Festivals, fairs flourish around the state in May


Budding landscapes and moderate temperatures make May an ideal time for travel in Maryland. It's also a popular time for May fairs, May fests and other activities to celebrate the season.

Next weekend will be an especially busy one in Maryland with events scheduled in every corner of the state.

Wagon trains will roll across Maryland's far western counties during the National Pike Festival in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties. In Frederick there will be jousting at Rose Hill Manor as part of a daylong festival to celebrate the completion of the manor 200 years ago.

You can also enjoy the roses and May flowers at the William Paca Garden in Annapolis or the festivities and carriage driving show at Steppingstone Museum near Havre de Grace. Or how about an Antique Fly In on the Eastern Shore or some nautical fun at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum's springfest?

Rose Hill Festival

The Rose Hill Day Festival is always a big celebration, but this year's event next Sunday is particularly festive because the manor is 200 years old. Rose Hill was completed in 1792 as a retirement home for Maryland's first elected governor Thomas Johnson.

On the grounds is a carriage museum, a log cabin, ice house, barns and a children's museum, which marks its 20th anniversary this year. Many of the events are planned for children. There will be old-time games, hands-on Colonial crafts, storytelling, clowns and a balloon man.

Jousting, Maryland's official sport, is a major attraction, and the Maryland Jousting Association will sponsor a tournament from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. that day at Rose Hill. Another popular event is the carriage driving show featuring horse-drawn carriages, surreys and coaches.

Most of the activities are free, but there is a charge to tour the museum: $3 for adults, $1.50 for children 12 and under. Rose Hill Manor is located at 1611 N. Market St. Take the Route 15 north exit at Motter Avenue off Interstate 70. For information, call (301) 694-1648.

Roses and Mayflowers Day

Historic Annapolis Foundation presents its Roses and Mayflowers Day next Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. at the William Paca House and Garden in Annapolis. This annual event showcases the 2-acre Colonial garden of William Paca, one of Maryland's signers of the Declaration of Independence.

There will be demonstrations of garden art, horticulture demonstrations, experts to answer your gardening questions, plants and refreshments for sale and a tour of the mansion.

Admission is free. The William Paca House and Garden is at 186 Prince George St. in Annapolis. For information, call (410) 269-0432.

Steppingstone Museum

Steppingstone Museum in Susquehanna State Park near Havre de Grace will hold its annual May festival Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. The museum is dedicated to preserving and demonstrating the rural arts and crafts of the 1880s to the 1920s.

A highlight of the weekend will be the carriage driving show. Pleasure driving competitions with horses and ponies will be featured on Saturday, and draft horses and mules will compete on Sunday. Maypole dancing, country crafts, children's games, food and a petting zoo are other attractions.

Admission, including a tour of the museum, is $2 for adults, free for those under 12. For information, call (410) 939-2299.

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