Summer is here, the kids are home from school and it is time to go out and make some sunny memories before the fall. With all of this free time, a summer festival is the perfect place to take the family for good food, live music or a dive into a new culture. Our list of the must-hit festivals features everything from bacon to the Smithsonian, and is sure to provide every member of your family with a day (or night) to remember!
SIPS AND EATS
Food Truck Frenzy
Feast on food from all over the world as 25 amazing food trucks gather for the Maryland Food Truck Festival. There will be live music, bouncy houses, pony rides and even a trip on a helicopter that is sure to keep even your picky eater satisfied. June 15, Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, Crownsville Md., 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., $17, facebook.com/TheMd.FoodTruckFestival.
Summer Seafood Celebration
The second annual FreeState Festival will combine all of the best flavors of the Chesapeake with Maryland craft brewers, Linganore wines, and amazing live music. Between slurping fresh oysters and sipping local wines, pop into vendors that celebrate all things Maryland. This will be a seafood frenzy true DMV’rs will love. June 15, Linganore Winery, Mt. Airy Md., 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. $35, marylandwine.com.
The 27th annual Giant National Capital BBQ Battle is D.C.’s largest food festival, and its flavors are as huge as its size. It is a two-day barbecue-filled affair featuring mouthwatering barbecue and grilled food samples, cooking demonstrations and over 30 bands on three stages. It is one of America’s best barbecue competitions for a reason and promises you will leave full of ‘cue and good times. June 22-23, 555 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C., 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. $10., eventbrite.com.
Ocean City Greek Festival
Take a trip out to the beach to get your fix of Greek culture! This festival features various authentic Greek dishes and pastries, live Greek bands and performances, unique vendors of imported art, jewelry from Greece and tons of prizes for attendees. July 26-28, times vary, Ocean City, Md., oceancitygreekfestival.com.
Purcellville Wine and Food Festival
Come out and celebrate the greatness of Loudoun County’s wine region at the Purcellville Wine & Food Festival! Discover something new and enjoy wine, brews and artisan delights from all over the area, including many award-winning wineries and breweries! July 13, 2-8 p.m., Fireman’s Field Center, Purcellville, Va., purcellvillewineandfood.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 a day filled with world-class music that promotes arts and education, enjoy the National Music Festival. The music is so divine, symphonies will ring through your ears for the remainder of summer. June 2-15, Historic Chestertown, Md., concert times vary, Free, nationalmusic.us.
D.C. Jazz Festival
Jazz lovers unite! This annual festival is jam-packed with performances by some of the best artists in the industry at many different locations and venues across the city. Now in its 15th year, the festival brings together heritage, history, culture and music. Expect more than 100+ bands to perform! June 14-16, Free, check website for times and locations, dcjazzfest.org.
Lights, Music, Action
This year the DC’s Wine Spirits and Music Festival is celebrating much more than just drinks and tunes. With a new light show, premium vendors and amazing food, this celebration of music will make for quite the summertime treat. June 15-16, Gateway Pavilion, Washington, D.C., 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., prices vary, eventbrite.com.
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 $109. fireflyfestival.com.
This Labor Day weekend music festival is great for all ages! Appaloosa is the D.C. area’s roots music and great outdoors festival, nestled among the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains (only one hour from D.C.!). Enjoy a great lineup of performances and great vibes all weekend long. Aug. 30-Sept. 1, all-day, $124-$300, Skyline Ranch Resort, Front Royal, Va., appaloosafestival.com.
The Festival Afro Bahia is a celebration of the unique culture of Bahia, a state in Brazil. Be part of this unique event and explore the diversity and individuality of this wonderful region and its people! June 13-16, FICA, Washington, D.C., 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Free, eventbrite.com.
Folklife for Summer Folk
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival at the National Mall is the perfect place to get your kids learning for fun over the summer. This festival celebrates cultural traditions from countries all over the world and will make summer learning a breeze. June 29-30 at the National Mall, Washington, D.C., 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., si.edu.
If you consider yourself a true Francophile, then you don’t want to miss this festival. Enjoy French amusements from the 1700s in celebration of Bastille Day including Napolean hat-making, baroque dancing, baroque guitar and other related activities. Then, take a nice stroll through Hillwood’s gorgeous gardens for outdoor games and garden talks. July 13, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., $5-$18, Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, Washington, D.C., hillwoodmuseum.org.
A Taste of Culture
The World Heritage Festival will allow your little ones to taste foods from all over the world, interact with exhibits and ogle at amazing art celebrating diversity. The kids’ zone has activities and games that will keep them occupied when you go off to buy an amazing work of art. You will both leave satisfied. June 29, Riverfront Park, Fredericksburg, Va., 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Free, eventbrite.com.
Around the World Cultural Food Festival
Enjoy a trip around the world without ever leaving the District! This is your chance to taste foods and experience the culture and traditions of over 40 countries all in one place. Enjoy performances, food demos, cultural kids’ activities, arts and crafts and much, much more. August 17, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Free to attend, tasting prices vary. Freedom Plaza & Pennsylvania Ave. 13th and 14th, aroundtheworldfestival.com.
ART AND FILM
Film for Fun
The 2019 Capitol Hill Film Classic is a competitive day that showcases local entries that get the opportunity to compete against films from all over the world. It will be an evening spent supporting local filmmakers and taking in interesting new perspectives. June 13, The Miracle Theatre, 535 8th St., Southeast Washington, D.C., 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. $30-40, eventbrite.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 and times vary, Downtown Columbia Lakefront, Columbia, Md., columbiafestival.org.
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 craftspeople. Be ready to walk, buy some awesome art and experience one of the best art festivals around. July 19-21, free, events center around the Mount Royal and Station North neighborhoods, artscape.org.
14th Annual Capital Fringe Festival
The Capital Fringe Festival is all about celebrating D.C’s independent arts community! From music to theatre to dance, the festival showcases a variety of productions on seven venues with 13 stages. This year’s event includes a public interactive video arcade at the Wharf where audiences can play and engage as well as two new plays by local D.C. playwrights Irish Dauterman and Claudia Rosales. July 9-28, $20, times and locations vary, capitalfringe.org.
Black Theater Festival
The DC Black Theatre Festival is a 15-day event celebrating stories from around the globe. There will be over 150 new performances by locals artists and national performers alike that will make this an incredible festival you don’t want to miss. June 21- July 15, Anacostia Arts Center, 1231 Good Hope Road, Southeast Washington, D.C., 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., prices vary, dcblacktheatrefestival.com.
Pints for Paws
This year, the Annapolis Homebrew Club is hosting it’s fifth annual Pints for Paws Home-Brewing and Craft Beer Festival. This festival benefits the SPCA of Anne Arundel County and allows you to sample over 40 brews that are homebrews, craft brews and more. Plus, there will be commemorative pint glasses and food trucks in attendance. June 15, 550 Taylor Ave., Annapolis, Md.,2 p.m. to 6 p.m. $35, aacspca.org.
Red, White and BRAM
Bring the whole family, pop up a tent and enjoy Red, White and BRAM, a festival that the kids will adore. For the kids, there are new backyard games, water slides bumper cars and a water balloon battle. While the kids are living it up, Mom and Dad can kick back with beer, wine and live music. June 29, Ryan Rd, Ashburn, Va., 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Free, virginia.org.
Loudoun County Fair, Leesburg
The Loudoun County Fair is a Leesburg staple. Started in 1936, the fair is a beloved tradition in the area. Experience this real country fair for yourself, as it features animals, crafts, carnival rides, food, livestock auctions, bull riding, a pet show, kiss-a-pig contest and other county fair favorites! July 23-28, times vary, Loudoun County Fairground, Leesburg, Va., loudouncountyfair.com.
17th Street Festival
Enjoy a full day of fun celebrating all that 17th Street has to offer. Explore the area’s diverse roundup of restaurants and retailers, including 100 vendors with more than 60 artists and makers. Shop for fine art, jewelry and crafts! Perfect for the kids as well, the festival offers a “Kids’ Zone,” which includes kid-friendly activities, snow cones, face painting and more. August 24, Noon to 6 p.m., FREE, 1501 17th St., N.W., Washington, D.C., 17thstreetfestival.org.
Water Lantern Festival
This family-friendly event is full of fun, light and beauty! Grab the kids and head out to National Harbor for the unique Water Lantern Festival. Experience the magic of thousands of lanterns as the soft lights reflect upon the water. It’s a memorable experience you won’t forget. Aug. 3-4, 9:30 p.m., $25-$40, National Harbor, Md., waterlanternfestival.com.