The official kickoff to summer may be Memorial Day weekend, but nothing says summer like a festival—and there are plenty going on this weekend. Here are four good ones, for example:
In Reston Town Center, more than 200 artists from across the country will display and sell their art and crafts—including paintings, jewelry, sculpture, and photography—at the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, now in its 24th year and one of the largest independent outdoor art shows on the East Coast. The festival runs on Saturday, May 16, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, May 17, from 10 to 5. Our advice: Get there early to get a parking spot, because the festival tends to draw more than 30,000 visitors. New this year are hands-on art activities for children at the Reston Town Center Pavilion. There will also be live dance performances at Town Square Park. A festival entry donation of $5 is requested for everyone over age 18; the money supports the Greater Reston Arts Center. Or you can buy tickets ahead of time online for $4.
The written word more your thing? Head to the Gaithersburg Book Festival on Saturday, 10 to 6, at the Gaithersburg City Hall grounds. This year, more than 90 local, national, and international authors will present and sign their works, including David Axelrod, Susan Coll, Jeffery Deaver, James Grady, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Michelle Knudsen, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Clarence Page, and local chefs Bryan Voltaggio, Cathal Armstrong, and Nora Pouillon.
If music is what soothes your soul, check out the Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis, Saturday from 11 to 9 and Sunday 11 to 8. A premiere blues showcase (the festival is more than 17 years old), this year’s lineup features headliners Gregg Allman and Buddy Guy. Advance-purchase tickets are $65 for one day, $115 for both (if bought by May 15); tickets at the gate are $80 or $140; children under 12 are free. Proceeds go to local charities. You can bring low-back lawn or beach chairs, and blankets; there will be food and drink for sale.
Have a taste for strawberries? The 25th annual Potomac United Methodist Church Strawberry Festival is Saturday from 10 to 4. Along with quarts of berries and all manner of strawberry desserts, there will be children’s games, a silent auction, and more than 25 vendors selling everything from jewelry to chocolate.