This summer, be sure to check out local outdoor festivals in your area.  With events throughout Maryland and D.C. showcasing the best of the region’s musicians, artisans, wineries, and breweries, entertainment is as simple as a blanket and some friends.  One of the many upcoming outdoor festivals will supply the rest, from food and drinks to live music and daylong entertainment.

I recently headed over to Hunt Valley, MD for the 11th annual Great Grapes Wine, Arts, and Food Festival at Oregon Ridge Park.  Across this two-day festival, guests sampled from twenty local wineries or bought their favorite bottles to sit out on a grassy hill and enjoy the live music.  From classic rock to blues and Chardonnay to Moscato, there was sure to be a performance and wine for everyone.

“We already sold out of our peach chardonnay, our number one seller,” said Rara, a pourer for The Winery at Olney, by the second day.  Of the event, she said that this was her first year helping.  “I’m usually on the other side of the table, attending these events, but either way it’s a lot of fun”.

Other vendors also sold their wares, everything from glassware and home decorations to brew-it-yourself whiskey kits or cheese and olive oil tastings.

But if you missed Great Grapes in Maryland or Virginia this year, there are many more festivals still to come.  Check these out:

-The Annapolis Arts & Crafts Festival, featuring Maryland wine tastings, June 8-9, at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.  For more information visit the website at

-Columbia Festival of the Arts, June 14-29.

-Beer, Bourbon, & BBQ Festival, June 14-15, at the National Harbor, MD/DC.

-Elk Run Spring Jazz Festival, June 15-16, at Elk Run Vineyards in Mt. Airy.

-Art’s Alive Fine Art Show of Ocean City, MD, June 15-16, Northside Park 125th Street.

-Drink the District: American Beer & Wine Festival of D.C., June 29-30, East Lawn at Yards Park.

-First Sunday Art’s Festival of Annapolis, July 7, on Calvert and West Street.

-Artscape: Baltimore’s Free Arts Festival, July 19-21, on Mt Royal Ave.