The Charles Village Festival is ending after a 25-year run in North Baltimore.

Festival committee members came to the decision after assessing the financial strains the event faced in recent years. Specifically, finding sponsors, expensive city permits, and less interest in vendor spaces because of other year-round event opportunities became obstacles for the festival, which is run by volunteers.

The news follows a recent announcement that organizers of HONfest in Hampden, another large city festival, are retiring and ending the long-time event as well.

John McLane, president of the Charles Village Community Foundation, said the festival was always a great way to meet neighbors and people seemed excited for it each year. Charles Village once had an annual flea market in Wyman Park Dell, and when the neighborhood’s centennial came around in the late ’90s, several groups came together to shape the market into a full-fledged festival.

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“It was really a nice event and I had a wonderful time doing it,” he said.

The two-day festival was held in early June in Wyman Park Dell at the corners of Charles and 29th Streets. Proceeds benefited four partners: the Charles Village Civic Association, the Village Learning Place, the Friends of the Wyman Park Dell and the Charles Village Recreation League. The partners were also on board with the decision to end the festival, as none of them relied solely on parts of the proceeds to continue operating, according to McLane.

Attendees of the festival enjoyed a weekend filled with live music, craft beers and wine, food, craft vendors, and hallmark events such as the Charles Village Pet Parade, Soccer in the Dell, the Painted Lady Walk and the Charles Village Garden Walk.

One part of the festival isn’t going anywhere, though. The Charles Village Garden Walk, which has taken place annually for over 40 years, will continue as an independent event, according to Beth Tohn, a chair for the event. The rain or shine, ticketed event is a self-guided tour of the neighborhood gardens on a mapped-out trail that ranges from beginner to long-time gardeners.

Organizers, including McLane, are open to hearing other ideas and suggestions for a neighborhood event to bring people to Charles Village.

Jasmine Vaughn-Hall is a neighborhood and community reporter at the Baltimore Banner, covering the people, challenges, and solutions within West Baltimore. Have a tip about something happening in your community? Taco recommendations? Call or text Jasmine at 443-608-8983. 

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