Re-enactors at St. Clement's Island. Photo courtesy Visit St. Mary's County.

Celebrate the State: Maryland Day 2023

It’s time to break out your Old Line State flag—Maryland Day is upon us again.  Marylanders celebrate our shared stake in the territory planted over 300 years ago in 1634, when Lord Baltimore’s colonists made landfall on a tiny island in a big river in an unknown world.  

Events in St. Mary’s County commemorates March 25 as the day the newly-arrived colonists, fresh off the two small ships, the Ark and the Dove, erected a cross on St. Clement’s Island, offered prayers and took “possession of this Countrey for our Saviour and for our soveraigne Lord the King of England.” 

After consulting with the “Emperor of the Paschataway” and the “King of Yaocomoco,” Leonard Calvert, governor of the colony, negotiated the purchase of land on a nearby tributary of the Potomac River. This became the site of St. Mary’s City, the colony’s first settlement. Marylanders began observing Maryland Day in 1903 as designated by the State Board of Education.

Saturday, join a celebration at the St. Clement’s Island Museum. The official ceremony starts at 10 a.m. on the mainland, followed by a Catholic Mass at 11 a.m. Enjoy free water taxi rides to the island, free museum admission, children’s activities, lighthouse tours and a food truck. 

Or head to Historic St. Mary’s City for the Ceremony of the Flags (1pm) when children from across the state present their county colors in a ceremony. Then explore the outdoor living history sites at your leisure with free admission until 4 p.m.

If you’d prefer to primarily eat, drink and dance, head to Baltimore for the Maryland Day Festival at Power Plant Live. Doors open at 11 a.m. Saturday. 

While the official date of the founding of the colony is March 25, sites in Anne Arundel County will celebrate the weekend of March 31 through April 2, in order to not conflict with this year’s Annapolis Film Festival. Historic, heritage and cultural sites throughout the Chesapeake Crossroads Heritage Area of Anne Arundel County host family-friendly activities throughout the weekend that are free or just $1 to encourage locals and visitors to come out from winter hibernation and explore our local history and culture as the region celebrates Maryland’s birthday and the warmer spring season.

New sites this year include The Chesapeake Arts Center, the Museum of Historic Annapolis, and the Northern Anne Arundel Cultural Preservation Society. After taking some time off during the pandemic the U.S. Naval Academy Visitors Center will again be participating in hosting events.  Most of the locations that traditionally host events during Maryland Day weekend are all planning new activities and events. Returning venues include Annapolis Maritime Museum, Annearrundell County Free School, Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks, Anne Arundel County Libraries, Benson Hammond House, Captain Avery Museum, Chesapeake Children’s Museum, Chesapeake Crossroads, Deale Heritage Area Society, Galesville Community Center, Galesville Heritage Society, Goshen Farm, Harwood Hammond House, Historic Annapolis, Historic Linthicum Walks, Historic London Town and Gardens, Historic Hancock’s Resolution, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Maryland State House, Odenton Heritage Society, Rising Sun Inn, Scenic Rivers Land Trust, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Wiley Bates Legacy Center, and Watermark Journeys. 

“The best part about this weekend of events, besides being affordable and family-friendly, is learning how our diverse culture, history, heritage, have all shaped Anne Arundel County into the place it is today,” says Erik Evans, marketing manager for Maryland Day.  “Each location has a different story to tell, yet it all weaves together into the fabric that created the communities, county, and state that many of us call home. You can pick from over 40 events in three days all within about 30 minutes or less from each other.”

The events and activities will help you learn the local stories of people who over the centuries have lived and worked on the land and waters of Anne Arundel County.  You will have a chance to enjoy natural landscapes at parks, historic farms and other lands preserved as public open spaces. Cultural sites and art centers throughout the county will host open houses. Most of the participating sites are part of the Chesapeake Crossroads Heritage Area, (formally known as the Four Rivers Heritage Area) a nonprofit organization that works to preserve and increase awareness and access to historic sites, natural landscapes, and enduring traditions in Maryland’s designated heritage area of Anne Arundel County.  The Chesapeake Children’s Museum is managing the Maryland Day Weekend this year with a grant provided by the Chesapeake Crossroads Heritage Area. 

Maryland Day participants are encouraged to seek out restaurants that serve local seafood or farm-to-table experiences, visit local art galleries or wineries to see additional items made locally or spend the night at a local historic Inn or bed and breakfast.

Download the interactive mobile app for up-to-the-minute information for all events. The app includes Annapolis Quest, an augmented reality scavenger hunt in Annapolis, beginning at the Visitors Center at 26 West Street. 

So hoist up that iconic flag and lace up your walking shoes. A full weekend of events beckons. Full details: