If you didn’t book a February school break camp for your kids, no worries. There’s plenty of fun to be had in the region, from children’s film festivals to outdoor extravaganzas. Whether your kids are into classic cartoons, want to bring their teddy bears to a tea party, or feel like indulging in an all-they-can-eat chocolate party, there are all sorts of activities at these unique festivals.
Fun By The Sea
Head to Rhode Island for Newport’s 31st Annual Winter Festival, which runs from February 15 through February 24. With more than 150 events over the course of the week-plus, there’s plenty to do for all ages. Especially of interest for kids are a children’s fair on Sunday and Monday, February 17-18, with music, dancing, a reptile show, balloon creations and magic shows. On Thursday, February 21, there’s a Teddy Bear Tea, and kids are invited to bring their favorite stuffed animals and listen to musical storyteller Christopher ‘Kavi’ Carbone. There’s tea for adults and milk and cookies for the kids. Other popular events include a princess party, live jazz for kids and the second annual Mac & Cheese Smackdown. There is no admission to the festival itself; all official events are priced individually, and some are free. Also, the purchase of a $10 bracelet gets you discounted admission to some official events. You’ll get a bracelet to wear and this provides free admission or significant discounts to all official events, as well as discounts at many local stores and restaurants.
Ehh … What’s Up Doc?
The 24th Annual Bugs Bunny Film Festival at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge runs from February 15 through February 23, and if your little ones aren’t familiar with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird, Elmer Fudd and all the rest of these iconic characters you grew up watching, now’s the chance to introduce them. For the Looney Tunes uninitiated and those who already are, this festival is extra special because the movies being screened are on uncut 35 mm film. It’s definitely a different experience to see Bugs and friends up on the big screen, rather than on a television. On the first seven days of the festival, there are multiple show times, while the last two days features a Looney Tunes Revue, which mixes things up with different movies.
Watch Your Screen Time
Another Rhode Island winter staple is the annual Providence Children’s Film Festival, running February 15 through February 28. This year’s theme is “Celebrating A Decade of Wonder.” The festival takes place at different venues within walking distance of downtown Providence and features screenings, filmmaking workshops, and a variety of free activities. During the festival, there’s an average of 18 feature-length films and more than 100 shorts screened, including live-action, documentary, and animation, made by filmmakers from around the world. In addition, the Youth Filmmaker Showcase, a juried program of films made by young people, follows young filmmakers discussing both the fun and the challenges they faced. If you have an aspiring filmmaker in the family, you won’t want to miss this.
Fun-Filled Double Header
Lowell WinterFest may only be two days long, February 22 and 23, but it is jam-packed with activities, including an outdoor winter carousel, free ice-skating and a chocolate extravaganza. On Friday night and all day Saturday, kids can enjoy a ride on the Winterfest Carousel, a traditional merry-go-round. The Family Fun Zone, on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., features sing-a-longs, magic shows and dance performances, plus a craft area, a giant game area with drawing tables and “old-fashioned” games. On Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., head to the All-You-Can-Eat-Chocolate Festival for all the sweet treats you can manage! A free outdoor ice skating rink is set up on JFK Plaza with public skating and entertainment. You can bring your own skates or rent them there. Warm up by one of the fire pits and check out the winter market with food and beverages.