With a new year hard upon us, and firm in the belief that it’s never too early to start planning, we offer this brief guide to what 2020 will have to offer. It’s by no means comprehensive, and details on some events, including exact times and admission prices, have yet to be pinned down. But if you’re anxious to settle on just what you’ll be doing come May, we’ve got the info you need. Heck, if nothing else, you can start counting down the days to Baltimore Comic-Con 2020 (294, as of Jan. 3).
Jan. 18: PoeZella Birthday Bash
Jan. 20: Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade
Baltimore’s 20th annual parade honoring the slain civil rights leader, complete with high school and community bands, honor and color guards, equestrian units, dance squads and more, steps off at noon along his namesake boulevard, proceeding south from Eutaw to Baltimore streets. promotionandarts.org.
Feb. 24: Celine Dion
Canada’s favorite export, whose “My Heart Will Go On” turned the sinking of the Titanic into a Top-40, Grammy-winning song, brings the hits (and her incredible voice) to Royal Farms Arena, 201 W. Baltimore St. For one night, at least, Las Vegas’ loss (she ended an eight-year residency there last June) is Baltimore’s gain. 7:30 p.m. $49.50-$229.50. royalfarmsarena.com.
Feb. 28-March 1: ‘Aretha: A Tribute’
Capathia Jenkins and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra pay tribute to the Queen of Soul and her unparalleled way with a song in a program including such thrilling classics as “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” “Chain of Fools” and more. 8 p.m. Feb. 28-29, 3 p.m. March 1 at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St. $25-$80. bsomusic.org.
March 3-April 12: ‘Queens Girl: Black in the Green Mountains’
Caleen Sinnette Jennings’s acclaimed autobiographical “Queens Girl” series concludes with this third installment, commissioned by Everyman Theatre and getting its world premiere here in Baltimore. Protagonist Jacqueline Marie Butler, arriving at a Vermont college as the Vietnam War rages and the civil rights struggle continues, is forced to find a place and identity for herself somewhere in the space between white and black society. Multiple show times starting March 3 at Everyman, 315 W. Fayette St. $25-$62. everymantheatre.org.
March 13-14: Baltimore Old Time Music Festival
Ken and Brad Kolodner host this second annual tuneful gathering of the best of the old, with performances from the Foghorn Stringband, Amythyst Kiah, Bill and the Belles, Red Tail Ring, T-Mart Rounders, Becky Hill and more. Workshops, too, so maybe you could play a future festival. Opening concert 8 p.m. March 13 ($25-$32), with performances and workshops noon-midnight March 14 ($50-$58, $10-$15 for post-6 p.m. dance and concerts only); two-day passes run $60-$75. At the Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave. in Highlandtown. creativealliance.org.
March 26: Orioles Opening Day
Get a first look at the new-look-year-2 Orioles (and see how many faces you recognize from the year 1 edition) as the Birds take on the dreaded Yankees to open the 2020 season. 3:05 p.m. at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, 333 W. Camden St. orioles.com. And for baseball fanatics, here are the home openers for Maryland’s six minor-league teams: Bowie Baysox, 6:35 p.m. April 9 vs. Richmond; Delmarva Shorebirds, 7:05 p.m. April 9 vs. Asheville; Frederick Keys, 6:30 p.m. April 16 vs. Myrtle Beach; Hagerstown Suns, April 16 vs. Delmarva (time TBD); Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, 6:35 p.m. May 8 vs. High Point; Aberdeen Ironbirds, June 18 vs. Hudson Valley (time TBD).
April 2-26: ‘Where We Stand’
This newest work from Brooklyn-based playwright Donnetta Lavinia Grays is a “fable of penance” involving the devil, a lonely soul “stripped of companionship” and a town “running low on compassion.” 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays (except April 4) and Sundays (also April 22) at Baltimore Center Stage, 700 N. Calvert St. $20-$74. centerstage.org.
April 29-May 3: Maryland Film Festival
Baltimore’s annual cinematic bacchanal, featuring scores of features, documentaries and shorts, many from filmmakers determined to go where no filmmaker has gone before, almost all the sort of thing that will never play the multiplex. Come get a look at where movies are headed, and meet some of the men and women anxious to take them there. Films are screened at the SNF Parkway, 5 W. North Ave., and other nearby venues. mdfilmfest.com.
May 1-2: FlowerMart
Baltimore’s most genteel tradition, a staple of spring as far back as 1911, returns with all the food, entertainment, flowers, fancy hats and (of course) lemon sticks a city could ask for. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. both days in and around Mount Vernon Place, Charles and Monument streets. Free. mvpconservancy.org/flowermart2020.
May 2: The Residents
The ultimate underground band, so underground that few people know the band members’ names (they once delayed the release of an album until they’d forgotten it ever existed, although they eventually relented and released “Not Available” anyway), plays The Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St. Best news: for this tour, the band is revisiting their great 1978 EP, “Duck Stab.” Oh, to hear “Constantinople” live! 8 p.m. $35. theottobar.com.
May 5-17: ‘Dear Evan Hansen’
The Tony-winning Best Musical about an outcast high school student and his often misguided attempts to find somewhere to fit in, with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (the duo responsible for “La La Land”), comes to the Hippodrome Theatre at the France-Merrick PAC, 12 N. Eutaw St. 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays, 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sundays. france-merrickpac.com.
May 16: Preakness
With a proposal finally in place to ensure this middle jewel of horse racing’s triple crown stays in Baltimore for generations to come, this year’s running of the 145th Preakness Stakes should really be a cause to celebrate. Post time is always around 6 p.m., and advance tickets are available for $150-$240. Then, of course, there’s the guaranteed good time that is InfieldFest, running from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. and featuring all sorts of food, drink and (especially) music. Pimlico Race Course, 5201 Park Heights Ave. preakness.com.
May 21-24: Maryland Deathfest
Death metal bands from all over the world, from Acid Witch to Zombie Assault, will descend on Baltimore for this unholy mess (and we mean that in the best way possible) of a music festival. Be forewarned. Performances at Rams Head Live, 20 Market Place in Power Plant Live, and Baltimore Soundstage, 124 Market Place. $33-$248. deathfests.com.
July 2: Alanis Morissette
The singer-songwriter who made a chart-topping single out of seeming incongruities with “Ironic” (and really, were there many better albums to come out of the ’90s than “Jagged Little Pill"?) plays Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia. 7 p.m. $66-$166. merriweathermusic.com.
July 17-19: Artscape
Baltimore’s proudly egalitarian festival of the arts returns to the area surrounding Charles Street and Mount Royal Avenue for a 39th edition, offering all manner of free music, dance and performance. Add to that an art market, plenty of food opportunities and a sense of wonder and discovery in which everything is possible, and you begin to understand why Artscape is the most welcome weekend of every Baltimore summer. artscape.org.
Aug. 27-Sept. 7: Maryland State Fair
Livestock and agricultural exhibits from all over the Free State, everything from cows, pigs and roosters to luscious tomatoes and giant pumpkins, plus horse racing, a carnival midway, an exhibit hall filled with vendors offering just about everything, and food, food, food. Come for the Ferris wheel and pig races, stay for the big-name concerts and farm-fresh ice cream. Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Road in Timonium. marylandstatefair.com. For the fair-obsessed, dates have been set for the Howard County Fair in West Friendship (Aug. 8-15, howardcountyfairmd.com), Carroll County 4-H & FFA Fair in Westminster (Aug. 1-8, carrollcountyfair.com) and the Great Glen Burnie Carnival (July 31-Aug. 8, gbia.org)
Sept. 9-14: Maryland Fleet Week & Air Show Baltimore
Celebrating the water and skies surrounding Baltimore, with U.S. and international navy vessels (most open for tours Sept. 10-13, always cool), the Navy’s Blue Angels (flying over Fort McHenry and Middle Branch Sept. 12-13) and festivals at the Inner Harbor (Sept. 11-13) and Martin State Airport, 701 Wilson Point Road in Middle River (Sept. 12-13). Begins with a welcoming ceremony Sept. 9 at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater, Pratt and Light streets. visitmaryland.org.
Sept. 24-26: Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention
A chance to meet and get autographs from some movie and TV stars of yesteryear. This year’s lineup will include Hayley Mills (“The Parent Trap”), Jerry Mathers (“Leave It to Beaver”), Adrienne Barbeau (“Maude”), Oscar-winner Louis Gossett Jr. (“An Officer and a Gentleman”) and others. At the Hunt Valley Delta Hotel, 245 Shawan Road. midatlanticnostalgiaconvention.com.
Oct. 17: Baltimore Running Festival
The Baltimore Marathon and various other races beckon the fit among us. The marathon starts at 8 a.m. at Paca and Camden streets, on a course winding its way through the Inner Harbor, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Lake Montebello, even the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. A half-marathon begins at 9:45 a.m. and a 5K at 7:30 a.m. at Pratt and Light streets, with a team relay set for 8 a.m. at Paca and Camden Streets. thebaltimoremarathon.com.
Oct. 23-25: Baltimore Comic-Con
A few more, to pad your calendars: Maysa 25th anniversary shows at Rams Head On Stage, March 29 (ramsheadonstage.com); Towsontown Spring Festival, May 2-3 (towsontownfestival.com); AFRAM Festival, Aug. 15-16 (aframbaltimore.com); Baltimore Fashion Week, Aug. 24-30 (baltimore-fashionweek.com); Maryland Renaissance Festival, Aug. 29-Oct 25 (rennfest.com).