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Guide to Howard County in 2020: 20 things to do

Brian Pietryka, of Fulton, helps his daughters, from left, Maeve, 4, Sloane, 7, and Blythe, 9, carry the giant teddy bear they won at the Howard County Fair.
Brian Pietryka, of Fulton, helps his daughters, from left, Maeve, 4, Sloane, 7, and Blythe, 9, carry the giant teddy bear they won at the Howard County Fair. (Nate Pesce/Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Hobnob with alpacas. Eat golgappas. Learn to quilt. Whatever your interests, chances are Howard County has an event on tap for you in 2020.

March

Made in Maryland Expo

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Vendors showcase goods produced in the Free State, from native beer to bath and body products. You can find jams and jewelry, cheeses and clothing. March 7 at the Main Exhibition Building of the Howard County Fairgrounds. 2210 Fairgrounds Road, West Friendship. madeinmdexpo.com

Maryland Sportsman Show

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Hunters and anglers of all ages meet to check out the latest in apparel and gear from more than 100 vendors March 28 and 29 at the Howard County Fairgrounds. There’s a waterfowl-calling contest, a deer-mounting demonstration and products ranging from hunting blinds to taxidermy equipment. 2210 Fairgrounds Road, West Friendship. 410-320-5069 or mdsportsmanshow.com

April

Green Fest

Mark the golden anniversary of Earth Day on April 4 with eco-friendly vendors and workshops celebrating the event. Enjoy wildlife exhibits, native plant sales, organic food, live music and children’s activities — plus compost bin and rain barrel giveaways at Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. visithowardcounty.com

Faithful Circle Quilt Show

Learn the art of quilting or just refine your techniques at a three-day quilt fest featuring vendors, quilt art presentations and a raffle drawing for a queen-sized hand-appliqued quilt. April 16 through 18. First Presbyterian Church of Howard County, 9325 Presbyterian Circle, Columbia. faithfulcirclequilters.com

May

M3 Rock Festival

Raised in the 1980s? Three days of heavy metal music take you back to the time of Metallica and Megadeath. From May 1 through 3, Merriweather Post Pavilion hosts performances by ’80s artists such as Tesla, Killer Dwarfs and Faster Pussycat. 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. m3rockfest.com

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival

May 2 and 3 at the Howard County Fairgrounds are packed with activities ranging from shepherd workshops and sheepdog demonstrations to a spinning competition and the Sheep-to-Shawl contest, where teams shear a sheep, spin the fleece and weave it into a shawl. 2210 Fairgrounds Road, West Friendship. 410-531-3647 or sheepandwool.org

Great Indian Food & Fashion Festival

Savor all things Indian, from dancing and fashion shows to vendors with goods and foods from all parts of the country. Enter the golgappa-eating contest; a cash prize goes to whoever eats the most fried crisps stuffed with potato, chutney and chickpeas. May 30 at the Howard County Fairgrounds. 2210 Fairgrounds Road, West Friendship. 410-567-6599 or Indianculturalassociation.org

June

Capital Jazz Fest

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For the 28th year, jazz artists perform at Merriweather Post Pavilion for three days (June 5 through 7). The Festival Marketplace features arts and crafts and a food court. 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. 877-619-2929 or capitaljazz.com/fest/2020

Manor Hill Farm Fest

Celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Ellicott City farm’s brewery June 20 on its 54-acre spread that includes two acres of hops. Tour the farm and brewery, enjoy live bands, a food truck rally and yard games that feature axe-throwing competition. 4411 Manor Lane. 410-997-7771.

July

Fourth of July Festival and Fireworks

A live band starts at 7 p.m., followed by a 22-minute fireworks display at dark over Lake Kittamaqundi. Parking at The Mall in Columbia and surrounding area. 410-313-1668 or howardcountymd.gov/rap

Howard County Pow-Wow

The 26th annual American Indian Show and Festival celebrates its heritage with Native American singers, dancers, drummers, artists and crafts at the Howard County Fairgrounds on July 11 and 12. Try the buffalo stew and Indian tacos, fry bread and corn soup. For kids, there’s face painting, storytelling and bow-and-arrow trials. 2210 Fairgrounds Road, West Friendship. 410-442-1022 or visithowardcounty.com

August

Howard County Fair

More than 100,000 are expected to attend the 75th annual county fair, which runs Aug. 8 through 15 and features food, music, bingo, amusement and pony rides, livestock sales, chainsaw carving and more at the Howard County Fairgrounds. 2210 Fairgrounds Road, West Friendship. 410-442-1022 or howardcountyfairmd.com

Rod Stewart and Cheap Trick

Rod Stewart, the ageless rock singer, will perform, along with rock band Cheap Trick, at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 15 at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. Tickets are $39.50 to $750. 410-715-5550 or merriweathermusic.com

Kenny Chesney

With 20 albums to his credit, the country music singer/songwriter takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 26 at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Tickets are $87. 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. 866-837-0608 or merriweathermusic.com

October

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Out of the Darkness Walk

This walk, to raise awareness about mental health, starts at Lake Elkhorn in Columbia and benefits the foundation’s Maryland chapter. It’s free, dog-friendly and features remembrance activities. 9861 Broken Land Parkway. 443-812-5773 or afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=7059

The President’s Gala

Howard Community College celebrates its golden anniversary with a buffet dinner, dance and a look back at the first 50 years of the school’s history. Ticket sales benefit student scholarships. 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. 443 518-1970 or howardcc.edu

Howard Community College 5K Challenge Race

Five hundred runners took part in last year’s race, a team event over an obstacle course in which participants run, climb and crawl to the finish line. Proceeds support the school’s scholarship program. Celebration Village at the college. 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway. 443-518-1970 or howardcc.edu

November

Maryland Alpaca and Fleece Festival

Knitters, spinners and weavers can shop for yarns and fibers from alpaca, wool, mohair and even angora rabbits, while surrounded by live animals. Seminars, demonstrations and a natural dye workshop. Dates to be determined at Howard County Fairgrounds. 2210 Fairgrounds Road, West Friendship. marylandalpacas.org

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Howard County Crafts Spectacular

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More than 290 crafters display their wares for sale, from home decor to handmade toys and holiday items. Magic shows for children on the weekend. Nov. 6 through 8 at Howard County Fairgrounds. 2210 Fairgrounds Road, West Friendship. 301-271-4432 or atozcrafts.net

December

Symphony of Lights

More than 100 stationary and animated holiday light displays in Symphony Woods attract more than 130,000 drive-through visitors each year. And funds from the event — which kicks off in late November and runs through the holidays (dates to be determined) — go to Howard County General Hospital. 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. hcgh.org/symphonyoflights

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