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1. Maryland State Fair
From the rides to the food to the odd agricultural competitions (best canned beets!), you know you love the fair (left, photo by The Baltimore Sun), opening Friday (Gretchen Wilson performs at 7 p.m.; $24). Fair runs through Sept. 6. $8 admission. marylandstatefair.com JORDAN BARTEL, B

2. Rock the Bells at Merriweather
The Bells' best lineup to date features must-see vets (A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang Clan), top-of-the-class freshmen (Yelawolf, Wiz Khalifa and Big Sean) and everything in between. They even got Ms. (?) Lauryn Hill to come out of hiding. $66-$150.50. 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. merriweathermusic.com WESLEY CASE, B

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3. Trey Songz and Monica
It seems as though no matter what song Trey Songz (right, photo by AP) touches, it turns into a hit: "Say Ahh," "Neighbors Know My Name," etc. And Monica has come a long way since "The Boy is Mine." See them both at Pier Six Pavilion at 8 p.m. Friday. $30. ticketmaster.com AUBREY FORNWALT, B

4. Maryland Renaissance Festival
I missed Renn Faire last year — the first time since middle school. I have some serious drinking and merriment to make up. But never, ever in costume for me. Sorry, folks. Opens Saturday, runs every weekend through Oct. 24. Crownsville Fairgrounds. rennfest.com Marissa Gallo, B

5. Some Photographs of that Day
Before he died in 1997 at age 41, Jamie Livingston documented his life for 18 years with a Polaroid a day. The result, now compiled on a website by friends, including Hugh Crawford, is at once life-affirming and heartbreaking, a touching journey of a life cut way too short. You'll feel its power. photooftheday.hughcrawford.com JORDAN BARTEL, B

6. 'The Takers'
A group of bank robbers are commissioned by an old colleague (T.I.) to do one last heist until a hard-boiled detective (Matt Dillon) comes between them and their $20 million. The plot doesn't matter when the gorgeous Idris Elba ("The Wire") stars along with other sexy bad boys. Lets hope Elba loses his shirt in the middle of action! Opens Friday. SAM HIAASEN, B

7. Films on the Pier — "(500) Days of Summer'
"(500) Days of Summer" isn't even my favorite Zooey Deschanel movie, but the opportunity to spend an evening with her on a blanket under the stars does sound quite appealing. 8:45 p.m. Wednesday, Broadway Pier, Fells Point. BRIAN KRISTA, B

8. Date Night at the National Aquarium
Love the Aquarium, but touristy crowds — not so much. This is the perfect event to enjoy the (crowd-free) aquatic sights with a partner, as well as with beer, wine and appetizers. 7-10 p.m. Thursday. Ages 21 and older. $80-$125. Reservations required. aqua.org JORDAN BARTEL, B

9. Annapalooza

This inaugural outdoor music and arts fest shines a spotlight on "homegrown" talent, with a lineup of 23 bands on three stages. 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, Crownsville. $20-$25. annapalooza.org ADAM SAPIRO, B

10. Ravens v. Giants
The Ravens' third preseason game is a rematch of Super Bowl XXXV. This one should have slightly less anticipation and drama. 7:30 p.m. Sunday, M&T Bank Stadium. MATT VENSEL, B

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