Inside: Check out these top 10 Fall Family events in Maryland that aren’t technically fall festivals. None of these events include pumpkins, but they are all great! Updated for 2018!
I have a confession to make. Sometimes the fall season can be intimidating and overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong.. I LOVE celebrating fall, especially with my little girl. The moment I detect even a hint of a chill in the air, it’s sweater weather. I could indulge in hot apple cider pretty much every day and once the weather chills, our family loves to get outside and go hiking, camping, and soaking in every moment of this glorious season.
But sometimes it is just too much.
Endless hayrides, a pumpkin patch every weekend, and getting lost in yet another corn maze. In Maryland, you could fill up every single weekend with a family outing to a different fall festival. However, there are actually quite a few other festivals that wouldn’t qualify as a ‘fall festival’ but are just as cool. If you need a break from pumpkin spice, check out one of these events. They are all awesome and very family and young kid friendly!
1. Special Event Weekends and the B&O Railroad Museum
There are actually two kid-friendly weekend events this fall at the B&O Railroad Museum:
- Super Hero Days (September 29-30): Super Hero Days unite past and present super heroes while bringing railroading safety to life. Ten Super Heroes provide one-on-one interactions, history, and fun. Along with the Super Hero Train Ride, young super heroes will see, touch, and hear about history, while engaging in various activities.
- Wizards and Witches Weekend (October 27-28): Create edible potions, hop aboard the Wizard’s Express steam train, and craft your own wizard hats and wands.
Check out my in-depth review of the B&O Railroad Museum as well!
2. Sunfest in Ocean City and Berlin’s Fiddlers Convention
September 20-23: check the website links for schedule details.
The weather is beautiful and there’s plenty to do at Ocean City, MD’s biggest and best festival. Enjoy four fun-filled days of arts and crafts, delicious food, hayrides, kids activities and musical entertainment. Plus, Sunfest hosts big musical headliners every year! https://ococean.com/sunfest
Fiddling and blue grass music will fill the streets of Berlin. There will be food and craft vendors, a beer garden and games for the children. http://www.berlinmainstreet.com/events/berlin-fiddlers-convention-4/
3. Maryland Fleet Week and Baltimore Air Show 2018
October 3-9: all day every day.
Enjoy Fleet Week Festival, a free, family-oriented festival throughout Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Catch the wind and join Historic Ships in Baltimore, Sail Baltimore, the City and State along with many partners for the Second Biennial Fleet Week! The USAF Thunderbirds’ jets and other aircraft will be on display on the Martin State Airport tarmac and in the skies over Fort McHenry and Middle Branch on October 6 & 7 while U.S., Canadian and British navy vessels will be ready for boarding visitors in the Inner Harbor, Fells Point and Locust Point throughout the week and weekend.
For more information, the Visit Maryland website actually has loads of details: https://www.visitmaryland.org/things-to-do/fleet-week
4. In the Street- Celebrate Frederick
September 8th: 11AM-5PM
This street festival has been running since 1983 and is loads of fun for the entire family. There are nine themed blocks of entertainment. A few of the highlights are the art block, sports block, history block, and a block especially dedicated to kid’s activities like crafts, face painting, and a petting zoo. Additionally, there is live music on five different stages, a mile-long road race, and tons of food and other vendors.
For more information click here.
5. Dino Day at the MD Science Center and Dinomite Dinosaur Weekend at Port Discovery
On September 8th-9th, Port Discovery is closing out it’s very cool Dinosaur exhibit with a special Dinosaur themed weekend! Say goodbye to the Dinosaurs who have called Port Discovery home for the last few months as we celebrate the closing of Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice™ with a fabulous weekend of Dinomite Dinosaur Days! Enjoy a Paleo-Expedition as you are guided through a dino-themed story time; go through Tiny Dino-Mania with sensory activities designed for your tot, and exercise like a Dinosaur (and learn a LOT about Dinosaurs, too!) in our fun and active Dino-cize program!
You can read my review of Port Discovery here. We visit quite frequently and always have a blast!
On September 15th from noon-4PM, the Maryland Science Center hosts Dino Day. This is the first Dino Day at the science center and dinosaur-specific activities include digging for fossils, creating your own fossil, and meeting a dinosaur mascot. If you have a dinosaur lover you will not want to miss this event!
You can read my review of the MD Science Center. We visit here quite frequently too.
6. Baltimore Book Festival
September 28-30: 11AM-7PM
I know you are probably thinking there wouldn’t be anything for your preschooler or toddler to do at a book festival. However, the Baltimore Book Festival includes a special Children’s Corridor with kid-friendly activities and the Enoch Pratt Free Library Children’s Stage, which not only features children’s and YA authors, but fun performances like magical paper crafts, a dance party, and puppet shows. Additionally, visual arts and games based on the poetry of Shel Silverstein, tons of hands on crafts and activities for kids, , and a Storybook Parade that is sure to be a hit with kids.
For more information about the festival click here.
7. Frederick’s Oktoberfest Weekend
September 28-29: Friday 6-10PM (not for kids), Saturday 11AM-10PM (all ages welcome)
Experience German Heritage at its finest. Many festival goers will be dressed in traditional Bavarian garb, there will be tons of great food and live entertainment (including yodeling) and even a kid’s zone which will have pumpkin decorating (oops.. there’s a pumpkin!), slides, and face painting.
8. Kinderfest at Watkin’s Regional Park
October 7th: noon-5PM
Kinderfest is put on by the Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation and is held at Watkins Regional Park, which is a pretty awesome park to visit on any day. For this kid-focused festival, there are carnival games, clowns, pony rides, dancers, singers, and tons of other kid-friendly activities.
9. ArtsFest at the AnnMarie Sculpture Garden
September 15th-16th: 10AM-5PM each day.
If you have not yet visited the AnnMarie Sculpture Garden in Solomons, MD, you are really missing out. This is a really special place that would make a great visit any time. On September 15-16, they are holding their 25th annual ArtsFest. This is a really huge arts festival with tons of activities for kids including Discovery Tent, Zany Zone, games, the clay studio, and live music. Click here is the brochure for the festival.
We love the AnnMarie Sculpture Garden and I reviewed it earlier this year.
10. Maryland Renaissance Festival
August 25th through October 21st (weekends)
Who says fall in Maryland is synonymous with pumpkin patches and apple cider slushies? If you have ever visited this Crownsville festival before, you know that the festival grounds are transformed into an utterly amazing and totally fun world of princesses, knights, and everything that made the Renaissance fun (or so we imagined). The festival is super fun for kids and adults and each weekend has a theme. For the 2018 season the themes are:
August 25-26: Children’s Weekend
September 15-16: Celtic Weekend
September 29-30: Pirate Weekend
October 6-7: Shakespeare Celebration
For more information on the Maryland Renaissance Festival, click here.
So, there you have it! 10 Family Friendly events in the Fall that aren’t actually ‘Fall Festivals.’
Thanks for reading and have a blast this season!
Oh, and if you did want a complete guide to Fall Festivals in the greater Maryland-DC-Virginia area, check out this complete guide!