The arts scene is thriving in Harford County, and this summer there are plenty of ways to enjoy it outside.
Dance along the banks of the Susquehanna River while listening to live music in Havre de Grace. Dig out the sketch pad and draw colorful flowers, blooming in Pylesville. Or grab your picnic basket to watch a movie under the stars in Bel Air.
"The arts in Harford County in the summer are a wonderful way to enjoy the natural beauty of our county, as well as celebrate the arts," says Martha Valentine, coordinator of the Harford County Cultural Arts Board.
Here are eight ways to bring the cultural arts — and some fresh air — into your summer.
Shamrock Park Lee Street and Hickory Avenue, Bel Air Select Fridays from June to August Free admission downtownbelair.com | 443-823-1797
The Bel Air Downtown Alliance hosts six family-friendly movies throughout the summer at Shamrock Park. This year, movies include "Monsters University" on June 13, "Frozen" on June 27, "Despicable Me 2" on July 18, "Muppets Most Wanted" on July 25, "The LEGO Movie" on Aug. 15 and "Brave" on Aug. 22. Movies begin at sunset, but pre-movie entertainment, activities and food vendors start around 6 p.m., says Scott Walker, the alliance's executive director. Walker encourages families to bring blankets and chairs with them. And don't worry if you forget to bring the popcorn. The Bel Air Downtown Alliance provides it for free.
Edgewood Recreation Park 1702 Trimble Road, Edgewood June 21 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free admission facebook.com/edge.woodstock 410-679-0473
For the second year, the Edgewood Community Council is co-sponsoring Edgewoodstock, an all-day multicultural and music festival. The festival started last year as a way to highlight Edgewood and its sense of community, says Angela Peaker, council board member. This year, it will include several live bands, artisan vendors, children’s activities and food.
Eden Mill Nature Center 1617 Eden Mill Road, Pylesville May 10 (birds), July 12 (flowers), Sept. 13 (mammals), 9 to 11 a.m. Teens and adults $5-members and $7-nonmembers per session (Pre-registration is required) edenmill.org | 410-836-3050
Channel your inner artist and head over to Eden Mill Nature Center, which will host a still-life drawing series in May, July and September. Participants begin the two-hour session by examining seasonal subjects with an informed eye, says Sylvia Hutt, an Eden Mill board member and series leader. For the May session, that means looking at a bird’s beak style and feet. “Participants say, ‘I understand what I’m looking at and can anticipate where the next line is going to be,’ ” Hutt explains. Participants then go outside to sketch what they have seen. During the session, participants also learn about art techniques like fast sketching and how to show texture. No still-life drawing experience is required, but a sketch pad and pencils or pens are.
Now in its second year, the Brave New Works Theatre Festival includes a series of short plays and performances throughout Harford County. Ryan Nicotra, founder and director of the BOOM Theatre Company in Bel Air, says he launched the festival to give new plays and emerging playwrights a local outlet. This year, the festival is triple the size, with artists traveling from across the country to participate. “I would love to see somebody attend a production, go home and write a play about what is happening in their own mind,” Nicotra says. Several of the festival pieces will be performed outside, including a play by Havre de Grace resident Joshua Fletcher on the front porch of Tudor Hall in Bel Air.
4. MARYLAND MOONSHINE FESTIVAL
Fiore Winery 3026 Whiteford Road, Pylesville June 7, noon to 6 p.m. Free admission Food and beverages for sale fiorewinery.com | 410-879-4007
Fiore Winery in Pylesville will host its first-ever moonshine festival June 7. The event will feature bluegrass music by the Tuckahoe Ridge Band, as well as food and samples of Maryland-made moonshine and Fiore wine and spirits.
Shamrock Park Lee Street and Hickory Avenue, Bel Air Sept. 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free admission belairfestival.com | 443-616-6708
Closing out the summer is the Bel Air Festival for the Arts, an all-day festival with more than 350 artists, photographers and craftsmen, as well as live entertainment and food. The festival, sponsored by Bel Air Parks and Recreation and the Town of Bel Air, takes place rain or shine.
7. NATURE STORYBOOK ART SESSION
Eden Mill Nature Center 1617 Eden Mill Road, Pylesville Session 1: Tuesdays from June 17 to July 15 Session 2: Tuesdays from July 22 to Aug. 19 All classes are from 10 a.m. to noon Ages: 5 to 10; $65-members and $69-nonmembers per session (Registration required) edenmill.org | 410-836-3050
Become your own illustrator at Eden Mill Nature Center’s Nature Storybook Art Sessions. During each five-class session, children read and study illustrations in books related to nature, says program leader Brenda Marsden. Then, using the same illustration technique as the book’s illustrator, children create their own work of art. Techniques include everything from pencil drawings and watercolor paintings to construction paper collages and sand sculptures. Most of the summer illustration projects take place outside, Marsden says. “Working outdoors gives them a whole different perspective on anything they do,” she says.
Aberdeen Summer Concerts in the Park Aberdeen Festival Park Howard and Franklin Streets Tuesdays at 7 p.m., beginning June 17 Free admission 410-939-6767
Bel Air Summer Concert Series William A. Humbert Amphitheater Shamrock Park Lee Street and Hickory Avenue Sundays beginning June 1 and Wednesdays beginning July 9 at 7 p.m. Free admission 410-803-9784
Havre de Grace Summer Concerts in the Park Millard E. Tydings Memorial Park Commerce Street Fridays at 7:30 p.m., beginning June 6 Free admission 410-939-5425 or 410-939-2100
Music in the Vineyard at Fiore Winery 3026 Whiteford Road, Pylesville July 20 and Aug. 3 from noon to 6 p.m. Free admission fiorewinery.com | 410-879-4007
Ladew Topiary Gardens Summer Concert Series 3535 Jarrettsville Pike in Monkton Sundays at 6 p.m., beginning June 15 Members: $7, adults: $15, seniors and students: $13, children ages 2-12: $5, under 2: free ladewgardens.com | 410-557-9570
Historic Jerusalem Mill Village Summer Picnic Concerts 2813 Jerusalem Road, Kingsville June 1 and 15; July 6, 20 and 24; Aug. 3 and 24 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nonmembers: $7, Members, seniors and children ages 13 to 16: $5, 12 and younger: free jerusalemmill.org | 410-877-3560
There are several ways to enjoy outdoor music in Harford County this summer. Aberdeen, Bel Air and Havre de Grace all host free outdoor summer concerts,where guests can hear a variety of bands and performers. Fiore Winery hosts "Music in the Vineyard" concerts in July and August, when visitors can sample wine and buy food while listening to musicians perform on the winery's patio, says owner Mike Fiore. Ladew Topiary Gardens in Monkton hosts concerts in its Great Bowl on Sundays, with bands ranging from the Cajun/zydeco-style band The Crawdaddies to Trinidad and Tobago Steel Drums, a 30-piece steel orchestra. Historic Jerusalem Mill Village in Kingsville also hosts "Summer Picnic Concerts" on the Wheelwright stage, next to the blacksmith shop. Blankets, lawn chairs and picnics are welcome at all events. Call to confirm schedules before attending, as some venues skip weeks to accommodate other events.