About the Reisterstown Festival

The Reisterstown Festival is a program of the Reisterstown Recreation Council (RRC), a non-profit volunteer organization, which, with the help of the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks, runs a variety of recreational and entertainment programs in the Reisterstown area. These activities range from a huge number of very popular sports leagues to summer camps for children……..even a community dog park.

The RRC actually is involved with two local annual festivals – the Bloomin’ Arts Festival (which is run in conjunction with the Reisterstown Improvement Association) held in the spring at Franklin Middle School and the Reisterstown Festival which is always held the weekend after Labor Day at Hannah More Park on Reisterstown Rd just south of the historic district. These two festivals complement each other with their variety and provide unique fun experiences for area residents.

The Reisterstown Festival began in 1985 and moved from its’ original Franklin Middle School (FMS) location down Main Street to its present Hannah More Park location (just north of Franklin High School).  The FMS location was appealing and popular to many for it’s Historic District location, but the festival was getting too big to handle the parking and crowds, so in order to maintain its most popular features activities and allow for future growth, the Festival Committee decided to move the two day event to Hannah More Park approx 20 years ago.

The move was triggered at the time by then-new Baltimore County Public School (BCPS) policies that would have prohibited continuing our fireworks show or our beer garden traditions- two of the most popular permanent features of our Festival – to this day.  It’s not unusual for thousands of people to gather in and around Hannah More Park to see the fireworks show- many of them in a very busy Beer Garden.

Did you know?: The Festival Fireworks Show is not just a fireworks show- it’s schedule to coincide with the Festival’s headliner band performing on the Main Stage near the Beer Garden (one of the best spots to see the fireworks!).  Every year, we present some of the most talented, popular, and acclaimed bands anywhere whether from right here in Reisterstown… to Baltimore, Annapolis, DC or beyond, and they provide the “soundtrack” to the fireworks.  They love it and we do our best to make every year’s Saturday Night Fireworks Concert an event you’ll remember for years to come!  Don’t miss it!

Tip: Arrive early to ensure you get onsite parking if you want to park as close as possible to all the action (donation requested for onsite parking – parking is often filled by dusk depending on weather.)

Since these popular attractions (fireworks & beer garden) had taken place on BCPS school property in the past (on the grounds of FMS) and were deemed critical parts of the Festival’s identity, the Festival Committee it was not a viable option to keep the Festival at FMS.

The current Hannah More Park location solved all those issues, and is very convenient to get to – along Reisterstown Road- 1 mile east of I-795 exit 7 (Franklin Blvd) and 1 mile south of the Historic District, and it has plentiful onsite parking areas (parking donation requested).  In addition, several thousand residents live near the site and can walk to the festival at this location  It’s also served by MTA bus.

“At the end of the day”, we are very fortunate the Festival Committee was able to negotiate this move to Hannah More Park 20 some years ago because no other suitable or preferable sites were ever found (then or since) that met all the Committee’s crucial site requirements or that has exceeded Hannah More Park’s benefits and features.

After careful consideration of all the facts, the Festival Committee decided that the only logical path forward to save the festival was to relocate to Hannah More Park in Reisterstown, because it allowed our traditional International Beer Garden and Fireworks shows to remain central Festival features, and Hannah More immediately gave the festival adequate parking, a large permanent bandshell, and all the other amenities and acres of room of the largest public park in town. This positioned the festival where it could continue to grow and prosper. The Reisterstown Festival has been held every year since 1985 with the exception of one year when it was cancelled due to a direct conflict with a major Jewish holiday and other issues.

Over the years, the Reisterstown Festival has staged a wide variety of local, regional and national entertainment including America, Kenny Chesney (1999), Three Dog Night, Donna the Buffalo, The Ron Holloway Band, the James Brown Dance Party among many others.  The big-name performers which helped establish the festival during the early years were made possible by very generous donations from Reisterstown Federal Savings and Loan whose legacy operations have been acquired repeatedly over the years (Reisterstown Federal S&L no longer exists as a separate institution, and most of its’ legacy assets and operations are part of BB&T Bank as of this writing).  The Reisterstown Festival is proud to build a sense of community in the I-795 corridor by being the largest annual event where area businesses, residents, and visitors can get together to meet, interact and have a great time!  The Festival also proudly puts on one of the finest traditional Main Street parades and one of the most spectacular fireworks shows in the region.

Reisterstown is a unique historic community in northern Baltimore County, and a growing northwestern suburb of Baltimore City. The core of the community is it’s recently upgraded historic Main Street and surrounding historic district which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

History

About the area: Many buildings in Reisterstown's Historic District date back as far as the 1700’s. However, the Reisterstown zip code (21136) spans a very broad area of Baltimore County, even into a very small part of neighboring Carroll County. Reisterstown's zip code of 21136 includes everything from suburban neighborhoods, businesses, forests, parks, shopping centers, townhomes, condominiums, many former mining sites, railroads, federal and state highways, local and private roads, hiking trails… even horse forms. Residents often tout how Reisterstown has a small town or even sometimes rural feel, but that it still has all the big city conveniences and amenities of being very close to Baltimore and Washington, D.C.. While it had been historically a distinct, separate small town, today Reisterstown is tightly knit together with it’s neighboring Baltimore County communities of Owings Mills Glyndon and even other neighboring towns like Finksburg, Gamber, Boring, Garrison, Pikesville, Milford Mill, Randallstown, and Upperco. All these towns share various Chamber of Commerce areas across boundaries and often have merged/overlapping school, police, fire, county council, and congressional voting districts. They collectively comprised a local population of well over 120,000 residents in the 2010 census.

Reisterstown History

Program Books

2nd-1987

4th-1989

5th-1990

5th-1990

9th-1994

10th-1995

14th-1999

16th-2001

18th-2004

19th-2005

Hannah More Park

(Entrance at Hannah More School)
12035 Reisterstown Road
Reisterstown, MD 21136

Click here for an Interactive Map with available directions.

Important Parade Route & Road Closure Information (Saturday Morning Only)

This page is primarily about getting to the Reisterstown Festival grounds at Hannah More Park but if you’re interested in seeing our popular Festival Parade on Saturday at 9am, it begins approx 1.2 mi north of the Park on Main Street in Reisterstown’s Historic District, and ends just south of Hannah More Park at Reisterstown Shopping Center.

Whether you’re headed to the Parade or to the Festival Grounds (hopefully both!) on Saturday morning, please be aware that MD 140/Main Street/Reisterstown Rd will be temporarily closed from MD 30/Hanover Pike and south to Franklin Blvd from approximately 8:30am – 10:40am for the Festival ParadeFor the safety of Parade participants and spectators, this closure prohibits all vehicular access including MTA service to Hannah More Park and all locations only accessible via the 140/Main St Parade Route during this time. This means that unless you get to your desired vantage point to watch the parade by 8:30am, you won’t be able to drive to that spot via 140/Main Street so you’ll need to approach it from an accessible side-street.  Side streets, driveways, etc. along the route with no outlet except 140/Main Street – meaning are not thru streets –  will be temporarily inaccessible -in or out- by vehicles.
This road closure is enforced solely the Baltimore County Police.  The Festival has no control over precise closure times or enforecement-related matters while in effect.  We apologize for any inconvenience and greatly appreciate your patience, cooperation, and concern for safety of everyone particpating in and watching parade, so that we can continue a great 31+ year Parade tradition for the enjoyment of all.

Details on Festival Entrance, Parking, & Free Onsite Shuttle:

During Festival Weekend, you’ll see a large Festival Entrance sign at the Hannah More School entrance (Hannah More Lane) which marks the main vehicle entry point into the Festival (The Festival Car Show entrance on Sunday is separate and is located at the MD 140 light at Academy Rd (Caraway Rd on the opposite side of Reisterstown Rd.  You will see the show cars in the adjacent lot on 140 beginning at 8am Sunday.  See the interactive map link above for closer detail) . During Festival hours (11am to 10pm Saturday and 11 to 5pm Sunday), Festival Staff will be stopping all entering vehiclesto welcome and help direct you. They will offer you onsite parking if available ($5 donation requested) which includes Onsite Shuttle Service to key festival locations within the park. Shuttle service will be offered as needed up to 30 minutes past closing time. (See additional Shuttle Info at the bottom of this page)  Please be aware that availability of onsite parking is limited and not guaranteed.  This parking can sell out at peak periods such as for Saturday’s fireworks show and Festival’s Headliner band (8-10pm) or other popular events. An onsite parking sell out might temporarily close this entrance to all except authorized vehicles. Arriving early for onsite parking is recommended – especially if you have a specific festival band, event, or showtime in mind.  A variety of nearby free on-street and other parking is also available (sorry, we are not able to offer an offsite shuttle service but all festival visitors are welcome to use the free shuttle when onsite to help reach their desired destination.)

Directions from major regional locations

From White Marsh/Bel Air/Aberdeen

Take I-95 South to 695 W to Exit 19, I-795. Follow I-795 directions below.

From Annapolis & Eastern Shore

Take US-50 West to I-97 North to I-695 West towards Towson. Take exit 19, I-795.  Follow I-795 directions below.

From Washington, DC/Northern VA/Southern MD

Take I-495 (DC Beltway) to MD-295 (B-W Pkwy) or I-95 North towards Baltimore to I-695 (Baltimore Beltway). Take I-695 North (towards west) towards Towson. Take I-695 past I-70 to exit 19, I-795 North. Follow I-795 directions below.

From Frederick & Hagerstown

Take I-70E to I-695. Exit (center lane) onto I-695 North towards Towson. Go to exit 19, I-795. Follow I-795 directions below.

From Shrewsbury/York/Harrisburg, PA

Take I-83 south to I-695. Go west towards Pikesville. Take exit 19, I-795.
Follow I-795 directions below.

I-795 Directions (Baltimore Area)

From I-695 (the Baltimore Beltway), take I-795N towards Reisterstown to exit 7A – Franklin Blvd East. Go two stoplights. At second, turn left onto Reisterstown Rd/MD140. Get into the right lane. Just past the 2nd light, turn right into Hannah More School/Park. Please see above.

From Westminster, MD/Gettysburg, PA

Take MD-140 South into Baltimore County. At the I-795 exit, stay on MD-140 by taking the right exit (MD-140) into Reisterstown. Go 2 lights, and stay on MD-140 by turning right onto Main St, and go past 3 lights (Main St becomes Reisterstown Rd). Just before the 4th light, turn left into Hannah More School/Park.

From Hanover, PA

Take MD-30 south towards Reisterstown. After crossing Butler Road, go past 4 lights (MD-30 merges into MD-140 and becomes Main Street, and then becomes Reisterstown Rd). Just before the 5th light, turn left into Hannah More School/Park.