Plan ahead for family festival fun

posted by: Sara Marchessault


By Sara Marchessault


Summer is often celebrated as the time for family vacations and trips to the beach. There’s another reason to celebrate summer: it’s festival season! Festivals can be found all over the country, in communities big and small, they are often free, and by the nature of a festival, there’s usually lots to do.

A festival can be a great opportunity to expose your kids to arts and culture, music, or even to celebrate industries and specialties that make your community special. For example, Plant City, Florida produces massive amounts of strawberries that are distributed all over the country. Every year, they host a strawberry festival — not unlike Emmett, Idaho's Cherry Festival.

How can you take advantage of a festival as a family-fun event? Check out this festival checklist.

• Confirm the festival is family-friendly. This is easily done by visiting the festival website or social media page before you go. Take note of the events the festival has for kids and check the scheduled times for those events. The kids' schedule can be the starting point of your festival adventure.

• Is it ticketed or free? Plan accordingly for an event that requires tickets.

• Pack up and get ready for a fun day. Can you bring a blanket? Water bottles? Snacks? A festival can be so much more enjoyable when you can plan for taking breaks in the day. Whether it’s to put your blanket down to sit and listen to music or for a picnic in the park, bringing your own snacks and food can ensure the members of your family have enough energy to keep enjoying the festivities.

• Bring other essentials. Hats and sunscreen are must-haves. Bug repellent might be necessary too, depending on where you are. What if you arrive and there’s a splash pad or place to get wet? Throw a change of clothes and a couple of towels in the back of the car before you leave home. They’ll be there if you need them. Cash is a good idea too. Festivals often have face-paint or balloon artists to attract kids. They offer their services for a small fee or even just for tips.

• Look for festivals with music in the outside and open. Or free music. When the music is free, you can expect to see a higher number of families in attendance. Music is so much fun when the kids can run and dance. It’s a nice time for parents to relax too.

You can take advantage of the festivals in your state this summer by planning ahead, and when you get there, enjoying quality family time. (See the festivals list in this edition of Idaho Family.)




Sara Marchessault is a writer, journal designer, and teacher. Her latest book, “Beyond Pen & Paper: 33 Experiments in Journaling,” gives readers ideas for getting the benefits of journal writing beyond the habit of conventional journaling. Sara and her family moved twice in one year, keeping them all just a little busier than usual. Learn more about her work at

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