Be More Festive It’s festival season in Maryland! Whether your idea of fun is cracking crabs, sipping chardonnay or even shearing sheep, there’s a festival for that.

By Sydney Burrows and Kimberly Uslin



Charm City Comedy Festival
Laugh out loud with Charm City Comedy Project at this hilarious two-weekend festival. (The first is dedicated to improv and sketch comedy, and the second to standup.) Acts include musicians, comedy groups of all sizes and stand-up stars from across the nation, all bringing their unique brands of humor to Zissimo’s for tons of nonstop fun.
May 3-7 and 10-14 at 1023 W. 36th St. charmcitycomedyproject.com/festival

Maryland Film Festival
Considered one of the best film festivals in the country, the Maryland Film Festival features more than 125 screenings of artistic, high-quality films and enlightening performances. Audience members will have the chance to chat with the filmmakers in post-film Q&A sessions, as well as attend the award ceremony, mixers, workshops and more.
May 3-7 at multiple venues. mdfilmfest.com

Decoy & Wildlife Art Festival
The 36th annual Havre De Grace Decoy & Wildlife Art Festival features 100-plus talented artists, exhibiting and selling their wildlife wares. Learn about their unique craft while indulging in delicious food, bidding in live and silent auctions and watching Retriever demonstrations, carving competitions and more. P.S. The event is totally kid-friendly, so feel free to bring your little ducklings.
May 5-7 at The Havre De Grace Decoy Museum. decoymuseum.com

Baltimore Wine and Food Festival
One of Baltimore’s favorite all-you-can-taste events, the Baltimore Wine and Food Festival brings together world-renowned chefs, Baltimore foodies and food trucks and artisanal craftspeople for a can’t-miss afternoon. Try more than 150 international and local beers, wines and spirits while enjoying live music, and don’t forget to stop by the Palm Desert Tasting Room for wine pairings and workshops.
May 6 at Rash Field in the Inner Harbor. bmorewine.com

Solomons Maritime Festival
Celebrate all things seafaring with antique boats and motors, boat rides, maritime carving demonstrations, traditional music and storytelling (sea shanties, anyone?), crafts, cooking and more. There’s plenty to keep the little shipmates entertained, too, with crafts and games geared toward the smaller set.
May 6 at Calvert Marine Museum. calvertmarinemuseum.com

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival
The Maryland Sheep Breeders Association is back with its 44th annual Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. This year, the festival promises 250-plus vendors, plenty of sheep shows and sales, workshops in shepherding and fiber arts, live entertainment and tons of great food—not forgetting the children’s activity tent, which will offer storytelling, arts and crafts and much more.
May 6-7 at Howard County Fairgrounds, sheepandwool.org

Maryland Craft Beer Festival
Taste more than 180 Maryland-brewed craft beers at this hoppy one-day festival in downtown Frederick. Sip on an old standard (Flying Dog, Heavy Seas) or try one of several offerings from not-yet-open-to-the-public breweries—or, if you’ve got more than brewskis on the brain, enjoy arts, crafts and eats from local vendors, as well as live music throughout the day. As always, non-Frederick natives have the option to be bussed in, and designated drivers receive discounted tickets.
May 13 at Carroll Creek Park. mdcraftbeerfestival.com

Waterfront Art Festival
Enjoy visual art while surrounded by scenery that’s equally beautiful! This waterfront fest features painting, sculpture, jewelry-making, photography and more, as well as workshops, live art demonstrations and festival standards like music, food and kids’ activities.
May 13 at Bladensburg Waterfront Park. pgparks.com

Calvert Arts Festival
The best thing about the Calvert Arts Festival: its adorable logo, featuring crisscrossed paintbrushes dipped in a glass of wine and mug of beer, respectively. Doesn’t that just sum up summer arts festivals so perfectly? At this one, enjoy your drink of choice while admiring the juried artisan show, with everything from fiber and ceramics to painted glass and woodworking on display.
May 13 at All Saints Episcopal Church in Sunderland. calvertartsfestival2017. yapsody.com

Karma Fest   
Get in touch with your inner self at KarmaFest’s special U N I T Y festival, featuring live music, drumming, dancing, spirituality workshops, lectures and discussions, yoga and more than 150 vendors offering everything from crafts to crystals. Plus, all food is vegan or vegetarian—perfect for this weekend of guilt-free self-indulgence.
May 13-14 at Oregon Ridge Park (Hunt Valley). karmafest.com

Preakness Celebration Balloon Festival
As part of the weeklong celebration leading up to the Preakness, the Howard County fairgrounds will serve as the “Centerpiece Venue” for the annual Balloon Festival. In addition to the obvious (balloon-watching, and rides both tethered and non-tethered), the free festival offers plenty of arts and crafts, live entertainment and good food.
May 18-20 at Howard County Fairgrounds. ballooningusa. com/Preakness

Wine in the Woods
The local festival favorite returns for its 25th year with a jam-packed lineup on its two stages, samples from 35 different wineries, 20-plus food vendors and, as always, an excellent selection of work from local artisans—all in the gorgeous woods of Howard County. (Consider it Maryland’s casual, classy, kid-friendly take on Coachella.)
May 20-21 at Symphony Woods Park. wineinthewoods.com

Dragon Boat Festival
Commemorating the 2,300-year-old legend of Qu Yuan, D.C.’s Dragon Boat Festival is a spectacular cultural event featuring dragon boat racing (of course), lion dances, arts and crafts, authentic Chinese food (including zhong zi, the official food of such festivals) and other events and demonstrations.
May 20-21 at Thompsons Boat Center in Washington, D.C. dragonboatdc.com

Chestertown Tea Party Festival
Commemorate Memorial Day with one Eastern Shore town’s “celebration of Colonial resistance to British rule.” Activities include a Tea Toss Reenactment, Colonial parade, street musicians, Colonial-era crafts, a 5K race and a wine and beer tasting featuring Maryland’s best breweries and wineries. Don’t missthe Street Party, either—shake your thang in the street to celebrate all that freedom, baby.
May 26-28 in downtown Chestertown. chestertownteaparty.org

Caribbean Wine, Music and Art Festival
Grab a group of friends and relax to the sounds of reggae and steel drum bands as you sip chardonnay at Linganore Winecellars’ Caribbean Wine, Music and Art Festival. As the name suggests, guests can also enjoy arts and crafts vendors and fantastic Caribbean food—just BYO lawn chairs or blankets!
May 27-28 at Linganore Winecellars. linganorewines.com

Sowebo Arts and Music Festival
The Sowebohemian Arts and Music Festival always brings a unique crowd with its full schedule of local music (spanning soul, rock, hip-hop, indie, funk and more), activities for kids, great food, craft vendors and visual arts.
May 28 on the 1100 block of Hollins St. soweboarts.org/festival.html

Annapolis Irish Festival
Explore Leprechaun Land, enjoy live music and celebrate your Irish pride at the Annapolis Irish Festival. With plenty of activities to keep kids busy (a bouncy castle, special shows and face-painting, to name a few), this family-friendly day will bring the Irish out in everyone. No little lambs in tow? Check out the Mass Pipe Band and Drum Competition, Guinness on tap and one of many great Celtic rock bands taking the stage, like Gaelic Storm and Scythian.
June 2-3 at Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds. annapolisirishfestival.com

Capital Jazz Fest
Though the lineup for the 25th annual Capital Jazz Fest had not yet been announced as of press time, the “jazz festival with soul” is sure to impress. (Past headliners have included New Edition, En Vogue, Toni Braxton and others.) The multistage festival features tons of jazz and soul, naturally, but is also the perfect spot to people-watch, enjoy festival food, shop and more.
June 2-4 at Merriweather Post Pavilion. capitaljazz.com/fest

Strawberry Festival
Is there anything more summery than straw- berry shortcake? Join the Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church for their annual Strawberry Festival, featuring games, pony rides, a silent auction, craft and antique vendors, and lots and lots of strawberries. (In the 26 years since the festival began, festival vendors have sold more than 40,000 pounds of the juicy red fruit.)
June 3 at 6680 Sykesville Road. melchurch.org

St. Mary’s County Crab Festival
Leonardtown may be more famous for its oyster shucking than its crabs, but this seafood festival isn’t one to be missed. In fact, the fest is advertised à la Forrest Gump: They’ve got “steamed hard crabs, soft crabs, crab cakes, crab soup, and other seafood dishes”—and some non-crustacean fun, too, like car shows and crafts.
June 10 at St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds. visitstmarysmd.com

Honfest
Need we even include an explanation of this Baltimore cultural classic? “Bawlmer’s Best Time” pays homage to the “Hon,” a Charm City caricature characterized by beehive hairdos, cat’s eye glasses, a nasal drawl and kitsch galore. Don’t miss the Baltimore’s Best Hon pageant, myriad Elvis impersonators and, of course, vendors peddling Baltimore’s go-to summer snack: the lemon stick.
June 10-11 at The Avenue in Hampden. honfest.net

Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival
This aptly named festival promises all-you-care-to-taste protein and potent potables, including 60 beers, 40 bourbons and seemingly endless BBQ offerings, from whole hogs and chicken breasts to pulled pork and ribs galore. All guests get a signature glass to sip from while enjoying live music, BBQ exhibits and seminars and all the meat they can eat.
June 16-17 at Plateau at National Harbor. beerandbourbon.com

Maryland Lavender Festival
Perhaps the summer’s most fragrant fest, the Maryland Lavender Festival at Springfield Manor offers guests the chance to wander among their massive lavender fields (featuring more than 2,500 plantings) while listening to live music, shopping for artisan crafts and sipping handcrafted wine and spirits. Bonus: A “lavender luncheon” ticket entitles you to a lavender chicken salad croissant, grapes, chips, lavender lemonade and a lavender cookie. Yum.
June 17-18 at Springfield Manor. springfieldmanor.com

Baltimore Pride
Since 1975, Baltimore Pride has served as a highly visible weekend of advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals and their allies. Welcoming more than 30,000 people each year, the festival (a program of the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore) promises parades, block parties and plenty of fun.
June 17-18 at Old Goucher. baltimorepride.org

Wade-In Festival
Roll up your pants and wade into Otter Point Creek this summer for an environmentally friendly festival offering free pontoon boat rides, canoeing, face painting, fish printing and other water-related activities and educational sessions. This river festival is the perfect chance to embrace your roots!
June 24 at 700 Otter Point Road. otterpointcreek.org

Chesapeake Crab and Beer Festival
The fourth annual Inner Harbor fest promises plenty of food and drinks, arts and crafts, live music, fun family activities … and more than 30,000 Chesapeake Bay crabs. The fest’s two sessions are all-you-can-eat-and-drink—so grab your mugs and mallets and saddle up for a feast with family and friends. (P.S. There are lots of non-crustacean and nonalcoholic options, too.)
June 24 at Rash Field, Inner Harbor. mdcrabfest.com

LatinoFest
Join EBLO (Education Based Latino Outreach) in celebrating Latin culture, music and dance in Patterson Park. See and hear salsa, merengue, bachata, cumbia and other traditional music and dances, enjoy cultural arts and crafts and Latin cuisine, and learn more about Baltimore’s Latino community at one of the festival’s information booths.
June 25-26 at Patterson Park. latinofest.org

Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Make the trip to D.C. for the 50th annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, a celebration of living cultural heritage in the nation’s capital. Programming aims to educate and entertain; offerings include song and dance, crafts and games, traditional recipes and cultural exchange. This year, check out special presentations such as “Circus Arts, American Folk: Celebrating the NEA National Heritage Fellows,” “On the Move: Youth, Culture, and Migration” and others.
June 29-July 4 and July 6-9 at the National Mall. festival.si.edu

St. Nicholas Greek Folk Festival
Opa! Celebrate Greek food, music, dancing and culture at Maryland’s largest Greek festival, perfect for adults and kids alike. Presented by the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church of Baltimore, the four-day fest offers plenty of fantastic food, Greek-themed crafts, interactive dances and more.
June 8-11 at Plateia of St. Nicholas. stnicholasmd.org

Little Italy Film Festival
Sponsored by the Original Little Italy Restaurant Association, the Open Air Film Fest has become something of a summer tradition for Baltimoreans. Moviegoers can stroll down the street, dine in one of the neighborhood’s many restaurants or listen to the pre-show live music before settling in to watch the night’s flick, projected onto a wall of Ciao Bella Restaurant. (P.S. There’s free popcorn!)
Summerlong at Ciao Bella. promotioncenterforlittleitaly.org

One comment

  1. So many wonderful things to look forward to.
    Thanks!

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