The third annual Hops & Harvest Festival takes place Sept. 29 in Columbia, Md.

Started in 2016, the festival has become a staple for craft beer enthusiasts, featuring tastings from more than 25 Maryland breweries, distilleries, and wineries. The rain-or-shine event is held on the scenic downtown Columbia lakefront. It’s family-friendly, with live entertainment provided by Vinyl Rhino and DJ Chris Tharp, games, kids’ activities, and more.

Alongside Maryland’s exceptional craft beverage producers will be a number of crafters, as well as homegrown foods from River House Pizza, Clyde’s of Columbia, and Neat Nick Preserves. Tickets include one souvenir cup and unlimited tastings for either the afternoon session, noon–4 p.m., or twilight session, 5–9 p.m. Early ticket sales offer substantial savings.

There are several great hotel options close to the festival, and plenty to do to make a day or weekend out of it. Area hotels offer free parking, and Uber and Lyft are plentiful for worry-free travels to and from the festival.

The Springhill Suites by Marriott and Hampton Inn & Suites Columbia-South share a parking lot and are in within walking distance to one of the local breweries and a distillery that will be at the festival. The Hilton Garden Inn Columbia shares a parking lot with family-owned-and-operated Victoria Gastro Pub, which proudly serves the family’s Manor Hill Brewing Company beer. Additional restaurant offerings range from cafes, alehouses, pubs, pizzerias, seafood houses, and sushi bars to Korean barbecue, cantinas, bistros, and fine dining.

Area attractions include: Old Ellicott City; Maple Lawn, featuring shopping and outdoor din- ing; the 200 stores, dining, and entertainment options at The Mall in Columbia; and Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods. Beer enthusiasts staying for the weekend can experience area breweries firsthand via the Howard On Tap Craft Brew Trail.

Other weekend happenings include Columbia’s second annual Plein Air Artist Paint Out, WPOC’s “Sunday in the Country” at Merriweather Post Pavilion featuring up-and-coming country music stars, and free entertainment all weekend on the downtown Columbia lakefront.

For more information on the Hops & Harvest Festival and local area, visit howardontap.com.

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