Kent Island Day held in Historic Stevensville
STEVENSVILLE — A few hundred Queen Anne’s County residents gathered in Historic Stevensville on Saturday, May 20, to participate in the 40th annual Kent Island Day.
The celebration is hosted by the Kent Island Heritage Society annually on the third Saturday in May. People began the day’s festivities by lining the streets watching more than 30 cars, floats, walkers and boats pass through for the opening parade.
Starting from Kent Island Elementar y School, parade participants made their way down Main Street and onto Love Point Road in Stevensville, passing crowds of friends, families and community members of all ages.
The 2017 Kent Island Day parade Grand Marshal was Myrtle Bruscup, who was escorted through town sitting on the back of an old Ford Mustang. Bruscup, known as the “Grand Lady of Kent Island,” is a longtime Kent Island Heritage Society member.
Maryland Sen. Steve Hershey began the festivities on stage by reading the original state proclamation declaring Kent Island Day back 40 years ago.
The proclamation, signed in 1977 by Gov. Blair Lee, states that Kent Island was the first English speaking settlement in Maryland and the third in the United States after Jamestown, Va., and Plymouth, Mass.
It stated the the proclamation was made to “appropriately observe the heritage and history of Kent Island.”
“Not a whole lot of words but they mean a whole lot for us here on Kent Island, KI Heritage Society President Jack Broderick said. “And the Kent Island Heritage Society I’m proud to say still works very hard today to discover, identify, explore and preserve the heritage of Kent Island.”
During the overcast day with temperatures in the mid-60s, clubs, organizations and companies set up informational booths in the Historic District for attendees to view.
Some of those informational and entertainment booths included archeologist Dr. Darrin Lowery, who is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Delaware; the Chesapeake Independent Blues War of 1812 re-enactors; and exotic animals like camels and zebras.
Lowery, who had multiple tables filled with Eastern Shore artifacts in glass cases, talked with attendees and answered questions about his previous digs and research, and also held general histor y conversations with those engaging him.
Before getting to the wildlife, which also included a tortoise, vendors were set up selling a range of food and drinks. Near the food vendors also was a stage that had performances throughout the day. The musical arrangements included the Chesapeake Bay Community Band, Kent Island Jazz Band, Matapeake Middle School Chorus, Remnant Gospel Singers, Gray and Blue Grass Band, and the Backyard Blues band.
Throughout the day the Kent Island Heritage Society had docents at the Historic Stevensville sites, which were open for people to walk through and experience.
“There’s a great deal to be learned today about this wonderful place we call Kent Island,” Broderick said.
A commemorative float for the Centennial of Kent Island winning its battle against the War Department in 1917 was created by the Kent Island Heritage Society for the Kent Island Day parade in downtown Stevensville on May 20.
Queen Anne’s County Little Miss Farm Bureau Willow Winterstein waves while on the back of a convertible driving through Stevensville in the Kent Island Day parade on May 20.
Nancy Cook walks down the road in Stevensville during the Kent Island Day parade representing the Kent Island Heritage Society. The parade was held on Saturday, May 20.
Josh and Jeff Jaros with Chesapeake Church of Christ were promoting its Vacation Bible School program during the Kent Island Day festivities on Saturday, May 20.