Signature Events

In addition to events happening throughout the year, HoCo is home to some of the biggest annual events in Maryland. Here are some of the signature events happening throughout Howard County each year.

Howard County Restaurant Weeks
Howard County's top chefs serve up savings and local dining experiences at fabulous prix fixe prices during Summer and Winter Restaurant Weeks. 


Blossoms of Hope Cherrybration Days
April is Cherry Blossom time in Howard County and Blossoms of Hope’s annual pink season brings a month-long celebration of activities that honor the beauty of the trees and help raise cancer awareness. With more than 1,700 beautiful pink Kwanzan cherry trees blossoming in parks, along roadways and at attractions county-wide, spring in Howard County awakens the human spirit filling it with hope, happiness, and health.


Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival
Discover the beauty of sheep, the warmth of wool and the delicious taste of lamb during a fun-filled weekend celebrating all things sheep, from hoof to handwoven. Featuring over 800 sheep, sheep shows, sheep breeds display, parade of breeds, all kinds of demonstrations (including working sheepdogs, sheep shearing, spinning, and weaving), sheep to shawl contest, fleece show and sale, workshops and seminars, special activities for kids, cooking demonstrations, food booths, musical entertainment, over 275 vendors, and much, much more! Always the 1st weekend in May.

Wine in the Woods
One of the premier events in the region and a source of pride for Howard County for over 20 years. Voted Best Outdoor event by Columbia Magazine in 1997 and 1998 and awarded Best Annual Festival in Howard County by Howard Magazine in 2009. Live Music, food and samples from over 30 Maryland wineries. Usually occurs mid-May.


Capital Jazz Fest
Tens of thousands of music lovers from throughout the country flock to the suburbs of Washington, D.C. to attend this weekend of cool jazz and soul — The Capital Jazz Fest. Started in 1993, this multi-day, multi-stage outdoor music festival, is more than just a concert, it’s an event! A place to people-watch, eat, drink, shop, mingle, relax, soak in the rays, and, of course, hear some of the coolest music performed by artists whom you won’t see anywhere else in the Washington-Baltimore area this summer.

Columbia Festival of the Arts
An annual celebration of the arts in a broad spectrum of art forms and cultures, encouraging interaction among artists and audiences, and featuring local and national artists.

Books in Bloom - Annual book festival of Downtown Columbia 
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 the public of all ages.


Fourth of July Fireworks
Howard County Government with support from the Columbia Association presents a family-friendly fireworks extravaganza along the Columbia Lakefront. Entertainment includes live bands and a variety of children’s activities. Blankets, chairs, and picnics are welcome; food is for sale onsite.

Paint It: Ellicott City, A Juried Plein Air Paint-Out
Artists are invited each summer to participate in an organized outdoor “paint-out” in Ellicott City over two days. Festivities include street walking to see the artists at work, welcome reception and a gallery reception at the Howard County Arts Council. This occurs in July.

Howard County Pow-Wow/ American Indian Show & Festival 
The Annual Howard County Pow-Wow/American Indian Show & Festival is an opportunity for the public to interact with American Indians.  Enjoy Native American dancing/singing, craft demonstrations, and storytelling; Native American food will be available.


The Howard County Fair
A celebration of Howard County’s farming past and present. Lots of family fun with livestock exhibits, carnival rides & games, demonstrations, parades & contests. It usually occurs in early August.


Farm-City Celebration 
A two-week celebration bringing rural and urban communities together through fun events across Howard County.

Howard County Korean Festival 
An annual celebration of the Korean culture!  Traditional food and drink are available to purchase.  Many fabulous and fun performances of traditional Korean dance, music, Taekwondo, and more!


Hops & Harvest Festival 
Downtown Columbia’s annual craft beer festival.  Attendees enjoy unlimited tastings from great Maryland breweries, wineries and distilleries.

November & December

Midnight Madness
The unique shops and historic sites of Old 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!

Symphony of Lights
Cars, vans, and busses 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.

Historic Savage Mill Holiday Decor Galore & Bollman Bridge Lighting 
Historic Savage Mill presents a unique holiday experience.  Outdoors, see the Bollman Truss Bridge-the last remaining example of a design used throughout the US and Europe-illuminated in thousands of twinkling lights.  Inside the Mill, find all-out holiday decor, live entertainment, boutique shopping, artisan demos, dining and more!