Soon it will be time again for the Marin County Fair at the County Fairgrounds in San Rafael, near the Marin Civic Center. This year's Marin County Fair theme is "Schools Rule", celebrating all things education and Marin's public schools.
In keeping with this year's theme, the 68th Marin County Fair features Marinovators, a 6,000-square-foot exhibit that showcases Marin's award-winning schools and features interactive learning spaces and a Maker Shed with hands-on maker projects, 3D printing, video games, and more.
Of course there are also the more traditional fair offerings like farm animal exhibits and demonstrations and Hambone Express pig racing in the barnyard, free (with fair admission) rides and carnival games—including the 10-story Giant Wheel and the PG&E solar-powered carousel, appearances by the ever-popular Imperial Storm Troopers of the 501st Legion Golden Gate Garrison (from noon–7 pm daily at the Marin Galactic Outpost in the Exhibit Hall), concerts, short films and videos, over 12,000 exhibits, and the Fair's biggest and most elaborate fireworks display ever, presented nightly over the lagoon at 9:30 pm.
One of my things about summer are the free outdoor concerts that take place throughout Marin. There's something about the warm weather and the long days that make events like these really special. From Novato to Sausalito, there's something for every family!
Pack a picnic and your folding chairs and check out a free summer concert near you. Here's our list of events taking place this summer. If we've missed your favorite, please let us know.
Belvedere Concerts in the Park Summer Series
Belvedere Community Park
Sundays, 4 pm June 16, July 14, August 11 & September 1
The Concerts-in-the-Park Committee presents four fabulous and free Sunday afternoon concerts for your enjoyment this summer. Bring a blanket, a picnic, your family and friends, and have a great time. For complete list of entertainment, visit their website.
Summer Sunday Concerts at Piccolo Pavilion
Old Corte Madera Square
Sundays, 5-6 pm June 16–August 25
Bring the family to this free outdoor summer concerts at the Old Corte Madera Square. Bring lawn chairs, a blanket and a picnic and enjoy the amazing line-up of fine local bands. See the entertainment schedule here.
One of my kids' favorite books is Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems. On Saturday, this hilarious Caldecott Honor book comes to life on stage in the Bay Area Children's Theatre production of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical.
In Knuffle Bunny,Dad learns that it can be tricky to do the laundry with toddler daughter Trixie and her beloved stuffed animal, the titular Knuffle Bunny. See washing machines burst into life and clothes dance up a whirlwind at the laundromat in this delightful production that's fun for the whole family.
We've seen several productions from Bay Area Children's Theatre, and they never disappoint! It's definitely worth the trip over to Berkeley, and the Freight & Salvage is a wonderful intimate venue in which to see a show like this.
The opening performance of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical takes place at the Freight & Salvage on Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 2 pm. The show plays Saturdays at 2 pm and Sundays at 11 am and 2 pm through May 5.
Get ready for musical family fun at this weekend's Marin Symphony Family Concert, taking place on Sunday, February 10, at 3 pm in the Marin Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium at Marin Center in San Rafael. This year's program presents themes of courage, love and a special Valentine celebration.
San Domenico Alumni viola virtuoso Alexandra Simpson is the guest artist. Music from the hit movie Brave, by Patrick Doyle, is the climax of the concert. The concert is hosted by KDFC radio's Hoyt Smith.
Following the Family Concert, Marin Symphony Youth Orchestra musicians assist aspiring young artists at the traditional Instrument Petting Zoo, sponsored by the Magic Flute, where children are encouraged to try out an instrument on their own.
The 1982 animated film The Snowman is one of our favorite holiday classics, and it's even more magical when accompanied by a live orchestra and choir. It's a great way to introduce kids to the symphony, too. We're giving away four tickets to the San Francisco Symphony's performance of The Snowman this Saturday, December 22! This special performance also includes holiday favorites and sing-alongs that the whole family will love.
The Snowman is a 26-minute animated film that tells the tale of a young boy's magical friendship with a snowman who comes to life on Christmas Eve. For this performance, the film will be accompanied by the San Francisco Symphony, conducted by Donata Cabrera, and Pacific Boychoir.
To enter to win, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with "SNOWMAN" in the subject line by 11:59 pm on Tuesday, December 18, 2012. We'll choose a random winner on Wednesday. Read our complete contest and giveaway rules here.
This Friday we attended the opening of San Francisco Ballet's fantastic production of The Nutcracker. This the Nutcracker that started it all—the San Francisco Ballet presented the first full-length performance of The Nutcracker in America way back in 1944—and as usual it didn't disappoint!
Opening night was one of the ballet's family performances. For these special performances, the Opera House opens at 6 pm, one hour prior to the 7 pm curtain time, and the first 500 children in the door received a cute teddy bear as a gift. In the lobby, costumed performers from the Nutcracker cast were on hand to greet children and for family photo opportunities.
When we entered the lobby of San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House, we were in awe of the magnificent Christmas tree, lights, and the incredible holiday decor in the building. Costumed ballet performers were on hand for photos, too! This was all great, but we were excited to go in to take our seats and see the production.
Introduce your children to classical music and the centruy-old tradition of the San Francisco Symphony with the Symphony's acclaimed Music for Families concerts, special holiday concerts, and other family-friendly events.
Ticket prices range from $7.50 to $70, depending on the program. Kids' concert tickets (for children under 17) are half price! Most concerts arerecommended for children ages 7 and older.
This holiday season's family-friendly offerings from the San Francisco Symphony include:
Deck the Hall: Children's Holiday Concert and Party, Sunday, December 2, 11 am and 3 pm Deck the Hall performances and lobby activities offer tons of fun for the entire family, but the really special thing about this event is that it raises money to present a Community Deck the Hall performance that hosts over 2,000 children from Bay Area schools and local charitable organizations who might otherwise not be able to attend a symphony event. All of the beautifully decorated trees in the lobbies of Davies Hall are sponsored by local organizations and decorated by community groups, and they remain up for the entirety of the holiday season.
Next Saturday, come see four superstars of Marin's children's entertainment scene live on stage—Tim Cain, Miss Kitty, Christopher Smith, and Cindy Cohen. Accompanied by Peter Penhallow and the Dream Circle Band, this fantastic foursome perform their 13th annual "Lollypopalooza" family concert at Tiburon's Westminster Presbyterian Church on Saturday, November 17.
These popular concerts are filled with lots of clapping, dancing, and sing-along fun for children ages 3 to 8. There will be two Lollypopalooza performances: 9:30 and 11 am.
This weekend Marin's own Golden Gate Opera presents its beloved production of Hansel and Gretel at the Marin Showcase Theatre in San Rafael. This opera version of the Brothers Grimm story (by the 19th-century German composer, not the '70s singer…) is a favorite of families worldwide and tells the story of the two young title characters who stumble upon the witch's gingerbread house while lost in the woods. This production will be sung in English and is a perfect introduction to opera for kids ages 3 and up.
Performances are Friday, October 26 at 7 pm and Sunday, October 28 at 2 pm.
Hansel and Gretel has been popular with adults and children since its premiere in 1893, and is often performed around Christmas—but of course with its wicked witch it's perfect for the Halloween season! Its music is influenced by both traditional German folksongs and the works of Humperdinck's mentor, composer Richard Wagner.