Best NYC Spring Festivals, Fairs, and Carnivals in April 2018

Free Spring Festivals and Fairs for Kids and Families in NYC 2018

New York City's spring outdoor festival season kicks off this April with more than a dozen fun and mostly FREE fairs, fetes, parades, and carnivals. Some annual Mommy Poppins favorites take place, including the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Cherry Blossom Festival, the Queens County Farm Museum's Children's Carnival, Staten Island's St. George Day celebration, and the annual Street Games in East Harlem.

These events aren't just fun, they also foster community spirit by bringing folks together for a common cause. Many include old-fashioned games, eco-activities, homemade treats, and live performances. Here are some awesome NYC fairs, carnivals, and festivals for families this April.

Click through to our listings for all the details, including address, time, and recommended ages.

By the way, you can find loads of fun spring festivals to our north in Westchester and the Hudson Valley, as well as out on Long Island.

Come gawk at the amazing bonnets at the Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival. Photo by Phil Kline for NYCGo

Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival — Midtown East
Sunday, April 1
This is one of our favorite celebrations of the year, not just springtime. Fifth Avenue between 49th and 57th streets closes to traffic and opens to revelers in beautiful bonnets. Show off your craziest hat or just come and take photos. Check out some highlights from last year's parade of some of the most creative hats and revelers. FREE

Brooklyn Folk Festival — Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn
Friday, April 6–Sunday, April 8
This funky three-day festival include lots of folksy fun. Participate in a family square dance, join in a parade to the "banjo tossing arena," and take in a family-friendly stage performance. Children under age 5 are FREE; those 6–12 get in for half-price.

Children's Carnival – Floral Park, Queens
Saturday, April 7–Sunday, April 8 and Saturday, April 14–Sunday, April 15
If you've never visited the Queens County Farm Museum, this is a great time to go. This historic working farm is a hit with kids year-round, but on these two consecutive April weekends it hosts a huge, old-time carnival complete with a midway, magic show, and lots of kiddie rides. Bonus: Unlike some carnivals, all rides are included with the price of admission; some other activities do cost extra.

Artopia – Upper West Side
Saturday, April 14
Head to the Anderson School for this annual fest dedicated to all things art. Visitors participate in hands-on art projects, get their faces painted, and partake in performing arts workshops. The event is FREE, though donations are accepted on behalf of Wingspan Arts educational programs.

RELATED: April GoList: Best Things to Do this Month with NYC Kids

Kids get green at Earth Day New York in Union Square. Photo courtesy of the Earth Day Initiative

Earth Day New York 2018 – Union Square
Sunday, April 15
Head to Union Square for this eco-fair with live music, green goods, face painting, crafts, and educational activities for the kids. Later in the week, the group is sponsoring an Earth Day 5K, in which participants move from site to site, learning about green initiatives in the city. The Eco Fair is FREE, but there's a charge for the 5K.

Spring Family Fair at the Morgan — Midtown East
Sunday, April 15
This annual event invites families to explore the museum's historic library, create original poetry on its family poetry wall, enjoy creative arts and crafts, and explore the museum's exhibits. FREE for kids 12 and under

The National Grid Earth Day Celebration – Crown Heights, Brooklyn
Saturday, April 21
Celebrate Earth Day at this annual fest, which finds a new home on the campus of the Weeksville Heritage Center in Crown Heights. The afternoon features interactive storytelling, yoga workshops, puppet shows, live music, and a slew of eco-activities. FREE

Go origami fishing at the Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival. Photo courtesy of the festival

Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival – Roosevelt Island
Saturday, April 21
This fest at Roosevelt Island's Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park includes all the traditions of a Sakura Matsuri with musical performances (strings and drums), Japanese tea ceremonies, dancers, Samurai sword demonstrations, and of course, ample time among the cherry blossoms. FREE

Dragons soar overhead at the annual St. George Day festival on Staten Island. Photo courtesy of the organizers

St. George Day 2018 – St. George, Staten Island
Sunday, April 22
There are a ton of things going on at this annual community festival celebrating the arts and the Earth in Tompkinsville Park. Local artists sell their wares and run workshops, in addition to live performances, storytelling, poetry, and prose. The Earth Day Zone is full of eco info, herbs for sale, composting demos, and more. There's also an entire area devoted to kids with arts and crafts and a fanciful puppet show that recounts the St. George dragon-slaying legend with a less gruesome ending. The highlight is the interactive 35-foot puppet dragon parade. Best of all, the shindig is a quick walk from Staten Island's St. George Ferry Terminal, so it's a fairly easy journey from lower Manhattan. FREE

Arbor Weekend — Riverdale, the Bronx
Saturday, April 28–Sunday, April 29
Wave Hill's multiple-day Arbor Day event offers kids a chance to harness up and ascend a tree in addition to art-making workshops and a chance to sample maple syrup.

The annual Street Games fest gets kids moving. Photo courtesy of NYC Parks and Recreation

Street Games – East Harlem
Saturday, April 28
We're big fans of this annual fest dedicated to the analog amusements we grew up with in the '60s and '70s. Leave your tablets and smartphones at home and encourage the kids to try out classics, including pogo sticks, hula hoops, Yo-Yos, hippity hops, and Double Dutch jump rope. There's even an old-fashioned soap box derby race, local DJs spinning tunes, and live performances. FREE

Puppetry Arts Family Festival — Park Slope, Brooklyn
Saturday, April 28
Spring in Park Slope doesn't semi-officially begin until this festival, where almost all of Fifth Avenue north of 9th Street to JJ Byrne Park is packed with food, music, and fun. FREE

RELATED: Macy's Flower Show and 6 More Places to See NYC's Spring Blooms

The Sakuri Matsuri festival includes a cosplay fashion show, Taiko drumming, and other Japanese arts performed alongside the blooms. Photo by Liz Ligon for Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Sakura Matsuri 2018/Cherry Blossom Festival – Crown Heights, Brooklyn
Saturday, April 28–Sunday, April 29
This fantastic, extremely popular two-day festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden gives visitors a chance to immerse themselves in all aspects of Japanese culture alongside the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's blooming cherry trees. In addition to stunning flowers, there are plenty of activities, including Taiko drumming performances, art and flower arranging workshops, Samurai sword play, tea ceremonies, manga drawing, magic, and drumming workshops for kids. Plus, a host of revelers come dressed in their best anime-inspired outfits and show them off in a cosplay fashion show. It's no wonder Sakura Matsuri is on our list of the top 100 things to do with kids in NYC.

Get cozy with the baby animals at Arbor Fest at The Queens County Botanical Garden. Photo courtesy of the garden

Arbor Festival – Flushing, Queens
Sunday, April 29
In honor of Arbor Day, kids enjoy all kinds of nature-inspired fun at the Queens Botanical Garden, including a petting zoo, games, crafts, face painting, garden tours, and live music. Bonus for grown-ups: a beer and wine tent.

This article first published in April 2010, but is updated annually.

Top photo of the Queens County Farm Museum Festival. Photo courtesy of the the museum