Photo by Jakob Owens / Unsplash

What To Do Around NoVa through Columbus Day Weekend

There’s a lot to celebrate and explore with your family around Northern Virginia this week! Many fall festivals are still going strong, with new fairs and activities popping up each week. Here are 12 events happening now through Columbus Day Weekend.

Ellen Howes
Ellen Howes

Table of Contents

This is an old issue of our events newsletter! Sign up free to receive the latest one every Monday!

There’s a lot to celebrate and explore with your family around Northern Virginia this week! Many fall festivals are still going strong, with new fairs and activities popping up each week. If you’re looking for a fresh list of family-friendly activities, here are 12 events happening now through Columbus Day Weekend.

Below you’ll find everything from craft fairs to movie nights, and sensory-friendly fall fun to sungazing:

Kids Euro Film Fest at the Embassy of the Czech Republic

Children and families gather on the lawn of the Embassy of the Czech Republic.
Image via

As part of the Kids Euro Festival 2022, the Embassy of the Czech Republic is presenting a screening of the film Even Mice Belong in Heaven. The film is in the English language. Bring your family for an evening at the Czech Embassy! Enjoy delicious apple cider and snacks while watching this charming stop-motion animation film that brings a bit of magic to the story of friendship.

When: Monday, 10/3 at 6pm.
Price: Free, but registration is required.
Address: Embassy of the Czech Republic, 3900 Spring of Freedom Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008
See more and register here.

Celebrate Purcellville

LOVEworks statue in Purcellville, Virginia.
Photo by

The second annual Celebrate Purcellville is a week-long, town-wide event highlighting local businesses, non-profits, artists, and performers. Participate in a town-wide scavenger hunt and geocaching, and enjoy live music, face painting, games, and a prize drawing during the celebration’s finale on Sunday, October 9.

When: Monday, 10/3 through Sunday, 10/9. Finale activities on Sunday, 10/9 from 12pm-5pm.
Price: Free to participate.
Address: Finale at Dillon’s Woods, 250 S. Nursery Ave, Purcellville, VA 20132
Learn more and download the Celebrate Purcellville passport here.

Sunset Cinema in Cherry Hill Park

Crowds gather in the park in the evening to watch a movie on a projection.
Image via

Sunset Cinema continues this Friday! Bring your family and pack blankets and a picnic to watch The Goonies under the moon. Continuing this week and next (since last week’s movie was rainchecked), the City of Falls Church Recreation and Parks Department will host a PG movie Friday nights in the park.  
When: Friday, 10/7 beginning at 7:30pm.
Price: Free, but bring cash to purchase popcorn and drinks.
Address: Cherry Hill Park, 312 Park Avenue, Falls Church, VA 22046
Find out more on their website here.

78th Waterford Fair

Children gather around a colonial reenactment actor at a historic fair.
Image via

Enjoy a weekend of shopping, playing, and exploring at The Waterford Foundation's Waterford Fair! The Waterford Fair is a quintessential fall festival and Virginia's oldest fine craft show. Watch reenactments and craft artisan demonstrations, enjoy live music, and join historians on special talks and tours. The Waterford Fair also includes a full schedule of events for kids with their Kids Unplugged programming, including a magic show, craft activities, and a meet and greet with two Percheron horses.

When: Friday, 10/7 through Sunday, 10/9.  
Price: The Fair is free for children ages 12 and under. There are several ticket prices depending on single day tickets versus 3-day tickets. Single day tickets for students (ages 13-21) are $12 and single day tickets for adults are $16.
Address: 40222 Fairfax Street, Waterford, VA 20197
See a full schedule of activities and vendors and purchase tickets here.


Families and crowds strolling through vendor booths at SterlingFest.
Image from The Sterling Foundation via

There’s something for the whole family at this year’s SterlingFest, an annual block party bursting with vendors, family activities, a Crafter’s Alley, and a Beer Garden featuring craft beers from local breweries.  

When: Saturday, 10/8 from 11am-5pm.
Price: Free.
Address: Sterling Community Center, 120 Enterprise St, Sterling, VA 20164
Learn more on their website.

Talkin’ Bout Turtles

Image of children watching a turtle race.
Image via

Join Nova Parks for a family-friendly day with turtles on Saturday, October 8. Meet the park’s resident turtles and learn about their adaptations and habitats. Participants can also “race” the turtles to see who is the fastest (or rather, the least slow).

When: Saturday, 10/8 from 1-2pm.
Price: Free for children ages 5 and under. Tickets for all other attendees are $7/person. Registration is required.
Address: Potomac Overlook Regional Park, 2845 N. Marcey Road, Arlington, VA 22207
See more and book a spot here.

Fall Festival at Messick’s Farm Market

An idyllic fall festival scene at a farm with pumpkins, corn hole, picnic tables, and slides.
Photo by Marcy Anderson for Messick's Farm Market

Messick’s Farm is known year-round for their fresh, local produce and delicious custard. Now through the end of October, families can savor their fall festivities, including a giant corn maze, hayride, barrel train, zip line, bounce pillow, candy cannon, kid tattoos, and their special Candy Drops! You can also enjoy their pumpkin patch and duck races for an additional cost.

When: Every weekend in October (including Monday, 10/10) from 10am-5pm.
Price: Free for children ages 3 and under. Tickets are $15/adult and $8/seniors.
Address: 6025 Catlett Rd., Bealeton, VA 22712
Learn more on their website here.

Fall Sensory-Friendly Fun at Messick’s Farm Market

Children enjoying a fall festival on a farm.
Image via

In addition to their Fall Festival, Messick’s is also hosting a special fall event geared toward children who are sensitive to sensory stimuli. The day will include sensory-friendly activities, the playground, slides and a pebble pit.

When: Saturday, 10/8 from 8am-10am.
Price: Free for children 3 and under. All other tickets are $5/person.
Address: 6025 Catlett Rd., Bealeton, VA 22712
Find out more here.

City of Fairfax Annual Fall Festival

Children decorate pumpkins at the Fairfax Fall Festival.
Image via

Enjoy a day at the Fairfax Fall Festival, featuring over 400 arts, crafts, and food vendors, plus children’s activities and three stages hosting music and entertainment for all ages. Kid-friendly entertainment will include a magic show with Turley the Magician, a Kid’s Nature Show, performances by Virginia Ballet Company and School and McGrath School of Irish Dance, and more! Families can also enjoy the children’s rides (weather permitting), or visit Fire Station #3 to discover Sparky’s Harvest Bash, a special event just for kids.

When: Saturday, 10/8 from 10am-5pm, and a late night concert from 5:30pm-8:30pm.
Price: Admission is free, but there will be costs for children’s rides and some activities.
Address: Downtown Fairfax - 3999 University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030
See a full schedule of events and find out more on their website.

The Heritage India Festival

Performers in vibrant regalia dance at the Heritage India Festival.
Image of the Heritage India Festival via

Enjoy the greater Washington metropolitan area's premier South Asian cultural, arts, and vendor festival! The annual Diwali Festival is a great, family-friendly way to kick off the holiday season with over 300 vendors, live entertainment including children’s entertainment and activities, and delicious cuisine from the South Asian subcontinent.

When: Saturday, 10/8 from 12pm-9pm and Sunday, 10/9 from 12pm-7pm.
Price: Free for children ages 5 and under. Tickets are $5/attendee per day, and can only be purchased at the door. Parking is also free.
Address: Dulles Expo Center, 4320 Chantilly Shopping Center, Chantilly, VA 20153
Learn more here.

Second Saturday Sungazing

A child observes the sun through a special filtered telescope at the Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center.
Image via

Join the staff at the Udvar-Hazy Center to observe the Sun safely with a filtered telescope! Meet outside the Museum entrance to view a variety of features on the Sun. Knowledgeable staff will be there to answer questions and guide observing. If clouds are blocking the view of the sky, you can find staff inside the Museum’s Space Hangar to see images of the Sun taken by a satellite.

When: Saturday, 10/8 from 11am-2pm. This sungazing program takes place the 2nd Saturday of each month.
Price: Free, but parking is $15.
Address: 14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy, Chantilly, VA 20151
Find out more on their website.


A young child is shown the inside of a truck and touches the steering wheel.
Image via

Enjoy the holiday with a free event that gives kids the chance to see, touch, and explore some of their favorite cars and trucks.

When: Monday, 10/10 from 10am-12pm.
Price: Free, but registration is required.
Address: McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean, VA 22101
Register here.

EventsDCPurcellvilleFalls ChurchWaterfordSterlingArlingtonBealetonFairfaxChantillyMcLean

Ellen Howes

Ellen is a bookworm, runner, and proud auntie. She makes her home in DC and can usually be found somewhere in Rock Creek Park.