Guinness beer brats are one of many German-inspired dishes on the menu during the Oktoberfest celebrations at Guinness Open Gate Brewery. Photo courtesy of Guinness Open Gate Brewery.

Autumn is a glorious time for Baltimore weather, sports – and food. This week marks the start of a busy season of festivals, dinners, and fun, food-related events in the Baltimore restaurant scene. Here’s a look at what’s happening:

Openings & announcements

James Joyce Pub, at the entrance to Harbor East, was one of the sadder pandemic-related closings in the city. Atlas Restaurant Group recently took over the pub and announced this week that it will officially reopen on Saturday.

The owners of Looney’s Pub have announced that they are putting their Canton location on the market. According to a Facebook post, while they will continue to own and operate the other Looney’s locations, the owners are looking for someone with the “motivation, energy, determination and heart” to take over the Canton spot, which has been a mainstay on the Square for nearly 30 years.

Congratulations to Papi’s Tacos’ Towson location. The restaurant celebrated its first year in business last week.

Festival season starts Saturday

Fall festival season starts with a bang this weekend. For the next month or two, Baltimore food lovers will have tons of outdoor festival options designed to keep them busy and well-fed.

On Saturday, Sept. 24, festivals pop up all over the state.

Heading south, Sandy Point State Park hosts the Maryland Seafood Festival, featuring a wide range of food vendors, live music, kids’ activities, competitions and more. Rumor has it that actor and activist Joaquin Phoenix will also be crashing the festival this year, protesting eating seafood on behalf of PETA, so there could be some extra fireworks on top of the usual entertainment.

In Timonium, the Trifecta Food Truck & Music Festival is taking over the Fairgrounds. The festival features tons of bans, including cover band faves like Better Off Dead, Several Species, Kashmir and Psycho Killers, over 35 food trucks and vendors, from Heritage Smokehouse and Koopers Chowhound to Conrad’s Seafood and Greek on the Street.

Heading up 95, the 2nd Annual Susquehanna Wine & Seafood Festival kicks off at noon at the Concord Point Lighthouse in Havre de Grace. The festival includes loads of food options (not just seafood), including treats from Jimmy’s Famous Seafood, Faidley’s Seafood, Sobeachy Haitian Cuisine, Black Eyed Suzie’s and more.

Back in Baltimore, the 36th annual Greater Lauraville Fair will take over Heinz Park on Saturday afternoon The fair features tons of vendors and musical guests, plus food and drinks from Koco’s Pub, Taste This, Char’d City, Papi’s, Zeke’s Coffee, Boordy Wine and Oliver Brewing Company.

At Monument City Brewing Company, over 20 local breweries will gather for the 1st Annual Festival der Lagerbier. The event, which benefits the Friends of Patterson Park, is all about the lager. Tickets include a souvenir mug and samples from each brewery. Plus there will be music, games and food from Snake Hill.

In Remington, RemFest is back this year, starting at noon and taking place along 28th St. and Remington Ave. The festival, which is rain or shine, includes local makers, bands performing on two different stages, and food from some Remington favorites, including JBGB’s, Charmington’s, The Local Oyster, and Sweet 27, along with beers from Peabody Heights Brewery and cocktails from r. bar in R. House.

Peabody Heights will be busy on Saturday; after an afternoon at RemFest, the brewery will spend the evening hosting the 5th Annual Trash Wheel Fan Fest. The event, which is sponsored by Pompeian and organized by Waterfront Partnership, includes all kinds of art, food from local food trucks, and Peabody’s own beers, including Mr. Trash Wheel’s Lost Python Ale and Solar Power Sour.

One of the biggest festivals in Baltimore City, the Fells Point Fun Festival, returns to the waterfront starting on Friday, Sept. 30. The free festival, which has been going strong since 1967, features bands, tons of food and drinks, and lives up to the “fun” in its name.

Oktoberfests

This weekend also marks the start of Oktoberfest season.

Guinness Open Gate Brewery’s three-week Oktoberfest celebration started Thursday, Sept. 22 and lasts through Oct. 9. During that time, the brewery will have all sorts of German-inspired food and drink specials, including Oktoberfest-themed beers, and if you already have a stein from last year’s event, you can bring it and receive discounted refills.

On Saturday, Sept. 24, starting at noon, Guilford Hall Brewery is hosting an Oktoberfest and celebration of its first anniversary. The party includes live music form The Ruxtones, German games including a stein-holding contest, a Dunk the Brewer booth, giveaways, new casks being tapped and more.

Tequila dinner in Fells

Also on Saturday, Sept. 24, Pierpoint Restaurant in Fells Point is hosting a fun, four-course Mexican dinner with paired tequila cocktails. Dishes include birria tacos with mango and tomatillo salsa with a watermelon lime margarita, and shrimp and scallop ceviche paired with a lemongrass, lime and reposado cocktail. Chef/owner Nancy Longo will also offer tequila flights from her interesting personal stash of tequilas.

Baltimore Deviled Egg Pageant

Sunday, the Baltimore Deviled Egg Pageant is back. The event, which takes place at Dutch Courage, is a stiff competition between locals to see who makes the best, most interesting and tasty deviled egg.

Charcuterie at The Point in Towson

On Thursday, head to The Point in Towson for a charcuterie class lead by Boards by Dana. Tickets to the class include two drinks and an interactive lesson in creating gorgeous and delicious charcuterie boards.

Passion for Food and Wine

Friday, Sept. 30 marks the return of one of the city’s best food fundraisers: Passion for Food and Wine benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Maryland. The event, which features sit-down meals prepared onsite by some of the city’s most talented chefs, along with incredible food-related silent and live auctions, raises huge sums of money for CFF.

Auction items this year include a trip to Paris with Ashish Alfred, the chef/owner of Duck Duck Goose and No Way Rosé, a five-course meal for 14 hosted and prepared by Chef Zack Mills from True Chesapeake Oyster Co. and La Cuchara’s Chef Ben Lefenfeld, a dinner for ten including a private wine and charcuterie tasting in the cellar at Tagliata, and a lobster bake for ten prepared by Chef Chad Gauss of The Food Market, with seafood from J. J. McDonnell.

Planning for the future

Mark your calendars for:

Oct. 6: 50th Annual Greek Festival

Oct. 7: Beef & Beer Night at Roseda Farm

Nov. 2: Día de los Muertos at Maxímon

Kit Pollard

Kit Waskom Pollard is a Baltimore Fishbowl contributing writer. She writes Hot Plate every Friday in the Baltimore Fishbowl.