Festivals & Fairs
Balticon 42, May 23-26, Hunt Valley Marriott, 245 Shawan Road, www.balticon.org, $59. You're the ultimate fanboy/fangirl, aren't you? We know you are because you kicked our butt in D&D last week, have better Magic cards, and optioned that screenplay into the sci-fi community's response to Eragon (thanks, btw). Stockpile your energy drinks then, because the events never stop, going all day, and all night to best pontificate all that relates to science . . . whether it's fiction or not.
Sowebo Arts Festival, May 25, 100 S. Stricker St., (410) 244-8368, www.soweboarts.org, free. The committee is still calling for art and vendors at press time, but we've been promised three stages, so we'll remain excited for this weekend nonetheless.
Thee Summer Swarm Festival, 5 p.m. (motorcycle ride at noon) May 31, the Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St., www.theottobar.com, $12, $10 advance. The Glenmont Popes headline this festival donated to bikes, beer, and bees. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to honey-bee research for colony collapse disorder.
Charles Village Festival, May 31-June 1, Wyman Park Dell, 29th and Charles streets, (410) 662-7777 www.charlesvillage.net We're a city of neighborhoods, 'cause we've got a lot of 'em, and each has its own personality. Celebrate Charles Village with artisans, food, and music.
Federal Hill Jazz and Blues Festival, June 8, South Charles Street, www.historicfederalhill.org, free. Hey DC, we have a great blues and jazz history, too.
HonFest, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday, June 14-15, 36th St., free, www.honfest.net Enter your little darlings in the Miss Hon pageantry (stock up on Aqua Net now) and celebrate Baltimore kitsch. It's all for charity, so go all out.
Baltimore Pride, June 21-22, Mount Vernon and Druid Hill Park, free, www.baltimorepride.org One of the oldest pride festivals in the country, ours spans the city with a parade and block party in Mount Vernon and the full-on festival in Druid Hill. The festival kicks off at night at Gertrude's and spans the weekend with a date auction, fun run, and activities tied in to DC (June 14-15) and Philly's (June 8) own festivities.
Artscape, noon-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon-8 p.m. Sunday, July 18-20, Mount Royal, Cathedral, and Charles streets, (877) 225-8466, www.artscape.org, free. Maryland's largest free and public arts festival full of music and mayhem. You'll never park in the city, though. May we suggest you park at the light rail and take the train in? No problem, you can thank us later.
Whartscape, July 18-20, www.whamcity.com Wham City's version of Artscape. That means it promises to include neon day-glo, handclaps, and require dancing. Last year it moved alley to alley and was all over the music mags. If you're as hip as you say you are, you'll be there.
Otakon, Aug. 8-10, Baltimore Convention Center, 1 W. Pratt St., www.otakon.com, $55. America's second-biggest, longest running otaku-themed convention returns for its 14th year of Cosplay, LARPing, panels, vendors, raves, hobnobbing, and film screenings.
Fests outside Baltimore
Frederick Festival of the Arts, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday,10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, June 7-8, Carroll Creek, 320 E. Church St., Frederick, (301) 694-9632, www.frederickarts.org, $5. Everything you love about craft fairs plus a juried art show, all on a pretty creek in a pretty town.
Bowiefest, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. June 7, Allen Pond Park, Bowie, (301) 262-6200, www.cityofbowie.org, free. Celebrate Bowie with arts, vendors, foods, events for the whole family, and live entertainment.
KarmaFest, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. June 7-8, Harford County 4-H Camp at the Rocks, 8 Cherry Hill Road, www.karmafest.com, $12 per day, $20 for the weekend purchased in advance. Get back into your mind/body by getting out in nature and communing with people who take the whole holistic yoga thing seriously.
Mountain Heritage Arts and Crafts Festival, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, June 13-15, near Charles Town W. Va., (304) 725-2055, www.jeffersoncounty.com/festiv.., $6, children ages 6-17 $3. Everything a festival is supposed to be, from wacky art to homespun dresses, food, demos, and live entertainment.
Columbia Festival of the Arts, June 13-28, venues out and around Columbia including the Rouse Theatre and Centennial Park, www.columbiafestival.org, ticket prices vary with many events free. Two weeks of performance and artsy events meant to get your summer started with culture and family friendly fun. The three-day LakeFest Celebration opens the festival, and the East Village Opera Company ends it with a finale on stage.
Maritime Heritage Festival, June 14, Historic St. Mary's City, www.st.maryscity.org, $10, seniors $8, students $6, children $3.50. Talk like a pirate, matey, but without the sailor's mouth, and historical accuracy.
Kutztown Folk Festival, June 28-July 6, Kutztown Fairgrounds, Kutztown, Pa., (888) 674-6136, www.kutztownfestival.com, $12, seniors $11, kids 12 and under free. We are finally going to invest in that handmade quilt, picking out our favorite from the display of over 2,000, and enjoy the tasty Dutch treats this summer in Kutztown. See you there.
Augustoberfest, Aug. 23-24, Hagerstown, (301) 739-8577, www.augustoberfest.org It's like Oktoberfest, but in August, get it'
Maryland Renaissance Festival, Aug. 23-Oct. 19, Crownsville Road, Annapolis, www.rennfest.com, $18, seniors $15, children $8. Have a knight duel for your heart, strum a lute, eat a leg of meat, or cast a spell. Or, pretend you're the next installment of Bill and Ted and pretend you've traveled back in time, dude.
Polish Festival, May 30-June 1, Pulaski Monument, Patterson Park. Dancing, food, crafts, and music; we'd usually ask about sausage but our hearts are set on some authentic baked goods instead.
St. Nicholas Greek Folk Festival, June 5-8, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 520 South Ponca St., (410) 633-5020, www.greekfolkfestival.com, free. Fill up on patistisio, souvlaki, and spankaopita! When you're done, show your appreciation by joining a tour of the grounds.
Saint Anthony Festival, June 7-8, Little Italy, $1. Turns out St. Anthony is more than the statue you bury in your backyard to sell your house; he's a guy who fills the neighborhood with music, activities, a dunking tank, and a bocce lane.
Philippine-American Festival, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. June 8, Courthouse Plaza and Chesapeake Avenue, Towson, (443) 831-5036, free. Atiatihan parade, Santa Cruzan procession, vendors, Filipino cooking, and music and dancing, all sponsored by the Katipunan Filipino-American Association of Maryland, Foundation for Aid to the Philippines, and the Baltimore County Office of Fair Practices and Community Affairs.
Latino Fest, June 21-22, Pulaski Monument, Patterson Park, www.latinofest.org The 28th annual Latino Fest promises vendors, food, entertainment, and music. It's about food again: Parking in Fells Point for the perfect taco can be taxing, and now we're hoping for a taco tour.
African-American Heritage Festival, 5-10 p.m. Friday, noon-10 p.m. Saturday, noon-8 p.m. Sunday, June 27-29, Camden Yards, 333 W. Camden St., (410) 235-4427, www.aahf.net Vendors, entertainers, and music are still to be announced, but this festival is so absolutely huge that it simply can't be missed.
Caribbean Carnival Festival, July 11-13, Druid Hill Park, (410) 230-2969, www.bcacarnival.net Steel drum bands, entertainment, yummy food, and a gosh-darn authentic traditional costumed parade.
Howard County Pow-Wow/American Indian Show and Festival, July 12-13, Howard County Fairgrounds, Friendship, (252) 257-5383, email@example.com, $8, ages 3-12 $5. Learn more about American Indians through the arts at this annual festival, now in its 15th year. You'll enjoy dance, music, crafters and artists selling their wares, and plenty of yummy Native American cuisine.
International Festival, Aug. 2-3, Poly/Western High School parking lot, Falls Road and West Coldspring Lane, (410) 396-3141, free. We're kinda like the real melting pot sometimes, blending cultures from all over in our charming city, and this festival wants to include all of it, okay, hon'
FestAfrica 08, noon-8 p.m. Aug. 9-10, Patterson Park, corner of Eastern and Linwood avenues, www.festafricausa.com, $5, ages 10 and under free. In it's sixth year, this African festival, previously known as Najia Fest, features traditional dance performances and lessons, art and craft workshops, storytelling, vendors, and African cuisine. 50-plus vendors, live entertainment, food, art, crafts, heritage, and history, all jam-packed into two teeny tiny days for one big continent.
Saint Gabriel Festival, Aug. 16-17, Little Italy, $1. Enjoy red wine, macaroni with gravy, music, dancing, and more in Baltimore's lovely Little Italy neighborhood. In an unofficial way, St. Gabriel acts as a closing time, ending the summer-long activities in Little Italy that began with ol' St. Anthony.
PowWow Native American Festival, Aug.22-24, Patterson Park, Linwood and Eastern Ave., (410) 675-3535, www.baic.org An intertribal gathering of Native Americans dance, display arts, crafts, and share their culture.
Ukrainian Festival, noon-10 p.m. Sept. 6-7, Patterson Park, Linwood and Eastern Ave., (410) 687-3465, www.ukranianfestival.net Four dance groups, egg demonstrations, musicians, crafts, activities for the kiddos, a beer garden for you, and all of the potato-filled pastries you can swallow.
Memorial Day Fun Fair, May 24, Rocky Gap State Park, 12500 Pleasant Valley Road, Flinstone, (301) 722-1480, www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/western/rockygap.html. Campground fun and evening karaoke for Memorial Day weekend campers.
Maryland State Fair, 9 a.m.-10 p.m., Aug. 22-Sept. 1, Maryland State Fairgrounds, intersection of York and Timonium Roads, Timonium, www.marylandstatefair.com, $6-$3, children under 11 free. The Maryland State Fair has existed in some form since 1878, merging the joys of carnivals--games, rides--with all that is Maryland--outstanding agriculture, horse racing, and grandma’s jarred peaches. If we could petition traffic circles within the gates, we’d have all our bases covered.
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