with artist Paula Brett (4/5 at 11:30am & 4/6 at 11:30am). An on-site café enables families to recharge throughout the day, and admission is free of charge on Fri Apr 4 from 6 to 8pm. All ages.

  1. Metropolitan Pavilion 125 W 18th St, between Sixth and Seventh Aves
  2. Until Sun Apr 6
More info

Whitney Biennial Family Party

  • Price band: 1/4

Families are privy to the Museum's celebrated exhibition one hour before the public on this special Saturday party, where there'll be guided tours, activities in the gallery and an art workshop. It's the last time the Biennial will take place at the Whitney's current location before the move downtown next spring. Ages 4 to 12.

  1. Whitney Museum of American Art 945 Madison Ave, at 75th St, 10021
  2. Until Sat Apr 5
More info

Family Flea Edutainment at P.S. 321

  • Free

The Brooklyn Flea at P.S. 321 welcomes special kids' programming, bringing family-friendly fun to the Park Slope market. Catch demonstrations, workshops and performances each weekend, beginning with creative book-making with 826NYC (Apr 5–6, May 3-4 and June 6–7); playful songs with the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music (Apr 12–13) and demos from Carmelo the Science Fellow (Apr 19) that will make the kids geek out! In June, return for ProjectArt's portrait workshop and exhibition (June 7); a glass-sculpting class hosted by UrbanGlass (June 14–15) and dynamic dancing with the Mark Morris Dance Center (June 21), allowing little ones to try their toes at Samba and hip-hop steps. More events TBD. All ages.

  1. P.S. 321 180 Seventh Avenue, between 1st and 2nd Sts
  2. Until Sat Jun 21
More info

Smorgasburg

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The venerable epicurean extravaganza spends Saturdays in Williamsburg and Sundays in Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 5 through the summer. We're still waiting on details for the 2014 iteration, but previous years have featured returning vendors such as comfort-food maestro Buttermilk Channel, offering its beloved fried chicken and cheddar waffles and newbies like Vermont’s Rockville Market Farm, peddling breakfast gorditas ($5) with farm-made sausage, eggs, butternut-squash hot sauce and Shelburne Farms cheddar wrapped in a double tortilla; they’ll also be hawking farm-fresh eggs by the carton ($5 for a dozen).

  1. Brooklyn Bridge Park Main St, at Fulton Ferry Landing, 11201
  2. Sat Aug 30 - Sun Nov 23
More info

MoCCA Arts Festival

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This excellent comics festival welcomes more than 300 publishers—major and minor—to display their wares at this expo, which this year spotlights the Society of Illustrators through its progamming. Hear expert cartoonists discuss their creative process and the future of their craft. This year, the fest includes a special Kids' Corner, where there'll be toys, art supplies and comics for little ones. Ages 8 and up.

  1. 69th Regiment Armory 68 Lexington Ave, between 25th and 26th Sts, 10010
  2. Until Sun Apr 6
More info

Children's Carnival

  • Price band: 1/4

Trek out to the working farm for a country carnival, held in the orchard. Among the festive offerings are amusement rides, midway games and a magic show in the barn. All ages.

  1. Queens County Farm Museum 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy, between 73rd Rd and 74th Ave
  2. Sun Apr 13
More info

Hip Tot Music Fest

  • Price band: 2/4

The monthly concert series for (especially cool) Brooklyn families is back in 2014 for more kindie music, live DJs, craft projects, giveaways and story time throughout the school year. Celebrate Valentine's Day with a lovey-dovey show by Audra Rox (2/9), a set by pop-zydeco group the Trummytones (3/9) and an Earth Day Extravaganza featuring bluegrass sextet Astrograss and the folksy Little Miss Ann (4/13). Ages 2 to 5.

  1. ShapeShifter Lab 18 Whitwell Pl, between Carroll and 1st Sts, 11215
  2. Sun Apr 13
More info

Super Sábado! 2014

  • Critics choice
  • Free

El Museo del Barrio's free family programming every third Saturday of the Month presents gallery tours and art workshops centered around a different theme each month. In February, celebrate the traditional Caribbean and Latin American Carnaval with music and dance workshops (2/15). This March, explore the world around you through art making and storytelling (3/15). Enter the magical world of libros at a book fair this April (4/19), and fete the return of spring with a block party blowout in May (5/17). R.S.V.P. recommended. All ages.

  1. El Museo del Barrio 1230 Fifth Ave, between 104th and 105th Sts
  2. Sat May 17
More info

Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival

  • Critics choice
  • Free

RECOMMENDED: Easter in New York The outlandish haberdashery on display—ten-foot-tall hats, costumed pets, bonnets with live birds nestled inside—more than makes up for the lack of floats at this annual see-and-be-seen parade. The tradition started in the mid-1800s, when high-society ladies would promenade in their Easter finery after church, and has since evolved into a showcase for chapeau artistry. Fifth Ave from 49th to 57th Sts. All ages.

  1. Manhattan
  2. Sun Apr 20
More info

Freedom Art Jam

  • Price band: 1/4

The Jewish Museum presents a family-friendly art and dance party for Passover. Kids can celebrate by dancing to 60's tunes from Baby Loves Disco as well as the folk-inflected beats of David Grover & Grover's Gang ("Go Down Moses," "Man Come Down to Egypt" and "The Matzah Song"). After hitting the dance floor, kids can collaborate on a freedom word poem and make their own instruments. Ages 3 and up.

  1. The Jewish Museum 1109 Fifth Ave, at 92nd St, 10128
  2. Sun Apr 20
More info

Arbor Day Celebration

  • Free

In this celebration of trees and wildlife, kids can learn about all the different trees in the Prospect Park landscape, and indulge in arbor-themed games and crafts. All ages.

  1. Prospect Park Audubon Center enter at Ocean Ave, and Lincoln Rd
  2. Until Fri Apr 25
More info

Puppetry Arts Park Slope Family Festival

  • Free

Head down Fifth Ave to 4th St and you'll stumble upon puppet-making ($2), t-shirt decorating ($4), a bouncy moonwalk ($4), rock climbing with Brooklyn Boulders ($6) and tons of delicious festy food. Kids can even snag a photo op with a real, live Star Wars character or Sandy the Seagull. Proceeds benefit Puppetry Arts. Get there quick! The first 200 kiddos get a free gift bag. Fifth Ave at 4th St, Park Slope, Brooklyn. All ages.

  1. Brooklyn
  2. Until Sat Jun 28
More info

Prospect Park Fair

  • Free

Experience all the best parts of a New York City street fair, but surrounded by the greenery in Prospect Park at the second annual Prospect Park Fair. Kids can listen to live music, grab some grub from local food trucks and watch demonstrations of activities offered by the park, like tennis and Pop-Up Audubon workshops. All ages.

  1. Prospect Park Bandshell Prospect Park West, at 9th St
  2. Until Sat Apr 26
More info

Sakura Matsuri

  • Critics choice

You might think you're suddenly in Japan at the BBG's legendary spring festival celebrating the peak of the cherry blossom season. The Japanese tradition of Sakuri Matsuri (cherry blossom festival) celebrates spring, the arts and the great outdoors with a slew of cultural arts and general merry making. On tap at this year's fest, the nation's largest happening in a public garden, are performances like taiko drumming, samurai sword fighting and classical dance; demos in such Japanese arts as ikebana (flower arranging) and tea ceremony; and, for kids, hands-on workshops (in the Osborne Garden) where they'll learn manga, origami and even the art of making spring pinwheels. All ages.

  1. Brooklyn Botanic Garden 990 Washington Ave, at President St
  2. Until Sun Apr 27
More info

Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The gargantuan street fair, hosted by the iconic film fest, offers tons of thrills for city kids. Nestled between tried-and-true fare like snacks and face painting are some ultra-cool activity stations, including an educational gaming arcade. Storytellers, puppeteers, and cast members from Broadway and Off Broadway shows perform on the festival's main stage throughout the day. Highlights from 2013 included a special free screening of The Smurfs and sneak preview of The Smurfs 2 hosted by Time Out Kids (11am at BMCC/Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers St at West St; tickets are given out starting at10:30am on a first-come, first-served basis) and the popular Time Out Kids photo booth. As kids move from activity to activity, they can create a "VIP Pass" by stamping a booklet provided to them; at the end of the day, if your pass is filled, you get a special prize. And if you see a group of kid reporters roaming the streets, it's the Tribeca Kids Access Student Reporters, who will be covering the event. Greenwich St between Chambers and Hubert Sts. All ages.

  1. Various locations
  2. Until Sat Apr 26
More info

Jack and Jill Spring Fair

  • Price band: 1/4

Manhattan's Jack and Jill School holds its annual spring fair, complete with carnival rides, arts and crafts, performers, food and games. Kids can play in a bouncy castle, take a ride on a carousel, get their faces painted and more. Ages 1 to 12.

  1. Jack and Jill School 209 E 16th street, between Second and Third Aves
  2. Until Sat Apr 26
More info

The Morgan's Spring Family Fair

  • Price band: 1/4

In conjunction with the 70th anniversary of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince, the Morgan Library dedicates its annual spring fair to the classic picture book. Following a screening of the animated film, families can sport costumes while contributing to a mural made of planets. Ages 6 to 12.

  1. The Morgan Library & Museum 225 Madison Ave, at 36th St
  2. Until Sun Apr 27
More info

  1. April festivals
  2. May festivals
  3. June festivals

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