Fun & Frugal Family Events 8/17 – 8/23

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Here is this week’s list of family-friendly free or frugal events for around the Northwest, as well as some events going on around  the country. Don’t forget to check out Goldstar for Discount Tickets on many local activities and events, if you are looking for a specific event and want to save some money!

Be sure to check out Thrifty NW Moms Summer Fun Page for park reviews and other frugal summer fun ideas, as well as our roundup of Summer Reading Programs in the Pacific NW and our  around the Pacific NW too! We’ve got a big list of summer festivals and fair in the Northwest as well.

We have just published our Fall Consignment Sale round up here. Be sure to stop by and check that big list of sales out too!

If you see a fun, frugal event that’s not listed, feel free to leave a comment so we can add that event to our list.


Friday August 17th:  

*Snoqualmie Railroad Days – Snoqualmie; 8/17-8/19; Times vary, check website for schedule; Food and vendor booths, children’s area with entertainment, parade, climbing wall and more.

*Island County Fair – Langley, Whidbey Island; 8/16-19;  Times vary, check website for schedule; Traditional county fair includes entertainment, kids’ stage, carnival rides, parade and more. Adult tickets are $8, Youth (6-15) are $5 and under 5 are free.

*Auburn Summer Sounds & Cinemas – Auburn (Les Gove Park); 8/17; Concert starts at 7:00pm, movie at dusk; Free outdoor concert and movie event. Bring blanket or chair and food if you want (concessions available for purchase).  This weeks showing is Despicable Me. In addition there will be:

  • FREE Child ID kits, compliments of King Solomon Lodge #60
  • FREE face painting and inflatable (10 years & under), compliments of Veritas Church

*Seattle Centers ‘The Next 50′ celebration Seattle; through 10/21; Join The Next Fifty for a full schedule of  activities launching the six-month celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. Most of the events are FREE.

Summer events will include: FREE Movies, FREE Concerts, and FREE Programming at the International Fountain

Make Seattle Center your favorite destination for summer fun and FREE entertainment – from their annual movie and concert series to a new addition: live music, dancing and video projected on the water of the International Fountain!
*Celebrate Shoreline – Shoreline; 8/17 – 8/19; 11:00am to 5:00pm; Music, food, community booths, family activities, parade and more. FREE, nominal fee for food and inflatables.

*Cinema Under The Stars – Everrett; 8/17; Family entertainment pre-show starts at 7:30 p.m., and movie starts at dusk. Enjoy free outdoor showing of  GhostBusters (G). Bring blankets. Snacks available for purchase. Pre-movie: Imagine Children’s Museum-Arts & Crafts

*Jetty Island Days – Everett; through 9/3; Jetty Islands Open Day is today. Enjoy Sandblast celebration, pirates hunt, crafts and more. Ferry rides to Jetty Island are free, but donations of $2 per adult and $1 per child help offset this cost and are appreciated. Find the calendar for the all of the Jetty Island Days activities here.

*Funtastic Fridays – Mercer Island; 8/17; 1pm; Join the Fun Mobile crew for wacky, zany fun at nine special Friday events this summer for our new program, “Funtastic Fridays! There will be crafts, games and more. This weeks theme is – Aqua Zone.

*FreeTête-à-têter At Frye Museum – Seattle; 8/17; 11:00am to 5:00pm; Frye Museum entrance and parking are free all the time. You can check their events page here, for a list of weekly events.

On the first Friday of the month Children’s stories are brought to life with movement and play in the Frye Art Museum galleries by Frye educators or librarians from The Seattle Public Library. Visit the galleries after story time. Ages 3 to 5 with adult. Both museum entrance and story time are free

*Free Entrance to Seattle Symphony’s “Soundbridge”– Seattle, Beneroya Hall; 8/17; 12:00pm to 4:00pm; Soundbridge is a music discovery center and is free each Friday after 12 pm; Ages 2-5, 30 minute interactive storytelling with song & rhythm, dance & musical instruments.

Saturday August 18th:

*Chief Seattle Days -Suquamish; 8/17-8/19; See website for times; Free event, enjoy native canoe races, salmon bake, Coastal Jam, Pow-Wow with competition dancing, drumming, parade, food vendors and more.

*Kingston Slug Hunt! – Kingston; 8/18; Search for artist-created ceramic slugs through the greater Kingston area.  You will need a $1 license to hunt, and there is one ceramic slug per license.  There will also be a kidsfest with crafts and lots more fun.

*Free Wing Luke Museum Entrance – Seattle; 8/18; 10:00am to 8:00pm; The Wing Luke Museum offers free admission on the third Thursday of each month.

*Get OUT Summer with Sam – Seattle (Sculpture Park); Various times and dates throughout the summer; Stay active in the park this summer. Drop by and participate in a weekly line-up of events, including a brand-new Thursday farmers market, performances, social dancing, yoga and drawing in the park on Saturdays and more.

*Free Bootcamp with YMCA – N. Seattle (Greenlake) – Held every Saturday through Aug. 25. 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.  Enjoy a free boot-camp workout at the field near Green Lake Community Center, hosted by University YMCA.

*Beach Explorations – Throughout the Puget Sound; see website for specific locations and times. Join beach naturalists and explore the beach at low tide. Free.

*Bellevue Art Museums Get Crafty Saturday – Bellevue; 8/18; 1:00pm to 3:00pm; Free craft time for kids each Saturday. $2 material fee or free with admission.

*Pond Boat Sailing – Seattle; Saturdays and Sundays through November; 11am to 2pm; Join The Center for Wooden Boats for pond boat sailing in Lake Union Park’s Model Boat Pond. Ages 5 and older.  $5 suggested donation for boat rental, free first Saturdays.

* Science & Technology Center (MaST) – Saturdays 10am – 2pm; kids can explore sea life with touch tanks & more. 

Monday August 21st:

Boeing Classic Youth Clinic – 8/21; 12:00pm to 1:00pm; This is a unique opportunity for young golfers to listen to tips from a Champions Tour Boeing Classic player, ask questions, and learn from one of the legends of the game. The event is open to the public, and FREE! No golf clubs needed, just come ready to learn from one of the all-time golfing greats. Concessions will also be available for purchase.

Wednesday August 22nd:

*Wild Wacky & Sometimes Wet Wednesday – Bremerton; 8/22 (every Wed. through Aug.); Join The Naval Undersea Museum where kids and parents are invited to drop in from 10:00am to 2:00pm every Wednesday this summer for hands-on activities about the undersea. Free.

*Free Casper Babypants Concert – Seattle; 8/22; See website for schedule; Hear a concert by popular kids’ entertainer Caspar Babypants, featuring music on guitar and piano.

*Kitsap County Fair – Bremerton; 8 /22 -8/26; See website for times. Entertainment, kids’ entertainment, kids’ carnival rides, food, livestock, agricultural exhibits and more. $9, $7 ages 6 to 12 and seniors, free ages 5 and younger, $6 parking.  ($1 Admission until 1pm on Friday, 8/24)!

Thursday August 23rd:

*Evergreen State Fair – Monroe; 8/23 – 9/3; See website for times;  Traditional fair with all of the fixings includeing rodeo, carnival, vendors, concerts, entertainment and more.  Free admission until 1pm 8/23! All admissions discounted Labor Day. $8 to $10 parking.  Find a full schedule of fair specials here.

*Half Priced Admission Imagine Childrens Museum – Everett; 8/23; Thursday 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. is half priced ( $3.88)

Sounds Fun Mom always has a great list of events  local to the South Sound area of WA as well, if you are looking for more ideas!


Here’s our list of weekly events for the Portland area.

Friday August 17th:

*Skamania County Fair & Timber Carnival – Stevenson, through 8/19, Times vary see website for details.  FREE Admission. The Skamania County Fair and Timber Carnival is a tradition of people sharing their knowledge and skills for the preservation and promotion of what’s best in America. People of all ages demonstrate their talents and hard work to educate and inspire us about what we can achieve.

*Clackamas County Fair – Canby, August 14-19; Traditional fair and rodeo with Daily Special information here.

*5TH Annual Fullerton Outdoor Ice Cream Social – Fullerton; 8/19; 6:30pm to 8:30pm; Bring your family and make your own ice cream sundae, get your face painted, climb a rock wall, and meet neighbors. Everyone is  make your own ice cream sundae, get your welcome at this outdoor family event.

*Pier Pool –  Through 8/31; 1:30pm to 3:30pm; Admission is free every Friday!

*Free Movies In The park Summer Series – Portland; See website for specific times. Come enjoy free movies at various Portland area parks all summer. Pre-movie entertainment begins at 6:30 pm. Movie begins at dark.

*Free Playground Programs & Free lunch – Portland area playgrounds. Enjoy free playground programs and free lunch for kids 0 -18 all summer. See website for locations and times.

*Family Movie Night at Café Sip-n-Play Portland; 8/17; 5:00pm; Free Movie Night. Grab a bite to eat, relax, and unwind while you enjoy a movie with the little atmosphere.

*Music From Mr. Hoo from The Alphabeticians – Portland; 8/17;  11:00am to 12:00pm; Mr. Hoo will be singing songs with and for kids. He’ll play his guitar and sing some original songs, some Alphabeticians songs, some classic kid songs and Hoo knows what else? $3 suggested donation pp.

Saturday August 18th:

*Adult Soap Box Derby – Portland; 8/18; 10:00am; No, kids don’t race in this soapbox derby, but they sure will enjoy watching the fast-moving fun.

Once a year a brave group of racers convene on the daunting slopes of Mt. Tabor to test their metal to their mettle. The Mission:  Keeping the kid in us all!

*Family Day At The History Museum – 8/18; 11:00am to 3:00pm;  Two kids are admitted free with one paid adult. All Multnomah County residents are now FREE.  *After August, Family Days will become a quarterly free day event. 

*Free Movies In The park Summer Series – Portland; See website for specific times. Come enjoy free movies at various Portland area parks all summer. Pre-movie entertainment begins at 6:30 pm. Movie begins at dark.

*Lets Go Camping – Various state park locations, weekends through 8/24; $20 per family. Tent, sleeping bags and mattress pads provided if iy need them. Lots of fun activities for everyone. There are 17 weekend events scheduled at various state parks. A very secure event with ranger-led activities and experienced volunteers on hand to assist you 24/7. Call 888-953-7677 to reserve spots. For more information head here and click on the Let’s Go Camping link on the left side of the page.

*Family Movie Night at Café Sip-n-Play Portland; 8/18; 5:00pm; Free Movie Night. Grab a bite to eat, relax, and unwind while you enjoy a movie with the little atmosphere. This weekend: .

Free Family Swim At Marshall Community Center – Vancouver; 8/18; 4:45pm to 6:30pm; Bauman Chiropractic is sponsoring free family swims at Marshall Pool Saturday evenings.

* Kids Saturday Morning Skate Session At Oaks Park Portland ; 8/18; 10:30am to 12:00pm; For $5.50 children 10 and under can skate (skates included). Parents free with paid child admission.

*Free Guided Nature Walk –  Portland – 8/18; 10:00am to 11:30am; Enjoy free guided walks with park ranger.

Sunday August 19th:

*India Festival – Portland; 8/19; 11:00am to 9:00pm; Get a taste of Indian culture for FREE and get a glimpse of this growing, warm and welcoming community filled with tastes, sounds and sights of India

Monday August 20th:

*Washington State International Kite Festival –Long Beach, 8/20-8/26, Times vary see website for details; Starting on Monday and ending on Sunday this Long Beach, Washington State vacation extravaganza boasts skies ablaze with color, high flying action and choreographed movement. Washington’s Kite Festival draws famous kite fliers from all around the world, and tens of thousands awed spectators, many of which participate in the fun with their own kite flying adventures.

*Washington County Museum Free Admission – Portland; 8/20; 10:00am to 4:30pm; Admission is free to this museum every Monday.

*Mondays On The Mall – Portland – Downtown Central Transit Mall; 8/20; Various Times; Free events all day including Wii play, caricatures, the original photo booth and entertainment.

For more Portland happenings, check out the PDX Kids Calendar, a comprehensive events-based website for families in the Portland area.


*Free Craft Activities at Lakeshore Learning Stores– Sat. 8/18; 11am to 3pm; Kids can come to this free craft time each week for a new craft (plus print a $5 off $25 coupon).

*Kids Skate Free Program – Kids 12 and under can get 2 free skate passes per week during the summer.

*Kids Bowl Free – 2 free bowling passes per child per day for the summer months.

*Kids Bowl Free AMF Program – Kids 15 and under can bowl 2 free games per day through Sept. 3rd.

Summer Movie Express – $1 movies on Tues. & Wed. through the summer with this program.

*Barnes and Noble Free Storytime – 8/18;  Times and events vary by location. Check your location for specific story’s available this weekend.


  1. ChristyM says

    DuPont Museum and Historical Society will be presenting Hudson Bay Day and salmon BBQ on Sunday, August 19, noon to 4. All activities are free, with BBQ $15 for adults or $5 for kids (hot dogs available for kids). Details at Take exit 118 onto Center Drive and follow the signs.

  2. Melissa B. says

    Cafe sip ‘n play in Vancouver closed down….July 31st was the last day they were open :(

    • Kelly says

      I just found out that they closed down today, (Cafe Sip N Play) the Vancouver location that is. I am seriously upset about this! I loved taking my daughter there, we live so close, virtually right across the street. I just wonder what happened???