City Guide 2011: Summer In the City

101 things you should do from May through September.

Summer in Baltimore appears like a revelation. After a long cold winter with seemingly endless snow, we are suddenly beset with sunshine, flowers, orioles, and Orioles! It's almost too much to bear. Don't worry—we're here to help. This month-by-month guide takes you through what we consider to be the area's most crucial events of the season, from Preakness to the state fair, and reacquaints you with local dog-day traditions, from community gardens and Harborplace shows to the best of them all: snowballs.

May

1 One day after the storied Hunt Cup steeplechase race comes the Maryland Junior Hunt Cup, a day of pony races for young equestrians. Bring out the Oriental rug for one more picnic, this time for the kids.    More info

1 The Sweetlife Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion sponsored by D.C.-based restaurant chain Sweetgreen, features The Strokes, Girl Talk, and Lupe Fiasco, along with a market provided by local farmers.  More info

3 Baltimorean Ira Glass, host of NPR's This American Life, emcees Movie Night at the College of Notre Dame of maryland, screening video segments of his show to raise money for Baltimore nonprofit Civic Works.  More info

5 The outdoor concert season returns with the first of WTMD's First Thursday Concerts at Mt. Vernon Square Park. The lineup wasn't set at press time. Also, enjoy alfresco tunes all summer long at the Harborplace Concert Series, PNC Concerts in Patterson Park, Belvedere Square's Summer Sounds at the Square, the Summer Concert Series at the Lurman Woodland Theatre in Catonsville, Friday Night Live! at Power Plant Live!, the Baltimore Museum of Industry's Summer Concert Series, and Canton's First Friday's at the Can Company.  More info

5 - 8 In recent years, the Maryland Film Festival has gained in prominence, helping to send films like The Hurt Locker and Dogtooth on to Oscar contention, while boosting the careers of local filmmakers like Matt Porterfield. This year, the fest features works by promising locals Ramona Diaz and Josh Slates, appearances by John Pulsipher of True Blood and actor-musician Will Oldham, who both have films in the fest, and an annual screening hosted by patron saint John Waters.  More info

6 - 8 For the second of two consecutive weekends, the world's most famous train engine visits the B&O Railroad Museum for Day Out With Thomas, including rides on a full-size Thomas the Tank Engine, storytelling, and live music.  More info

6 - 7 Our annual rite of spring, Flowermart celebrates its 100th anniversary with all manner of flora, along with live music, kids activities, and lemon peppermint sticks.  More info

7 The American Visionary Art Museum's Kinetic Sculpture Race is a true Baltimore original, a friendly competition among "human-powered works of art" throughout the city's various surfaces, including a lengthy jaunt through the harbor.  More info

7 From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., The Fire Museum of Maryland in Lutherville hosts its 34th Annual Steam Show where you can see antique water towers and equipment flowing with water in streams of up to 600 feet—expect to get wet—and even catch a ride in a horse-drawn wagon.  More info

8 Celebrate mom with a ride on Baltimore's only paddleboat cruiser, The Black-Eyed Susan, serving a special Mother's Day brunch. More info

8 Go to the Peabody Conservatory to hear the fantastic—and fantastically adorable—Peabody Children's Chorus in action.  More info

9 Donald Glover of NBC's Community is one of the funniest people on TV (he was also a writer for 30 Rock), and tonight he brings his one-man show, IAMDONALD to Ram's Head Live.  More info

11 Here's hoping there's no fire or rain when James Taylor comes to the Hippodrome.  More info

13 - 14 It'll be mullets and Ray-Bans under the stars as local hair-metal heroes Kix join contemporaries Warrant, L.A. guns, Tesla, and Lita Ford for the M3 Rock Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion.  More info

13 Kids seven and up and their parents can tour the expansive grounds of Owings Mills's Irvine Nature Center for a Spring Night Hike and Campfire, where they'll look for nocturnal animals and listen for owl calls before settling down to a toasty sire a s'mores.  More info

15 The Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens—the beautiful, spire-topped glass greenhouse in Druid Hill Park, near the entrance to the Maryland Zoo—hosts its annual Art Under Glass brunch and exhibition sale, presenting the work of 19 local artists.  More info

17 On the Tuesday before the big race, the tykes can come down the stretch on hippity hops at Pee Wee Preakness, held in Federal Hill Park; also featureing boxed lunches and live music.  More info

21 If it's the third Saturday in May, it must be time for The Preakness Stakes. Contenders are still shaping up for this year's 136th running of the Triple Crown's second jewel. The infield festivities will include performances by Bruno Mars and Train, and dubiously promoted by a bedraggled tweeting centaur named Kegassus.  More info

25 See some of the city's best young talent as the Baltimore School for the Arts's acting ensemble presents Come to the Cabaret at Germano's in Little Italy.  More info

28 - 30 Get out and see some of the region's best athletes at the 2011 Men's Lacrosse Championships at M&T Bank Stadium, including the finals for Divisions I, II, and III.  More info

28 - 3 Geppi's Entertainment Museum, adjacent to Camden Yards, opens Out of This World Toys, an exhibit of space toys and novelties from the '50s and '60s—before Buzz Lightyear! More info

28 - 29 Repticon is a two-day celebration of snakes, lizards, spiders, arachnids, and all things reptilian at the Timonium Fairgrounds, with lots of presentations, displays, and prizes.  More info

29 If the hair metal at the M3 Rock Festival isn't your thing, maybe you'd rather reconnect with your boy-band-loving self as New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys—sadly, rebranded as NKOTBSB—play 1st Mariner Arena.  More info

June

2 Make like Willard Scott at the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower Centennial Celebration, marking the 100th birthday of the tower—once the tallest building in Baltimore, topped with a 51-foot revolving blue Bromo Seltzer bottle, now a hub for artists' studios—with live music, food, tours of the building, and lots of art on display.  More info

3 - 5 The Capital Jazz Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion not only has some of the biggest jazz names, including Herbie Hancock, Natalie Cole, and Take 6, but R&B stars like Bilal and Chrisette Michele.  More info

3 For the second year, The Shops at Kenilworth will host a film series on alternate Friday nights, projecting recent releases on a wall of the two-story mall. The series opens with The Social Network, and continues with Despicable Me on June 17, The Tourist on July 8, Inception on July 22, Toy Story 3 on August 5, and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl on August 19. (Films start at dark, approximately 8:45 pm) More info

4 Pop-R&B superstar Rihanna kicks off her Loud tour at 1st Mariner Arena with opening act Cee-Lo.  More info

5 - 19 The Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival, now in its 26th year, will feature 13 events in and around Easton, including six concerts, five recitals, and two rehearsals open to the public.  More info

5 Cruise the tree-lined streets of one of Baltimore's coziest neighborhoods at Federal Hill Main Street's Jazz & Blues Festival, which, in addition to lots of music, will include food and drink from local vendors and games and crafts for the kids.  More info

9 - 12 Baltimore's string of ethnic fests opens with the St. Nicholas Greek Folk Festival, a particularly robust entry, thanks to our large and historic Greek community. Food will obviously be a highlight, along with costumed music and dance performances, shopping, tours of St. Nicholas, a glorious Greek Orthodox church, and demonstrations of Greek cooking.  More info

9 - 11 The STOOP Storytelling Series, where locals take turns telling true stories pegged to a theme, takes on weddings with "Stories of Holy and Unholy Matrimony" live at Centerstage and broadcast on WYPR.  More info

9 Can't get enough Glee? Lucky for you, while the Fox staple is in reruns, the cast comes to D.C.'s Verizon Center for Glee Live! In Concert! featuring 13 cast members and some of the most popular tunes from seasons one and two including "Empire State of Mind", "Toxic", and the theme song, "Don't Stop Believin'".  More info

10 - 12 There's no telling whether last year's controversy over Cafe Hon owner Denise Whiting trademarking "Hon" will cause people to turn away from Honfest—the three-day festival Whiting organizes, marked by campy retro dress, music, food, and the Miss Hon pageant—or bring more people out for it. We're guessing all publicity is good publicity.  More info

11 - 12 Merriweather Post Pavilion is the perfect spot to see noodly rockers Phish: Sit out on the lawn with a picnic, relax, and space out to one of the most inventive band's in the world.  More info

15 Watch your little one's imagination light up at "Storytime: Firefly Fantasy" at Ladew Topiary Gardens. 10:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. Ages 2-5. More info

16 There may be no better date than a Sade concert—luckily, she's coming to 1st Mariner Arena.  More info

17 - 19 Baltimore Pride Celebration, sponsored by the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore, features a parade and block party in Mt. Vernon—including the famous high-heel race—and a festival in Druid Hill Park, featuring singer-songwriter Deborah Cox.  More info

18 Six Flags America hosts an all-ages charity walk to benefit the local Children's Miracle Network Hospitals John Hopkins Children's Center and Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Registrants raising more than $50 on behalf of the walk earn complimentary admission to the amusement rides that day. More info

18 The Cylburn Arboretum in Northwest Baltimore, one of the city's largest green spaces, reopened last year after an extended renovation, and, to show off the upgrades, the proprietors are holding A Celebration of Art at Cylburn. During the day, families can tour the grounds and make nature-oriented crafts; in the evening, there will be a reception, where guests bid on the work of 31 local artists, each displaying pieces inspired by the arboretum.  More info

18 Help Maryland's elderly poor by rocking away in a rocking chair while tunes are played at this annual event sponsored by Little Sisters of the Poor. More info

18 The band known for its mega-hit "Fireflies" takes to the Baltimore stage along with popular acts Mat Kearney and Unwed Sailor. More info

22 It's the apex of the local 2011 concert season and a major coup for Baltimore: U2 will bring its 360 Tour, one of the most innovative shows in history, featuring a massive claw-shaped stage and a cylindrical video system of interlocking LED panels, to M&T Bank Stadium.  More info

24 American jazz trumpeter Botti has recorded and performed with everyone from Frank Sinatra to Sting. His work includes the critically acclaimed CD "When I Fall in Love." More info

25 - 26 The Potomac Valley Dressage Association presents this two-day equine festival featuring its popular Dancing Horse Challenge, children's activities, boutique shopping, and a black-tie gala, all to raise funds for Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center. More info

25 The Baltimore Regional Toddler Fair, held at the Montessori School in Lutherville, is an annual kid wonderland, with pony rides, a fire truck, balloon animals, reptiles to pet, gymnastics and music class demonstrations, and puppet shows throughout the day.  More info

25 Enjoy merriment at this colonial-themed festival in historic St. Mary's City. Activities include wooden-horse jousting, stilt-walking, country dancing, and foam sword wielding. More info

25 - 26 Latinofest celebrates one of Baltimore's fastest growing communities, with two stages of live music, games, food, and kids' activities in Patterson Park.  More info

25 Join world-renown early American banjoists for a 19th-century-style banjo concert on the grounds of the Pry House. More info

26 Spend an evening exploring the grounds of Montpelier Mansion playing games, making crafts, dressing up, or taking a tour, you can enjoy a picnic dinner on the grounds. More info

26 Master cabaret artist Dagan takes on the works of iconic singer-songwriter Neil Diamond. More info

28 - 30 Show featuring works by artists Anne Marie Fleming, Katja Oxman, Robert Andriulli, and others. More info

28 The Baltimore chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners is hosting its annual awards dinner honoring individuals and companies committed to female empowerment. More info

June (All day)

18 (All day) Attendants can rappel down the face of a 17-story building at this fundraiser for the National Kidney Foundation of Maryland. On-site training provided. More info

July

1 The Little Italy Open Air Film Festival kicks off, as it does every year, with "Moonstruck". It continues every Friday through July and August, with live music at 7 p.m. and the film, projected onto a white wall near the corner of Stiles and High Streets, at 9, concluding on Aug. 26, as always, with "Cinema Paradiso". More info

2 - 3 As one of the largest ethnic festivals in the city, the African American Heritage Festival, held in the lots outside M&T Bank Stadium, typically attracts some of the largest crowds- and talent. This year's lineup hadn't been announced at press time, but last year, R&B singer Robin Thicke and gospel star Donnie McClurkin performed. More info

2 - 3 The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra celebrates Independence Day a bit early with two editions of its annual Star-Spangled Spectacular concert under the stars at bucolic Oregon Ridge, featuring Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture," Sousa's "Stars and Stripes," and the best fireworks display in Baltimore County. Bring your blanket and picnic. More info

4 Watch the fireworks ignite over the Inner Harbor from the Top of the World Observation Level of the World Trade Center. Enjoy a continuous buffet, drinks, and music provided by Tom Gavin's DJ Delights. More info

4 The Inner Harbor is the premier spot for Independence Day celebrations, with concerts at the pavilions and the grand fireworks display. More info

6 - 10 All manner of farm animals, plus pie contests, a tractor show, and country goodness are on tap when the Baltimore County 4-H Fair comes to the Timonium Fairgrounds. More info

6 One of our many alfresco film series, Films on the Pier, on Fells Point's Broadway Pier, kicks off and continues every Wednesday night through August 24. The Lineup includes "The Social Network," "The King's Speech," and "Black Swan". More info

7 AVAM kicks off its own outdoor film series, Flicks From the Hill, with "Airplane!" The series, which revolves around the theme of the current exhibit, "What Makes Us Smile?" continues every Thursday night through July and August at 9 p.m. and includes "Austin Powers," "Some Like It Hot," "Duck Soup," and "The Pink Panther". More info

8 - 10 A highlight of the summer festival season, the Caribbean Carnival Festival includes a colorful parade, amazing island food, and lots of reggae and soca music. Hours are Fri. 5-9 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 12-9 p.m. More info

8 The Little Italy Open Air Film Festival kicks off, as it does every year, with "Moonstruck". It continues every Friday through July and August, with live music at 7 p.m. and the film, projected onto a white wall near the corner of Stiles and High Streets, at 9, concluding on Aug. 26, as always, with "Cinema Paradiso". More info

9 - 10 Members of various Native North American tribes gather at the Baltimore Pow Wow Native American Festival at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, with drumming and dance competitions, lots of live music, and crafts vendors. More info

9 After a few years of successful runs at 1st Mariner Arena, Monster Jam is bringing Gravedigger and the rest of its monster truck fleet to M&T Bank Stadium for a bigger, more smashing, more monsteriffic display of car-crushing power. More info

13 One of our many alfresco film series, Films on the Pier, on Fells Point's Broadway Pier, kicks off and continues every Wednesday night through August 24. The Lineup includes "The Social Network," "The King's Speech," and "Black Swan". More info

14 The BSO takes on the Fab Four with Classical Mystery Tour: A Tribute to the Beatles. More info

14 AVAM's outdoor film series, Flicks From the Hill, which revolves around the theme of the current exhibit "What Makes Us Smile?", continues every Thursday night through July and August at 9 p.m. Films include "Austin Powers," "Some Like It Hot," "Duck Soup," and "The Pink Panther". More info

15 - 17 This will be the 30th Artscape, the largest free arts festival in America and a Charm City treasure, with endless options for music, visual arts, dance, kids' activities, and food. This year's headliners include G. Love and Special Sauce, "American Idol"'s Fantasia, ska mainstay The Pietasters, and Hasidic rapper Matisyahu. Also, organizer's are planning on an 80's theme to mark the anniversary. More info

15 The Little Italy Open Air Film Festival kicks off, as it does every year, with "Moonstruck". It continues every Friday through July and August, with live music at 7 p.m. and the film, projected onto a white wall near the corner of Stiles and High Streets, at 9, concluding on Aug. 26, as always, with "Cinema Paradiso". More info

15 The BSO takes on the Fab Four with Classical Mystery Tour: A Tribute to the Beatles. More info

18 Lots of local celebs turn out annually for the Casey Cares Golf and Tennis Tournament at Chartwell Golf and Country Club in Severna Park, which raises money to help support seriously ill children and their families. More info

20 One of our many alfresco film series, Films on the Pier, on Fells Point's Broadway Pier, kicks off and continues every Wednesday night through August 24. The Lineup includes "The Social Network," "The King's Speech," and "Black Swan". More info

21 AVAM's outdoor film series, Flicks From the Hill, which revolves around the theme of the current exhibit "What Makes Us Smile?", continues every Thursday night through July and August at 9 p.m. Films include "Austin Powers," "Some Like It Hot," "Duck Soup," and "The Pink Panther". More info

22 The Little Italy Open Air Film Festival kicks off, as it does every year, with "Moonstruck". It continues every Friday through July and August, with live music at 7 p.m. and the film, projected onto a white wall near the corner of Stiles and High Streets, at 9, concluding on Aug. 26, as always, with "Cinema Paradiso". More info

22 Floppy Hat Night at Camden Yards has long been a highlight of the giveaway season, as the first 25,000 fans 21 and over complete their summer barbeque wardrobe for years to come, courtesy of Miller Lite. More info

22 Floppy Hat Night at Camden Yards has long been a highlight of the giveaway season, as the first 25,000 fans 21 and over complete their summer barbeque wardrobe for years to come, courtesy of Miller Lite. More info

26 The venerable punk-rock Vans Warped Tour-- which includes a heavy dose of skateboarding and other extreme-sports demos-- comes to Merriweather Post Pavilion, with more than 100 bands, including genre stars Against Me! and Gym Class Heroes. More info

27 One of our many alfresco film series, Films on the Pier, on Fells Point's Broadway Pier, kicks off and continues every Wednesday night through August 24. The Lineup includes "The Social Network," "The King's Speech," and "Black Swan". More info

28 Baltimore's country contingent will be out in force when Keith Urban comes to the Verizon Center in D.C. More info

28 AVAM's outdoor film series, Flicks From the Hill, which revolves around the theme of the current exhibit "What Makes Us Smile?", continues every Thursday night through July and August at 9 p.m. Films include "Austin Powers," "Some Like It Hot," "Duck Soup," and "The Pink Panther". More info

29 The Little Italy Open Air Film Festival kicks off, as it does every year, with "Moonstruck". It continues every Friday through July and August, with live music at 7 p.m. and the film, projected onto a white wall near the corner of Stiles and High Streets, at 9, concluding on Aug. 26, as always, with "Cinema Paradiso". More info

August

2 For the 28th year in a row, communities nationwide will mark National Night Out by getting out and about with block parties, cookouts, and other gatherings, in an attempt to claim the streets for local families and prevent crime and drug dealing. More info

2 Veteran rock duo Steely Dan--who won the Album of the Year Grammy in 2000--bring their smart, mellow vibes to Merriweather Post Pavilion. More info

2 - 3 If your musical tastes skew a bit younger--or more country--perhaps Taylor Swift, playing at the Verizon Center, is your choice for the evening. More info

3 One of our many alfresco film series, Films on the Pier, on Fells Point's Broadway Pier, kicks off and continues every Wednesday night through August 24. The Lineup includes "The Social Network," "The King's Speech," and "Black Swan". More info

4 - 21 Unraveled on the Gravel, the first ever musical generated by the Baltimore Playwrights Festival, by local writer Kevin Kostic, premieres at Spotlighters Theatre and runs through August 21. More info

4 AVAM's outdoor film series, Flicks From the Hill, which revolves around the theme of the current exhibit "What Makes Us Smile?", continues every Thursday night through July and August at 9 p.m. Films include "Austin Powers," "Some Like It Hot," "Duck Soup," and "The Pink Panther". More info

5 The Little Italy Open Air Film Festival continues every Friday through July and August, with live music at 7 p.m. and the film, projected onto a white wall near the corner of Stiles and High Streets, at 9, concluding on Aug. 26, as always, with "Cinema Paradiso". More info

6 Head out to Westminster for a classic country Dutch Picnic Dinner, with a flea market, chicken-and-ham dinner, silent auction, bake sale, live music, and moon bounce, with profits to benefit local charities. More info

6 - 7 Held on the playing fields at Poly High School, the International Festival is one of the biggest of the summer slate, including a soccer tournament with teams from all over the world, an eclectic music bill, a fashion show, and one of the most varied--and delicious--food lineups you'll ever see. More info

6 Hopefully, Orioles starter Brian Matusz will be off the disabled list--and well on his way to a 20-win season--in time to appreciate Brian Matusz Bobblehead Night at Camden Yards. More info

7 It's no day in the park: The Druid Hill Park Sprint Triathlon, which debuts this year, consists of a 300-yard swim (in the recently-renovated outdoor pool, thankfully, not the reservoir), a 20K bike ride on the park's rolling hills, and, finally, a 5K sprint. More info

10 One of our many alfresco film series, Films on the Pier, on Fells Point's Broadway Pier, kicks off and continues every Wednesday night through August 24. The Lineup includes "The Social Network," "The King's Speech," and "Black Swan". More info

11 AVAM's outdoor film series, Flicks From the Hill, which revolves around the theme of the current exhibit "What Makes Us Smile?", continues every Thursday night through July and August at 9 p.m. Films include "Austin Powers," "Some Like It Hot," "Duck Soup," and "The Pink Panther". More info

12 The Little Italy Open Air Film Festival continues every Friday through July and August, with live music at 7 p.m. and the film, projected onto a white wall near the corner of Stiles and High Streets, at 9, concluding on Aug. 26, as always, with "Cinema Paradiso". More info

17 One of our many alfresco film series, Films on the Pier, on Fells Point's Broadway Pier, kicks off and continues every Wednesday night through August 24. The Lineup includes "The Social Network," "The King's Speech," and "Black Swan". More info

18 - 21 The fourth annual Baltimore Fashion Week will take place primarily in a 16,000-square-foot tent to be erected in tres fashionable Harbor East, showcasing the work of local designers as well as those from round the U.S. and Europe. More info

18 AVAM's outdoor film series, Flicks From the Hill, which revolves around the theme of the current exhibit "What Makes Us Smile?", continues every Thursday night through July and August at 9 p.m. Films include "Austin Powers," "Some Like It Hot," "Duck Soup," and "The Pink Panther". More info

19 The Little Italy Open Air Film Festival continues every Friday through July and August, with live music at 7 p.m. and the film, projected onto a white wall near the corner of Stiles and High Streets, at 9, concluding on Aug. 26, as always, with "Cinema Paradiso". More info

20 - 21 For two days, during Baltimore Comic-Con, our city is the center of the comic book universe, with hundreds of artists, writers, distributors, and fans coming for speakers, panel discussions, vendor displays, and a massive costume contest. More info

20 This year's Hot August Blues & Roots Festival in Oregon Ridge Park features a stellar main-stage lineup, including Tedeschi Truscks Band (including married couple Susan Tedeschi and The Allman Brother's Band's Derek Trucks), Robert Randolph & the Family Band, and Baltimore's own J. Roddy Walston and The Business. More info

20 Check out the stomping rock and roll of Lynyrd Skynyrd at Aberdeen Proving Ground, with the Doobie Brothers opening. More info

21 The Athleta Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon is the largest event of its kind in the country, with up to 2,400 competing. The race, which takes place in Ellicott City's Centennial Lake Park, consists of a .62-mile swim, a 17.5-mile bike ride, and a 3.3-mile run. Registration for the triathlon is closed. More info

24 One of our many alfresco film series, Films on the Pier, on Fells Point's Broadway Pier, kicks off and continues every Wednesday night through August 24. The Lineup includes "The Social Network," "The King's Speech," and "Black Swan". More info

25 - 28 The Baltimore Summer Antiques Show at the Convention Center, is the largest indoor antiques show in the U.S. and one of the premier events in the world, with 500 collectors--including 70 specializing in antiquarian books--coming from all over the country and four continents. More info

25 AVAM's outdoor film series, Flicks From the Hill, which revolves around the theme of the current exhibit "What Makes Us Smile?", continues every Thursday night through July and August at 9 p.m. Films include "Austin Powers," "Some Like It Hot," "Duck Soup," and "The Pink Panther". More info

26 - 5 That annual end-of-summer ritual, the Maryland State Fair, will, of course, have all the rides, games, cotton candy, and animal husbandry you can handle, along with special events like headlining concerts by 'tween dream Selena Gomez (wonder if boyfriend Justin Bieber--last year's headliner--will show?) on Aug. 26, and 2010 Country Music Association Male Vocalist of the Year Blake Shelton on Sept. 3, as well as a jousting tournament in the horse ring on Aug. 28. More info

26 The Little Italy Open Air Film Festival continues every Friday through July and August, with live music at 7 p.m. and the film, projected onto a white wall near the corner of Stiles and High Streets, at 9, concluding on Aug. 26, as always, with "Cinema Paradiso". More info

27 Grab your two-wheeler, a friend or two, and you competitive spirit for Urban Bike Adventure, a combo race/scavenger hunt/obstacle course, all laid out on the streets of Baltimore City, with prizes and medals for the winners. More info

27 - 28 If the modern world doesn't feel like the right place for you, check out the Maryland Renaissance Festival--a wonderful world of wenches, grog, and fifes--which launches today and runs into October. More info

September

2 - 4 For the first time ever, Charm City will host the Baltimore Grand Prix- and not in some makeshift racetrack, but on Pratt, Light, Russell, and other city streets (which explains much of the construction and traffic around the area over the last year). The event, part of the IndyCar racing series, will be broadcast on ABC and is expected to bring thousands of tourists and millions of dollars to the local economy. All of which is great-- especially if it becomes a regular event as expected-- but we suspect nothing can top the vicarious thrill of watching a car get from I-83 to Camden Yards in under a minute. More info

2 - 4 The Pennsylvania Avenue Homecoming Festival celebrates the historic stretch in West Baltimore, home to the Royal Theatre, where local greats like Cab Calloway, Eubie Blake, and Billie Holliday got their starts. The three-day event-- in its second year-- features a battle of the bands, a poetry contest, a Cadillac parade, and the unveiling of the new Pennsylvania Avenue heritage trail signs. More info

3 - 5 If the modern world doesn't feel like the right place for you, check out the Maryland Renaissance Festival--a wonderful world of wenches, grog, and fifes--which runs until October. More info

7 - 2 The Baltimore Museum of Art opens an exhibit featuring the work of the three winners of the Baker Artist Awards, which annually go to some of Baltimore's most talented artists. This year, 696 artists submitted their work for the prestigious prizes, which are awarded by a private jury. More info

9 - 11 Defenders' Day is a legal holiday only in Maryland, where, on September 12, 1814, American forces fended off a British invasion at Fort McHenry, on the Southern tip of Baltimore, during the War of 1812-- a battle that inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner". The occasion will be marked with a weekend of activities at the Fort, including reenactments, a concert, and a fireworks demonstration. More info

10 - 11 If the modern world doesn't feel like the right place for you, check out the Maryland Renaissance Festival--a wonderful world of wenches, grog, and fifes--which runs until October. More info

10 Hampden's such a cultural and arts goldmine it gets two festivals: Honfest is higher profile, but Hampdenfest has been around longer and is more community oriented, with three stages for local artistis and musicians, an area for kids' activities, and an emerging artists exhibit and film festival. More info

10 - 11 If you think the Ukrainian Festival in Patterson Park is all about the pierogies, well, yes, the pierogies are incredible, but there's more: traditional dancing and costumes, a Ukrainian beer garden, authentic crafts, and children's activities and storytellers. More info

11 On the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Governor O'Malley will be on hand for the dedication of the 9/11 Memorial of Maryland-- which incorporates mangled steel from the World Trade Center-- at Baltimore's World Trade Center Plaza to honor the Marylanders who died that day in New York, Washington D.C., and Shansville, PA. More info

15 - 6 Chicago comedy troupe The Second City, which completed a sold-out run of its show "The Second City Does Baltimore" at Centerstage in April, begins a return engagement on the same stage, with all-new irreverent takes on our town. More info

17 - 18 If the modern world doesn't feel like the right place for you, check out the Maryland Renaissance Festival--a wonderful world of wenches, grog, and fifes--which runs until October. More info

17 Relive your '90s alt-rock festival memories at HFStival, which is still cranking at Merriweather Post Pavilion. The lineup is yet-to-be finalized, but if last year's program – with Third Eye Blind, Everclear, Fuel, and The Presidents of The United – is any indication, the same bands you saw back in the '90s might actually be there. More info

18 Federal Hill's eminently leafy walkable Main Street is one of the best places in town for a festival, which is why the Street Beat Festival, with live music, games, food, and community organizing, is always such a good time. More info

23 - 25 Our city's strong literary tradition is evident in the annual Baltimore Book Festival, which in recent years has drawn the likes of Dr. Cornel West, Ralph Nader, and Buzz Aldrin into its sturdy white tents to give readings and talks. Beyond the thousands of books for sale along the cobblestone streets of Mt. Vernon Place, there is a stage for live music, a large tent for kids' books (and lots of other kids' activities), and a wealth of civic groups getting out their messages. More info

24 - 25 Get your meow on as Freestate Feline Fanciers presents its 20th annual CFA Allbreed Cat Show at the Timonium Fairgrounds: Learn about breeding, enter your little furball in the big show, or just cruise around, mischievously making barking noises. More info

24 - 25 If the modern world doesn't feel like the right place for you, check out the Maryland Renaissance Festival--a wonderful world of wenches, grog, and fifes--which runs until October. More info

24 The Legacy Chase is the signature race at Cockeysville steeplechase venue Shawan Downs. Over the course of the day, there will be several races with a total purse of over $75,000. The event, which donates proceeds to GBMC, includes The Meadows, a family friendly area with kids' activities, live music, and food. More info

24 The Casey Cares Foundation, which raises money to provide comfort for critically ill children and their families, holds its annual Rock 'N' Roll Bash at Ram's Head Live. This year's lineup hasn't been announced at press time, but past events have included performances by members of KISS and Bon Jovi. More info

28 - 30 The 2011-2012 season of Centerstage – under the guidance of new artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah – begins with romantic comedy The Rivals, by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. More info

Issue date: May, 2011
12 issues for $18!