Es­sex Day 2018!

The Avenue News - - FRONT PAGE - By: GIANNA DECARLO gde­carlo@ches­pub.com

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.

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