Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Arts and Parties and Markets and Festivals

The first weekend of May was a busy one here in Jacksonville, fun-event-wise. There were so many things going on around town that we were unable to do everything we had penciled in on our calendar! We mostly spent that Friday and Saturday in the same general areas—Hemming Park, Friendship Fountain and the Museum of Science and History (MOSH)—but for several different fun things.

On Friday afternoon we decided to take the train out to Hemming Park to check out the weekly Hemming Park Green Market. They have live music and lots of vendors, and the atmosphere was very relaxed and fun. We didn't spend a ton of time there, but we did wander through and check it all out. We also had some fun with the new musical installation in the children's area of the park, and Ellie received an introductory chess lesson from her daddy (we learned that the elementary school she is currently zoned for has a chess club that starts as young as kindergarten, so Eric has GOALS).

Ellie, Eric and Cinderella on the train to Hemming Park

Green Market fun!

Ellie making beautiful music

The king giving the queen her first chess lesson

When we left Hemming Park we walked back across the river via the Main Street Bridge to check out the Party in the Park for Prevention (of child abuse) at Friendship Fountain. We were a little early for that, so we let the kids (E.J. specifically) burn off some energy in front of MOSH first.

That kid is going places, and FAST.

The party itself was really great. The Mayor made an appearance, and the fountain was lined with tables and booths with vendors and child-safety information. There were lots of freebies and giveaways, and there was a Chartwells food truck that was offering free meals and soft drinks (Eric and I each sampled a different meal, and both were quite tasty!). It was a very nice little event! Unfortunately, we couldn't stay too long because bedtime calls for the little ones.

Party in the Park for Prevention at Friendship Fountain

Ellie loved the decorations!

Heading home on Eric's back!

On Saturday morning, we retraced our steps and took the train back to Hemming Park for Art in the Park, another excellent event! There were tons of booths with fun projects for the kids. The biggest hits for us were the musical shaker-making table and the Clifford (the Big Red Dog) ears at the PBS table. There was also a fun photobooth inside the Museum of Contemporary Art, appearances by PBS characters, and live performances throughout the day on the main stage.

Ellie making her shaker
(She also made this bear mask at storytime on Friday, and insisted on wearing it most of the weekend because she is a little crazy and a lot awesome.)

Eric trying his hand at the MOSH brain teasers

Children performing a number from "Peter Pan"

Hey, look, it's Clifford!

No, wait. THAT'S Clifford.

E.J. rocking a beret as we Picasso-ed ourselves at MOCA

As the morning started to wear on we once again walked back over the Main Street Bridge to our side of the river, though we got stopped for the drawbridge on our way!

The bridge going up!

Clifford back at Friendship Fountain

With Ellie rocking the Clifford ears, E.J. got a turn with the bear mask

We stopped into MOSH for the Clean Air Festival they had going on. We checked out some of the exhibits and spent the most time taking part in the Hot Wheels event they were hosting in the preschool room. Each child got their own Hot Wheels car and was able to race it on ramps they had set up. Ellie LOVED this.

Ellie watching her car race (she won!)

Trying it for herself

Before heading home we crossed the street to check out the line of food trucks taking part in the festival. We decided to split a grilled cheese sandwich that was topped with BBQ pork and macaroni and cheese. Healthy? Certainly not, but darn delicious. E.J. was practically leaping out of his wrap to get his hands on it, because he has learned to recognize a delicious treat when he sees one.


What a fun couple of days in downtown Jacksonville, and there was still more to come that weekend!

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