YOUR GUIDE TO HOWARD COUNTY FESTIVALS & ANNUAL EVENTS

Howard County’s annual celebrations give you plenty of reasons to celebrate! Our county hosts some of Maryland’s top festivals and events, celebrating everything from food and wine to arts and music and endless opportunities to honor the many unique cultures that make up our great community! Check out our guide to FestivALL by the season here in HoCo!

 

Summer/Fall

Capital Jazz Fest

Tens of thousands of jazz lovers nationwide flock to the area in June to attend Capital Jazz Fest. Started in 1993, this multi-day, multi-stage outdoor music festival is more than just a concert, it’s an event! Enjoy people-watching, delicious food and drinks, shopping, and, of course, music performed by talented artists and bands.

Columbia Festival of the Arts–LakeFest Weekend

This nationally acclaimed festival kicks off in June with Lakefest, a three-day extravaganza in the Downtown Columbia Lakefront. Live music, a stunning display of fine arts and crafts and engaging activities provide the perfect weekend getaway.

Columbia Festival of the Arts

Columbia Festival of the Arts

Paint IT! Ellicott City 

Unleash your creativity alongside professional artists at Paint IT! Ellicott City. Witness the artistic process unfold as they capture the picturesque town on canvas. The weekend culminates in an exhibition at the Howard County Center for the Arts.

Fourth of July Events 

Celebrate Independence Day in Howard County, MD! Enjoy a dazzling fireworks display along the scenic Columbia Lakefront, or explore other festive events throughout the county. Live music, family-friendly activities and a patriotic atmosphere await!  Bring your blankets or chairs and prepare to be wowed! Explore all Fourth of July events

Whispering Winds Pow-Wow/ American Indian Show & Festival 

Experience the rich heritage of Native American culture through dance, song, craft demonstrations, storytelling and authentic cuisine. This annual celebration takes place at the Howard County Fairgrounds over a July weekend.

Howard County Fair

Dive headfirst into Howard County's rich agricultural heritage with captivating livestock exhibits and demonstrations. Witness the dedication and hard work of local farmers firsthand. But this August fair isn't all about farm life! Take a nostalgic trip down memory lane with classic carnival rides and games. Challenge your friends and family and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Howard County Fair at Sunset

Howard County Fair

Hops & Harvest Festival 

Downtown Columbia’s annual craft beer festival in October is a favorite among all the Howard County fall festivals. Attendees enjoy unlimited tastings from great Maryland breweries, wineries and distilleries.

 

Winter

Midnight Madness

The unique shops and historic sites of historic Ellicott City stay open until midnight for this holiday tradition. Held on the first Friday of December, festivities include a tree lighting ceremony, shopping, dining, historical interpretation, musical acts and more!

Historic Savage Mill Holiday Decor Galore & Bollman Bridge Lighting 

Step into a winter wonderland at Historic Savage Mill! Witness the majestic Bollman Truss Bridge, the last of its kind, transformed into a dazzling spectacle with thousands of twinkling lights. Inside the Mill, the festive spirit continues with captivating holiday decorations, live performances to fill the air with cheer and charming boutiques offering unique finds. Witness artisan demonstrations showcasing their craft, indulge in delicious dining options and create unforgettable holiday memories.

Historic Savage Mill Bollman Bridge lit up for the holidays

Bollman Bridge Lighting

Symphony of Lights

Cars, vans, and buses can drive-through this spectacular display of more than 70 larger-than-life light creations, both stationary and animated. Special nights for families with children under 5 and even dogs and their owners! This occurs during the winter holiday season.

 

Spring

SpringFest

Every April, Ellicott City transforms into a spring paradise. Live music from over 20 bands fills the air as you explore outdoor stages. Indulge in culinary delights from a variety of food trucks, tempting your taste buds with diverse flavors. Quench your thirst at the beer and wine gardens, and discover one-of-a-kind treasures crafted by local artisans. While the kids unleash their creativity with engaging crafts, adults can delve into the charm of the historic town, with its eclectic mix of over 70 shops and restaurants offering a delightful shopping and dining experience. 

Springfest 2024 Ellicott City

Springfest

Wine in the Woods

Indulge in a sophisticated spring tradition with Wine in the Woods, a premier event in the region for over 20 years. Typically held in mid-May, this festival allows you to sample delectable offerings from over 30 Maryland wineries, all accompanied by the soothing melodies of live music. Savor delicious food while basking in the beauty of the natural surroundings, making it a perfect spring getaway.

Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival

Calling all sheep enthusiasts! This fun-filled weekend celebration in May is your chance to discover everything sheep-related. Witness the majesty of over 800 sheep, from fascinating breed displays to thrilling sheepdog demonstrations. Learn about the process of transforming fleece into warm wool through interactive workshops and witness the age-old craft of spinning and weaving. This event offers something for everyone, with delicious food options, live music and engaging activities for children.

Join rain or shine at the Howard County Fairgrounds for a weekend filled with sheep shows, fiber arts demonstrations, delicious food, live entertainment, and so much more. Explore, discover, and celebrate at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival—an experience like no other.

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival

Asian American and Pacific Islander Festival

Join the vibrant celebration of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community at the annual AAPI Festival, which happened in mid-May. Held at The Chrysalis in Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods, this free event is a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of AAPI cultures through music, dance, food and more!

Books in Bloom 

This annual literary event brings together some of the country’s best and brightest writers for a daylong festival celebrating the joy of books and reading. Readings, panel discussions, a poetry wall, and pop-up bookstore are featured. This festival is free and open to all ages.

Mark your calendars, grab your family and friends, and get ready to experience the endless events and festivals that make Howard County a place to celebrate year-round!