Some Baltimore festivals seem like little more than opportunities to line up out-of-town vendors selling overpriced drinks and crappy Italian sausages, roll in some stages and rented equipment, and try to lure folks and their dollars into the neighborhood. (We're not naming names, but if the cat's eye glasses fit . . .) Hampdenfest couldn't be more different. Everything-from the bonneted women handing out balloons at the Hampden Christian School booth and the doulas at the Wellness Tent to the many, many local artists displaying their wares or offering makeshift games to play-gives off a local, community-oriented vibe. Perhaps best of all, the toilet races-which ever-increasing numbers of locals enter for the sheer joy of it, with more elaborate vehicles each year-are a perfect emblem of the DIY ingenuity, energy, and, yeah, Charm, that make this city so fucking awesome.
Runners-Up!Best Festival2. Baltimore Book Festival
5. International Festival