It’s been a rough couple of years for festivals in Baltimore.

The disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic collided with tricky permitting requirements and scheduling conflicts numerous times over the last four years. Some festivals, like Hampden’s iconic HONfest and the Charles Village Festival, are shutting down after decades.

But it’s not all cancellations and permitting woes. The city and region have plenty of events to look forward to this year, including the return of some events that took a pandemic pause.

Remfest in Remington is returning to its originally intended time — the day before Mother’s Day, said Corey Jennings, president of the Greater Remington Improvement Association. The festival had to take a pause because of COVID-19 and scheduling conflicts, he said.

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“We’re one of the big ones [festivals] that happen in the spring. We’re really excited,” Jennings said.

Remfest is scheduled for May 11 and will include multiple stages, family friendly programming, more than 100 vendors and plenty of food options, Jennings said.

Here are some other festivals and events coming to Baltimore this spring and summer.

Flower Mart at Mount Vernon Place

When: May 3-4

What: Baltimore’s oldest free public festival will be held at the area around the Washington Monument in Mount Vernon. The two-day event brings local flower and plant growers to the forefront and also features handmade crafts, food options, music and of course, the iconic Baltimore lemon stick.

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Kinetic Sculpture Race

When: May 4

What: One of Baltimore’s weirdest and most glorious traditions in the Kinetic Sculpture Race, in which ordinary people from all over design and build human-powered, artful vehicle-like constructs that are able to travel 15 miles on land, over gravel and sand and into the harbor water.

Scenes from the Kinetic Sculpture Race on May 6, 2023. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

Opening and award ceremonies begin and end the race, respectively, at the American Visionary Art Museum, though you can watch the race from a large swath of the city. Race organizers anticipate the water entries will happen between 11:15 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Canton waterfront.

And if you’re interested in getting in on the fun, it’s not too late to enter the race.

Towsontown Spring Festival

When: May 4-5

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What: The Towsontown Spring Festival has become one of the largest outdoor festivals in the state, with more than 150,000 people attending over its two-day period. Held in downtown Towson in Baltimore County, the festival includes more than 300 vendors, including plenty of food options.

The festival, which is celebrating its 55th iteration this year, also includes multiple live music performances and a family fun zone.

AFRAM

When: June 22-23

What: Baltimore’s African American Festival, known as AFRAM, is a “two-day live experience,” according to the city, held in Druid Hill Park.

Perfomances lasted all day at AFRAM Juneteenth Festival on June 17, 2023 at Druid Hill Park. This is the first official Baltimore Club Music Day. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

While the city has not yet published details about this year’s festival beyond the dates, AFRAM is traditionally a celebration of African American life and culture and includes entertainers, children’s activities and more.

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Baltimore-Washington One Carnival

When: July 12-14

What: More commonly known as the Caribbean festival, this event is highlighted by the parade that leads to a festival site in the city. Masqueraders and marching bands are typically big draws.

Details about this year’s event so far are sparse, but in addition to the parade, you can expect live music performances, vendors and food.

Artscape

When: Aug. 2-4

What: If you know Baltimore, you know Artscape. Since its founding in the early 1980s, Artscape has claimed the title of the country’s largest free outdoor arts festival.

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While the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts has not provided more details about the 2024 festival, previous Artscape festivals have included big-name live music acts, food, drinks, plenty of craft and arts vendors and large art installations around the Mount Vernon, Bolton Hill and other surrounding neighborhoods.

Artscape returned after a three-year pandemic hiatus in September 2023, bumping several city festivals off the calendar. The festival has traditionally been in the summer — and always on the hottest weekend of the year, according to Baltimore Twitter lore.

Correction: This story has been updated to correctly state that Artscape claims to be the country’s largest free outdoor arts festival.

Cody Boteler a reporter on The Banner’s Express Desk, reporting on breaking news, trending stories and interesting things in and around Baltimore. His work has appeared in The Baltimore Sun, USA TODAY, Baltimore magazine and others. 

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