Attending CARA Fest

Everything you need to know about attending CARA Fest is below. See location information, hours of operation, driving directions, and local accommodations. For questions please contact us.

Date / Time / Location

DATE: October 2023, date TBD

TIMES:

  • Vendors & Swapmeet: 7 am – 1 pm
  • Exhibition Halls, STEM Activities & Demos: 10 am – 3 pm
  • Free Amateur Radio Testing: 8 am – 10:30 am
  • Gates open at 6am for Vendors and Tailgating

LOCATION:

Howard County Fairgrounds
2210 Fairgrounds Road
West Friendship, MD 21794-9604

CARA Fest

Tickets

Tickets are $10. CASH ONLY at the door, or order online on our Tickets page. Children under 16 are free.

Purchase tailgating/vendor space at the door (cash only) or on our Vendor page.

COVID-19 Policy

Masking is optional. Due to the evolving nature of the Pandemic, the COVID-19 policies may change. CARA Fest will follow all regulations for Maryland State, Howard County, and the Fairgrounds.

Amateur Radio Testing

Every year, CARA Fest hosts LARC VEC, who provides testing for anyone looking to earn their amateur radio license. CARA Fest has a dedicated building just for testing. Registration is not required – just walk in. Please contact us for more information.

Directions

From Baltimore (about 30 minutes):

  1. From the Baltimore Beltway, Take I-70 West
  2. Take exit 80 to merge onto MD-32 South toward Clarksville
  3. Turn RIGHT onto Frederick Road (MD Rt. 144 West)
  4. Turn RIGHT onto Fairground Road

From Frederick (about 30 minutes):

  1. Take I 70 East
  2. Take exit 80 to merge onto MD-32 South toward Clarksville
  3. Turn RIGHT onto Frederick Road (MD Rt. 144 West)
  4. Turn RIGHT onto Fairground Road

From Washington (about an hour and fifteen minutes):

  • Take I-95 North to (Exit #38 b) MD Rt. 32 West to MD Rt. 144 West to Fairground Rd.
    -or-
  • Take US Rt. 29 North to MD Rt. 32 West to MD Rt. 144 West to Fairground Rd.
    -or-
  • Take MD Rt. 97 North to MD Rt. 144 East to Fairground Rd.
CARA Fest at the Howard County Fairgrounds

Parking

Parking is free on site for general attendees. Please note that the Fairgrounds parking is on grass, so plan accordingly. Handicap parking is available – ask at the gate.

Parking for flea market vendors is paved, but there is an additional fee. Please visit the Vendor Info page for more information.

 

Accommodations

Below are local hotels & motels we suggest in the area. Mention you are in town for CARA Fest at the Howard County Fairgrounds for possible discounts.

  • Turf Valley Resort: 2700 Turf Valley Rd, Ellicott City, MD 21042 | 410.465.1500 * Pet Friendly
  • The Wayside Inn (B&B): 4344 Columbia Rd, Ellicott City, MD 21042 | 410.461.4636
  • Residence Inn by Marriott Columbia: 4950 Beaver Run Ct, Ellicott City, MD 21043 | 410.997.7200 * Pet Friendly
  • Hampton Inn Columbia: 8880 Columbia 100 Pkwy, Columbia, MD 21045 | 410.997.8555
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Columbia: 5485 Twin Knolls Rd, Columbia, MD 21045 | 410.997.1060
  • Hilton Garden Inn Columbia: 8241 Snowden River Pkwy, Columbia, MD 21045 | 410.750.3700
  • Sonesta ES Suites Columbia: 8844 Columbia 100 Pkwy, Columbia, MD 21045 | 410.964.9494 * Pet Friendly
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton Columbia: 8320 Benson Drive, Columbia, MD 21045 | 410.872.9200 * Pet Friendly
  • La Quinta Inn & Suites Columbia: 7300 Crestmount Road, Jessup, MD 20794 | 410.799.1500 * Pet Friendly

 

Volunteer Signup

This form will return when we get closer to CARA Fest.