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Howard County Events

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There are many events held in Howard County throughout the year that can entertain tourists and natives alike. Here’s a sampling.

Columbia’s 50th Birthday

An event so big, it will last an entire year; it even has its own website. Founded by Jim Rouse in 1967, Columbia has grown into a developed and successful community. Columbians will commemorate and honor their history, embrace the present and strive to advance their bright future. Also celebrating its 50th is Merriweather Post Pavilion. Located in the heart of Columbia, both Merriweather and the town that harbors it will celebrate their origins in a year full of festivities.

Howard County Restaurant Weeks

Howard County’s top chefs serve up savings and local dining experiences at prix fixe prices during Summer and Winter Restaurant Weeks.

Blossoms of Hope Cherrybration Days

April is cherry blossom time in Howard County, and Blossoms of Hope’s annual pink season brings a month-long celebration of activities that honor the beauty of the trees and help raise cancer awareness. With more than 1,700 pink Kwanzan cherry trees blossoming in parks, along roadways and at attractions county-wide, spring in Howard County is a beautiful place to be.

Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival

Discover the simple charm of sheep, the warmth of wool and the savoriness of lamb during a fun-filled weekend celebrating all things sheep. Features more than 800 sheep, plus sheep shows, a sheep breeds display, a parade of breeds, demonstrations (including working sheepdogs, sheep shearing, spinning and weaving), a sheep-to-shawl contest, a fleece show and sale, workshops and seminars, special activities for kids, cooking demonstrations, food booths, musical entertainment, more than 275 vendors and more. This event is always held the first weekend in May.

Wine in the Woods

One of the premiere events in the region and a source of pride for Howard County for more than 20 years, Wine in the Woods was voted Best Outdoor Event by Columbia Magazine in 1997 and 1998 and awarded Best Annual Festival in Howard County by Howard Magazine in 2009. Featuring live music, food and samples from more than 30 Maryland wineries, this event usually occurs in mid-May. In 2017 it will occur May 20–21.

Capital Jazz Fest

Tens of thousands of music lovers from throughout the country flock to Merriweather Post Pavilion, in Columbia, to attend this weekend of cool jazz and soul. Started in 1993, this multi-day, multi-stage outdoor music festival is a place to people-watch, eat, drink, shop, mingle, relax, soak in the rays, and of course, hear some of the coolest music performed by artists whom you won’t see anywhere else in the Washington-Baltimore area this summer. The Capital Jazz Fest usually occurs in early June.

Columbia Festival of the Arts

A seasonal, weekend-long celebration of the arts in a broad spectrum of art forms and cultures, the festival encourages interaction among artists and audiences and features local and national artists.

Fourth of July Fireworks

Howard County government, with support from Columbia Association, presents a family-friendly fireworks extravaganza along the Columbia Lakefront. Entertainment includes live bands and a variety of children’s activities. Blankets, chairs and picnics are welcome; food is for sale on-site.

Paint It: Ellicott City, A Juried Plein Air Paint-Out

Artists are invited each summer to participate in an organized outdoor “paint-out” in Historic Ellicott City over the course of two days. Festivities include street walking to see the artists at work, a welcome reception and a gallery reception at the Howard County Arts Council. It occurs in July.

The Howard County Fair

A celebration of Howard County’s farming past and present, the fair offers lots of family fun with livestock exhibits, carnival rides and games, demonstrations, parades and contests. It usually occurs in early August.

Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon

A premier triathlon for women, featuring a 0.62-mile swim, a 17.5-mile bike ride and a 3.4-mile run, the Iron Girl is hosted annually at Centennial Lake by the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Columbia and Baltimore.

Symphony of Lights

Cars, vans and buses can drive through this display of more than 70 larger-than-life light creations, both stationary and animated. Special nights for families with children under 5 are offered, and there’s even a night for dogs and their owners. It occurs during the winter holiday season.

Old Ellicott City Fall & Spring Music Festivals

These annual festivals, held in Old Ellicott City’s historic district, showcase the best in unsigned local music talent, with a wide array of activities for all ages including outdoor beer gardens, shopping, kids areas, great food and more. With more than 70 artists and bands, there’s something for everyone. Note: The 2016 Fall Music Festival will be held at Merriweather Post Pavilion due to flood recovery efforts in Old Ellicott City.

Old Ellicott City Arts Festival & Artwalk

Ellicott City ArtWalk reveals hidden artists and features more than 20 artists’ studios, galleries and retail venues. Many styles of art are showcased, including fine oil and watercolor paintings, metal and wood sculpture, mixed media, artistic jewelry, ceramics and photography. Meet and greet the artists, tour their working spaces, watch demonstrations and purchase works large and small. It usually occurs in the fall.