About the Reisterstown Festival

The Reisterstown Festival is one of many all-volunteer programs of the Reisterstown Recreation Council (RRC).  The RRC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, which, in coordination with the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks, offers a wide range of popular recreation and entertainment programs in the area such as youth and adult sports leagues, day camps, a dog park at Hannah More Park, community events, and much more.  RRC programs enrich the lives of area residents in many ways: by helping to foster physical wellness and connections, offering fun healthy exercise, promoting competition, athelticism, and teamwork through sports leagues (which, by the way, is a program that has played a key role in the development of many talented athletes including some who later compete and or even become stars at the high school, college, and professional levels of their sport;  The RRC also assists parents and families in educating their children and helps to relieve parental time pressures by keeping children occupied in healthy and robust extracurricular and summer camps and other fun programs… and these are just some of the biggest RRC roles.  In many ways, the RRC is a vital part of Reisterstown, Owings Mills, Glyndon area.  It succeeds because of generous donations of time and effort by the volunteers who lead and staff its programs, as well as all kinds of support from area business and government partners, and area residents.

The RRC is actually involved in two of the area’s annual festivals:

  1. The Reisterstown Bloomin’ ArtFest – a one day spring festival (usually a weekend or two before Mother’s Day) which is run in conjunction with the Reisterstown Improvement Association at Franklin Middle School, and….
  2. Of course… 😉  Our two-day Festival and Parade is held in late summer and the Festival Grounds are along Reisterstown Road (MD-140) behind Hannah More School and the Senior Center (If not familiar, this is next door to Reisterstown Shopping Center (Big Lots, Chick-Fil-A, etc)- the shopping center being one of our 2019 Sponsors, by the way.) and the Northwest Corridor’s much-loved Festival Parade kicks off this annual weekend of fun!

These RRC festivals complement one another with their different focuses and timing,  but both provide unique, fun, and affordable experiences for locals to meet new friends, hear live music, learn about the community, shop for or buy something artistic and interesting, try some new tasty foods and beverages…a diverse range of content everyone from toddlers to grandparents can find things to enjoy.  In addition to being established community events for the Northwest Corridor, attendees for both come from all over Central Maryland, Southern PA, and beyond (!).  Both offer once-a-year good times and, for many, memories that will last a lifetime- all right here in our northern Baltimore County “back yard”!

Tip:  Our friends at the Northwest Chamber of Commerce and the Reisterstown Improvement Association held the first “Reisterstown Beer & Wine Festival” in April, 2019 and it’s now an annual event. Stay tuned to their website.. or or maybe follow one of us 😉  (You’ll probably find many of us there!!)

The Reisterstown Festival began in 1985 and was centered around the historic district and the grounds of Franklin Middle School (FMS) along Main Street.  This was a natural site location for a festival in a town with a rich history and a quaint but growing local business district with structures dating back to the 1700’s.  With so much to celebrate and extremely generous support of area businesses, the Festival was a quick hit, and was able to begin and grow many of its present traditional and defining elements at this site, but as time passed, new county regulations and the Festival’s growth began to challenge some of our basic features and plans.  Eventually, past organizers were forced to deal with these issues, and the result was a venue change to our current Hannah More Park location (across and a few steps north of Franklin High School)- a mile south from the original FMS site.

Specifically, in the mid-1990’s new Baltimore County Public School (BCPS) policies were established which would have prohibited continuing our fireworks show or our beer garden at Franklin Middle School. The Festival Committee in place back then examined options and debated extensively how to address this unsustainable conflict between BCPS’s new rules and our operations- and they were also facing related complaints related to lack of available parking and our growth (crowd issues) from various residents near FMS, as well as attendees and nearby businesses.  They looked for alternative for the most affected features (which are still two of the most popular defining features of the Reisterstown Festival!  It’s not unusual for thousands of people to gather in and around Hannah More Park to see the fireworks show- many of them enjoying their favorite beverages and bands in our extremely popular Beer Garden.) They realized that the Beer Garden is a popular attraction that brings out and keeps adult attendees entertained, while bringing in critical income for the festival – it was and still is an essential fundraiser for our self-funded festival.   While the FMS site was endearing -a way many enjoyed the sights and commerce of Reisterstown’s unique historic district- but, in the end, with essential and defining features of the Festival needing to be eliminated to stay at FMS and crowd issues and parking becoming threats to future festivals, the Festival Committee eventually faced reality: the Festival could not remain at FMS and be successful. A permanent move to the grounds to Hannah More Park was voted on and approved.

Did you know?: The Festival Fireworks Show is not just a fireworks show- it’s scheduled to coincide with the Festival’s headliner band performing on the Main Stage, the permanent bandshell located on the fields behind Hannah More School.  During Festival Weekend, this stage is adjacent to the Beer Garden and is one of the best close-up vantage points to see the fireworks!  Every year, we offer some of the most-talented, popular, and acclaimed bands anywhere.  Whether this top-feature band is from right here in Reisterstown, or from Baltimore, Annapolis, DC or beyond, 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 treasure and remember for years to come!  Don’t miss it!

Tip: Arrive early for the fireworks if you want to better chances to park inside the Festival grounds at Hannah More Park.  While many nearby parking options exist, our onsite parking is the closest available parking but is limited and can “sell out” during peak festival hours.  We do request a donation for onsite parking to help us fund current and future festivals. Thank you to all who donate!

The current Hannah More Park location solved all the critical issues, and immediately offered numerous benefits: It’s conveniently located along Reisterstown Road- 1 mile east of I-795 exit 7 (Franklin Blvd) and 1 mile south of the Historic District.  Thousands of potential festival goers live within walking/biking distance of the Park and the rest have easy access via adjacent major roads and highways which converge near or next to the site.  With extensive parking spaces onsite and nearby, and plenty of transportation options, the Festival was able to ensure that driving and using the Maryland Transportation Authority (MTA) bus service were excellent options to get to the Festival (except, like at FMS, during Festival Parade hours when MD140 and thus the main festival vehicle entrance and bus lines are temporarily unavailable).  Hannah More Park immediately also gave the Festival a large permanent and lighted bandshell (our current Main Stage), and all the amenities of the largest public park in town (Reisterstown’s largest public playground, picnic tables, benches, etc) as well as many additional acres for expansion. This positioned the festival where it could continue to grow and prosper for years to come.

At the end of the day, we are grateful to the members of that past Festival Committee and the future they secured for the Festival.  No other Reisterstown sites (then or since) were identified that could meet all the Festival’s needs or that would have exceeded Hannah More Park’s benefits and features, so it was down to the Park or a pared down Festival offering significantly less features to attract or entertain visitors.  The Reisterstown Festival might not even exist today if not for the hard work and choices made when this issue was presented.  The Reisterstown Festival is now in its fourth decade and and has entertained hundreds of thousands of festival patrons over the years thanks to this move!

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.


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











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.