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Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival

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Made in Marin


By: Pamela Parker   |  August 3, 2023

The Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival is one of the oldest events of its kind in California, a unique event where art and community meet under the redwoods. What isn’t very well known is that this showcase of local artists is curated for families with kids and toddlers to have an amazing day out.

The festival has very thoughtfully put together a whole children’s program to hold the space for the next generation of local artists, a fun day for everyone.

All day musicians, puppeteers and storytellers entertain the young ones in a special nook of Old Mill Park, which they have lovingly named “The Children’s Grove”.

A special area within The Children’s Grove hosts an eco-aware art activity for kids of all ages.
In addition to participative workshops with member artists of the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, a jam-packed entertainment program includes favorite local acts such as Music with Enzo, two different puppet shows will grace the stage, one a Marionette performance (think “The Sound of Music”)!

Story time and a magic show mean you could stay at the festival all day if your kids are past napping, otherwise popping in at almost any hour would guarantee something fun, educational and community-driven for your family to do.

All day, the Blue Fairy will be sprinkling her imaginary fairy dust as she wanders around doing her magic, making sure all the acts are ready and properly introduced. Kids love it when they get a glimpse of a fairy of the forest.

This year’s festival features organic, kid-friendly food options and more seating to enjoy conversation and tasty bites. The festival has requested diaper-changing stations with the City of Mill Valley this year.

Art’s role in the mental health of children is well established, boosting confidence, making them feel more engaged and increasing their resilience. Art is not only a tool for expression and communication beyond words, but it also helps build community through appreciation and exploration. Exposure to art that is accessible, connected and community focused is priceless, which is what makes this festival so special.

Creative play and a unique art-focused experience await kids of all ages over the weekend of September 23rd and September 24th.
If you are planning to head down, here’s the pre-released schedule of kids’ art activities and performances:
Saturday, 9/23
Blue Fairy - all day
Art with Marin MOCA -10:30 am - 4 pm
Fratello Marionettes -12:00 pm
Music with Enzo - 1:00 pm
Puppet Lady - 2:00pm
Brian Scott Magic - 3:00pm
Sunday, 9/24
Blue Fairy - all day
Art with Marin MOCA -10:30 am - 4 pm
Fratello Marionettes -12:00 pm
Interactive Improv with Tam Valley High School Drama Club - 1:00 pm
Magic with Blake - 2:00pm
Scott the Storyteller - 3:00pm
I will be there with families from the Preschool Years playgroup and I hope to run into many of you!

Pamela lives in Mill Valley with her husband, son and cat. She began her journalism career writing for financial and legal magazines in Sydney, Australia. After spending almost a decade Down Under, she moved to Singapore and then the Bay Area which she now calls home. She previously served as Editor-in-chief of The Crier and the 2022-2023 President of SMMC.
More from this issue:

Back to School Hacks for a Smooth Transition HERE >> 

Creating Time for Movement HERE >>

Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival HERE >>

Show Her Real Friendships HERE >>

The Crucible HERE >>

The Last Month Rollercoaster HERE >>

Travel School: London & Paris HERE >>