This article was originally posted on 9/16/17 and updated for the 2018 season –ed.
The air might be feeling cooler and the kids might be back in school, but it’s still summer. And that’s the mantra until September 22. And then on September 22, the first day of fall, the new mantra becomes “only 272 days until summer!”
The Town of Ocean City feels your pain. That’s why Ocean City and its neighboring communities always have a few end-of-September festivals up their sleeve to ease the transition from summer to fall and let you kick back and enjoy some of the last warm, stress-free vacation days of the year. Sometimes, as seen in this year’s festival lineup, a few drinks are understandably involved. Still, all of the following events that summer 2018 has in store are family friendly and just waiting for you to come have a good time and take your mind off the future and “real life” for a night or two.
We’ve been talking about ArtX a lot lately, but only because it’s so, so cool, and this year marks the first one ever. If you’ve ever been to Arts Alive, ArtX is similar — at least, it’s in the same location, Northside Park — but with much more. Artists will be working and selling their arts and crafts while films from the Ocean City Film Fest are screened, live bands perform (including the Original Wailers!), art workshops are held and fun games and activities go on all day long. Food, craft beer and wine will be for sale, and there will be tons of fun to be had by art lovers of all ages.
This one might be a bit obvious, but if you’re looking to celebrate the last week of summer in Ocean City, you’re going to want to do it at Sunfest. Not only are there tons of things to do at the over 40-year-old annual festival (music, food, vendors, arts ‘n crafts, etc., etc., etc.) but wandering the Inlet during the festival is totally free, and the weather is almost always perfect–still warm, but with a comfortable breeze welcoming in autumn.
If you’ve ever passed by the Kite Loft on 5th street and looked on longingly at the kites flying high outside of the store, Kite Fest is your opportunity to get in on the action. Coinciding with Sunfest each year, hundreds of kites of every shape, color and design take to the skies during Kite Fest to “wow!” onlookers with the beauty of the spectacle. Even if you can’t fly a kite without getting tangled in the line, the display is worth a look at the sky.
This year marks historic Berlin, MD’s 26th Fiddlers Convention. Fiddlers and string bands from all over the U.S. gather in Berlin to play bluegrass, Americana, folk and country music and to compete in the fiddlin’ competition. The convention is a time-honored tradition in Berlin and while it might sound niche, the Fiddlers Convention has always proved to be a great time for families and musical connoisseurs alike.
Sept. 8, Oct. 27
The end of summer and beginning of fall also marks beer festival season on the Shore. On the second Saturday of September, Ocean City’s oldest beer fest Brews on the Beach will celebrate its 10th year. That particular festival, hosted by Fin City and Shore Craft Beer, is all about celebrating the “art of craft” and is the best party on the beach complete with live music, games, vendors and food from Hooper’s available for sale. OCtoberfest is a super seasonal beer festival at Sunset Park with food trucks, music and always a handful of dogs wearing their spookiest (and cutest) Halloween costumes. Both festivals boast tons of local craft beer and beautiful views of Ocean City and its waterways.
Maybe beer’s not your thing. That’s okay–wine is an option, too. Wine Fest (and OCtoberfest, for that matter) technically takes place in the fall season, but since you’re drinking on the beach, you’ll probably be able to pretend it’s still summer, anyway. This year’s 23rd annual festival will feature Maryland wineries and will also include a selection of craft beer, food, arts and crafts and live music.