On May 5 and 6, Rockville Town Square will transform into an outdoor art gallery of ceramics, paintings, photography and other creations. The A-RTS festival brings about 160 artists to Maryland Avenue and East Middle Lane, where they show off and sell their work. Artisanal foods are available for purchase, and live music adds to the outdoor festival vibe. Admission to the seventh annual event is free; artwork is priced by its creators.
Imagination Bethesda, a street festival held in June, is made for kids. The festival is chock-full of arts and crafts activities at more than 20 tents that line Woodmont Avenue and Elm Street. From performers on stilts, costumed characters and dance troupes to face-painting and live musicians, kids can let their imaginations run wild. Admission to the 24th annual event is free.
Is your kid into science and technology? Take her or him to KIDfest (formerly Maker Faire) in downtown Silver Spring. Hosted by KID Museum, this daylong September event at Veterans Plaza, the Silver Spring Civic Building and Ellsworth Drive provides activities for children ages 4 and up, such as a giant game of Operation and an area dedicated to robotics. Teachers can check out the Educator Hub, where ideas for hands-on learning projects are shared. Admission is free.
Go for the music, stay for the international fare. Each September, Jazz Academy of Music students kick off the Silver Spring Jazz Festival at Veterans Plaza, where music lovers set up lawn chairs and blankets. Celebrating its 15th year, the festival has featured the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Wynton Marsalis. Food vendors cook their countries’ specialties under tents on Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street. Admission is free.
Each October, food lovers descend on Woodmont Triangle for the Taste of Bethesda. They go tent to tent along Norfolk, Cordell, St. Elmo, Del Ray and Auburn avenues to sample food from about 60 local restaurants. While food has been the festival’s focus, music, face-painting and crafts are a big draw for the little ones at the daylong event. Admission to the 29th annual festival is free; taste tickets will be sold at the event.