Patriotic vibes are in the air this weekend as Star Spangled celebrations start! Check out what’s happening in and around town and keep the kids happy all weekend long. Here are our picks for kid-approved fun.

Baltimore Family Events

Defender’s Day Weekend
In commemoration of the defense of Baltimore during the War of 1812 and the penning of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine hosts the annual Defenders’ Day weekend with events including musical performances, author presentations, artillery and musket firing and fireworks each year. This year, Baltimore, the birthplace of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” is celebrating the 200th anniversary of our national anthem all year long. Special events, exhibitions and other celebratory activities mark the calendar throughout the year, and during the summer, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine will offer special activities saluting the anthem. The excitement reaches a crescendo with Star-Spangled Spectacular, September 10-16. From the famed Inner Harbor to Fort McHenry, there is so much to see and do as the city celebrates “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Witness tall ships, naval vessels and the U.S. Navy Blue Angels as they arrive; take part in family-friendly activities featuring live history encampments; enjoy live music and Chesapeake food and beverage; marvel at the harbor’s largest fireworks show to date; and much more. MORE INFO

The Star-Spangled Festival at Martin State Airport
Martin State Airport is opening its doors for two full days of festivities from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The Festival offers local Maryland foods and crafts, Blue Angels souvenirs, music, the Glenn L. Martin Aviation Museum, and static aircraft displays. History booths and demos tell the story of the U.S. Navy, aviation, and the War of 1812. Parking is free with shuttles running from parking areas to the festival all day. Saturday and Sunday. MORE INFO

Hawk Fest
The Hawks are migrating over Cromwell Valley Park! Head to Cromwell Valley Park for Live Bird of Prey Demonstrations, music and food, hourly bird and nature walks, children’s games and crafts, demos and displays. FREE! Saturday from 10 AM – 3 PM. MORE INFO

Dragon Training 101
Have you ever wondered if dragons are real? What’s the inspiration for the mockingjay? Why are ninja turtles so tough? Head to Irvine Nature Cener to meet some of the real-life inspirations for mythical creatures of books and movies! You’ll even hit the trails to see if we can find any of the beasts. Ages 6 & up. Saturday, 10:30 AM – 12 PM. $10. MORE INFO

Baby Loves Disco at Rams Head Live
Baby Loves Disco, the original family dance party, is celebrating its 10th birthday. Enjoy real music from real DJs, Relay Foods snacks, Honest Tea juice boxes, balloon animals, crafts, temporary tattoos, activities, and the “most fun you’ll have with your kids…ever,” says Parents magazine. Saturday from 11 AM – 2 PM. Tickets required. MORE INFO

Drop-In Art Activities: Lyrical Literature
Share your stories using many different art materials at The Walters this month! Stamp, roll, and illuminate as we explore literature throughout the Walters collection. Learn what it takes to be an author, journalist, and graphic designer with them every weekend in September. Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM – 3 PM. No registration required – drop-in, make, and take a fantastic piece of art home with you! This weekend, bind a book. MORE INFO

Exhibit Opening! A-Mazing Medes Cohen
Join The Jewish Museum of Maryland on the opening day of their latest exhibit! Explore the story of Mendes Cohen through our new, innovative exhibit developed in partnership with the Maryland Historical Society. On opening day they will have some great family activities available, so you can take a bit of Mendes home with you! Free with paid admission. Sunday from 10 AM – 5 PM. MORE INFO

Hampstead Hill Festival
On September 14, 1814 about 15,000 Baltimoreans, many of whom were not born in America, many of whom were African-American, stood on the ramparts they had built on Hampstead Hill (now Pagoda Hill), ready to defend their home from British invasion. Across the marshy valley below, on the ridge east of present day Creative Alliance, the British military camped. With Baltimore surprisingly well defended and the news of Fort McHenry’s fall not arriving the British eventually just turned around and left. Today we celebrate a City that came together to defend itself! See the Battle of Baltimore recreated as a 1970’s era rock opera! Join Governor Martin O’Malley and his band O’Malley’s March. Listen to cannons firing. Watch re-enactors marching. Make a period military hat with your kids! Hear work songs once sung by slaves. Enjoy amazing old time banjo music. See the finds discovered in a recent archaeological dig on the Hill. Enjoy amazing food from The Gathering’s food trucks. And raise a beer to toast our heroic defenders. All free, all day on Pagoda Hill, Patterson Park, Baltimore! Sunday from 11 AM – 8:30 PM. MORE INFO