ANNAPOLIS — In Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, fall means more than back to school. It means fun, fun at a whole host of old and new festivals celebrating the area’s unique culture and cuisine. Where to begin? Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County has pulled together a handy list of fall celebrations the whole family can enjoy. For a more complete listing, check out http://www.visitannapolis.org/.
Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day, August 25-October 21- Maryland Renaissance Festival
Back for its 42nd year, the second largest Renaissance Festival in the country immerses visitors in the culture of Revel Grove, a 16th-century English village, complete with King Henry VIII and his court. Merriment abounds as guests stroll a 24-acre site featuring more than 250 performers on ten stages. Jugglers, magicians, musicians, comedians and artists thrill audiences at every turn, while 130 craft shops, 42 food and beverage emporiums and a host of games and attractions give festivalgoers every opportunity to dress, dine and celebrate as in the courts of old. A major highlight is watching chivalrous knights bring Maryland’s official sport to life in a 3,000-seat jousting arena. 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., 1821 Crownsville Road, Annapolis. 800-296-7304, www.marylandrenaissancefestival.com.
Saturday-Sunday, September 8-9
Maryland Seafood Festival
Let the flavors of the Chesapeake Bay tingle your taste buds during a weekend full of delicious seafood dishes, interactive cooking demonstrations, exciting competitions, kids’ activities and more. Come prepared to identify your favorite crab soup during the 51st annual event’s ever-popular crab soup cookoff. A host of local craft beers and wines will help ensure you end up with perfect pairings – all on the beautiful shores of the Chesapeake Bay! Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sandy Point State Park, 1100 East College Parkway, Annapolis. 410-353-9237, www.mdseafoodfestival.com.
Wednesday-Sunday, September 12-16
Anne Arundel County Fair
Experience the ‘good old days’ all over again at the 66th annual Anne Arundel County Fair! Learn secrets of the trade from 4H Club members. Master the art of hog calling. Cheer on your favorite sow in the pig races. From camel rides, amusement rides and interactive car racing, to homemade wines, home-brewed beers and wood carving demonstrations, the Anne Arundel County Fair is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to celebrate the county’s rich agricultural heritage. Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, 1450 Generals Highway, Crownsville. 410-923-3400, www.aacountyfair.org.
Saturday, September 15
Amps and Ales Craft Beer and Music Festival
The popular Amps and Ales Craft Beer and Music Festival is back for a second year at a new location – the Arundel Mills Entertainment District. The event features unlimited samples of more than 40 craft beers from 14 area breweries, including DuClaw, Flying Dog, Heavy Seas, Jailbreak and Monument City. New this year, wine lovers can enjoy tastings in Linganore Winecellars’ Wine Garden. On the music scene, Kanye Twitty, Jah Works and Black Alley will perform live throughout the day. In addition to getting their music fix, concertgoers will have an opportunity to get their fill of delicious eats served by ten popular food trucks, including Mother Shucker’s P.N.B. Seafood, Tiny Brick Oven, Baltimore Crab Cake Company and Anegada Delights. Individuals who love a challenge will be invited to help break the record for the “World’s Largest Flip Cup Game.” Presented by Symmetry Agency, Humdinger Productions, Live! Casino & Hotel and Arundel Mills Mall. 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Arundel Mills Cinemark parking lot near the north entrance of Live! Casino and Hotel, 7002 Arundel Mills Circle, Hanover. 443-292-4064, www.ampsandales.com.
Saturdays and Sundays, September 22-October 28
Greenstreet Gardens Fall Festival
Experience family fun on the farm! Get lost in a six-acre corn maze, tackle the underground slide and explore the new woodlands. Hop aboard the cow train and enjoy the beauty of a hay ride through the fall countryside. Jump on a pillow and into the corn box. Get your face and hair painted, check out the tire tower, and more. 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Greenstreet Gardens, 391 West Bay Front Road, Lothian. 410-867-9500, ext. 208,www.GreenstreetGardens.com.
Saturday, September 29
Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival
The rich heritage of Kunta Kinte comes to life in a family-friendly cultural festival celebrating the history and heritage of individuals of African-American, African and Caribbean descent. Featuring live music and dance as well as ethnic foods and wares, the 29th annual event focuses on the life and times of Kunta Kinte, a Gambian slave whose story is captured on the pages of author Alex Haley’s book, Roots: Saga of an American Family. Sponsored by Kunta Kinte Celebrations. 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Susan Campbell Park, City Dock, Annapolis. 240-801-5543, http://kuntakinte.org/.
Sunday, September 30
Annapolis Italian Festival
The fifth annual event honors Santa Madre Cabrini (Frances Xavier Cabrini), an Italian-American religious sister who helped Italian immigrants settle in the United States. Enjoy delicious Italian food and desserts, “exotic” Italian cars, ‘how to’ demonstrations, continuous music and a host of shopping opportunities. Parking is free. 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sons & Daughters of Italy Lodge 2225, 620 Ridgely Avenue, Annapolis. www.annapolissonsofitaly.com, www.festaitaliana-annapolis.com.
Sunday, October 21
16th Annual Oyster Festival
Enjoy food, live music by local artists, unique crafts, face painting and demonstrations highlighting the vital role oysters play in maintaining the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Seafood lovers are invited to feast on raw and fried oysters, oyster stew, fried oyster roll sushi, cream of crab soup, Maryland crab soup, and much more. Hamburgers, hotdogs and homemade desserts will also be available. 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., Captain Avery Museum, 1418 East West Shady Side Road, Shady Side. Call 410-867-4486.