Leonardtown, MD—Nothing celebrates the “Southern” in “Southern Maryland” quite like the Country Life Festival, which took place Aug. 19 and 20. Celebrating its third year, Country Life Festival is a herald to all things outdoors. This festival highlights the lifestyles of hunters, fishers, and alfresco enthusiasts alike.

Having nestled into the St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds, everyone attending Country Life Festival seemed like family. Smiles adorned the faces of children who rode the ponies, listened to the live music and watched the dog jumping competitions. There were even a few watermelon eating contests for the young folks to enjoy. A rock climbing wall was also set up near the National Guard tent that many of the older kids triumphed.

Not only was this weekend memorable for the kids, but for the furry companions as well. Country Life Festival is dog-friendly, welcoming all guests to bring their four-legged friends on leashes. Guests could even have their dogs participate in some of the canine competitions. Of course, Labrador retrievers were a popular choice at this festival, but also enjoying the grounds were Chihuahuas, mastiffs, greyhounds, poodles and more.

Those championing their deer-mounting work had a few on display, and the front entrance to the festival featured a jaw-droppingly talented chainsaw artist in action. To see a regular hunk of wood transform into a Native American man wearing a headdress is nothing short of astounding. The food vendors varied from cheesesteaks to barbecue, and one vendor offered some fantastic lemonade that was vitally refreshing on such a scorching weekend.

Inside each of the buildings were vendors showing their crafts and giving out information about a variety of topics from the wildlife of Southern Maryland to signing up for concealed carry classes. Fred’s Outdoors presented a gun raffle that gave away a free gun each hour! All that you had to do to enter the drawing was show your entrance ticket to the festival.

If the gun raffle brought you into the festival, you stayed for the friendly ambiance and commemoration of a Southern lifestyle—but the exhilarating motocross competition might have also been a factor. The 2017 Country Life Festival was a success. We can’t wait to see what next year brings!