Thoroughbred horses race past the Ferris wheel at the Maryland State Fair in 2021. Photo courtesy of Maryland State Fair.

The gleeful screams from people on carnival rides, the wafting aroma of fried food, and the sight of prize-winning crops and animals. It can all only mean one thing: the return of the Maryland State Fair. The fair kicks off Thursday and will run for the next three weekends.

Also on deck are a 24-hour marathon reading of the works of Edgar Allan Poe, awards ceremony for Baltimore’s best drag queens, a music festival in Catonsville — a.k.a. “Music City, Maryland” — and plenty more.

Check out this weekend’s events lineup:

Maryland State Fair, Thursday, Aug. 25, through Sunday, Aug. 28 (first weekend), Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. The Maryland State Fair is back! This is the first weekend, with racing pigs, lumberjack shows, musical performances and more. Read about the fair, including some of this year’s highlights, in this Baltimore Fishbowl article.

A Dirty Shame, Thursday, Aug. 25, 7 p.m., The Charles Theatre. This week, the Charles has been showing some of John Waters’ movies that were filmed in Baltimore. The theater’s latest series, “DEATH TO MAINSTREAM CINEMA: The Later Films of John Waters,” started Tuesday with “Cry-Baby.” Audiences have one night left to catch one of Waters’ films in the series, with a showing of “A Dirty Shame” tonight. Read about the series in this Baltimore Fishbowl article.

Honky Tonk, Thursday, Aug. 25, 7-10 p.m., Waverly Brewing Company. Two-step on over to Waverly Brewing Company for a night of honky tonk music and dance. Patsy’s Honky Tonk Torch & Twang will perform. There will also be special guest performances by New Orleans artists Gina Leslie and Elise Leavy.

Toga Bike Party, Friday, Aug. 26, 6:30 p.m., St. Mary’s Park. Dress in your finest toga and join Baltimore Bike Party for a ride around Baltimore, followed by food and drinks at Guilford Hall Brewery.

24 Hours of Poe, Friday, Aug. 26, 7 p.m., online. The National Edgar Allan Poe Theatre will livestream a 24-hour marathon reading of the author’s works starting Friday at 7 p.m. on YouTube. Read about it in this Baltimore Fishbowl article.

Deep Water Jazz Band, Friday, Aug. 26, 7 p.m., An Die Musik. After talking with teachers of a Randallstown jazz workshop, bassist Daryl Adams realized that they needed a workshop of their own. Together, they formed the Deep Water Jazz Band, which eventually expanded to its current nine-piece band. Deep Water blends the inspiration of jazz greats like Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk with the sounds of jazz’s future to perform progressive contemporary jazz and world music for all to enjoy.

Music City Maryland Festival, Saturday, Aug. 27, downtown Catonsville, between State Fare and CAA Park. Nicknamed “Music City, Maryland,” Catonsville is a prime spot for enjoy good tunes. This year’s festival will feature 28 bands on four stages, plus plenty of food trucks, restaurants, vendors and more. Admission is free. Outside coolers are not allowed.

Legacy Fest, Saturday, Aug. 27, noon to 7 p.m., 1201 Pennsylvania Ave. Travel back in time to the 90s for Legacy Fest. Wear a 90s-inspired outfit and enjoy a day of live performances, an open market, and a kids zone. Ray Winder, Mike Evenn and Jhane will bethe headlining performers. Plus, catch some music by Queen HD the DJ. The event is sponsored by the leaders of a Beautiful Struggle Baltimore.

Baltimore Drag Awards, Saturday, Aug. 27, doors 7 p.m., mix and mingle 8 p.m., awards show 9 p.m., Power Plant Live. Baltimore’s best drag queens will be honored during an awards show Saturday. Drag queen Brooklyn Heights will host the ceremony. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

Sondheim Artist Talks, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2-3:30 p.m., The Walters Art Museum. Multimedia artist James Williams II was named the winner of this year’s Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize last month. Williams and his fellow finalists, Maren Henson and Megan Koeppel, will give artist talks about their work and participate in a Q&A. The three Sondheim Art Prize finalists’ work is currently on view at the Walters Art Museum through Sept. 18. Read more about Williams in this Baltimore Fishbowl article, and about the exhibit in this Baltimore Fishbowl article.

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Marcus Dieterle

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at