It’s finally summertime, which means lots of extra family time to do the things you couldn’t do during the school year. As luck would have it, there are many activities and events in our area for kids of all ages (and some for just the grown-ups). Here’s our list of family favs that will get your exploring different cultures or taste-testing Maryland’s sweetest fruits or snapping your best photos of the season.
DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC?
The three-day Maryland Faerie Festival promises “pageantry, magic, music and mischief.” Step into a fairytale of this folklore-inspired weekend one day at a time, or camp out with the faeries all weekend long.
June 8-10 at Camp Ramblewood. Day prices, $5-$15, camping prices start at $60. marylandfaeriefestival.org.
If you have yet to photograph yourself and your brood backlit by a halo of sunflowers, you have missed a pop cultural moment blooming around you. All is not lost; another summer is here, and with it, another crop of yellow beauties to frame your photos. Two great places to get a snapshot are the Maryland Agriculture Resource Council in Cockeysville and White Hall’s Clear Meadow Farm. Get that phone charged and get ready
MARC, 1114 Shawan Road. marylandagriculture.org; Clear Meadow Farm, 3114 Troyer Road. clearmeadowfarm.com.
Make an artful start to the summer with the Columbia Festival of the Arts. This two-week festival kicks off by bringing 50 visual artists to LakeFest on June 15-17 along with bands such as Chopteeth Afrofunk, Los Gaiteros de Sanguashington, the U.S. Navy Band Cruisers, the Bullbuckers, Nelly’s Echo and the Sidleys. Throughout the following two weeks, there will be film, theater, art and music opportunities for all ages.
June 14-30 at various locations. Ticket prices vary. columbiafestival.org.
Travel a trip around the world without leaving the mid-Atlantic. The Smithsonian Folklore Festival celebrates traditional cultures from all 50 states and more than 100 other countries. This year’s special focus: Armenia and Catalonia. Demonstrations are held throughout each day, and evenings feature live music. Check its website for a complete schedule.
June 27-July 1, July 4-8 at the National Mall in Washington. Free. festival.si.edu.
Artscape, America’s largest art festival, returns to Baltimore again. Over this always sunny, three-day weekend, more than 350,000 attendees flock to the city to see, hear and experience art from more than 150 artists, fashion designers and crafts people. If you’ve never been, expect music, pop-up performances and plenty of hands-on fun for kids. Events center around the Mount Royal and Station North neighborhoods.
July 20-22 in Baltimore. Free. artscape.org.
All are welcome at the 26th annual Howard County Pow Wow and show. Learn about Native American culture and history through singing, dancing, crafting and storytelling.
July 21-July 22 at the Howard County Fairgrounds. Tickets start at $7. crazycrow.com.
SUMMER IN THE STATE
Don’t let go of the summer yet! In the final days before school, enjoy what the state has to offer with the Maryland State Fair. For almost two weeks, you can watch horse shows, visit exhibits and, of course, challenge your mettle on the rides. Special events planned for the fair will be announced all summer long to ramp up excitement for this always entertaining summer closer.
Aug. 23-Sept. 3 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. marylandstatefair.com.
It must be summer: MECU Pavilion (formerly Pier Six) is once again filling the Inner Harbor with the sound of music — toe-tapping, break-out-a-move music from a lineup that includes the Steve Miller Band with Peter Frampton, Khalid, Barenaked Ladies and more. Get outdoors and get on your groove. Once winter returns, you will be glad for the memories of these music-filled summer nights.
June 2-Aug. 25 at MECU Pavilion, Inner Harbor. Tickets start at $32. livenation.com.
Weekend planning just got a lot easier with Boordy’s Summer Evening Concerts, held each Saturday throughout the summer. Each week brings a new band, including fan favorites such as Mood Swings and The Groove Train. Pack a picnic or sample offerings from The Corner Pantry and Prigel Family Creamery. Concertgoers can taste up to six wines for the ticket price. Dancing under the stars is free.
June 2-Sept. 1 at Boordy Vineyards. $20. boordy.com.
Get a beach jam going to the sounds of Mad Planet and misspent youth, two of the bands at this summer’s Bands in the Sand. Arrive by car or boat to this party on the water’s edge that benefits the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s efforts to protect and defend the bay. More than $1.3 million has been raised from this event over the past 10 years.
June 9 at the Philip Merrill Environmental Center. Tickets start at $175. cbf.org.
The concert venue is iconic Baltimore: Patterson Park’s Hampstead Hill, right by the Pagoda. This family-friendly event itself as become synonymous with city summers. Since 2002, Friends of Patterson Park has hosted its Music in the Park series, promising great sounds, sunsets and sometimes even a little salsa in the grass. Artists scheduled as of press time include rock band Fractal Cat, D.C. Latin Jazz All Stars and more.
June 10-Aug. 12 at Patterson Park. Free. pattersonpark.com.
Nextival, billed as Maryland’s food-truck music festival, lives up to its name with 20 bands and 27 food trucks. Dance, eat, dance some more. Musical acts include Statues of Liberty, Joey Harkum and Annapolis’ own Pressings Strings. This year, the festival offers camping.
June 13-15 at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds. $10, camping tickets start at $45. nextival.com.
If the backdrop to music is as important as the sound itself, another event to check out is the Tides & Tunes Summer Concert Series in Annapolis on Thursday nights. Bands from folk to rock take a stage set against the Chesapeake Bay. Food and spirits are sold at the concerts.
June 14-Aug. 16 at the Annapolis Maritime Museum and Park. Free, donations accepted. amaritime.org.
Sykesville’s annual Strawberry Festival returns for a day of fresh fruit, pony rides, entertainment, a silent auction, crafts, food, and, of course, strawberry shortcake. Admission is free, and parking is plentiful.
June 2 at Messiah Lutheran Church, Sykesville, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free. melchurch.org.
SEAFOOD ON THE GO
If you’ve long suspected you have mad crab-picking skills, here’s the chance you’ve been waiting for. The St. Mary’s County Crab Festival doesn’t just offer a fine menu of steamed crabs, soft crabs, crab cakes, crab soup and more at its annual celebration of all things crustacean — festivalgoers have the chance to put their fingers to the test in a picking contest. Live music, classic cars and a pet-welcoming atmosphere round out this road-trip destination.
June 9 at the St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds. $5. Kids under 11 are free. visitstmarysmd.com.
Sink your teeth into a juicy peach at the Leitersburg Peach Festival or try a pie or ice cream. Free entertainment pairs perfectly with this free day of fruity fun; expect crafts, music and more.
Aug. 11-12 at Ruritan Community Park. Free. leitersburgruritan.org.
This one is for the grown-ups: Springfield Manor’s Maryland Lavender Festival promises purple blossoms, wine tastings, educational demonstrations and live music. Take in the views at this Thurmont farm, and sample the award-winning lavender gin.
June 17 at Springfield Manor, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. $15-$25. springfieldmanor.com.
WHALE OF A TIME
Paddle-craft enthusiasts of all ages and expertise levels are invited to participate in the Bay Bridge Paddle. Whether you prefer to command a stand-up paddleboard or a kayak or something else, you are welcome to join in on this thrilling race through Chesapeake Bay waters. Race participants will receive a T-shirt, a carb-loaded breakfast to get them going and a lunch afterward. There also will be the opportunity to win more than $7,000 in prizes and cash.
June 2 at Sandy Point State Park, check-in at 7:15 a.m. $60-$110. baybridgepaddle.com.
TAKE A DIP
Roll up your pant legs and take a dip into Otter Point Creek for the 18th Annual Wade-In Festival. This day of scientific fun lets attendees explore the good old outdoors and learn a thing or two about nature. You will measure water quality, learn how to canoe and maybe even swim with some otters.
June 6 at Otter Point Creek, 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Free. otterpointcreek.org.
Compiled by Rebecca Cohen, Selah Maya Zighelboim and Jessica Gregg