Our list of great festivals, concerts, hikes & more, compiled by Cassandra Cipparone and Miranda Nolan
For the street cred …
Can you say you are a Marylander if you haven’t attended each of these events at least once? Probably, but why take a chance? Embrace tradition and, in some cases, a lovely hat.
FLOWER MART FESTIVAL
This bloom-filled extravaganza has been held every year since 1911 and features a hat contest, live music, flowers upon flowers and, of course, lemons with peppermints, the classic summer festival refresher. On Saturday, there will be a dog show and parade at 12:30 p.m., so you can sleep in and still catch some canine cuteness. May 3-4 in Mount Vernon. Free. mvpconservancy.org
The 144th Preakness, the second jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown, will once again be held at Pimlico Race Course in Northwest Baltimore — although there has been much political rumbling about the race potentially moving to Laurel after 2020. Grab your fascinator, step out to watch thoroughbred history and be a Baltimore backer by spending some time at Pimlico. May 16-18. Ticket prices vary. preakness.com
If there is any truth to that folksy witticism “the higher the hair, the closer to God,” this will be one heavenly weekend in Hampden. HONFest kicks off with beehive, bouffant and other big-haired beauties heading to The Avenue for this annual festival of all things kitschy Baltimore. Whether you dress for the Best Hon contest or just want to sit back and watch the boas in action, it is a fun way to spend a summer day. June 8-9, West 36th Street. Free. honfest.com
BATTLE OF THE BELTWAYS
This is where we begrudgingly admit that there is actually another baseball team in the vicinity. Here in B’more, of course, there is only one team for us, and it’s the Birds we back. The Orioles will welcome the Washington Nationals to Charm City for a little beltway rivalry and hopefully a couple of black-and-orange victories on July 16-17. The Orioles then travel to D.C. Aug 27-28 for another go-around. Stay local or head to our nation’s capital for what has become a summer tradition. Either way, you know who to cheer for. $15-plus. orioles.com
For the Vitamin D …
Get outside and enjoy the amenities of a Mid-Atlantic life with these seasonal events.
FUN ON THE WATERFRONT
For the first year ever, the Waterfront Partnership introduces the Fun on the Waterfront Concert Series on the summer’s first Fridays. Combining elements from past Yappy Hours, Brews & Views and Summer Social series, these outdoor concerts include local food trucks, bar service, lawn games, photo booths, face painting and more — basically the best of what we’ve come to love at waterfront festivals. May 3-Sept. 13 at the Harbor Point Central Plaza. Free. baltimorewaterfront.com
MARYLAND SHEEP & WOOL FESTIVAL
This summer, counting sheep is getting a bit more literal. Howard County Fairground hosts its annual festival to celebrate all things wooly. Frolic around the grounds, see a spectacular spinning demonstration, join the fiber arts workshops and more, May 4-5. $5. sheepandwool.org
SPRING BIRDING WEEKEND
Calling all bird lovers! Birds in Baltimore: Migration Magic has migrated back to the city for its annual aviary tally. Break out those binoculars because we have some spotting to do. Trek through Patterson Park or paddle on the Patapsco River in search of birds — it’s a great way to get outdoors. May 17-19. baltimorebirding.com
BAY BRIDGE PADDLE
Summer is meant to be spent on the water. If the winter months had you missing your paddle board or kayak, join in on the Bay Bridge Paddle. Paddle-craft enthusiasts of all ages and experience are invited to this race across the Chesapeake Bay. Participants will receive a T-shirt, breakfast and a post-race lunch. Not to mention the opportunity to win prizes and cash. June 1 at Sandy Point State Park, check-in at 7:15 a.m. $60-$110. baybridgepaddle.com.
How well do you know the Inner Harbor? Join the Baltimore City Recreation and Parks for a guided kayak tour through the harbor’s waters. Adventurous participants will discover historic ships from a new perspective, restoration projects and Baltimore’s much-loved, solar-powered trash receptor, Mr. Trash Wheel, all with the city’s skyline as a backdrop. Through October, departing from the Maryland Science Center’s water taxi landing. Tickets start at $20. baltimorewaterfront.com.
OCEAN CITY AIR SHOW
See the Navy’s Blue Angels soar over the great blue ocean in a show that gets bigger and better every year. This weekend has always been a happening one in O.C., and this year should be no exception. Head to the shore and be prepared for some breath-taking air show tricks. June 15-16. ocairshow.com
TILGHMAN ISLAND SEAFOOD FESTIVAL
Summer in Maryland means sun, fun and seafood. Join the Tilghman Island Volunteer Fire Department, as its annual seafood festival serves up everything from steamed crabs, shrimp and clams to summer barbecue favorites. The event also features kids’ activities, live music, nautical artisans, craft vendors and an indoor flea market. And don’t forget the fan-favorite crab race. July 20 at the Volunteer Fire Department and adjacent Kronsburg Park. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Free. tourtalbot.org
For art’s sake …
We tend to think of those long winter months as the perfect time to create. While that may be so, the summer months are a great time to become an art patron.
MARYLAND FILM FESTIVAL
Butter up your popcorn and lots of it because for five days you are about to be captivated by the creative art of cinema. With 35 feature films and 100 short films spanning all genres, there is sure to be something for every type of movie lover. This jam-packed festival includes not only screenings, but also panel discussions and a chance to talk to the talent behind the lens. May 8-12 at the SNF Parkway Theatre, Station North. An all-access pass is $450, but individual tickets can also be purchased. Sign up to be on the mailing list and receive a coupon for free popcorn. mdfilmfest.com
ANNAPOLIS ARTS WEEK
Our state capital is always a good time and a great weekend getaway for shopping and dining. Arts Week features festivals, exhibits, classes, outdoor concerts and plays, along with other activities in this week-long celebration of the arts. June 1-8. Free. annapolisartsweek.com
FRIENDS OF PATTERSON PARK CONCERT SERIES
Patterson Park’s Hampstead Hill, home to the Pagoda, is a quintessential Baltimore concert venue — and its summer concert series is no different. Friends of Patterson Park hosts its Music in the Park series for the 17th year for warm nights of rhythm and summer sunsets. Let loose and dance around barefooted in the grass — summer doesn’t last forever after all. This year’s artists include Charm City Junction, Cara Kelly & the Tell Tale and Cimarron. Starts June 9. Free. Check website for the series’ seven dates. pattersonpark.com.
COLUMBIA FESTIVAL OF ARTS
This two-week summer festival features one-of-a-kind art, concerts and other creative endeavors that will be sure to spark inspiration. Kick off the week with LakeFest at the Downtown Columbia Lakefront and enjoy great food and live bands. June 14-30. Ticket prices vary. columbiafestival.org
Get your phone flashlight and your Boho fashion ready. We are going to a music festival! Artists include Bob Moses, Soja, Gunna, Death Cab for Cutie, Vampire Weekend and DJ Snake, among many others. Single-day and weekend passes are available, and … wait for it, there are glamping options. June 21-23 at The Woodlands in Dover, Del. Tickets start at $119. fireflyfestival.com
It’s time again for America’s largest free art festival. Throughout this 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. Be ready to walk, to buy some awesome art and to experience one of the best art festivals around. Events center around the Mount Royal and Station North neighborhoods. July 19-21. Free. artscape.org.
For the local flavor …
There is no shortage of wineries in our area, and in the summer months, there is no shortage of grape-centered events for the sipping.
WINE IN THE WOODS
The largest wine fest in Maryland is both award winning and a winning way to spend the weekend. Festival goers can expect samplings, of course, but also a chance to improve wine knowledge, purchase arts and crafts, enjoy menu items from local restaurants and take in some local music. May 18-19 at Symphony Woods in Columbia. $27-$44. wineinthewoods.com
GOOD LIFE FEASTIVAL
The happiest summer beach body is the one that’s filled with food. Kick off your summer with a proper feast at Boordy Vineyard’s Good Life Feastival, featuring farmers and producers like BricknFire Pizza, Charm City Pops and Dewy Donuts, among others. Once you’re too full to move, hop on a hay ride through the vineyard, as the Free Range Blue Band and Blue Octane perform. Guests over 21 receive a wineglass and six wine tastings. May 25-26. Noon to 5 p.m. $10, free for ages 16 and under. Can’t make it on this weekend? Boordy also has weekly concerts from June 1 to Aug. 30 that include food offerings from The Corner Pantry and Pringel Family Creamery. Bands include Mood Swings, Mystic Vibrations, The Mahoney Bros. Jukebox Heroes and The Real Geniuses. $20. boordy.com
CARIBBEAN WINE FESTIVAL
Air fare too expensive? Traveling too annoying? Hotels overrated? Skip the long-haul trip this summer and head on down to Linganaore Winecellars for a laid-back weekend of Caribbean festivities. Spend time sipping the sweet and savory wine samplings, dancing to traditional reggae music and experiencing a cultural celebration filled with relaxation, island cuisine and craft vendors. May 25-26. $20-$25. linganorewines.com
OLD WESTMINSTER WINERY
A newer addition to the state’s wine scene, this winery has made up for being the rookie by quickly becoming a local favorite with its overall offerings, its clever wine in a can and its weekend concert summer concert series that beckons city and country dwellers alike. From May to October, live music and food trucks take over the tasting room every Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. and every Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. oldwestminster.com
For the beer drinkers …
We see you and we haven’t left you out.
MARYLAND CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL
This one-day festival will include beer tastings from more than 40 Maryland breweries, including a few breweries not yet open to the public. There will be live music, delicious food and fun craft vendors. May 11 at Carroll Creek Park in Frederick. Noon-5 p.m. Tickets start at $15. marylandbeer.org
BREW AT THE ZOO
One of Baltimore’s biggest beer festivals is also a great way to support wildlife conservation. Grab your safari hat and head on down to the Maryland Zoo for more than 80 different brews. Enjoy your beverage, rock out to live music and spend the day getting the wildest selfies around. May 25-26, 1-7 p.m. $25-$75. marylandzoo.org