Free Fun Friday: A Weekend of Alternative Fun for NYC Kids

9/5/08 - By Anna Fader


The school year has started back up and with it comes a whole new wave of fun weekend activities for kids. This weekend is especially packed with cool alternative events especially fun for kids like the River to River Festival's Big Draw, Howl Kidz, The Art Parade and Circus Amok plus some cool street festivals, a county fair in Staten Island and more.


Howl! Kidz
The Howl! Festival is an East Village cultural festival running from Sept 5-11, but Howl! Kidz starts today and runs through Sunday. The festival in Tompkins Square Park features two main stages and one smaller stage featuring diverse cultural entertainment for all ages as well as lots of stands, presentations, and activities. Don't miss ¡SPLASH! , a community art event involving buckets of paint, canvas, paintbrushes, professional artists, and lots of happy kids! Or Punk Rope where families can skip to the likes of Blitzkrieg Bop and The Kids Are All Right.

The Big Draw
Not to be redundant, but the Big Draw is ALSO one of the coolest events of the year for kids. Since the weather may be rotten this weekend, this event has the added plus of taking place partially indoors and will be a great indoor activity for this weekend. The Big Draw is on Saturday, September 6 at 5 locations in Lower Manhattan (Teardrop Park, The National Museum of the American Indian, the Winter Garden at the World Financial Center and on a NY Water Taxi!). Each event will be lead by professional artists and promises to be a really cool and interesting experience, plus just darn fun. I heard rave reviews from the friends who attended this last year.

The Art Parade
The fourth annual Art Parade brought to you by the very cool Deitch Projects is a great way to get your art fix while being outside and entertaining the kids.  The parade is a smorgasbord of artists, performers and designers who have created floats, balloons, placards, portable sculptures, performances and street spectacles. This year’s parade will include over 90 projects, including those by Jim Drain, Barry McGee, Clare Rojas, Beta Tank, Yoko Ono, Dzine, The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black and Kenny Scharf, and will involve over 900 participants, making it the largest and most dynamic Art Parade yet.  Saturday beginning at 4PM on West Broadway from Houston to Grand Street.

Circus Amok: Sub-Prime Sublime!
Reinventing the circus form, the troupe balances danger with laughter, slipping its critique between the pies in the face and the surreal, scary, and sometimes gender-bent characters. Their new show Sub-Prime Sublime features: Acrobatic Economists, Fantastical Free-Falling Free Markets, Tenanacious Tenants, Querelous Quarks, Neurotic Neutrons, Vaulting Villains, Stupendous Stilters, Disco Dorothy, Lions and Tigers and Zebras Oh My! Circus Amok is another thing I've been dying to get to for years. This is circus for New Yorkers. Saturday in Riverside Park, performances at 2 and 5 PM. FREE.

Richmond County Fair
Hop on the Staten Island Ferry for the city's only county fair which is in Staten Island. Festivities include rides, Skin & Bones Comedy Circus, a Beatles cover band and lots more. Admission is $15 per person per day, kids 34 inches and under FREE and that includes admission to grounds, unlimited amusement rides (bungee jump and animal rides not included), entertainment on 3 stages, contests and more. Friday, Sat & Sun.

Movies (and cartoons) at 103rd
Tonight in Riverside Park Hitchcock's North by Northwest will be shown on the promenade at 103rd St, preceded by cartoons. The film might be kinda boring for kids, so just stay long enough to picnic and watch the cartoons! Next Friday is To Catch a Thief.

13th St. Block Party and Book Drive
Housing Works and Rebecca & Drew are co-hosing a block party to raise donations and awareness for AIDS and homelessness. The event will feature children's activities, book reading, face painting, kite fliers and more. Bring your old books to donate. 13th Street between 8th and Hudson. Saturday, Sepember 6 from 11am-4pm. Rain Date, Sunday, September 7.

Big Movies for Little Kids
On Monday, the Fall season of Big Movies for Little Kids, the Cobble HIll film series for kids, starts up with The Thief of Bagdad and continues every other Monday with more fun movies just for kids. This event is NOT free. For more film series for NYC kids, check out our post on Free Movies for Little Kids.