It's almost festival season, a time for endless opportunities to eat and drink for hours on end. Here's a list of some of the major festivals coming to D.C., Maryland and Virginia this spring and summer. Most are outside, but a couple are indoors for those who hate or fear the unpredictable mid-Atlantic weather. All are within an hour of D.C. and offer games, live music or some other sort of entertainment along with food and drink.
Cherry Blossom Beer and Wine Festival
Where: The Yards parking lot, 1300 1st St SE
When: April 11
What you'll get: There's live music, beer pong and food from a dozen food trucks, along with sample pours of more than 50 wines and 30 beers. The Big Cheese, DC Slices and Arepa Zone are some of the food trucks on hand.
DC Beer Festival
Where: Nationals Park
When: April 11
What you'll get: Dozens of craft breweries will pour their spring seasonal beers while food trucks and DJs feed and entertain crowds. And you're at the ballpark when there isn't even a baseball game going on.
Charity Off the Hook Seafood Festival
Where: Tony and Joe's
When: April 22
What you'll get: Scott Van Pelt from ESPN Sportscenter will MC the fundraiser, featuring seafood from area top chefs, including Spike Mendelsohn, Scott Drewno, Erik Bruner-Yang, Bryan Voltaggio and Joy Crump. You can also feast at the oyster raw bar, smoked seafood table and charcuterie station.
Where: Canal Park
When: May 16
Cost: $65 for admission/10 pour passport ($85 for VIP)
What You'll Get: Neighborhood Restaurant Group's Greg Engert will highlight funky craft beers, while Jeff Faile will focus on cocktails using gin and agave. Brent Kroll will be pouring roses, and there will be bar snacks and hot dogs as well, not to mention corn hole and croquet.
Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival
Where: National Harbor
When: June 19-20
What you'll get: This might be the only festival that boasts of offering a
new pig every hour on the hour. And if that isn't enough, you can listen
to live bluegrass, enjoy seminars with brewers and pit masters and taste
40 bourbons and 60 beers on tap.
The Emporiyum Food Market
Where: Former H&S Bakery Distribution Center, at the corner of Fleet
Street and S. Central Avenue
When: April 18-19
Cost: $20; $40 for early VIP entry; kids 12 and under free
http://theemporiyum.com/ry food and drink samples from more than 70 budding food entrepreneurs, restaurants and breweries. Restaurants represented include Woodberry Kitchen. Birroteca and Fleet Street Kitchen in Baltimore and D.C.'s Cava Mezze and District Doughnut and Coffee. New Columbia Distillers LLC will be serving its Green Hat Distilled Gin and Evolution Craft Brewing Co. will be pouring its signature brews. Stay tuned for details on the DC Emporiyum, set for Nov. 14-15.
Where: Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD
When: May 30-31
What you'll get: Kendrick Lamar, Calvin Harris and Charli XCX and about two dozen other artists will be performing at this Sweetgreen-sponsored music festival. But this year it's held over two days to allow for more music, food, restaurants and chefs Erik Bruner-Yang, Jose Andres and Nick Wiseman.
Wine and Food National Harbor
Where: National Harbor
When: May 2-3
What you'll get: A host of chef demos from the likes of Mike Isabella, Bryan Voltaggio, "Hell's Kitchen" winner Rahman "Rock" Harper. Also on tap: a Cinco De Mayo pavilion, a beer garden, whiskey tasting, and live music. Sample more than 150 wines, spirits and beers.
Mid-Atlantic Spring Beer Festival
Where: outdoor shopping center Village at Shirlington, Arlington, VA
When: April 25
Cost: $30 to sample beer; free to just hang out
What you'll get: 50 tents will feature a variety of beer and food from local eateries. More than 35 breweries will hand out beer samples. Capitol City Brewing Co.'s beer will be among them since they're the host.
Great Grapes Wine & Food Festival
Where and When: April 25 and 26, Lerner Town Square at Tysons II;
June 27 at the Village at Leesburg, Leesburg; June 6-7 Oregon Ridge
Park, Hunt Valley, MD
What you'll get: Sip more than 200 wines from two-dozen Virginia wineries. There's also arts and crafts and a free kids area. The Junkyard Saints, Pat Alban Band and Texas Chainsaw Horns will play music. The Hunt Valley show will also feature live cooking demos.