Around this time every year, it feels like we’re collectively ready to shed clothes, retrieve a cold beverage, get outside, and enjoy some well-deserved rest and relaxation. After the past month, during which Freddie Gray was killed in police custody, leading to mass protests, civil unrest, and a national media circus, it seems like Baltimore needs to release some tension more than ever. To that end, this year’s Sizzlin’ Summer issue includes a list of all the best summer events, including sections for concerts, festivals, performing arts, and Fourth of July events, as well as a curated list of 27 staff picks. We’ve also got a road trip of Eastern Shore breweries and distilleries to check out, lessons on guerrilla furniture building, a rundown of the best boozy shakes in town, and the unlikely story of Clifton Park Golf Course in northeast Baltimore.

But the Baltimore Uprising of the past month is still at the forefront of our thoughts and has shaped this year’s Sizzlin’ Summer in ways intentional and not. We planned to undertake our annual search for Baltimore’s coldest beer, but the 10 p.m. curfew came just as we were starting to warm up our digital thermometers and awkward small talk with bartenders, so we had to cancel that plan. It’ll be back next year. Also, the response to recent events has been so strong and plentiful that it felt odd to leave it out of our summer discussions. So, we’ve included Dan Archer’s awesome Sandtown Sketches (page 36) and an extended Mobtown Beat section (usually omitted in Sizzlin’ Summer) with stories about how Baltimore’s Nepali community is dealing with unrest here and word of earthquakes at home (page 17) and a look at the arbitrary and sometimes vicious bail-bonds system (page 19).

Everyone needs to unwind, so we hope this package helps achieve that goal, while still staying connected to changing dynamics in the city we love. Have a great summer.

Sizzlin’ Summer 2015 was written, compiled, and edited by Kaleigh Choi, Jessica Kim Cohen, Edward Ericson Jr., J.M. Giordano, Rebekah Kirkman, Seola Lee, Max Levine, Carley Milligan, Evan Serpick, Brandon Soderberg, Lindsay VanAsdalan, Anna Walsh, Brandon Weigel, and Baynard Woods; special thanks to photographers Edward Ericson Jr., J.M. Giordano, and Reginald Thomas II.

The image of the sassy drum girl at the carnival on the cover is a vintage letterpress-printed shell from Globe Poster, now part of the Globe Collection and Press at MICA. The City Paper banner is drawn from old hand-carved wood carnival “sticks,” and Globe type, with its particular worn patina, is used throughout the issue. Drum Girl image © Globe Collection and Press at MICA.

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