Free Summer Festivals
July 6–7, 2013: African American Festival, Baltimore, MD
Bring the entire family to this celebration of African American life, music, and culture. Along with children’s activities, crafts, and historical exhibits, there will be performances by many legends, including Patti Labelle!
July 19–21, 2013: Artscape, Baltimore, MD
Prepare for sensory overload at this event that claims to be “America's largest free arts festival.” Over 350,000 people come for the dance, theater, opera, and symphony performances, along with artists, craftspeople, and fashion designers.
July 18–20, 2013: Virginia Lake Festival, Clarksville, VA
Enjoy this festival from land, water, and air as hot air balloons soar overhead, antique cars line up for viewing, and boaters position themselves for views of the fireworks. The 100,000+ attendees can also shop for crafts, try local foods, and take helicopter rides.
August 23–25, 2013: FunkFest, Virginia Beach, VA
Celebrate the music of George Clinton, James Brown, and more with DJs, musicians, and dance contests. The funky tunes of the '70s provide the soundtrack to this weekend of food and music on the beach.
July 18–July 21, 2013 (dates vary): Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Lousiville, KY
Take in a performance of Twelfth Night at the oldest free Shakespeare festival in the United States. The audience is a mixed bag filled with young people who rode their bikes to the park, older guests dressed for a night at the theater, and even some dogs.
August 30–September 2, 2013: WorldFest, Louisville, KY
Learn about the diversity of Kentucky at the largest international festival in the Commonwealth. Musical and dance performances, ethnic foods, a parade, and a naturalization ceremony make this festival a fantastic celebration of America as a melting pot.
August 18, 2013: East Tennessee History Fair, Knoxville, TN
Travel back in time with a living history, trolley rides, vintage films, and a dog costume contest (period clothing only, of course). Children’s activities, crafts, and music round out this festival of local history.
September 1, 2013: Boomsday, Knoxville, TN
Look to the sky and cover your ears as Knoxville hosts the largest Labor Day fireworks event in the United States. There’s plenty of food, inflatable attractions for the kids, and a spectacular finish to mark the unofficial end of summer.
June 27–August 8, 2013 (Thursdays only): Town of Duck Summer Music Series, Duck, NC
Bring a lawn chair or just throw a blanket down on the grass so that you have a spot to listen to local musicians performing everything from blue to country and classic rock. Don’t forget to pack your cooler with drinks and snacks!
August 14–15, 2013: New World Festival of the Arts, Manteo, NC
Check out (and perhaps even buy) the works of artists from Vermont to Florida at this outdoor show that’s in its third decade. If you can manage to look away from the art, you’ll also enjoy the views of beautiful Shallowbag Bay.
August 25, 2013: 13th Annual Peachtree Latino Festival, Atlanta, GA
Discover another side of Southern culture at the largest family and multicultural event in the Southeast. Celebrating Latino culture, the festival features hundreds of exhibitions, family activities, sporting events, parades, arts and crafts, ethnic foods, and outdoor musical performances.
July 6, 13, 20, and 27, 2013: Lakeridge Winery Summer Music Series, Orlando, FL
Discover Central Florida’s wine region as you enjoy local musicians and winery tours. Beat the heat with wines produced on-site and various local food vendors.
July 26–28, 2013: Fishermen’s Village Pirate Fest, Punta Gorda, FL
Shiver me timbers! Prepare to walk the plank – literally, you can do that here – at this celebration of Punta Gorda’s pirate past that also includes a costume contest, boat show, kids’ activities, and "live" mermaids.