It’s festival season here in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. We’ve got festivals of every stripe — berry festivals, Shakespeare festivals, folk festivals, medieval festivals, rose and rodeo festivals. Our family recently went to the Folklife Festival with our kids, and here’s a packing list I created. These items fit into one small backpack ( thankfully, we didn’t need any rain gear), which we slung over the stroller, along with the small cooler.
- Cell phone
- Cash (more than you think you’ll need) and Credit/Debit card and pin
- Tickets if necessary
- Map or iPhone or Android event schedule/map
- Camera w/extra battery or memory card
Festival packing for family health
- Bug repellent
- Sunglasses and sunhat
- Water bottle (two big ones)
- Tissues for well-used portapotties and for sad songs.
- Mini-first aid kit w/bandaids, allergy med, 1-2 pain relievers, safety pins
- Baby wipes
- One or two plastic grocery bags or small Ziploc bags. Because.
- Beach towel for grassy areas or a pashmina-style shawl – can be used for warmth, to sit on, last-minute cleanup, etc.
- Ear plugs or ear coverage for kids
- Thin thermal layer if it’s chilly
- Poncho/raincoat if you expect rain
For the family blood sugar:
- Shoulder/stroller-ready soft-sided cooler
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
- Granola bars, trail mix, kids’ health bars
- Oranges or other easy-peel fruit
Festival packing for the kids:
- Paper and pencils/pens/crayons (think about whether these will get so hot they’ll melt)
- Bubbles, stickers, other lightweight and keep-busy items
- A chapter book you can read to them during slow times.
- Disposable camera
- $5-10 spending money per child for cotton candy, small toys, etc.
- A method for transporting them when they’re tired (and whiny). Do not discount this aspect, even if you think your child is too old for a stroller. When the choice is A) leave early with a whining, unhappy child or B) let them nap/color/blow bubbles in the stroller despite the disapproving eyes of parental passerby (holding whiny kids) …yes, you should choose B. I’m not saying I would stuff my teen into a stroller, but a 5 year old? Yes. If you think the area will be uneven (think grassy fairgrounds), you may want to bring a child carrier instead. Baby jogger-style strollers can easily become too unwieldy.
Write your phone number your child’s arm or on a piece of paper they keep in a pocket; make sure they understand what to do if they get lost.