The juried exhibit features works in practically any medium and style by Maryland artists who live within 100 miles of Ellicott City. Winners will be announced at a reception 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Runs Oct. 28 to Dec. 9 at Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City; hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. 410-313-2787, hocoarts.org/exhibits.php
The juried exhibit features works in practically any medium and style by Maryland artists who live within 100 miles of Ellicott City. Winners will be announced at a reception 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Runs Oct. 28 to Dec. 9 at Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City; hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. 410-313-2787, hocoarts.org/exhibits.php (Nicole Munchel / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Downtown Baltimore constantly beckons with arts offerings. But you aren't required to drive to the city to find options, whether you're looking for sophisticated visual art or family-friendly festivals. Here's a sampling of goings-on in the counties:

Anne Arundel County


Anne Arundel County Fair

For the 64th time, AA County puts its best feet (sometimes hooves) forward with five days of food, music, games, carnival rides, livestock, agricultural exhibitions and — thankfully — the return of "Arundel's Got Talent." Plus, of course, the Anne Arundel County Fair Queen and Poultry Princess competitions. Lady Ann Arrundell herself would be proud. 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Sept. 14, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sept. 15, 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Sept, 16, 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Sept. 17, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Sept. 18 at the county fairgrounds, 1450 Generals Highway, Crownsville. $5-$7 (free for 5 and younger). 410-923-3400, aacountyfair.org


Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival

As befits the city where Kunta Kinte, the enslaved hero of Alex Haley's "Roots," was brought to these shores, Annapolis celebrates its black heritage with a festival dedicated to showcasing the "perseverance, education and cultural heritage of people of African descent." Includes music, dance, storytelling and crafts. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sept. 24 at Susan Campbell Park, off Dock Street, Annapolis. Free. 240-801-5543, kuntakinte.org


The story of everybody's favorite melancholy Dane — you know, the one staring at a skull and holding a serious grudge against his stepfather — is performed by the National Players. Get there early for a VIP reception in honor of former school board member and District 31 Del. Joan Cadden and watch the performers rehearse their fight scenes. 8 p.m. (VIP 5:30 p.m.) Oct. 1 at the Chesapeake Arts Center, 194 Hammonds Lane in Brooklyn Park. $10-$50. 410-636-6597, chesapeakearts.org

'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow'

Ichabod Crane, the lovely Katrina van Tassel and the horrifying Headless Horseman himself come to life onstage, courtesy of the Ballet Theatre of Maryland. 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21, 7 p.m. Oct. 22 and 2 p.m. Oct. 23 (with a no-extra-charge Spookfest set for one hour before the Oct. 23 show). Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, 801 Chase St., Annapolis. $27-$52. 410-224-5644, balletmaryland.org,

Brian Culbertson

A multi-instrumentalist with some 15 albums to his credit, the Chicago native's jazz-based influences range from Earth, Wind & Fire and Chicago to Sting and Chick Corea — which translates to something for just about every musical taste. This fall, he'll be bringing his Funk! Tour to Rams Head On Stage, 33 West St., Annapolis. 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Nov. 6. $58.50. 410-268-4545, ramsheadonstage.com

Chris Kaltenbach, The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore County

Marylin Holsing, Les Histoires

Towson University's Holtzman MFA Art Gallery presents Les Histoires, works of Temple University Professor Marylin Holsing. Known for paintings with landscape elements, she has expanded to video and three-dimensional media, such as embroidery and dioramas. Opening reception is at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8; Holsing will lecture at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 13 at Art Lecture Hall. The exhibit runs Sept. 9-Oct. 15; gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday at the Center for the Arts. Free. 410-407-2787, events.towson.edu

43rd annual Catonsville Arts and Crafts Festival

Artisans from all over the country will bring hundreds of handmade, one-of-a-kind creations for this annual festival, which also features food, live entertainment and children's activities. Runs 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 11 at 924 Frederick Road. Free. 410-744-4169, catonsville.org

20th Annual Baltimore County African American Cultural Festival

About 50,000 people will converge for exhibits, family fun and entertainment including R&B singer-songwriter-pianist Vivian Green. Runs 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sept. 17 at Towson Patriot Plaza, 401 Bosley Ave. Free. 410-645-0765, aaculturalfestival.com

Shuffle Concert

With Shuffle, the listener conducts the show: Audience members choose from a menu of works — spanning baroque, Broadway, classical, jazz, pop and romantic genres — and the six-member chamber ensemble performs. 8 p.m. Dec. 3 at the Gordon Center for Performing Arts, 3506 Gwynnbrook Ave., Owings Mills. Tickets are $25; $15 for children and students; $5 more at the door. 410-356-7469, jcc.org/event/shuffle-concert

'Babes in Toyland'

Baltimore Actors' Theatre has been producing the Victor Herbert operetta annually since 1965, as a fundraiser for its educational activities. With a cast of 100 and a 20-piece orchestra, it features a Toyland Parade, Dragon Ballet, Parade of the Wooden Soldiers, Santa Claus and a Toyland Wedding. 2 p.m. Dec. 3 and 4 at Goucher College's Kraushaar Auditorium. Tickets are $20 adults, $15 for children under 12 and seniors. 410-337-8519, baltimoreactorstheatre.org

Maya Earls, Baltimore Sun Media Group

Carroll County

Westminster Fallfest and Parade

Get ready for fall with Carroll County's largest community event, including music, performances, vendors, amusement rides, late-night shopping opportunities, even a homebrew cider competition (anyone can brew beer, but cider!). Kicks off with a downtown parade at 7 p.m. Sept 22, along Main Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, then continues 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Sept. 23, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sept. 24 and noon -6 p.m. Sept. 25 at Westminster City Park, 10 Longwell Ave. westminsterfallfest.com

Microbrewery Festival

Scores of Maryland's finest craft beers will be available throughout the day. Which should be enough for anyone, but you also get to explore the Union Mills Homestead, a national historic site dating back to the 19th century. This marks the festival's 11th edition, so clearly they're doing something right. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 24. 3311 Littlestown Pike. 410-848-2288, marylandmicrobreweryfestival.com

Alina Kiryayeva

A piano prodigy who had her first recital at age 8 and orchestra debut at 11, the Ukrainian-born Kiryayeva has toured globally and been awarded her country's State Award for Achievement in the Arts. Her solo piano concert is slated for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at Westminster High School, 1225 Washington Road. $25 (tickets on sale Oct. 1). 410-848-7123, carrollliveonstage.org

'The Grapes of Wrath'

John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, following the Joad family as they travel from Oklahoma to California during the Great Depression and struggle to survive in a world where everything seems stacked against them, is brought to the stage by the National Players, America's longest-running touring theater company. 3 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Carroll Arts Center, 91 W. Main St., Westminster. $13-$15. 410-848-7272, carrollcountyartscouncil.org




McDaniel College's Chamber Music on the Hill series presents a multi-media performance from this Delaware-based trio who find their inspiration in Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road project. Members Xiang Gao (violin), Cathy Yang (erhu, or Chinese violin) and Matthew Brower (piano) perform a mix of western classical, contemporary classical, folk, pop and funk-jazz. 7 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Dickey Center Forum at McDaniel, 2 College Hill, Westminster. $10-$15 (free for children and college students with ID). mcdaniel.edu

Chris Kaltenbach, The Baltimore Sun

Harford County

Bel Air Festival for the Arts

In its 51st year, the biggest annual arts event in Harford County is the Bel Air Festival for the Arts. Tens of thousands of people flock to Shamrock Park on the third Sunday each September to see the works of more than 350 exhibitors. 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. rain or shine Sept. 18 at 30 Hickory Ave., Bel Air. Free. 443-616-6708, belairfestival.com

Steppingstone Museum Fall Harvest Festival

Harford County welcomes autumn each year with the Fall Harvest and Crafts Festival at the Steppingstone Farm Museum in Havre de Grace. There are activities and exhibits — from crafts to historic re-enactments of farming techniques — for all ages. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 24 and 25 at 461 Quaker Bottom Road, Havre de Grace. Admission is $10; children 12 and younger free. 410-939-2299, steppingstonemuseum.org

Impressions of Harford and Beyond

One of the treasures of the Harford County arts scene is the Liriodendron, and "Five Friends in Art" will put the Bel Air mansion on display. The friends — Robin Capecci, Barbara Kirchner, Alexandra Kopp, Barbara Love and Sandra Norris — will share their experiences in art and travel during a series of presentations. 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 2, 9, 16 and 23; 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 5, 12 and 19 at Liriodendron, 502 W. Gordon St., Bel Air. 410-879-4424, liriodendron.com

Dancing for the Arts Gala

The Harford County arts community has been seeking a permanent home, and the annual Dancing for the Arts Gala is its biggest fundraiser. Think "Dancing with the Stars" with Harford notables doing the cha cha. Tickets for the preview, at 7 p.m. Nov. 18, and matinee, at 2 p.m. Nov. 19, are $25. The black-tie optional gala runs 5:30 p.m. till 11:30 p.m. Nov. 19; tickets are $200. Maryland Golf and County Clubs, 1335 E. MacPhail Road, Bel Air. 443-567-5216, harfordcfa.org

Welcome, Christmas

Fall unofficially ends the first weekend in December in Harford, as the county's three municipalities host Christmas parades and other holiday activities. Havre de Grace hosts its Christmas parade at 7 p.m. Dec. 2, in the 100 block of N. Washington St. Aberdeen hosts a day of holiday events Dec. 3, culminating with its parade along West Bel Air Avenue at 3 p.m. Bel Air's parade along Main Street begins at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 4, followed by its tree lighting ceremony.

Ted Hendricks, Baltimore Sun Media Group

Howard County

Decorator show house: Avoca

Tracing its roots to a 1695 land grant to Samuel Chew, Avoca was once the manor house of the 1,200-acre Chews Resolution Manor and Chews Vineyard. This fall, the 19th-century gem will present area designers. Historic Ellicott City's Decorator Show House will open its doors with a preview party, 6:30-10 p.m. Sept. 22 ($85). Runs Sept. 24 through Oct. 23 at 4824 Montgomery Road; hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, closed Mondays. $20 in advance; $25 at the door. 410-461-6908, historicec.com/show-houses/

Art Maryland 2016

The juried exhibit features works in practically any medium and style by Maryland artists who live within 100 miles of Ellicott City (the stipulation: the work must fit through a standard doorway). Winners of prizes of up to $1,000 will be announced at a reception 6-8 p.m. Runs Oct. 28 to Dec. 9 at Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City; hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. 410-313-2787, hocoarts.org/exhibits.php

Columbia Pro Cantare 40th Anniversary Gala Celebration

The chorus celebrates four decades of song with Vivaldi's "Gloria," Haydn's "Missa Brevis," Handel's "Let the Bright Seraphim" and Purcell's "Sonata in D for Trumpet and Strings." Trumpeter Susan Rider and the Howard County Concert Orchestra add to the festivities. Reception afterward. Lecture 7 p.m., concert 8 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake, 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia. Advance tickets $23; seniors/students $20; children 14 and younger $10. 410-730-8549, procantare.org

Symphony of Lights

Much missed in 2015, the holiday staple returns refreshed, with 250,000 bulbs replaced by LED lights. New this year: a laser show, skating rink and 3D video. It all supports Howard County General Hospital. Starts 4 p.m. daily, Nov. 20-Jan. 2. Symphony Woods, Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. Facebook.com/symphonyoflightsfestivities

WPOC Weekend in the Country

Little Big Town, Rodney Atkins, Locash (with Towson native Chris Lucas), Chase Bryant, Granger Smith and Runaway June are just some of the country acts twanging it up over two days. Starts 1 p.m. Oct. 15-16 at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. $55-$175. 877-435-9849, merriweathermusic.com

John Fischer, Baltimore Sun Media Group