Annapolis & Anne Arundel County – a Foodie Paradise

 ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND—While January 31st was National Plan for Vacation Day, chances are not everyone has finished mapping out how they’re going to spend their hard-earned vacation days this year. Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County (VAAAC) can help! Since good vacations revolve around great food, VAAAC has compiled a list of eight food festivals that will be wowing visitors to Annapolis and Anne Arundel County in the months ahead. By planning ahead, savvy travelers can turn the tasty events into weekend getaways.

12th Annual Friends of the Light House GumboFest Sunday, February 26 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. DoubleTree Annapolis Hotel, 210 Holiday Court, Annapolis Admission: $25 in advance; $30 at the door 443-569-4209

A gumbo contest with area chefs competing for the Best Gumbo and Best Booth Display. Sponsored by Friends of the Light House. All proceeds benefit the Light House, a homeless prevention support center in Annapolis.

Annapolis Oyster Roast & Sock Burning Saturday, March 18 Noon to 4:00 p.m. Annapolis Maritime Museum, 723 Second Street, Eastport, Annapolis Admission: $25/person; People’s Choice Tasting, $75 – Taste the creations of 12 different restaurants and vote for best oyster dish 410-295-0104

Celebrate the spring equinox and the beginning of boating season with a family-friendly feast of the Chesapeake’s most cherished bivalve. Feast on oysters any way you like them – raw, steamed, fried and grilled. Festivities include shucking and cooking demonstrations, an oyster shucking contest and exhibits highlighting the area’s unique maritime heritage and the role oysters play in maintaining the health of the Bay. The sock burning tradition dates to the mid-1980s. It’s commemorated with the “Ode to Equinox”, recited annually as the first sock is thrown into the fire.

4th Annual Chicken Wing Festival Saturday, April 1 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, 1450 Generals Hwy., Crownsville, MD Admission: Adults, $12; kids 12 and under, free

Taste the best, most inventive chicken recipes from the area’s finest chefs, all while enjoying a selection of local and regional craft beers. Back by popular demand is the “Make Your Own” wing sauce. After sampling a host of amazing creations, see what you can come up with on your own! Want more jalapenos? Go for it! Throw some peanut butter in? You bet! The only limit is your imagination. Event also features music and kids’ areas.

7th Annual Naptown barBAYq Saturday, May 6 Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, 1450 Generals Highway, Crownsville, MD Admission: Adults, $15; kids 12 and under, free 410-353-9237

Enjoy the live music of dozens of bands performing on three stages, abundant food, cooking demonstrations, a barbeque competition, arts and crafts vendors and more during the family-friendly event sponsored by the Parole (Annapolis) Rotary Foundation. Sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, the barbeque cooking contest is expected to attract more than 60 competitor teams. Event includes live music and kids’ activities.

72nd Annual Rotary Club of Annapolis Crab Feast Friday, August 4, rain or shine 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, 550 Taylor Avenue, Annapolis Admission: $65 in advance; $75 at the gate 443-837-3105

Crustacean lovers feast on the Chesapeake Bay’s bounty at this all-you-can-eat and drink event that’s arguably the largest crab feast in the world. Nearly 2,500 individuals are expected to finish off 345 bushels of #1 crabs (that's nearly 40,000 of the big ones!), 3,400 ears of corn, 100 gallons of crab soup, 1,800 hot dogs, 150 pounds of beef barbeque, and hundreds of gallons of beer and soft drinks. Once again, Annapolis Green will compost the crabs, food remnants and utensils. It’s anticipated that 20,000 pounds of food waste will be collected. About two months following the feast, the watermelon rinds, corn cobs, brown paper and crab shell bits will have turned into compost used to benefit area gardens. Plastic will be collected as well. Proceeds of the Crab Feast benefit local community and cultural organizations.

50th Annual Maryland Seafood Festival Saturday-Sunday, September 9-10 Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sandy Point State Park, 1100 East College Parkway, Annapolis, MD Admission: Adults, $15; kids 12 and under, free. Parking passes, VIP tickets and crab soup cook-off tickets are also available. 410-353-9237

Enjoy a variety of delicious seafood, exciting demonstrations and competitions, live musical entertainment, kids’ activities, loads of shopping options and exhibits. I highlight of the event is the 27th Annual Crab Soup Cook-off featuring Annapolis-area restaurateurs and chefs in a classic Maryland showdown.

Oyster Festival Sunday, October 15 12:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Captain Avery Museum, 1418 East West Shady Side Road, Shady Side Admission: Adults, $6; children under 12, $2 410-867-4486

Enjoy food, live music by local artists, unique crafts, face painting and demonstrations showing the vital role oysters play in maintaining the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Seafood lovers are invited to feast on raw and fried oysters, oyster stew, fried oyster roll sushi, cream of crab soup, Maryland crab soup, and much more. Hamburgers, hotdogs and homemade desserts will also be available.

3rd Annual Chocolate Binge Festival Sunday, December 3 Noon to 5 p.m. First blocks of West Street in downtown Annapolis Admission: $5.00 suggested cash donation 443-452-7321

A dozen local chocolate vendors will be selling chocolate specialties, including chocolate caramels, cakes, chocolate bars, truffles, fudge, cookies, candies, hot chocolate, fondue, martinis and more. The afternoon also includes family-friendly entertainment, holiday shopping opportunities and the lighting of the West Street Holiday Light Canopy. Enjoy live music, a marshmallow roast, gingerbread house moon bounce, giant snowball run, hot chocolate with members of the Annapolis Police Department and a visit with Santa. Presented by the Annapolis Arts District and Inner West Street Association.

VAAAC is a nonprofit, membership-based destination marketing organization that generates revenues for the local economy by promoting Annapolis and Anne Arundel County to leisure and business travelers across the country and around the world.

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