12 Spring (And Summer) Festivals To Add To Your Warm Weather Itinerary
Flowers are blooming, the days are longer and the sun is shining – spring fever is contagious in picturesque Howard County, Maryland. Thaw out from the winter chill and celebrate the warmer months with these spring and summer festivals, catering to music lovers, artists, foodies, wine enthusiasts and thrill seekers alike.
Thursday, March 30 – Monday, June 12
Start off spring supporting a good cause with Cherrybration Days. Blossoms of Hope, a charity organization that raises funds for their local cancer research center, has organized a host of cherry blossom-themed events throughout spring. Stop by a Healing Hands-themed art exhibition, challenge yourself with outdoor activities at Terrapin Adventures, compete in a golf classic and 5K and partake in the slew of other scheduled shopping, dining and family events available through June.
Saturday, April 22 (Noon – 7:30 p.m.)
Celebrate Earth Day with a jam-packed day of music, shopping and fun for the whole family in Old Ellicott City. Kids can make their own paper pinwheels, build LEGOs and tie-dye shirts at any of the free craft tables, while the grown-ups can pay a visit to beer gardens serving up craft beer and wines from local breweries. With four music stages featuring performances from more than 25 bands, food provided by neighborhood joints like River House Pizza and ScoopAAHdeedoo Ice Cream and sidewalk shopping from a variety of vendors, Earth Day just might become your new favorite holiday.
Saturday, May 6 (8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.) & Sunday, May 7 (8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
One of the largest festivals of its kind for nearly 50 years, the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival celebrates everyone’s favorite farm animal with all-breeds sheep shows and sales. Sign up for a fiber arts workshop, sit front row at a wool fashion show and listen to live traditional shepherd’s music from harps, fiddles, flutes and baaahgpipes. Complete with light bites like gyros and cotton candy at food booths, the festival also features two sit-down meals with their Saturday Shepherds Feast and Sunday Breakfast Buffets. Follow your herd both days to this free, public event.
Thursday, May 18 – Saturday, May 20
Counting down the days ‘til the Kentucky Derby? Celebrate the annual running of the Preakness Stakes at this family-friendly festival. Watch the sky fill with dozens of colorful hot air balloons as the highlight of a weeklong series of pre-Preakness events. Soar above the scenic fairgrounds in a tethered balloon ride before enjoying food and live music. This three-day event is free and open to the public.
Saturday, May 20 (11 a.m. – 6 p.m.) & Sunday, May 21 (11 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
Featuring more than 30 wineries, nearly 20 diverse gourmet food vendors, live music from blues and funk bands and items for sale from artisans and crafters, Wine in the Woods is the ultimate weekend affair for oenophiles. Stroll through gorgeous Symphony Woods while sampling premier Maryland reds and whites at the “Best Outdoor Event,” as dubbed by Columbia Magazine for two consecutive years. Snap a pic in the ShutterBooth to commemorate the festival’s 25th anniversary.
Friday, June 2 – Sunday, June 4
Jazz lovers rejoice! The 25th annual Capital Jazz Fest will host a robust roster of famous musicians and bands on two large stages. Flagged by food concessions and craft and commercial exhibitors, last year’s fest featured nearly 30 acts including New Edition, En Vogue, Toni Braxton and Will Downing. Relax and enjoy three days of cool jazz and soul – and don’t miss your chance to meet your favorite artists at any of the workshops or meet-and-greets!
Thursday, June 15 – Sunday, June 18 & Friday, June 23 – Sunday, June 25
Returning to the Columbia Lakefront, the Columbia Festival of the Arts celebrates both local and national performers, uniting the artistic community with a series of events. Live music from the Cynthia Marie Trio, Columbia Concert Band, Donegal X-Press and more will perform on the Lake Stage, while Howard Community College will host handmade movies, shots from Sundance Film Festival and the Baltimore live show and podcast Stoop Storytelling Series.
Friday, June 16 – Sunday, June 18
As part of the Columbia Arts Fest, Architects of Air build “luminaria” – large, inflatable structures that showcase the beauty of light and color. Traveling worldwide to big cities like Singapore and Sydney, the walk-in sculptures have amassed more than three million visitors in 41 countries. Step inside and travel through the futuristic, dreamlike tunnels for an experience that is both calming and thrilling.
Monday, June 19 – Sunday, June 25
Columbia celebrates its 50th birthday with a week of concerts and events. Founded by developer James Rouse in 1967, Columbia is a perfect model of the New Town Movement, earning Rouse the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Clinton. Partake in the birthday bash by stopping by the arts fest or taking in a concert. Donating $50 to Columbia’s nonprofit organization earns you a commemorative t-shirt, window cling or bumper sticker, in addition to receiving ongoing news leading up to the festivities.
Sunday, June 25
Artists and fashionistas can both embrace ManneqART, an international arts and education non-profit organization. The unique, wearable art competition allows models to display the spectacular creations, complete with hair and makeup, in the style of Syfy’s hit TV show “Face Off.” The top prize for contestants is the $3,000 Master Award for Best Overall artwork. This year’s themes are ocean, eco, energy, aviation and inner light.
Friday, July 7 – Monday, July 10
Taking inspiration from the great outdoors, local and visiting artists are welcome to take part in the alfresco paint-out event. Sharpen your pencils, get out your brushes and set up shop along the streets of Old Ellicott City. Whatever medium you choose, the event is “en plein air” (in the open air) and sure to spark the artistic flame in you.
(All spring and summer)
Smack dab in the middle of 40 acres of forest and former host to world-renowned acts like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Led Zeppelin, the Merriweather Post Pavilion is a unique and historical amphitheater. Home to all genres of music, upcoming spring and summer performances include The XX, Bon Iver, The Chainsmokers, Dave Matthews Band, John Legend, Luke Bryan and more. Check the website for the full pavilion schedule.
Plan your stay in Howard County at one of their hotels, inns and B&Bs, and get more information on spring and summer festivals at visithowardcounty.com.This is a paid partnership between Visit Howard County and Philadelphia Magazine's City/Studio