Elkton to celebrate 20th Fall Fest this weekend
— The 20th edition of the town’s annual Fall Fest will feature some new additions as well as some old favorites.
The festival kicks off Friday night and continues through Saturday with live music, family fun activities, arts and crafts vendors and plenty of contests for all ages.
Mary Jo Jablonski, executive director of the Elkton Chamber & Alliance, has been involved with the festival since 1998, one year after it was first held. The event has grown over the years with the addition of new activities such as the Firefighter Challenge and the Delmarva DockDogs competition, she said.
“I just think it’s wonderful being able to have an event that shows our town and has flourished every year,” she said. “We’ve been able to make it bigger and better each year due to our sponsors and volunteers.”
This year’s festival will start with a kickoff party from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, where people can browse classic cars lined up on Main Street. The Real Diamond, a Neil Diamond tribute band, will also play from 6 to 8 p.m. on the North Street stage. Then, bright and early at 6 a.m. Saturday, vendors, artists and crafters will set up on Main and North streets and be open for business at 8 a.m.
New additions to this year’s event are an increase in the number of highlighted bands, a Fall Fun Faire and an Artist’s Alley.
The highlighted bands are The Real Diamond; The Blues Brotherhood, a Blues Brothers tribute band; and the Robert Eric’s Tribute to the Piano Man, a Billy Joel tribute band. The Blues Brotherhood will play from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday and the Robert Eric’s Tribute to the Piano Man will close out the fest, playing from 6 to 8 p.m. Members of Bobbie Anne’s Dance Studio perform at Elkton’s Fall Fest last year. This year’s festival kicks off Friday night and goes into Saturday.
Both the Neil Diamond and Blues Brothers tribute bands are back by popular demand, Jablonski said, noting that many people asked for them to be brought back to the festival.
Also new this year is a Fall Fun Faire, which will include face painting, pumpkin painting, cornhole, a basketball relay, a dunking booth and temporary tattoos, among other activities. The fair will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the municipal parking lot at Howard and Bow streets and will be hosted by Project Purpose, an organization which serves the county and surrounding areas to help young men and women embrace their potential and power to fulfill their purpose. Funds raised from the fair will benefit the organization’s Project Prom, which provides free prom resources to teens in need.
Festival attendees can also check out the Artist’s Alley, which includes more than five artists presenting their fine art and jurors will choose their favorite pieces with the winner receiving prizes, Jablonski said. The idea grew out of the postponed Downtown Elkton Festival of the Arts.
A variety of other activities are also scheduled for the festival including the Cecil 500 Push Cart Derby on North Street, which starts at 9:30 a.m., and the Pretty Baby Contest, which starts at 10 a.m. Parents can sign up their children, who are 3 years old or younger, for $5 from 9 to 9:45 a.m. the day of the event.
Jablonski said the Pretty Baby Contest is one of the most popular contests, with more than 100 babies participating in the event in years past.
Among the numerous performances, Bobbie Ann’s Dance Studio will hold a performance starting at 11 a.m. at the North Street Stage.
Elkton’s Voice, a singing competition, is also slated to come back this season. For the contest, 15 people will compete for a grand prize of $200 with second and third place winners receiving trophies. People must sign up in advance with an entry fee of $15.
The competition is slated to begin at 1 p.m. and end at 3 p.m.
Jessica Price, executive assistant with the chamber, said she is excited for the singing competition because all of the singing talent in the town.
“I’m always shocked with the Voice of Elkton,” Price said.
For those interested in the food, a variety of vendors will be on hand, including BnB Seafood and Walt’s Tavern, among others.
“They can get everything from a hot dog to a Maryland blue crab and everything in between,” Jablonski said.
Main Street at Bow Street will close at 3 p.m. Friday and will remained closed until Saturday night. North Street near the North Street Hotel will close at noon and North Street at High Street will close at 6 a.m. Saturday morning.
Street parking is available on the streets which are not closed, as well as the municipal parking at the Farmer’s Market area, Elkton Courthouse parking lots and Union Hospital’s parking garage.
For more information about the event, visit elktonfallfest.com.
A contestant shows off her child during Elkton’s “Prettiest Baby” competition at the 2013 Fall Fest.