Plein Air 2016

Come to Ellicott City for the Paint It! Festival to see how much talent one street can hold./Howard County Tourism

Howard County natives know that once the daffodils begin to pop and the frozen ground begins to thaw, more than just spring is on its way. Once the weather begins to warm, the charming, suburban region doesn’t waste a moment before a myriad of festivals begin, ranging from all types of arts and entertainment. Howard County treasures the wide range of culture, hobbies, and talents that captures its community, and with fairgrounds, concert pavilions, and stunning venues, it’s no wonder the county is able to host so many exciting events. No matter which festival you decide to attend, visitors and residents can rest assured they will enjoy live music, crafts, and tons of great food at every one.

M3 Rock Festival

Where: Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia

When: May 1-3, 2020

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Arts and music collide at Wine in the Woods festival./Howard County Tourism

Kicking off festival season in Howard County is the annual three-day arena rock festival in Columbia. The festival will start with a Kix-off party and concert on Friday night. The rest of the weekend, over twenty bands will be lighting up the stage, including Night Ranger and Stephen Adler from Guns and Roses. With Merriweather’s newly added SkyLawn, spectators can enjoy the music from 43 feet above the pavilion with their feet still in the grass! Tickets sell quick, so be sure to visit m3rockfest.com to get yours.

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival

Note: Whle this event is held annually, it has been cancelled for 2020 as a result of COVID-19.

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The Sheep and Wool festival is perfect for families with little ones that love to be around animals./Howard County Tourism

For fans of agricultural arts, the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival happens right on the hooves of M3 Rock Fest. This family friendly event features over 275 vendors, 800 sheep and 40 workshops to offer a wide range of entertainment, education and culture. Folks with children can attend the specially marked “family activities” such as dream catcher making and simple weaving. Be sure not to miss the more popular events as well, such as the sheepdog demonstrations and creative shearing competitions. Of course, there will also be plenty of food and music both days. For more information on admission and schedules, visit sheepandwool.org.

Wine in the Woods

Note: Whle this event is held annually, it has been cancelled for 2020 as a result of COVID-19.

Calling all wine connoisseurs, newcomers and anyone in between! This festival allows patrons to sip wine in the gorgeous, green landscape behind Merriweather Post Pavilion. With over 25 wineries providing libations and constant live entertainment, this is the perfect atmosphere to enjoy old favorites or expand your palette and try new blends. Accompany your glass with a selection from the diverse food vendors that will be sure to complement any variety, from Bordeaux to chardonnay, and finish your day to the festival by visiting the 30-plus artisans that will be selling jewelry, natural skin care, pet accessories and more. Visit wineinthewoods.com for information on the lineup, tickets and vendors.

Capital Jazz Festival

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Indulge your taste buds at Wine in the Woods./Howard County Tourism

Where: Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia

When: June 5-7, 2020

If your music tastes involve the sultry sounds of saxophone and euphonious vocalizations, you’ll want to add the Capital Jazz Festival to your list of festivals to attend. Nicknamed the “jazz festival of the soul,” this event has brought in an impressive crowd of spectators for each of the past 27 years. While this year’s lineup is still yet to be announced, previous performers like Gladys Knight, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Julie Dexter ensure that the 2020 festival will be just as impressive. Check out capitaljazz.com/fest/2020 to keep up with new details as they’re announced.

Columbia Festival of the Arts

Where: Columbia

When: June 12-28, 2020

One of the biggest festivals Howard County will be hosting is the Columbia Festival of the Arts for its 34th year. Catered to families and individuals alike, the fest is jam-packed with arts and entertainment of all genres, spectators will be able to enjoy various ticketed and free activities, events, and exhibits at local venues through the end of June. The festival’s mission is to celebrate arts that represent and engage the diverse community that surrounds it. Visit columbiafestival.org for more event details as they’re posted.

Plein Air 2016

Come to Ellicott City for the Paint It! Festival to see how much talent one street can hold./Howard County Tourism

Paint It! Ellicott City

Where: Ellicott City historic district

When: June 25-29, 2020

In the heart of the county is the town that survived and prospered despite two devastating floods; this June, Ellicott City invites spectators back to the annual Paint it! festival. Dedicated to bringing artists outside for inspiration, local painters will set up their easels on the sidewalks of Main Street where spectators can observe and admire their hard work. Once the pieces are complete, folks can purchase the paintings at the free reception. For more experienced artists looking for a small incentive for their creativity, a $2,000 award will be given to the best piece according to the judges. To learn more, visit hocoarts.org/explore/learn-participate/exhibits/paint-ellicott-city.

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