County calendar chock-full of events

August 08, 2004|By Alyson R. Klein | Alyson R. Klein,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

During the course of a year, you can ride on a monster truck, consider buying a world-class yacht, watch a man swallow a sword, hear bagpipes ring in the new year, taste Maryland's best crab soup and walk across one of the world's largest estuaries -- all without leaving Anne Arundel County.

With its location on the Chesapeake Bay, beautiful scenery and historic state capitol, the county is home to some of Maryland's most anticipated -- and quirkiest -- community events. Among them:

Power boat show

Vendors come from as far away as South Africa to take part in the United States Power Boat show, held at the City Dock and Harbor in Annapolis every fall. This year, it will be open to the public Oct. 15-17, starting each morning at 10 a.m. An annual event for more than three decades, it is the nation's oldest in-water power boat show -- and one of the best attended, according to Rick Franke, a spokesman for the show.

This year's event will feature hundreds of new powerboats, including yachts, cruisers and trawlers, as well as boats used for sporting, such as ski boats and jet boats. Many vendors wait for the show to debut their new models, Franke said. The show typically draws some curious on-lookers, but many of the participants will be serious boat enthusiasts, Franke said.

"My favorite part is getting to see people I have known for years from the boating world," Franke said, "It's like a reunion."

Advance tickets for this year's show will be $14 for adults and $7 for children. For more information about the event, visit

Renaissance festival

The Maryland Renaissance Festival's origins don't stretch back quite as far as the 14th century, but the event has been a fixture in the region for quite some time. Established in 1977 as a small theme show, the festival has grown into a grand affair, drawing more than 1,300 participants and 225,000 guests annually. The 120-acre fairground in Crownsville is set up as a model Renaissance village, complete with entertainers in full period dress. There are more than 130 booths displaying homemade crafts for sale, everything from wood furniture to ornamental glass to the more exotic "flying rainbow bubble wands."

The festival features the kind of entertainment King Henry VIII might have enjoyed. Last year's schedule included a sword swallower, minstrels and a 20-minute version of Macbeth. Participants also could lock up their relatives in the stocks or take juggling classes. Refreshments range from the traditional beer in a tavern or turkey leg to more familiar, modern fare, like ice cream and gyros.

This year, the festivities will begin Aug. 28 and run on selected dates throughout September and October, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. off Crownsville Road, just outside Annapolis. Ticket prices are $17 for adults, $15 for seniors and $8 for children. Group rates, two-day passes and a "fairever" pass are also available. For more information, visit or call 1-800-296-7304.

First Night

Summer may seem a little early to begin thinking about New Year's Eve plans, but many area residents already know that they'll be attending First Night in Annapolis. For more than a decade, the celebration, held Dec. 31 each year, has drawn repeat visitors. The event is alcohol-free and family oriented. Shows begin as early as 4 p.m. and continue running until just before midnight.

More than 150 performances take place as courthouses, churches and other historic buildings turn into venues for entertainment ranging from an animated short film festival to a demonstration of Mandala sand-painting, an ancient Tibetan craft. Last year's schedule also included an Irish folk-singer, a Mexican dancing troupe, an African storyteller and colonial one-act plays.

"Our goal for First Night Annapolis [last] year was to create a more culturally diverse program that truly represents our community: the people in it, their interests and beliefs," said Jennifer Krammes, executive director of First Night Annapolis, in a news release.

At 11:30 p.m. every year, a group of bagpipe players file down Main Street and stop at the City Dock, where a fireworks display welcomes the New Year.

Admission to all events requires a souvenir button, available at Giant food stores and through other local merchants in the weeks leading up to event. On New Year's Eve day, buttons can be purchased at the Naval Academy Station Box Office or at the Anne Arundel County Visitor's Center on West Street in Annapolis. Buttons are $20 for adults, $10 for children, according to the event Web site. For more information, visit or call 410-268-8553.

Bay Bridge Walk

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.