Twenty-four days of food, entertainment and educational events are scheduled for Maryland's Third Annual Party on the Bay, beginning tomorrow. Designed to be more than a party, the festival is a chance to learn about the preservation of the environment and the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.
"The purpose of the events is certainly to have fun, but we also want people to come out and learn more about the Bay," said Barbara Knisely, promotions and events coordinator for the Governor's Chesapeake Bay communications office.
The festival kicks off tomorrow in Annapolis with the "Crabbiest Crab Truck Contest" in front of the State House. Seafood delivery trucks will be judged for most decorative bay-related scene displayed on the vehicle.
Seafood will be a big part of many events. More than a third of all the activities feature food from the Chesapeake, including the Harford County Seafood Festival (Aug. 10-11), Bay Day at Rock Hall on Aug. 17 and the National Hard Crab Derby (Aug. 30 to Sept. 1). The Hard Crab Derby at Crisfield's Somers Cove Marina will feature crab picking contests, music and fireworks.
Those interested in learning more about the Chesapeake can take a guided tour through the ponds and streams of the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary on Aug. 25. Tours are also available by boat at the Chesapeake Maritime Museum in St. Michaels. Marine biologists act as tour guides for the three- and six-hour cruises, pointing out the bay's history, wildlife and folklore.
Kids can learn more about the Chesapeake at a special concert, featuring singer Tom Chapin, on Aug. 18 at Pier Six Concert Pavilion from noon to 3 p.m. While there, they can visit a hands-on animal exhibit, participate in environmental games or visit the coloring corner.
Besides these activities, people looking for an unusual event can check out a day of canoe jousting at Sturgis Park in Snow Hill on Aug. 11. Jousting is Maryland's official state sport, but this time competitors will be standing in canoes rather than sitting on horses. Join in by registering the day of the event -- no experience is necessary but a good sense of balance will help.
Highlights of the Party on the Bay. All events are open to the public; some have admission charges. Call 1 (800) 395-7003 for general information.
Aug. 11. Canoe jousting competition on the Pocomoke River. Noon-5 p.m. Sturgis Park Snow Hill. Call (301) 632-0515.
Aug. 13-16. Patuxent Environmental and Maritime Heritage. A program for 7- to 9-year-olds to learn how pollution affects the Chesapeake Bay. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Calvert Marine Museum, Solomons. Reservations required. Call (301) 326-2042.
Aug. 14-20. BAYNIGHTS. Bay parties and seafood specials at participating Maryland restaurants, taverns and nightspots. 7 p.m.-closing time. Call (301) 974-5300.
Aug. 17. BAY DAY at Rock Hall. Seafood, environmental games, music and more. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (301) 974-5300.
Aug. 17-18. Havre de Grace Arts Show, featuring live entertainment and over 250 artists. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tydings Memorial Park, Havre de Grace. Call (301) 879-4404.
Aug. 18. Children's Concert for the Chesapeake Bay. Outdoor concert for kids featuring singer Tom Chapin, environmental games and Bay activities for the family. Tickets available through Giant Food Stores. Noon-3 p.m. Pier Six Concert Pavilion, Inner Harbor. Call (301) 825-5400.
Aug. 22. Wye Field Day. Learn about farming and the Bay, take a tour of agricultural research, meet the experts, eat crabs, listen to bluegrass music. 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Queenstown. Call (301) 827-8056.
Aug. 22-23. Fresh and Saltwater Marsh Ecosystems. Children 10-12 years old can learn how marshes provide habitat and breeding for wildlife. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Calvert Marine Museum, Solomons. Reservations required. Call (301) 326-2042.
Aug. 23-25. C&O Canal Days. Festival featuring arts and crafts, food and more along the historic C&O Canal. 5-10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Byron Memorial Park, Williamsport. Call (301) 223-9729.
Aug. 24. North Beach Bayfest. Fresh steamed crabs, ethnic foods, crab races, watermelon eating, music, arts, crafts, antiques. Noon-6 p.m. Call (301) 855-1017.
Aug. 25. Explore ponds and streams with a naturalist at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary. 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Anne Arundel County. Reservations required; admission charge. Call (301) 741-9330.
Aug. 28-31. White Marlin Tournament. 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Ocean City. Call (301) 742-0032.
Aug. 30. Riverside Concert. Open-air concert beside the Pocomoke River. 7 p.m.- 9 p.m. Sturgis Park, Snow Hill. Call (301) 632-0515.
Aug. 30. Wesley Chapel Fish Fry. Old-time fish fry, crab cakes and biscuits. 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Rock Hall. Call (301) 639-7181. Admission charge.
Aug. 30-Sept. 1. National Hard Crab Derby. Crab picking and cooking contests, crab races, music and fireworks. 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Somers Cove Marina, Crisfield. Call (301) 968-2682. Admission charge.
Aug. 30-Sept. 1. Labor Day Weekend Celebration. Seafood, entertainment and dancing. Noon-11 p.m. Rod 'n Reel, Chesapeake Beach. Call (301) 257-2735.
Aug. 31-Sept. 1. Warwick Riverfest. Family festival featuring country music, raft races, flea market and food. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday; noon-6 p.m. Sunday. East New Market. Call (301) 943-3842.
Aug. 31-Sept. 1. Port Deposit Heritage Days. Boat trips on the Susquehanna, crafts, food, tours. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Main Street, Port Deposit. (301) 378-3236.