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Fall Foliage and Festival Report – Oct. 26-27, 2019

Map of changing fall foliage across MarylandWelcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for Oct. 26 and 27, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Autumn Glory Rules in Garrett County

Autumn glory rules in Garrett County, as seen in these stunning photos of Sang Run Road and a McHenry maple by Becky Wilson and a winning “golden” oak image by Melissa Nash.

Garrett County golden oaks, photo by Becky Wilson

Garrett County golden-colored oaks, photo by Becky Wilson

“I would say we are just passing peak in Garrett County. The colors that did come this year came later than typically, so there are many places where the color still pops in the sun and the weather has been spot on perfect,” remarks Forester Becky Wilson.

Garrett County Forester Melissa Nash agrees: “Golden colored oaks are certainly putting on a lovely show in some areas of the county this week!”

“This past week has seen quite a bit of color change, explains Sean Nolan, assistant manager of Savage River State Forest. “Most of the large red maple and sugar maple are now in full color. The white oaks are showing red and the red oaks are beginning to turn various shades of red and orange. High winds over the past week have brought quite a few leaves down, but there is still plenty of beautiful autumn color to be seen.”

Colder temperatures have helped bring on some vibrant colors in Allegany County, says Dan Hedderick, project forester, although he does not believe they have peaked yet. Dan’s current photo in Allegany County was taken from Route 144 just past Rocky Gap State Park looking west towards Cumberland along Interstate 68.

“We have at least one more colorful weekend before we declare ourselves past peak,” says Ranger Julia Musselwhite from Rocky Gap State Park. “The trees along the shoreline of Lake Habeeb are especially bright, and visitors will have plenty of photographic opportunities throughout the weekend and hopefully into next week.” 

Allegany County near Rocky Gap State Park, photo by Dan Hedderick

Allegany County near Rocky Gap State Park, photo by Dan Hedderick

Ranger Mary Ironside, South Mountain Recreation Area park manager, tells us that the trees are changing, as fall colors began to emerge last weekend along South Mountain. 

“Reflections on the Greenbrier State Park Lake will be fantastic opportunities for photographers. Hikers have the opportunity to get more up close and personal as they wind their way along the Appalachian Trail and South Mountain State Park.” She also suggests getting a bird’s eye view from the Washington Monument State Park tower. 

Catoctin Ridge near Thurmont in Frederick County, photo by Aaron Cook

Catoctin Ridge near Thurmont, photo by Aaron Cook

“I took Route 15 north through Thurmont and the east side of the Catoctin range is spectacular with yellow, orange, red, and some green. The west side of the mountains seems greener, but if you enter any wooded area, the color is great up close,” comments Forester Aaron Cook from his office in Clear Spring. “In general we will hit peak this weekend or shortly after. It’s moving fast this fall.” 

Ranger Mark Spurrier, manager of Cunningham Falls and Gambrill state parks, notes colors are turning fast but not lasting long, so come out to Frederick County and bask in the colors before they’re gone. “Lots of golden hickories and red maples are mixed with the green underbrush of the mountain laurels.”

Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area, photo by Diana Marsteller

Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area, photo by Diana Marsteller

“Still quite a bit of green in northern Kent County, but we are seeing vibrant orange, yellow, and red throughout the forest edges of Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area,” remarks Diana Marsteller, park naturalist.

“The red maples and oaks are beginning to show signs of color change this week and the dominant green color is beginning to fade. I’m thinking Anne Arundel County is a week or two away from some very nice fall colors,” says Justin Arseneault, Forest Service project manager. “Sandy Point State Park is getting some oranges and reds, too,” added Ranger Dorna Cooper.

Cedarville State Forest, photo by Dave Gailey

Cedarville State Forest, photo by Dave Gailey

From Cedarville State Forest in Prince George’s County, Dave Gailey sent in a “picture worth a thousand words” showing emergent colors of red, orange and yellow.

Teri Batchelor, Forest Service Upper Shore project manager, writes that red maples are at peak in Chestertown, turning bright orange and red. “Sweet gums are yellow and ginkgos are turning yellow, cherries are turning red, and dogwoods remain a deep plum.”

Further east the understory leaves are beginning to change. “Poison ivy is turning red with green still the dominant shade, although there are some tints of yellow,” says Ranger Brent Sullivan of Janes Island State Park.

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park, photo by Dana Pattera

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park, photo by manager Dana Pattera

“Finally!” exclaims Ranger Dana Pattera, “We are starting to see some really nice colors in our maples and sweet gums at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park in Dorchester County. I wish I could have captured photos of the eagles and hawks hunting this morning around the legacy garden.”

Milburn Landing Boat Ramp, photo by Curtis Dale

Milburn Landing Boat Ramp, photo by Curtis Dale

Pocomoke River State Park is also reporting some nice color as seen in this photo from Park Manager Curtis Dale, who believes this area of Worcester County is at about halfway to peak.

From Assateague State Park, Angela Baldwin, park manager, reports there’s still just a little bit of color along the Assateague corridor. “We had lots of wind this past week so leaves are falling quickly!”

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Alsatia Mummers Day Parade

Alsatia Mummers Day Parade

The Alsatia Mummer’s Parade returns on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 6 to 11 p.m. for the 94th year (rain, snow, or shine). This Washington County traditional nighttime parade along Potomac Street in Hagerstown features floats, bands and individual costumed mummers.

Halloween in Downtown Frederick is great for families and kids of all ages. Costumes are encouraged for this free event, though not required. On Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon, you can paint your own pumpkin, stop by a craft station, and trick-or-treat at more than 50 downtown businesses while supplies last! 

The popular Halloween Party in Downtown Brunswick on Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m. in Square Corner Park features trick-or-treating, costume contest with prizes, hayrides, and the grand finale group “Thriller” dance. Note: There is a fee for the haunted house and hayride.

The Urbana Indoor Arts and Crafts Show includes over 70 artists and crafters selling their original handcrafted items at the Urbana Fire Hall in Frederick this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free admission and parking.

The Lantern Parade in Patterson Park, Baltimore

The Lantern Parade in Patterson Park, Baltimore

This weekend, we are shining the spotlight on Baltimore, where several annual events are worth your consideration. The Great Halloween Lantern Parade and Festival attracts more than 12,000 parade-makers and spectators to Baltimore’s Patterson Park every year. On Saturday at 7 p.m. thousands of people of all ages will carry handmade lanterns and march together with stilt walkers, community bands, drum lines, dance teams, and performers. Artists and families will carry glowing floats to create a magical, light-filled procession through the park. The glowing evening procession is preceded by an afternoon Lantern Festival starting at 3 p.m. with hayrides, lantern making, crafts, autumn fare, and free family fun and culminates in a grand finale and dance party at 8 p.m. Note: Rain date is on Sunday.

Come celebrate Halloween and the fall season this weekend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the Baltimore Zoo’s 36th annual ZooBOOO! There will be games, prizes, contests, live entertainment, and FREE trick-or-treating! Parents and kids of all ages are encouraged to bring trick-or-treat bags and wear costumes! This is a free event with zoo admission or membership.

Park N' Pumpkin in Baltimore's Druid Hill Park

Park N’ Pumpkin in Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park

On Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. enjoy face-painting, fortunetelling, arts and crafts, spooky storytelling, and more at Park N’ Pumpkin in Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park. Live music and entertainment round out this is family-friendly festival.

Enjoy your Sunday in Baltimore’s beautiful Federal Hill neighborhood while attending Federal Hill’s 18th annual Jazz & Blues Festival from noon to 7 p.m. Listen to some of the hottest jazz and blues bands: Jazz is Phish, Kelly Bell Band, The Nighthawks, Lowercase Blues, and Naptown Brass Band. There will be free entry, free parking and shuttle service, and a free Kid’s Zone.

Celebrate Fall at Laurel Park on Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. with free fall family fun, horse racing, and $25 tickets for all-you-can-eat oysters and draft beer at Laurel Park’s Oystöber & Fall Fest. This two-part festival has fun feats for all ages. Free family activities include pony rides and a petting zoo; a pumpkin patch and a pumpkin decorating station; trick-or-treating around the track; Halloween storytime by Maryland City at Russet Community Library; face-painting; and a mini hay maze. For adults, your $25 ticket includes unlimited oysters and unlimited draft beer. Proceeds benefit the Oyster Recovery Partnership; oysters are farmed fresh by Madhouse Oysters. The fun continues for all with food trucks and live racing! Learn more and get your tickets online.

Become a mad scientist this Halloween! Join the fun on Sunday from 1 to 2:15 p.m. at the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum laboratory for the Kids’ Mad Scientist Experiments and Halloween for some spook-tacular science experiments. Create your very own fluorescent creepy crawlies, brew some witches’ potions, play with ghost bubbles, or build your own blob creatures.

Oysterfest at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

Oysterfest at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

Oak Grove Baptist Church in Bel Air invites you to Fallapalooza on Sunday from 3 to 6:30 p.m. This is a festival your child will not soon forget as it features a 200-foot zip line, bungee jump, inflatables, trunk or treat, hay ride, archery, and more. All attractions are free, but bring along non-perishable food items for the local food pantry.

Get ready to sip, slurp, and savor during the Chesapeake Bay’s favorite fall festival, the OysterFest at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St Michaels on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This event features live music on two stages, boat rides, retriever demonstrations, oysters and other local fare, an oyster stew competition and cooking demonstrations, along with children’s activities, oyster demonstrations, harvesting displays and Chesapeake-related documentary screenings. Note: Please leave your pets at home!

Scarecrow Wizardry at Martinique State Park

Scarecrow Wizardry at Martinique State Park

Get into the fall spirit with Scarecrow Wizardry. We’ll help you and your family craft a new friend. Participants must bring one pair of pantyhose, a long sleeve shirt, and long pants. We’ll supply the straw, string, and decorations to help your scarecrow come to life. Workshops are held at the Martinak State Park Hootenanny at the boat ramp area on Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m. Cost is $3. Clothes are available at a reasonable price if you forget your own.

This Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. enjoy hands-on STEM related activities at STEM Festival Leonardtown held at the St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds in Leonardtown. The festival offers family fun for all ages while building awareness of STEM education and related fields and careers.

Trick-or-Treat on the Square in historic Leonardtown during this family-friendly, safe Halloween event on Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m. Enjoy activities like face painting by St. Mary’s Wine & Design, a pet costume contest, and more trick-or-treating fun at local businesses.

This Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m., the North Beach Business Loop and Town of North Beach in Calvert County present the Halloween Boo Bash on the Pavilion at North Beach, featuring a children’s costume contest on the pavilion. Register for the children’s costume contest from 2:15 to 3 p.m. on the pavilion. The parade and judging will follow. After judging, participants are free to go trick or treating at local businesses.

Great Pumpkin Race in Ocean City

Great Pumpkin Race in Ocean City

Build your own pumpkin race car to bring and compete in Saturday’s O.C.toberfest Great Pumpkin Race from noon to 2 p.m. There will be lots of room to watch these in this wacky and zany side-by-side downhill aces. Prizes will be awarded in each division as well as for creativity.

Also in Ocean City this weekend, children of all ages can enjoy a pleasant scream as they meander the sands of the giant, bigger and better O.C.toberfest Beach Maze! Wicked witches, pirates of the sand, scary scarecrows, ghouls in the graveyard, zombies, and more will add to the excitement.

For more information or to see a full listing of Maryland Department of Natural Resources events and programs, please check out our online calendar.

Looking ahead, Easton will host the 50th Annual Waterfowl Festival in early November.


Enjoy this colorful and fun-filled last weekend in October, Maryland!

“The canopy of the woods was spread out beneath me
and it looked as if autumn had taken a great torch to the trees,
burnishing them gold, red, and bronze.”

― Kate Morton, The Distant Hours