From Maypole ceremonies and sheep shearing to outdoor carnivals and music fests, you’ll want to clear your calendars for these events
As flowers are starting to poke out of the newly thawed ground, so do a bunch of spring festivals. On this year’s list, we’ve got a baker’s dozen of favorite festivals, some of which have not been in-person since before the pandemic. From tulips to cherry blossoms and sheep to shenanigans, there is something on our list that will appeal to not only the little guys but moms and dads too. Most of these events are free to boot!
Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival
The Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival is Seattle Center's oldest in the Festál series. The festival was inspired by a gift of 1,000 cherry trees sent to the city from Japan's former Prime Minister, Takeo Miki, commemorating America's bicentennial and the lifelong friendship between Japan and Washington State. Since then, the festival has been dedicated to increasing the understanding and friendship between the people of Japan and the Pacific Northwest. It features ikebana, martial arts demonstrations, tea ceremonies, kimono dress-up, children's activities, koto music, taiko drumming, and more.
Apr. 14-16, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Seattle Center - Armory and Fisher Pavilion
305 Harrison St.
Washington State Spring Fair
Welcome the warmer weather and sunshine with a visit to the Washington State Events Center for the annual Washington State Spring Fair. Take in favorite fair attractions, including baby animal exhibits, carnival rides, music, entertainment, and, of course, amazing eats...can you say hot Fisher scones?
New this year: Nitro Circus: Freestyle Crew. This group of young, professional athletes will be showing off their skills with BMX, skate, and pit bikes. This adrenaline-charged crew hits the halfpipe ramp with some of the most insane action sports feats you’ve ever seen, all while the world’s best pit bike racers speed through the middle of the action. They will be performing during the first week of the fair. For the second week, enjoy Motorsport Mayhem with tricked-out monster trucks and cars smashing into other cars. You can even pay extra to get a ride in one of the monster trucks.
Other things to see include pigs that race, dogs that dive, chainsaw carving, BBQ playoffs, family-friendly concerts, jugglers, magicians, and "Fiesta Mexicana" celebrating Mexican Culture and the arts on April 23. Be sure to visit the many fun exhibits like the interactive learning area, The Farm at SillyVille where fruits and vegetables are larger than life, amazing displays and activities that will even impress parents, and end the mini trip with a free healthy snack on the way out. (We aren't kidding, this is one of the best free attractions at the fair.) Other great things to see include the hands-on KidZone and Tractor Tracks. And of course, there are lots of rides, music, and food to consider, too.
Good to know:
- Kids 0-18 get in FREE on April 13 and 20.
- You can get in free too if you bring in a non-perishable food donation between 2 and 4 p.m. on Apr. 13 only.
- All active, reserve, and retired military and National Guard families get in free on April 14.
- Save $1 on admission when you purchase tickets online.
Dates: Apr. 13-16 and 20-23, 2023
Time: Thurs., 2 p.m.–10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
Cost: Thu. & Fri.: $13/Adults; $11/Students (6-12); 5 & under Free; Sat. & Sun.: $15/Adults; $12/Students (6-12); 5 & under Free
Parking: Free on Thurs.; $15 on Fri.-Sun.
Washington State Fair Events Center
110 9th Ave. S.W.
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
You know spring has sprung in the PNW when the tulips burst open, and there is no better place to view them than at the month-long Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Drive through field upon field of vibrant color throughout Skagit Valley or make stops as you go. Visit RoozenGaarde to see the daffodils, bring your pup to Tulip Town, view the beautiful displays (and geese!) at Garden Rosalyn, or check out the newest tulip venue, Tulip Valley Farms and snap some photos of the fam.
There are all kinds of special events in honor of the festival this year including farmer's markets, art shows, the famous Kwanis Salmon Barbecue, petting farms, the Annual Tulip Pedal ride, Woodfest, La Conner Street Fair, and the 29th Annual Spring Garage Sale (with antiques and more). Learn more about all of the events happening with the complete guide to this year's festival.
Good to know: As you can imagine, tulips do not grow according to the schedule festival organizers put in place. However, you can check out the "bloom status" any time before you make a trip up there or call 360-428-5959 or email email@example.com.
Free to drive around Skagit Valley; various admission fees to enter gardens.
Seattle International Children’s Friendship Festival
Celebrate the rich traditions of cultures from around the globe at the Seattle International Children’s Friendship Festival. This annual festival is for kids, by kids, featuring cultural exhibits and stage performances including music, ballet, and folk dance highlighting local kids’ ethnic heritages. This festival unites kids through the universal language of art, fostering cultural exchange and friendship in a creative, festive environment.
Apr. 22-23, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Seattle Center - Fisher Pavilion
305 Harrison St.
Kelsey Creek Sheep Shearing
It's baa-ck! Sheep Shearing at Kelsey Creek Farm offers a chance for kids to watch the sheep lose their winter coats. Families can also enjoy wool-spinning demonstrations, tractor-pulled wagon rides, pony rides, children's crafts, animal viewing areas, and tons of other family-friendly activities during your afternoon on the farm. Food trucks will be on-site, too, so bring an appetite.
Good to know: There will be a free shuttle service available from Wilburton Park and Ride (720 114 Ave. S.E.) and Bannerwood Sports Park (1630 132nd Ave. S.E.). Costs vary for food and activities. No ATM on-site and credit cards will not be accepted, so plan to bring good ol' cash. Dogs are not allowed in the barnyard area.
April 29, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: Free (food and some activities extra)
Kelsey Creek Farm
410 130th Pl. S.E.
Baby Animals & Blooms Days
Baby animals and blooming tulip fields are the headliners of this festival. But we're sure if you asked your kids, they'd say the farm amenities are what make this event worth the drive for Seattle families. They've got enough to keep your kids playing all day long (no joke) and it all starts with the Kids Courtyard Play Area. If you've got toddlers in tow, this is a great spot to be. But if big kids are in your crew, start in the back field where you'll find the wagon ride, cow train ride, "mega" slide, jump pillow, low ropes course, ziplines, wall mazes, human foosball, trike track, tube slides and a variety of unique and fun-sounding activities like Barnyard Ball Zone, Conk the Crow, Roller Bowler, and Gaga Ball. They'll be tired after a day on this gorgeous farm. When you need to refuel, stop by one of the many food booths to grab a bite.
Good to know:
- Tickets are available ONLY online.
- The "Ultimate Admission" option offers unlimited visits.
Date: Sat. & Sun., Apr. 29-May 14, 2023
Time: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $18/Adult; $16/Child (3-12); Free/2 and under; $30/"Ultimate Admission" per person (3 and up)
25001 Sumner Buckley Hwy.
Mercer Island Preschool Association (MIPA) Circus
Long ago in 1966, a Dr. Seuss-inspired carnival called Circus McGurkus rolled into town for the children of Mercer Island. The Mercer Island Preschool Association's 54th annual circus events bring in families from all over Seattle, the Eastside, and beyond and this year will be no different. Little ones of all ages will be busy with the non-stop fun of the carnival games, live entertainment (including Nancy Stewart, Bubble Man, Creation Dance Studio, Dani & the Bee, and Reptile Man), face painting, petting zoo and so much more. Psst! Be sure to come hungry and take advantage of the delicious food trucks that will be on site.
Date: April 30, 2022
Time: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Cost: $18 (MIPA members save $3); tickets required for kids ages 2-11. Petting zoo is $5 per child.
Mercer Island Community Center Parking Lot
8236 S.E. 24th St.
Washington State Apple Blossom Festival
The whole town of Wenatchee will be buzzing from April 27 to May 7 with activities and events in the scenic valley to showcase what makes this town such a hardworking and close-knit community. The whopping 11-day festival (celebrating 104 years!) includes two parades (a youth parade and a grand parade), America's seventh-largest carnival with 25 rides and games, a 20-booth food fair, and live entertainment every day of the event. The festival also includes a three-day Arts & Crafts Fair with over 140 vendors, Tour de' Bloom, a three-day cycling event in the Wenatchee Valley, the Classy Chassis parade and car show, the Kiwanis pancake breakfast and the Confluence Health Apple Blossom Run.
Kids are center stage with their own youth parade that features over 4,500 children. Plus, Youth Day offers free face painting, rubber stamping, hands-on activities, funnel cake eating contest, and more.
Good to know: The festival's Stemilt Grand Parade marches on Saturday, May 6. Grab a curbside seat and see marching bands from throughout the Northwest, colorful floats, proud-stepping equestrian units, and dignitaries from many different Northwest festivals.
Dates: Apr. 27-May 7, 2023
Times: Vary. View the festival calendar online.
Plan your next getaway in Wenatchee with our family travel guide.
A Festival for May
Knights and fair maidens gather together to usher in the magical month of May at Camlann Medieval Village. May Day was a popular holiday in the Middle Ages when villagers would enjoy dancing, games, feasting, and contests. The 21st Annual Festival for May brings the fun and festivities of springtime to the beautiful Seattle countryside. Catch a glimpse of what May Day might have looked like hundreds of years ago as you experience entertainment and craft shops, including garland weaving, wool dyeing, and blacksmithing. Psst! Get in the spirit by donning medieval garb (optional, but super authentic). Craft shops and booths open at noon, May Games and entertainment at 1 p.m., and the festival culminates with a colorful Maypole ceremony and selection of the Queen of May at 4:30 p.m.
Good to know: The optional traditional dinner, which is truly a feast, is offered both nights at 5 p.m. by reservation. It is $50/person and includes admission to the festival.
Dates: May 6-7, 2023
Time: noon–5 p.m.
Cost: $10/Adults (13+); $8/Seniors & Kids (12 & under); 5 & under Free
Camlann Medieval Village
10320 Kelly Rd. N.E.
Kodomo no Hi Children’s Day Festival
The Japanese Community Center of Washington welcomes all families to their Kodomo no Hi or Children's Day Festival introducing them to the world of children's culture in Japan including art, history, and music. This year's theme revolves around a Japanese idea called Mottainai, an initiative to reduce waste and save resources. Enjoy interactive activities, live performances, and demonstrations too.
Date: May 6, 2023
Time: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
1414 S. Weller St.
Seattle Chinese Culture & Arts Festival
Did you know that fortune cookies were not invented in China? How about the fact that Chinese is the most difficult language to learn in the world? A Glimpse of China - Seattle Chinese Culture & Arts Festival aims to explore the traditional and contemporary influences of China. They plan to cover 5,000 years of history through folk dances, artwork, and more.
Date: May 20, 2023
Time: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Seattle Center - Armory
305 Harrison St.
Northwest Folklife Festival
Since 1971, Memorial Day Weekend in Seattle has been synonymous with the Northwest Folklife Festival. The 52nd annual four-day celebration of the evolving folk and ethnic traditions of the Pacific Northwest is commemorated through the arts and music. This year’s Cultural Focus is "Lagom" which is a Scandinavian term that speaks to the notions of balance. Among the different music presentations, you'll enjoy street performers, dance performances, vendor booths, and a "Maker's Space" designed to showcase and give hands-on demonstrations of the wide world of craft including glass blowing, ceramics, basket weaving, stop-animation, knitting, origami, bookbinding, wood carving and more. Kids can party and jam in a special area designated for families or hang out in the Discovery Zone which will be overflowing with age-appropriate adventures, hands-on activities, performances, and workshops.
Date: May 26-29, 2023
Time: 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sun.; 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Mon.
305 Harrison St.
Lacey Spring Fun Fair
Celebrating 35 years of free family fun, the Lacey Spring Fun Fair has provided activities and entertainment for thousands of visitors over the years. It is one of the largest two-day festivals in Western Washington featuring two stages of live entertainment, arts, crafts, food, clowns (non-scary ones, we promise!), music, entertainment, a car show, rides, a circus train, bounce houses, games and more. You'll find 40 booths tailored for kids of all ages.
Good to know:
- All of the entertainment here is FREE including the rides!
- Additional parking can be found at South Sound Center. Then, take the shuttle from near Civic Plaza Pavilion.
Date: May 20-21, 2023
Time: Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m..; Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Saint Martin's University
5300 Pacific Ave. S.E.
Additional reporting by Kristina Moy & Abbey McGee