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Festival Season! 25 great summer events for kids of all ages

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 & Drum Competition, Guinness on tap and one of many great Celtic rock bands taking the stage, like Gaelic Storm and Scythian.
June 2-3, Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, annapolisirishfestival.com

Capital Jazz Fest
Marking its 25th year, the Capital Jazz Fest will feature tons of fantastic musical performances, arts and crafts, food courts, artist workshops, and meet-and-greets with the musicians.
June 2-4, Merriweather Post Pavilion, capitaljazz.com/fest

Strawberry Festival

Strawberry Festival
Is there anything more summery than strawberry 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, 6680 Sykesville Road, melchurch.org

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, Plateia of St. Nicholas. stnicholasmd.org

Maryland Faerie Festival
Whether you’re a believer in the little winged wonders or not, the Maryland Faerie Festival promises fun for all ages, from the Fire and Drum Experience to the SummerFest Celebration. Enjoy outdoor education, music and dancing, art and entertainment. Bonus: If you really want to immerse yourself in the experience, there are “Faerie Circle” camping packages available.
June 9-11, Camp Ramblewood in Darlington, marylandfaeriefestival.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 a la Forrest Gump: They’ve got “steamed hard crabs, soft crabs, crab cakes, crab soups, and other seafood dishes”—and some none-crustacean fun, too, like car shows and crafts.
June 10, St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds, visitstmarysmd.com

BritFest
Cheerio! Enjoy all things British in the inaugural BritFest, a celebration of the food, music and culture of Britain (including Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales). The event is held in conjunction with Queen Elizabeth’s 91st birthday and will feature a polo match between the U.S. and the UK.
June 10, Maryland Polo Grounds in Fallston, visitharford.com

Honfest

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 nasally 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, The Avenue in Hampden, honfest.net

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 over 2500 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, 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, 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, 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 non-alcoholic options, too.)
June 24, Rash Field – Inner Harbor, mdcrabfest.com/Baltimore

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, Patterson Park, latinofest.org

Nextival

Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Make the trip to D.C. for the 50th annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, a celebration of living cultural heritage 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, National Mall, festival.si.edu

Nextival
Maryland’s largest food truck festival is back and ready to roll up and dish out the latest in tastes and tones. The daylong event is the perfect way to spend a summer day, with over 50 vendors and live music from bands like Pressing Strings and Gingerwolf (plus special kid music from Kinsinger Jim, Guava Jelly and others). Add in 10 moon bounces and more than 400 pounds of Legos and your kids may never want to leave.
July 8 at Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, nextival.com

Baltimore Caribbean Carnival
Get a taste of the islands with this flashy festival, officially known as the Baltimore Washington One Carnival. The two-day event features a can’t-miss parade with spectacular floats, costumes, music and more, as well as live music, dancing and authentic food and crafts.
July 15-16, Lake Clifton Park, baltimorecarnival.com

Artscape

Artscape
Pack your bug spray, sleeping bags, and marshmallows for roasting, because it’s time to head back to…Artscape? The country’s largest free arts festival returns to Baltimore for its 36th installment with a special theme: “Camp Artscape: Adventure Awaits!” There’s plenty to see, with over 100 local artists, a lineup of great musicians, KidScape and more—venture out of your comfort zones and into the creative wilderness!
July 21-23, Station North, artscape.org

Howard County American Indian Pow-Wow
This unique cultural celebration features Native American dancing and singing, storytelling, craft demonstrations and more, as well as traditional foods and the opportunity to meet and talk to American Indians.
July 22-23, Howard County Fair, visitmaryland.org

Peach Festival
Head to one of Maryland’s coolest small towns (and the former set of Runaway Bride) for this juicy event. Participate in ice cream making, pie-eating contests, quilting, knitting and spinning, basket making, museum tours and more.
August 1, Berlin Main Street, berlinmainstreet.com

Pirates and Wenches Weekend
Ahoy, mateys! Make your way to Rock Hall on the Eastern Shore for an immersive weekend of swashbuckling fun. The “town-wide theme party” includes sea shanty singalongs, rum tastings, costume contests, a Caribbean beach party and Buccaneer’s Ball, a Pirate 5k run/walk and a town-wide treasure hunt, as well as kids’ activities, music, reenactors, music and dancing and so much more.
August 11-13, Rock Hall, rockhallpirates.com

Kegs and Corks

Kegs and Corks Festival
Thought its name sounds a little adults-only, this celebration of craft beer and wine is totally family-friendly.  Enjoy a day of socializing and sipping on unlimited samples, listening to live music, shopping from local vendors and snacking on great food. Plus, kids 12 and under are free with a paying adult!
August 12, Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, kegsandcorksfest.com

Maryland State Fair
What’s more summery than a state fair? Enjoy animal exhibitions, petting zoos, music, great food, carnival foods, arts and crafts vendors, horse racing and so much more.
August 24-September 4, Maryland State Fairgrounds, marylandstatefair.com

Vegan SoulFest
While the words “soul food” usually elicit visions of fried foods and Memphis-style ribs, this fun foodie festival proves that healthy living can be just as delicious. The celebration of vegan living, created by Brenda N. Sanders and Naijah Wright, merges great food, cooking demos, music, vendors, speakers and more for a day that’s as happy as it is healthy.
August 26, Baltimore City Community College, vegansoulfest.com

Maryland Renaissance Festival
Hear ye, hear ye! Travel back to the 1500s and into the stunning village of Revel Grove, where adventures aplenty await. Wander among the shops of glassblowers, swordsman and more, catch a jousting match, grab a turkey leg and some hot apple dumplings or listen to a minstrel play a spellbinding tune. Costumes are encouraged!
Weekends August 26-October 22, Crownsville, rennfest.com.

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, Ciao Bella, promotioncenterforlittleitaly.org

 

About Jessica Gregg

Jessica Gregg, managing editor of Baltimore STYLE, is a graduate of University of Maryland’s journalism school. She spent more than a decade writing for newspapers around central Maryland before she moved to the Big Sky country of Montana and began to teach writing. After returning to Charm City, she worked for Sisters of Academy of Baltimore, among other schools, blogging and writing in her free time until she made the return to journalism for good. She previously worked as the special products editor for The Daily Record. She is a happy rowhouse dweller and mother of two.

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