By Anna Hazard
Here are a collection of more senior friendly activities, festivals, and other forms of entertainment during the summer season within the Maryland region. The focus here is on relatively inexpensive, time limited or seasonally focused activities that take place outdoors or otherwise take advantage of the warmer weather. Many are whole family friendly and should be accessible to those with a wider range of mobility or health issues, although as always, accessibility requirements for the venue should be checked in advance for those seniors with bulky mobility aids or more severe health concerns.
While many festivals & exhibits are free to attend, some will require entrance fees or extra costs for added amenities, additional content, or otherwise will have more of a focus on available summer produce & other seasonal fare to purchase.
Summer Nature Exhibitions & Demonstrations
As the balmy summer weather often makes it possible to view and otherwise interact with wildlife that may not be available during the rest of the year, here are a selection of wilderness, animal, and otherwise other nature related events taking place throughout the Maryland region.
The focus here are on natural based excursions that are accessible to those with more limited mobility and are otherwise not overly physically taxing. While many of these events may have indoor components or will otherwise have shade & resting areas nearby, normal precautions should always be taken regarding any potential heat or sun-exposure related conditions.
Summer Arts Exhibits & Festivals
In order to take advantage of the warmer temperatures and abundant summer light, many art exhibitions and festivals have moved outdoors for the season. Most of these events should be free to view with optional purchases or donations available. While these art venues generally have good accessibility for those with limited mobility, keep in mind that some of the festivities (such as Artscape & the Plein Art exhibits in particular) can have an expansive footprint that will require quite a bit of walking or traveling in order to fully cover.
Summer Festivals & Fairs
Here are a selection of more general summer themed festivals and fairs that do not fall under any of the other categories. Generally these events will be taking place mostly outdoors, although some will include indoor elements or will have nearby shaded resting areas. Subjects covered range from history to beach festivities to celebrations of various cultures & traditions.
Admission to most festival grounds tends to be free along with the availability of a wider range of free & paid amenities such as live music, food, produce & other ware vendors, rides, as well as a selection of lectures & shows. As these events can become crowded, accessibility should be checked in advance for those with more bulky mobility aids or other health concerns.
Summer County Fairs
The long days, bright sunshine, and warmer temperatures of summer are an optimal time for county-sponsored fairs to be held. Here are a selection of various official county fairs scattered around the Maryland region during this summer season. Fairs tend to require paid admission, have extended periods of availability, as well as being generally larger then other themed festivals.
They cover a wide range of interests including live stock, produce, carnival & fair food, games, rides, music & other live entertainment, along with a broad range of vendors. The bulk of the fairs will be held outside, but many also contain some indoor components for those who may need to take shelter from the summer heat & sun. Keep in mind that fair grounds tend to be expansive and crowded, so concerns regarding accessibility and mobility should be checked in advance.
Summer Music Festivals
Like many other festivals during the season, summer music festivals tend to take place outdoors with accessibility varying depending upon the exact venue. Unlike the concert series, these events are only available during a short period of time and while many tend to have free overall admission, there is usually a wide variety of extra paid amenities available including food, vendors carrying a variety of different wares & goods, various extra shows, lectures, workshops, or special concerts requiring additional entrance fees. Paid admission tends to be required for those festivals mainly focused on their available concerts alone.
Summer Concert Series
With the warmer temperatures and extended hours of daylight, summer is an optimal time to take music celebrations & concerts out of doors. Here are a selection of concert series being held throughout Maryland during the summer seasons. Unlike with the music festivals, these are repeating events held on different days every week, month, or every couple weeks and their main focus will be entirely on music (instead of the mixture of music, vendors, food, and other events & activities often available at festivals).
Most concerts will be held at outside venues, many entirely free or with nominal entrance fees, and will include a variety of music genres depending upon the exact date or concert in question.
Outdoor Movies & Plays
Summer is a good time to enjoy an outdoor flick or a bit of outdoor live theater, especially during the cooler evenings when one doesn't have to worry about avoiding direct sunlight. Many outdoor movies & theater being held in Maryland are free to attend or have nominal entrance/viewing fees. Most movies are meant for pedestrians, but a few drive-ins are also available for those who may wish to take advantage of the air conditioning available within a vehicle.
While the movies tend to be held during the cooler times of the evening, care should be taken in preparing the summer heat, preventing dehydration, as well as checking for accessibility in advance as venues will include outdoor parks, beaches, and other grassy areas as well as paved areas such as parking lots.
Summer Food Festivals
Here are selection of more culinary focused festivals available throughout the Maryland region this summer. Most of them are outdoor events held throughout varying times (including evening activities for those seeking to avoid the prime summer heat & sunlight). The general focus is on food that is in fresh supply in the local region during the summer months including barbecue as well as seafood such as crabs, clams, & oysters, and more vegan fair focusing on produce such as blueberries, strawberries, peaches, cherries, apples, and blackberries. A variety of vendors (including non-food ones), games, music, and other activities are also available during these festivals.
Summer Restaurant Weeks
Restaurant Weeks include a selection of discounted dishes from a wide variety of restaurants and cafes throughout the Maryland region and are available for a limited time during each county's designated week. Restaurant Week dining is usually through on-line reservations in advance or can be requested during walk-ins when available. This usually includes a pre-set multi-course menu and can be a good option for those seniors with more limited mobility or greater health issues that prevent them from attending outdoor food festivals, farmer markets, or pick-your own events.
Summer Produce Picking
For those seniors capable of maneuvering through garden & orchard paths, pick-your-own events at local farms can be a fun & family friendly way to get a bit of extra exercise and outdoor air while gaining a selection of fresh, local produce for the pantry. These will include summer seasonal herbs, fruits, vegetables, and other fresh produce (often including meat & eggs), as well as flowers.
In-season summer produce that is usually locally available during the summer include sunflowers, pod peas, beets, currants, peaches, cherries, nectarines, apricots, melons, some varieties of apples, and many types of berries (including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries depending on the exact time of month
Summer Farmer's Markets
Farmer's Markets are a good option for those seniors who don't have the health or mobility for picking their own produce from the farms themselves yet would still like the ability to go shopping for their own local produce in person. Here are a selection of some of the larger multi-vendor farmer's markets available throughout the Maryland region during the summer season.
In addition, many of the above listed pick-your-own farms also have their own private farmer's markets where their produce can be bought without having to go through the trouble of picking it from the field yourself. While most markets take place outdoors, there are a selection of partial or entirely indoor markets for those whose health require more shaded and cooled environments.