Reboot of Festival on the Hill follows BHCA’s popular Arts in the Parks concerts

What a festive summer in the ‘hood, thanks to Arts in the Parks! Now get ready for an almost-post-pandemic, full-blast version of Festival on the Hill, the long-standing fall celebration of life in Bolton Hill, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8.

But first: the final two (of 12) big Arts in the Parks concerts are on the September calendar, all outdoors at 6:30 p.m.:

  • Saturday, Sept 24, celebrating the 106th birthday of writer and former Bolton Hill resident F. Scott Fitzgerald at Fitzgerald Park, Bolton and Wilson streets, with ragtime music, gin and tonics and brief readings.
  • Thursday, Sept. 29, the Ray Winder Jazz Trio, rained out in August, at Rozen-Ridgley Garden, 1500 McCulloh St.

This year’s October festival also has live music from Mambo Combo and Todd Marcus’ jazz group. There will be shucked oysters; baked goods; beer, wine and soft drinks; Corpus Christi (not Texas) chili; pansies, books and priceless antiques for sale; community booths, pets on parade and lots of activities for adults and children of all ages. The festival will fill the 1300 block of Bolton St. and W. Lanvale St. between Park Ave. and Mason St.

The festival has roots in the Eisenhauer-era church bazaars organized by women of Memorial Episcopal Church. In 1969 they expanded and became the first outdoor Festival on the Hill. Brown Presbyterian Church joined in to bake and sell brownies while Corpus Christi Church invented its unique chili. This year look for these first-time features:

  • A (leashed) pet parade at 10:15 a.m. Dogs, cats and other critters are invited to stroll together up Bolton to West Lanvale, take a left, and linger in the Kids Zone in front of the nursery school for some child-friendly socializing before returning the animal paraders back home. Should wrap up by 11 am. Let John McLucas know if you can take part: or at 1314 Bolton Street.
  • A homecoming tent. Stop by and reconnect with former neighbors, graduates of Midtown Academy and Mt. Royal school and former Barracudas (the swim team at Bolton Hill Swim and Tennis Club). In addition, there will be exhibitions of memorabilia from earlier festivals and old photographs of Baltimore and Bolton Hill from the collections of Jacques Kelly and Patrick Ward. For more information,

Other features:

The Kidz Zone in front of Bolton Hill Nursery will include a bounce house, lollipop pull, duck pond, coin toss, spin art, face painting, stuffed animal adoptions, an art table and more. MICA, the city recreation and parks department and Single Carrot Theater are involved.`

Book sale. First, you donate books you’ve read or never will. Then replenish your shelves with new acquisitions at the festival. Drop off books for sale at the home of Kay Dickersin and Bob Van Wesep, 1308 Bolton Street, before Oct. 2. Vinyl records and jigsaw puzzles are welcome, but, please, no cassette tapes, CDs, college texts, encyclopedias, software or other technical manuals, magazines or Readers’ Digest collections. For more info:

Artists. Six neighborhood artists will exhibit their work.

Juniquities. If you are lamenting the lack of a Bolton Hill yard sale this year, unload the stuff you would have tried to sell there instead at the Juniquities booth between 8 and 10 a.m. It will be sold to benefit BHCA, Samaritan Community and the No Boundaries Coalition. Come back during the festival and load up on others’ giveaways.

Volunteers still are needed. Contact

Bill Hamilton