It’s finally summer, which means school’s out, the sun is shining and everyone feels like celebrating! Get in on the fun with our guide to family-friendly festivals of all kinds, from crafts to crabs.
Music in the Woods Festival
Want the camping experience without the commitment? Return to your roots with Oregon Ridge Nature Centers. Their annual music festival celebrates traditional genres like folk, bluegrass and rock with more than a dozen local bands and musicians. Are you or your little one a budding banjoist or prodigious percussionist? All are welcome to bring an instrument and join in a jam session! (Even if you’re not a musician, be sure to bring blankets and lawn chairs!) Crafts, s’mores by the campfire and face painting add to the fun.
June 4. FREE, oregonridgenaturecenter.org
Annapolis Arts, Crafts and Wine Festival
With 200+ arts and crafts vendors and tastings from over 25 Maryland wineries, this two-day event is worth the short trip south. Sip on chardonnay while being serenaded with smooth jazz and searching for the perfect sculpture for your garden or sample a full-bodied merlot while chatting with a mixed-media artist. Sound ideal—but a little adult? The festival also boasts a lively Kids’ Art area with child-geared theatre, dance and music.
June 4-5 at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Fee: $35 for tasting ticket, $12 adults,
$5 children 12-18, free for children 12 and under, annapolisartscraftswinefestival.net
35th Annual Strawberry Festival
There’s nothing better than biting into a succulent strawberry in the summer—and with Sandy Spring’s Strawberry Festival, you can celebrate the sweet seasonal fruit in style. Snack on delicious desserts like strawberry shortcake, chocolate-covered strawberries and more, all while enjoying arts and crafts vendors, pony rides, a petting zoo, live music and other local acts.
June 4 at the Sandy Spring Museum. FREE, sandyspringmuseum.org
Greek Folk Festival
Opa! Get a taste of Hellenic culture in Charm City with the St. Nicholas Greek Folk Festival. Whether you’re Greek in heritage or just at heart, the whole family is sure to enjoy the traditional dances, music and, of course, fantastic food (baklava and souvlaki, anyone?). Take your tots to the Kids’ Zone for arts and crafts or relax with a glass of wine…it’s all Greek to you!
June 9-12 at GreekTown Square. FREE, greekfolkfestival.org
Baltimore Caribbean Carnival
Can’t make it to the Caribbean this summer? You may not be able to recreate the crystal-clear waters and white sands, but you can don your feathered finest and experience the magic, music and masquerade of Carnival in Baltimore’s Lake Clifton Park! The festival kicks off with a huge parade featuring elaborate costumes and floats set to the sound of soca music (all set), then continues with live calypso bands, authentic Caribbean food and other cultural activities.
July 9-10. Fee: $10 Saturday and $15 Sunday, baltimorecarnival.com
Cheseapeake Crab & Beer Festival
Don’t let the name fool you—this feast is fit for the whole family. After all, what’s summer in Maryland without a day dedicated to the shellfish staple? The premise of this crustaceous celebration is simple: It’s “all-you-care-to-taste,” meaning that you can crack as many crabs (and, for Mom and Dad, sip as many suds) as you want with the price of admission. And as with most summer fests, there will be plenty of live music, arts and crafts, kids’ activities and more.
June 25 at Rash Field in the Inner Harbor.
Fee: $89 for unlimited crabs and beer, $59 for crabs only, $29 for kids 4-20, kids under 4 free, mdcrabfest.com
Artscape: Explore What’s Out There
The massive arts festival returns to Charm City with a totally stellar space theme. For three days, the streets of Station North will be packed with hundreds of artists, musicians, craftspeople and performers. Shop for unique gifts, admire the exhibitions and enjoy out-of-this world theatre, music and dance, then stop by one of the incredible food stands to fuel up for the next amazing activity. And though there’s plenty to see and do for children of all ages throughout the festival, be sure to stop by Kidscape for educational arts, crafts and demonstrations.
July 15-17, FREE, artscape.org
Maryland Renaissance Festival
Did you know that jousting is the state sport of Maryland? Watch brave knights and valiant steeds revive the bygone pastime at the annual Renaissance Festival. As you stroll through the village of Revel Grove, your family will be transported to a different time—one when you could mingle with minstrels and maidens, barter for artisan goods and sup on hearty meals…with only your hands. P.S.: This can’t-miss festival is even better with costumes!
August 27-September 25. Fee: $19-$25 adults and $8-$10 children, marylandrenaissancefestival.com BC