BALTIMORE (July 30, 2014) – The dog days of summer are here but that’s no reason to hang in the shade, especially when Maryland’s culinary tourism offerings are just heating up. From Restaurant Weeks and seafood festivals to some of the region’s best new chefs, eateries, breweries and wineries, Maryland visitors and residents will have no shortage of opportunities to tempt their palates and enjoy the state’s culinary scene.
“When people think about summertime in Maryland, they automatically think about crabs and Natty Boh, for good reason,” says Margot Amelia, executive director of the Maryland Office of Tourism. “While the blue crab will always be the state’s beloved crustacean and we do love Mr. Boh, there are so many other unique and sophisticated culinary treasures that are genuinely and completely Maryland.”
Below is a list of events that showcase the state’s local flavor in Maryland’s five regions.
Enjoy healthy, locally produced food and goods including vegetables, herbs and flowers from the Downtown Cumberland Farmer's Market every Thursday from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. through October. Live entertainment is also scheduled. Local farmers, artisans and even model trains are featured at the Frostburg Farmer’s Market every Friday 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at City Place and in LaVale every Tuesday at the Country Club Mall.
Head to Washington County Aug. 3-16 for Restaurant Week, when a select group of 12 restaurants throughout the Hagerstown area will offer special meals and prices. Participating restaurants will offer $20.14 entrée selections or $30.14 special three course meals.
Spice things up at the 9th Annual Deep Creek Chili Splash on Aug. 9 at Wisp Resort in Deep Creek Lake. Judges will determine the best chili entered in the competition, and attendees have the chance to weigh in with a public tasting, but only while supplies last. Music, games, and family-friendly activities will accompany the chili-tasting contest.
Celebrate Oktoberfest early with Augustoberfest in Hagerstown. From Aug. 23-24, visitors and residents will celebrate Hagerstown’s German heritage with traditional Bavarian food, drink, and entertainment.
Mark your calendar for the Chesapeake Crab and Beer Fest at National Harbor on Aug. 16, an all-you-can-eat event with more than 50,000 crabs to crack and more than 50 beers, wines and spirits. Complete the meal with roasted corn, coleslaw, and potato chips, plus cold watermelon.
The Taste Prince George’s Food & Wine Festival on Aug. 23 will offer culinary competitions galore. Held at Six Flags America, the festival combines food, wine, and fun to bring visitors and residents together. Attendees can taste the best that Prince George’s County has to offer and relish in a cupcake crawl and burger bash.
Rockville kicks off its Uncorked Wine and Music Festival on Aug. 23 where festival goers will enjoy the best wines from across the state, as well as cooking demonstrations and two stages of musical entertainment. Admission is free for concerts and cooking demonstrations. The cost to participate in the wine tasting is $15 and includes a commemorative wine glass for the first 3,000 paid attendees.
Go local with Farm-to-Fork Frederick, an 11-day culinary event that celebrates Frederick-grown and raised farm foods. From Aug. 22 to Sept. 1, participating restaurants will serve a specially-crafted menu, celebrating the farms and chefs who prepare your farm-fresh meal.
Try out that new restaurant or sample dishes from longtime favorites during Baltimore’s Annual Restaurant Week. More than 90 restaurants are participating and offering a prix fixe menu for a $20-$30 three-course dinner or a $15 two-course lunch from Aug. 1-10. Through Aug. 4, experience the Howard County Farm to Table Restaurant Week, with more than 20 participating restaurants. Then head to Baltimore County’s Restaurant Weeks Aug. 8-24 and Carroll County’s Restaurant Week, Aug. 17-24 for more delicious deals.
Maryland is known for its crab and the Rotary Club of Annapolis Crab Feast, the world’s largest crab feast, shows visitors why. On Aug. 1, rain or shine, the Rotary Club of Annapolis Crab Feast will offer attendees an all-you-can-eat-and-drink experience with specialties like Maryland crab soup, sweet Maryland corn on the cob and beef BBQ sandwiches.
The best in barbeque will be at the Maryland State BBQ Bash Aug.8-9 in downtown Bel Air. Taste ribs, brisket and more while enjoying live music and tented areas featuring a variety of trinkets and gifts from downtown shops, boutiques, salons and spas. The event is free.
From alligator nuggets to zesty crab-stuffed hush puppies, the 2014 Havre de Grace Seafood Festival has it all. Visit Commerce Street Aug. 8-10 for non-stop seafood fare, live entertainment and area beer and wine.
Raise your glass at the third annual Kegs and Corks Craft Beer and Maryland Wine Festival on Aug. 23 at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds. The festival will feature select craft beer and local wine as well as Maryland crab cakes, fresh local oysters and a variety of other delectable cuisine.
Sip and sample superb wines from the region at seven wineries along the Patuxent Wine Trail, which winds its way through Calvert, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties. Visitors will enjoy tasting wines in a restored tobacco barn, on the slopes of a rolling vineyard or along the banks of a pristine creek.
Head to historic Leonardtown for the Southern Maryland Brew & BBQ Festival featuring a nationally-sanctioned Kansas City BBQ Society competition, as featured on the Food Network. The two-day festival on Aug. 1-2 will highlight delicious barbeque from the mid-Atlantic as well as traditional Southern Maryland favorites. Live entertainment, games, rides, unique vendors, fabulous food and delicious craft beer and wine will make for a fun-filled weekend.
Summer is not complete without homegrown peaches. Don’t miss Calvert County’s Peach Festival in St. Leonard on Aug. 16 for smooth ice cream and freshly sliced peaches.
St. Michaels appeals to those seeking a “spirited” experience that includes a menu of beer, wine and spirits. For wine lovers, don’t miss St. Michael’s Winery offering informal tastings daily with no reservations required. With all beers brewed on the premises since 2008, Eastern Shore Brewing Company, invites guests to stop in and sample a wide variety of beers. Tours are available upon request. Lyon Distilling Company, a premier craft distillery produces hand-crafted sprits by transforming raw ingredients like molasses, sugar and local grains into rum and whiskey in small batches. Their liquor is only available for purchase at the distillery after a weekend tasting or tour.
Toast the coast at some of the locales above and several others including Fenwick Wine Cellars, Layton’s Chance Winery and Dogfish Head Brewing Company, which can all be found along the Delmarva Wine and Ale Trail.
Savor the 6th Annual Berlin Peach Festival on Aug. 2 at the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum. Enter the peach pie baking contest or the peach pie-eating contest and much more.
Can’t get enough of Maryland’s fresh seafood? Stop by the Seafood Feast-I-Val on Aug. 9. This all-you-can-eat festival on the shores of the Choptank river in historic Cambridge features steamed crabs, fried fish, crab soup, fried clams, BBQ chicken, sweet potato and ranch fries, freshly cut watermelon, local corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes, hot dogs, cake and freeze pops.
You won’t want to miss the 3rd Annual Great Eastern Shore Tomato Festival, held in Vienna on Aug. 23. The free event will begin at 10 a.m. and include a tractor parade, kids games, live music and farmers and flea markets. At 4 p.m., join a team for the tomato wars and get ready for a food fight.
Crisfield will host its annual National Hard Crab Derby – a tradition that began more than 60 years ago — over Labor Day weekend. Watch more than 400 blue crabs race across a slick, flat track with hundreds of spectators. Crab picking and cooking contests, carnival rides, fireworks, and the Miss Crustacean pageant are just a few more activities that week.
About Maryland Tourism
The Maryland Office of Tourism is an agency of the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Visitors to the state spent more than $14.9 billion on travel-related expenses in 2012. During 2012, the Maryland tourism industry also generated $2 billion in state and local taxes, and provided more than 135,000 jobs for Maryland residents.