If you’re free and it’s fall then it must be time for the annual Free Fall Baltimore celebration. Throughout October, local galleries, venues and performance spaces will host free events to highlight National Arts & Humanities Month.
The effort by the Baltimore Office of Promotions & The Arts (BOPA) includes funding for more than 50 individual artists and arts organizations to produce events ranging from dance to theater to fashion.
These are our five not-to-be-missed favorites — but with an entire month of artful productions, there’s something to suit every taste. For a full list and schedule of events go to freefallbaltimore.org.
Mushroom City Art Festival
Dig deep into the fascinating world of mycology on Oct. 16 with the return of the Mushroom City Art Festival.
The event, now in its 10th year, celebrates mushrooms and their many uses with a day-long schedule of workshops, performances and more. Learn how to forage for fungi, make mushroom hats and listen to the noises of mushrooms and other plants at a sound station from multimedia artist Matt Muirhead.
The festival also features donation-based reiki and acupuncture, musical performances, moving panorama films called crankies and, of course, an opportunity to eat some mushrooms with dishes from local vegan cafe, Farm to Face. Dr. Katherine MacLean, a former psilocybin researcher at Johns Hopkins University and a co-founder of the Psychedelic Education and Continuing Care Program in New York, will give a talk at the festival.
Mushroom City Art Festival is 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16, at the Carrie Murray Nature Center in Leakin Park. mushroomcityartfestival.org
Black Cherry Puppet Theater
You know how your kids are always pulling your strings? Now you can show them how the pros do it.
Black Cherry Puppet Theater will participate in its annual Puppets in the Park(ing Lot) events for children with two free performances on Sunday afternoons.
Not only will youngsters enjoy an outdoor, small-group, socially distanced and 45-minute show featuring the eerily lifelike creations of Baltimore’s master puppet artists, they will have a chance to participate in a workshop where they can make a puppet or marionette to take home.
The lineup is subject to change, but previous years has consisted of three acts including a short narrative show, cabaret-style marionettes and a children’s book author performing a masked performance to music.
If you haven’t seen Black Cherry before, take it from us — these folks can get more authentic performances from blocks of felt and wood than you will find on some better-known stages.
Puppets in the Park(ing Lot) will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16 and 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23 at 1115 Hollins St. at Hollins Market. freefallbaltimore.org/events/puppets-in-the-parking-lot
—Mary Carole McCauley
Corner Creepies at Fells Point Corner Theater
Goosebumps are free for all at the first night’s performance of the “Corner Creepies,” at the Fells Point Corner Theater.
Here, in a historic enclave of Baltimore, enjoy an eerie after-dark walking tour of the area as well as haunting tales of Maryland folklore — including the chilling readings of Edgar Allan Poe — guaranteed to shiver the spine. It’s an interactive show; the audience is encouraged to share its own ghost stories of the hoary Fells Point neighborhood.
For the kids, there’s a costume contest and Halloween treats.
Corner Creepies will be held at 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, at 251 S. Ann Street. freefallbaltimore.org/events/corner-creepies
A ‘Thriller’ Remix Flash Mob
Learn the classic and spooky dance moves that go along with Michael Jackson’s iconic 1980s hit “Thriller” and then perform them as part of a flash mob over Halloween weekend.
Dance Baltimore will teach the choreography to anyone ages 8 and older who is interested — no previous training or experience required. There will be two classes at the Maryland Academy for Dance on two different days with each one having a capacity of 120 students.
The performance, including a DJ, will feature dancers in zombie costumes and will take place Oct. 29 in front of the soon to be renovated Ambassador Theater in northwest Baltimore. Halloween bags also will be distributed.
Classes takes place Oct. 16 at 2 p.m. and Oct. 20 at 6 p.m. at Maryland Academy for Dance, 7097 Milford Industrial Blvd. in Pikesville. Registration is required and space is limited.
Fun fitness this fall with ‘Twist n Shout’
Get fit and in the groove with “Twist n Shout,” every Saturday in October from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Presented by Michele’s Haven CDC, this line dance light workout features choreographed steps for attendees to learn, then boogie to the moves.
In a summer interview, local line dance instructor Terry Townes said participating in the jamming fitness has many benefits including gaining self-confidence and helping with comprehension.
“It helps with your memory, it helps with rhythm, it helps with your coordination, and it’s a good workout. It gets your heartbeat racing and running, so you can work on those muscles within your heart and body. And it relieves stress as well,” Townes said.
In addition to fitness and fun, “Twist n Shout,” hopes to promote camaraderie among guests as they learn and dance together. Classes are located at Rita Church Community Center, 2101 St. Lo Drive, Baltimore. freefallbaltimore.org/events/twist-n-shout-line-dance
— Micha Green
An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of a Baltimore writer. He is Edgar Allan Poe. The Sun regrets the error.