Balticon the 39th: Maryland Regional Science Fiction Convention, 2 p.m. May 27-3 p.m. May 30, Wyndham Baltimore Inner Harbor Hotel, (410) 752-1100, www.balticon.com. Now you know why you might possibly run into a storm trooper in Whole Foods. Four days of nearly 24-hour sci-fi and fantasy featuring honorary guests Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due, among others.
Sowebo Festival, noon May 29, Hollins Market, 1100 Hollins St., (410) 244-8368, www.soweboarts.org, free. With over 40 bands scheduled to appear, some serious local artwork, and even puppet shows for the kids, this community festival celebrates its 20th anniversary and continues to make Baltimoreans proud.
Charles Village Festival, 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m. June 4, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. June 5, Wyman Park Dell, 29th and Charles streets, www.charlesvillage.net. This two-day festival boasts a 5K race and a 1K fun run, garden tours, food, music in the streets, and a parade. Something for everyone . . . all estimated 10,000 of them. Don’t drive to it.
Honfest, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. June 11, on The Avenue (36th St. in Hampden), (410) 243-6800, www.honfest.net. Honfest is one of those things in life that cannot be explained; it must be experienced. If you forget your beehive, you can get one in the Glamour Lounge. Food, local music, and arts, and the coronation of Baltimore’s Best Hon.
Baltimore Pride 2005, June 18-19, Mount Vernon, Baltimore, (410) 837-5445, wwwbaltimorepride.org. The King and Queen of Pride host the kickoff parade 4-5:30 p.m. Saturday, starting at Charles and Franklin streets and swaying and stomping up Charles Street. The block party follows with four hours of hot performers, cold bevvies, sweet crap to buy, and all your friends looking fabulous until 10 p.m. Get your party on, but don’t sleep in too late Sunday (unless you got lucky) cuz you gotta head over to Druid Hill Park ‘til 6 p.m. for the Pride Festival in the green.
Federal Hill Main Street Jazz and Blues Festival, June 19, South Charles Street between West and Hamburg and East Cross streets on both sides of the market, (410)727-4500, www.historicfederalhill.org, $3. Baltimore’s finest jazz and blues come together with food, libations, art- and-craftisans, and stuff for the kids too at the creepily named Little Ones Lane.
Artscape, noon-10 p.m. July 22-23, noon-8 p.m. July 24, Mount Royal Avenue between Lanvale and Cathedral streets, (410) 396-4575, www.artscape.org, free. Baltimore’s highly anticipated all-inclusive arts festival where not only can you take in the local talent but consume tasty funnel-cakes and kielbasas from the plethora of vendors and hear tasty live music on several stages.
Fests in Other parts of Maryland
Tea Party Festival, May 27-30, Chestertown, (410) 778-0416, www.chestertownteaparty.com. This festival is four days long with lots of lovely elements, including clogging, music, stories for children and a public sail, but the main event is celebrating, once again, colonial resistance to that pesky British rule. That’s right, lots of people in funny hats plus lots of tea going into the river at 2 p.m. on Sunday equals fun in Chestertown.
ArtWorks Annapolis Festival, June 1-5, various locations around Annapolis, www.artsannapolis.com. For Five days, Annapolis gives itself over to its extremely artsy underbelly. Over 100 exhibits throughout the city celebrate visual arts, literary arts, food arts, dance, theater, and more. Plus workshops and lots of family activities.
Western Maryland Blues Fest, 4-10 p.m. June 3, 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. June 4, noon-5 p.m. June 5, Central Parking Lot, Hagerstown, (301) 739-8577 ext. 116, www.blues-fest.org. National, regional, and local jazz and blues acts pack this three-day festival, plus a new area for the kids this year, titled Kids Jam Too, because dammit, kids do jam too.
Frederick Arts Festival, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. June 4, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. June 5, East Street from Patrick to All Saints Street and along Carroll Creek Park east of East Street, (301) 694-9632, www.frederickarts.org, $5-$6. 12th Annual juried fine arts exhibition featuring more than 125 artists from around the country. Sample culinary arts and family and children’s activities as well.
Bowiefest, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. June 4, Allen Pond Park, 3330 Northview Dr., Bowie, (301) 809-3078, www.cityofbowie.org. When you find out that Bowiefest has nothing to do with David, the rest can seem kind of a letdown. That is, until you consider all the rides, crafts, food vendors and performances, and the home and business expo in the Ice Arena.
Columbia Festival of the Arts, times vary, June 8-20, Columbia Town Center, Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, (410) 715-3089, www.columbiafestival.com. Those Columbians sure know how to throw an arts festival, don’t they? Thirteen days of festing all told, including a kinetic arts parade, film, dance, concerts, theater, streetpainting, kidstuff, and, to keep your energy up, food.
Baltimore-Washington Jazz Fest, 7:30 p.m. June 10, Historic Oakland at Town Center, 5430 Vantage Point Road, Columbia, www.columbiafestival.com, $55 includes catered hors d’oeuvres and buffet. Nothing’s gonna bridge that I-495 gap like some sweet jazz. Featured artists this year include the Don Braden Quartet, Jerry Gordon, Saisa, the Greg Hatza ORGANization, and Rumba Club.
Heritage Days Festival, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. June 11, noon-6 p.m. June 12, I-68 exit 43C, Cumberland, (301) 722-0037, www.heritagedaysfestival.com. A celebration of Allegany County’s Heritage featuring a huge variety of transportation: train rides, diesel cab and caboose rides, horse-drawn trolley and carriage rides, carnival rides. Also featuring tunnel tours, historic building tours, local cemetery tours, and military encampments. And to lighten things up, a little live theater.
Cypress Festival, 5-10 p.m June 16-17, 4-11 p.m. June 18, Cypress Park, Pocomoke City, (410) 957-1919, www.visitworcester.org. Games, boat rides, antique cars, fireworks, and a duck derby deck out this evening festival. What’s a duck derby?
Antique Classic Boat Festival, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. June 17, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. June 18, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. June 19, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Mill St., St. Michaels, www.tourtalbot.org, $11, museum members free. Be able to tell all your friends you’ve been to the largest antique and classic boat show in the Mid-Atlantic region. Wow them with your vivid descriptions of really pretty old boats; stun them with your newly acquired ability to build your very own wooden boat. Then tell them about all the food and craft vendors and whatnot and they’ll be sad and jealous.
Maritime Heritage Festival, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. June 18, Historic St. Mary’s City, www.stmaryscity.org. All things boaty, big and small, for every pirate short and tall.
Chesapeake Bluegrass Festival, 10 a.m. June 18, Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, 1450 General’s Highway, Crownsville, (410) 923-3400, www.hometownannapolis.com. This three-year-old festival offers all things bluegrass to all you hardy bluegrass lovers, from live music to workshops, plus food, arts, and crafts.
Bay Country Festival, evenings June 30-July 4, Sailwinds Park, (410) 228-7762, www.tourdorchester.com. Evening festival on the Choptank River, carnival-style. Food, games, and live entertainment lead right up to fireworks on the Fourth.
Mountain City Summerfest, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. July 2, Frostburg City Place, 14 S. Water St., Frostburg, (301) 689-6000, www.mdmountainside.com. Live music, food and craft vendors, and a chili cook-off celebrate the spice of life in mountainous Maryland.
Music and Arts Festival, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. July 9, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. July 10, Carroll County Farm Museum, 500 S. Center St., Westminster, (410) 857-2771, www.commongroundonthehill.org, ticket prices vary. Packed tight in between McDaniel College’s two Traditions Weeks in July is some Hot Tuna. Also Barry Mitterhoff and Tom Chapin, and tons of ethnic food, arts and crafts, and entertainment for the short ones in your family.
Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Aug. 13, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 14, Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, 1450 General’s Highway, Crownsville, (410) 349-0338, www.kuntakinte.org. Now in its 16th year, this celebration of African culture features jazz, gospel, R&B, African dance and drumming, mask making, storytelling, and educational seminars. Come gorge yourself on traditional and ethnic foods, and learn something in the meantime.
Caroline Summerfest, 5-10 p.m. Aug. 19, 2-10 p.m. Aug. 20, downtown Denton, (888) 786-3378, www.carolinesummerfest.com. A festival as it should be: plenty of food, live music, shiny cars, and happy kids. And for the right reason, too—because it’s summer.
Maryland Renaissance Festival, weekends Aug. 27-Oct. 31, 1821 Crownsville Road, Annapolis, (410) 266-7304, www.renaissancefestival.com. Those of you who just aren’t cutting it in America in 2005 get a second chance at 16th century England—125 acres of it. Revel Grove is as close as you can get to those simpler times, those finer crafts, and those intoxicating jousting matches, without all the sanitation problems.
Day Trip Fests
Vandalia Gathering, May 27-29, Cultural Center and State Capital Grounds, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. East, Charleston, W. Va., (304) 558-0220, www.wvculture.org/vandalia, free. You’ll find a weekend of music by the latest and greatest traditional Appalachian musicians, plus loads of West Virginian dance, right around the corner, so get to it.
Capital Pride, June 2-12, Washington, (202) 797-3510, www.capitalpride.org, free. “Honor our Past, Fight for our Future” is the theme of this year’s fabulously huge Capital Pride, a celebration of tolerance, music, entertainments, food, drinks, information, love, and togetherness. With a parade and many, many ways to involved, there’s no reason to stay anywhere near a closet. Get out and stay out, and don’t forget your digi-cam to capture the memories.
Dupont Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, June 3-12, various venues around Wilmington, Del., (302) 576-3095, www.cliffordbrownjazzfest.com, free. Just a few of the many jazz acts scheduled this year to whet your appetite: Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band, Cab Calloway’s Jazz Chords of Calloway, the Funky Meters, Diane Schurr featuring Dave Sammuels’ Caribbean Jazz Project, Michael Wolff and Impure Thoughts, and Sherrie Maricle and the Diva Jazz Orchestra.
Hampton Blackbeard Festival, June 4-5, Hampton Waterfront, Hampton Va., (757) 727-1570, www.downtownhampton.com/blackbeard, free. A street fair and block party paying tribute to Hampton’s most famous deceased pirate, Edward Tech, otherwise known and feared as Blackbeard. Re-enactors re-create Blackbeard’s pirate camp, and there’ll also be sea chanties, wench fights, kids activities, sea battles, and music.
DanceAfrica D.C., June 6-12, Dance Place, 3225 8th St. N.E., Washington, (202) 269-1600, www.danceplace.org, $11 per class, indoor performance $5-$20, marketplace and outdoor performances free. This year’s theme, “Our Legacy,” adds a sense of history with a look to the future to this celebration of African dance and music. Take advantage of the week of master classes to shake your booty, followed by a weekend of multiple, inspiring dance performances and a flavorful African marketplace.
St. Anthony’s Italian Festival, June 12-19, St. Anthony of Padua Church, 901 N. Dupont St., Wilmington, Del., (302) 421-3790, www.discoverlittleitaly.com/events.htm, free. St. Anthony’s has been putting on carnivals since the ‘20s and it’s not just the tasty Italian treats that draw the crowds but the musicians and vocalists performing classic Italian compositions, the Italian cultural area, a 5K run taking place June 12, and the Feast Day Religious Celebration, with a mass and Procession of Saints ending the festival on June 19.
Smithsonian Folklife Festival, June 23-July 4, the National Mall, 15th Street at Constitution Avenues N.W., (202) 275-1150, www.folklife.si.edu/festival/2005/index.html, free. This entertaining and informative 10-day culturefest always focuses on an exotic location and Oman, a country on the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, has won the honor this year. Other special themes include forestry, Latino music, and American food, with the famous Chef Alice Waters re-creating her “edible schoolyard” to highlight the locally-grown food movement.
Alexandria Red Cross Waterfront Festival, June 18-19, Oronoco Bay Park, Union and Madison streets, Alexandria, Va., (703) 539-8300, www.waterfrontfestival.org, $5-$10. Show pops a real good time this Father’s Day and head south for live entertainment, tall-ship tours, a health pavilion to remind him to keep his cholesterol down, grilled eatables, and sea hunt adventures for kids ages 2-12, all right on the water. But hey, no coolers or pets, so buy the beer there and leave the pups at home.
D.C. Caribbean Carnival, June 25-26, Washington. Take a vacation to a warmer, more colorful place as the capital transforms into a rollicking, tropical masquerade complete with outrageous costumes. The party starts at noon on June 25 with a parade along Missouri Avenue. Live calypso rocks the DC Carnival Plaza and the street festival offers tasty Caribbean foodstuffs like bright yellow meat pies and spicy jerk chicken, and crafts from the islands, plus Planter’s Punch.
Kutztown Festival, July 2-10, Kutztown Fairgrounds, Kutztown, Pa., (888) 674-6136, www.kutztownfestival.com, $9-$10, kids free, festival pass $18. This Pennsylvania Dutch folklife festival features America’s largest quilt sale and various entertainments on five stages, along with a strolling Sauerkraut Band, historical demonstrations, traditional crafts and food like roast ox, and activities to keep the kids occupied.
Appalachian String Band Music Festival, Aug. 3-7, Camp Washington-Carver, Clifftop, W. Va., (304) 558-0220, www.wvculture.org, day rates $15-$20, festival pass $40-$85. A mountaintop celebration of fiddle and banjo and other string instruments that includes, besides the many performances and competitions, square dances, kids activities like bingo and art projects, workshops, and group sings.
Greater Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival, weekends Aug. 13-Sept. 25, 112 Renaissance Lane, West Newton, Pa., (724) 872-1670, www.pgh-renfest.com, $3.95-$14.95. With seven theme weekends, such as Celtic Heritage, Romance, and Shakespeare, this Renaissance fair expands on the requisite turkey legs, jousting competitions, costumed wenches and fellows, mugs of mead, and street musicians. As they say on the Web site, “The time of your life is back in time.”
Arlington County Fair, Aug. 18-21, Thomas Jefferson Community Center, Arlington, Va., (703) 920-4556, www.arlingtoncountyfair.org. Call it another county fair if you want, but we see it as a chance to check out Alexandria’s flavor. With pony rides—ponies!—exciting carnival rides, tasty elephant ears and meats on a stick, competitive exhibits like baked good and photography, a midway to win overstuffed animals, helium balloons, and tons of kiddie crap.
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