Essex Day 2018!
Since the festivities last September, the organizers of Essex Day have promised that the 2018 celebration will be bigger and better than ever when it takes over Eastern Blvd. on Saturday, September 22.
“As many years as I have been involved in Essex Day, I am more excited over this year’s event than any of the previous years,” said Del. Ric Metzgar (R-6) who is a member of the Essex Day Committee.
Metzgar credits this enthusiasm to several changes coming to the over 40-yearold community tradition, a face-lift that he calls “complete redesign.”
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 charities an organizations. While the event has remained a part of eastern Baltimore County history, it was time for some modern upgrades.
“The day after Essex Day last year, a new board was formed and everybody sat down together and we made the determination to change this festival for the better,” said Brian Marchetti, who jokingly calls himself the “unofficial spokesperson” of the Essex Day Committee.
The most significant aspect of this overhaul is that Essex Day will take place on Saturday instead of the third Sunday of the month.
He explained that for years the festival has had to compete with Ravens football games.
While the idea of moving the event to a Saturday had been tossed around, it never stuck. However, when Marchetti was asked to join the Essex Day board last year he agreed only on the condition
that Essex Day be held on a Saturday.
There will also be extended hours. Essex Day will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., giving vendors and attendees three more hours to sell, browse, and enjoy.
The committee also worked out a partnership with Starleigh Entertainment in order to bring some new and some favorite musical acts to the stage.
Starleigh will bring headliners such as the quirky hiphop/country band Kanye Twitty and local favorite county band Red Dirt Revolution to rock the streets.
A fourth stage has been added this year and dubbed the “HomeGrown stage”. This space will be used to spotlight a diverse mixture of Maryland-based musicians, giving these local acts a chance to get on stage and show off their talents.
Other shiny new features include a pie-eating contest, a beer garden, and more children’s activities. Metzgar said that this year, more than ever, there has been much more community input from residents and businesses about what they wanted to see at Essex Day.
With these changes, Marchetti said that they expect around 18,000 attendees over the 8 hours, a big jump from the average of around 1013,000 visitors. He says that, if the weather holds up, they could reach 20,000, a turnout which would be “monumental”.
As of last week, vendors and musical acts were still be added to the line-up.
Last year’s Essex Day almost didn’t happen. The whole event was put together in under 60 days due to committee members leaving the organization and a general lack of volunteers.
However, they made it happen thanks to assistance from organizers from Dundalk.
“The community from Dundalk came over the bridge and worked together to make this a great day. So it’s an Essex Day that we’ve combined with a lot of the volunteers from Dundalk and this is going to be the best year we ever have,” said Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) during last year’s opening ceremonies. “That’s what I love about Essex and Dundalk, when our citizens have a problem, whatever that may be, we come together as one.”
“Part of the goal is to not only give back to the community but to expose people from outside and let them see what we have to offer,” said Marchetti.
He said that commerce has diminished in Essex over recent years as businesses have closed or moved and economic changes have influenced the community. He hopes to give Essex a second life by showing off the community spirit and all the neighborhood has to offer, for both locals and those over the Back River Bridge.
Despite the kinks in 2017, the new Essex Day Committee is sure that this year’s event is only the start.
“The board wants to give back, and all of the volunteers worked really, really, hard to put together something that is amazing.”
The Essex Day Committee is made up of Metzgar, Marchetti, Lisa Harlow, Angel Ball, Paul Rufe, and Will Feuer. Marchetti said that each one of them brought their own skills to the table and were “instrumental in creating what we have now.”
“Essex Day hasn’t even happened yet and we already know it’s huge. You saw what we did with 60 days last year, so I’m excited to see what we were able to do with 365.”
For more information on Essex Day and a full schedule and list of vendors, visit www.essexdayfestival.com.