This weekend, I plan to visit Scotland. A few months ago, our family had dinner in Greece and during the late summer we actually time traveled to medieval England. Frequent flier miles and passports? No — just a calendar filled with the dates of local ethnic festivals.
Just about anywhere around the country, you can find a festival on any given weekend within driving range of your home. These events range from cultural celebrations to religious observances to historical reenactments. Given a choice, my history-buff children would definitely choose a medieval feast or a civil war reenactment to a day at Disneyland. Here are some benefits of attending cultural celebrations with your family:
— Educational. Most of these types of festivals and fairs provide hands-on learning, living history and costumed actors who get so into their roles that it's almost scary at times. History, geography and cultural traditions come to life in front of your children's eyes. When they do get around to learning about these things in a traditional school setting, they can relate more easily because they have experienced the period firsthand.
— Financial. For the price of a movie ticket and a small coke at a theater, you can experience the food, music, history and culture of another part of the world.
— Cultural. Some of the best concerts I've attended were included in the price of admission at festivals. The food samplings are always incredible, if not always healthy. You can try your hand at various arts, crafts and games of the region.
— Fun. Take your camera, because you never know what will happen at a festival or fair. In some of our recent travels, I learned to dance medieval style, my son Eric learned to play a Bazooki and my husband was crowned king for a day.
What's going on around your house this weekend? Head online and do a quick search for events in your area — your kids will thank you and may even learn a thing or two while having fun!