Baltimore sheds its winter garb and blossoms into a party queen, clad with the native flags and songs from it’s adoring inhabitants; like the quiet student that shies away all year and prepares in secret, only to be the shining star come festival time!
According to the 2010 article, “Festivals and Rituals,” by Cynthia J.W. Svoboda, in the 21st Century Anthropology: A Reference Handbook, families thrive when they are offered unifying experiences with past generations. Festivals provide families with an opportunity to share their heritage and create common experiences with others outside their culture. They are meant to bridge different communities, bolster identity, and create a miniature passport experience at home. It is a fun and often free way to extend your family’s worldview.
So, hop on Baltimore’s festival express and party around the world in 90 days.
Baltimore Summer Cultural Festivals
Caribbean Heritage and Wave Your Flag Celebration
Watch the St. Veronica’s Youth Steel Orchestra celebrate the day. Join costumed carnival dancers in a parade. Make a flag with your little ones and help the Smithsonian and communities across the U.S., set a Guinness World Book record by singing a simultaneous sing-along Caribbean-style rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner!
Reginald F. Lewis Museum Saturday, June 14, 12- 4 pm, w/ museum admission.
Maryland Traditions Folk Life Festival
Get a magnifying lens cultural experience with unique global traditions like: Ethiopian Coffee making, Cumbia dance all ages workshop, Ukrainian pysanki (egg painting), Chinese brush painting (ages 8+), and Native American broom making.
Creative Art Alliance, June 14th, 11am-7pm. FREE parking & wheelchair-accessible shuttles!
This growing Baltimore community welcomes everyone to share in their heritage. Explore the culture, food, religion and music of the Philippines. Enjoy a parade, Holy Mass, games, and kids zone.
Maryland State Fairgrounds, Saturday, June 14th, 10am-7pm, $2 donation, 12 and under free with paying adult.
Baltimore’s World Refugee Day
Honor the artists that fled their native lands and their dedication to pursue their art. Watch the short film “Slaves to Fashion,” by Congolese native Evodie Ngoy. Listen to spoken word from Liberian poet Bilphena Yahwon, Nepali Singing from Damberi Acharya, and Burundian Dancing by Jacqueline Ndayizeye.
Presented by the Creative Art Alliance & Baltimore Resettlement Center, held at the Walter’s Art Museum, Saturday, June 21st, 12-2:30, FREE.
Shake your bom-bom to the rhythm of live music from across Latin America. Watch traditional dance performances and enjoy modern beats from Latino DJs. Sample from North, Central, South American and Caribbean dishes and let the little ones enjoy rock climbing walls, clowns, and face-painting.
Patterson Park, Saturday June 21st 12–10 p.m. and Sunday June 22nd, 12–9 p.m. Adults $7, children under 12 free w/ paying adult.
Join the masses in America’s largest free art festival. With over 150+ fine artists, designers, craft people, and performers there is plenty for everyone to see, do, and taste in this art explosion celebration. While you are exploring the art world on Friday check out traditional Puerto Rican Folk Music & Dance and Flamenco from Spain. On Saturday, basque in Arabic & Turkish rhythms and dance with an American twist with Barakaat Dance Company & Saltanah Ensemble. Get the whole family in on the closing act on Sunday with Dancing for All, Belly Dance for All Ages.
Mount Royal Avenue & Cathedral Street, Charles Street, Bolton Hill, and Station North Arts & Entertainment District neighborhoods, Friday, July 18 – Sunday, July 20, Friday: 11am-9pm, Saturday: 11am-9pm, Sunday: 11am-8pm.
Ever hear of Pulaski Highway? Well, General Pulaski fought for George Washington during the American Revolution. A statue in honor of his voluntary service to the emerging United States is in Patterson Park. According to archives from the University of Baltimore the Polish community in Baltimore dates back to some time in the 1870s mostly in the Fells Point/Canton area. Today the Polish community is an active part throughout the Baltimore area and shares its cultural traditions through dance, music, clothing, and food in this annual festival.
Maryland State Fairground, June 19th & 20th, Saturday 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Sunday 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM, $8.00 Per person, 12 and under free with paying adult, $7.00 Seniors (60 +) and Military (active with ID).
For your budding teenage guitarists and music enthusiasts in the family this is a musical history journey in celebration of Hawaii’s loved instrument and the countries and music it has influenced.
Creative Alliance, Saturday, July 26th, 7:20, $20, $17/members
114th German Festival
If you want to track some interesting firsts for Germans in Baltimore visit germanmarylanders.org. Nicholas Hasselbach printed the first book published in Baltimore in 1765. The book can still be viewed at the Johns Hopkins Garrett Library. In 1796 the First Sugar refinery in the United States was founded by Gartz and Leypold on Peach alley on the east side of Hanover street between Conway and Camden. And Francis Beehler, a wood carver from Germany, made the first umbrellas in Baltimore. Share in the history and join in on the fun with music, games, authentic German food, and imported & local crafts.
Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, Thursday, July 24th- Saturday, July 26th. ( Times and prices TBD)
Baltimore Reggae Jerk Fest
That’s right shake your hips and smack your lips because this festival is serious about Jerk style food. Start off with the traditional Jerk chicken but do not stop there. Let your taste buds savor the Jamaican cuisine love with Jerk Lobster, Jerk Crab, and Jerk Salmon just for starters. But food is not the only fun here. Surround yourself with the music and fun of Jamaica with multiple artists and musicians. Children will enjoy the Kids Center with arts, crafts, balloon art, face painting, and games.
Oregon Ridge Center, 13555 Beaver Dam Rd, Cockeysville, MD 21030, Sunday July 6th, Early Bird Special $25, $35 after the 22nd, 12 and under free with paying adult.
Feast of St. Gabrielle
Never underestimate the power of a close knit historical community. Little Italy toasts the beginning of summer with the Feast of St. Anthony and bids it good-bye with the Feast of St. Gabrielle. There will be plenty of traditional Italian staples like pizza, vino, porchetta, Italian sausage, cannoli, and pasta as well as music.
Little Italy, Saturday August 16th & Sunday August 17th, $1 for all.
Do you have a young one or older one that is obsessed with all things anime, manga, and Yu-Gi-Oh? This is the place to be for all East Asian pop culture phenomenon. Make sure to dress the part and enjoy the films, both professional and fan made, music, art shows, and games. You can even join the Masquerade and show off your perfect Otakon costume or take your chances at the Otoku Talent Contest. If this is overhead but you are still interested read up the Newbies Guide before venturing.
Baltimore Convention Center, Friday, August 8 – Sunday, August 10, $80+, 8 and under are free with paying adult. (Tickets include all three days. Day passes are not sold.)
Header image courtesy of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum