It's a celebration of children and the arts all afternoon Saturday in Bethesda. The annual children's street festival Imagination Bethesda, presented by Bethesda Urban Partnership, takes place along Woodmont Avenue, between Bethesda Avenue and Elm Street.
Featuring live music, dance troupes, hands-on activities, roving entertainment, costume characters, lots of food and more, the free festival is a cultural taste of Bethesda for kids.
"The event is celebrating its 11th year," says Stephanie Coppula of Bethesda Urban Partnership. "It's great for families. And it's a fun day for the kids to come down and walk the streets of Bethesda."
Shops, businesses and educational organizations will set up tents and present a variety of hands-on activities for kids.
"It's a great way to introduce their business to the community," says Coppula.
And for the kids, a great day for "getting your hands dirty with fun art activities." Imagination Bethesda is geared to the 12-and-under set, but all ages are welcome. And certainly parents, too.
Sponsors of arts, crafts and hands-on fun under tents include Bundles of Cookies (for cookie decorating), Yoga Tales (for kids' yoga), Barnes & Noble (for nature crafts), Imagination Stage (for bookmark-making), All Fired Up (for pottery and magnet painting), the Writer's Center, Round House Theatre, Montgomery County 2nd District Police, Iran Cultural and Educational Center, Artworks and many others.
And after kids have explored the tents and gotten their hands sufficiently dirty, they can watch continuous live entertainment on the Inspiration Stage.
"There are a whole variety of community and cultural groups performing on stage," Coppula says.
Performers will include the Joy of Motion Dance Center dancers, the "Funny Guy" Paul Hadfield and students from the Levine School of Music.
Also, roving entertainers will include McGruff the Crime Dog, the WB's Michigan J. Frog, juggler Mikael Manoukian, stilt-walker Texas Shorty and others.
There will be raffles, giveaways, face painting, balloon art and two moonbounces (one for ages 2 to 6 and one for 7 to 12).
Area restaurants and food shops will be set up, as well. Visitors will find refreshments from Ben & Jerry's, Delhi Dhaba, Haagen-Dazs, Hard Times Cafe and Smoothie King.
Imagination Bethesda takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in downtown Bethesda, on Woodmont Avenue between Bethesda Avenue and Elm Street. Free. Call 301-215-6660 or visit www.bethesda.org.
For more family events, see Page 36.