Essex Day 2017 info inside!
IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN!
In just a few days, the 400-500 blocks of Eastern Blvd. will be filled with music, laughter, vendors, rides, and the smell of freshly fried funnel cakes and handmade crab cakes as Essex Day gets ready to celebrate its 42nd year.
On Sunday, September 17, the Essex community will come together and experience the best the area has to offer. Music will fill the air from three stages with a full day of live performances, people will get to browse rows upon rows of vendor stands, selling everything from snowballs to Scentsy, and a stage fully devoted to children’s karaoke will let your little ones sing their hearts out.
This year will also welcome several new attractions, such as pony rides, fully-costumed superheroes and characters from Chuck’s Comics in Essex, and a chance to meet and take a selfie with real-life ghostbusters.
However, among all this excitement and entertainment, Essex Day, at its core, is about community.
“I have always said it has been like a family reunion because there are people there that you won’t see anywhere else but at Essex Day, and it is always great to reignite those friendships, and meet up with old buddies and have those conversations,” said Del. Ric Metzgar, one of the festival’s cochairs.
Joe DiCara, one of the other cochairs, explained that Essex Day arose out of “Super Sunday”, an event started in the 70s where families and neighbors would come out and congregate at the town center and raise money for local projects, such as the restoration of Ballestone-Stansbury House.
“The evolution was from that to what you see now, it’s actually expanded so much that it now consumes everything from Woodward Drive to Mace Ave.,” he said.
While Essex Day has been a community tradition for decades, getting everything organized and put together in time this year was not a simple task.
Between committee members stepping down and a growing todo list of responsibilities, Metzgar said they only had around 60 days to get the festival ready. But they made it work, and the two men credit a strong and devoted task force of volunteers for making the festival possible.
“It was a group effort, it’s not just one of two people doing everything, it’s taken a real group to make this happen,” said Metzgar.
DiCara echoes his sentiments, adding that the group has welcomed many new members, most of which are also Essex residents who wanted to do something good for their community.
“That’s the best that you can get because they have a stake in this whole thing,” he said.
And to answer the question that has been on everybody’s mind since last Essex Day, yes, there will be rides this year!
Many Essex Day attendants were disappointed last year when there weren’t any rides at the festival. DiCara explains that the company they hired to man the rides went out of business and they didn’t tell the organizers until the morning of Essex Day.
Calling the ordeal “frustrating”, DiCara said they took every precaution to avoid such a fate this year and that attendants can expect the full gamut of tilt-awhirls, mini-roller coasters, and other carnival favorites.
Metzgar and DiCara both say Essex Day is one way to shift the perceptions of Essex by showing off all that we offer. We’re not rebrand- ing, explained DiCara, we’re just shining a spotlight on all the good that we have in our own little part of Baltimore County.
“This is about reminding every one of the mission. The mission is calling positive attention to the community. Every community has crime, every community as rental properties, and the mission is to encourage people who are not familiar with the area to look at it as a place to do business and to live,” said DiCara. “Essex Day tries to say, ‘Look, this is where we are, this is who we are, these are some of the features and benefits of being here.”’
Metzgar added that you will never see Essex cleaner than it is on the week of Essex Day. The festival inspires a sense of pride within the residents and pushes them to want to take care of their community. He recalls seeing volunteers pick up trash and pluck weeds around Eastern Blvd. to prepare for the event.
“Everybody pitches in,” he said. “That’s Essex for you.”
The Essex Day Festival will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For more information on Essex Day and a full schedule and list of vendors, visit www.essexdayfestival.com.
See you there!