Essex Day 2018 pushes messages of community, change, and growth
For the months leading up to the 43rd year of the Essex Day Festival, organizers had excitedly promised the event would be new and improved and bigger and better than ever.
They were proven correct as the 400-500 blocks of Eastern Blvd. were filled with residents, music, food, vendors, rides, and more on the sunny afternoon of Sept. 22.
Several changes contributed to the success, such as moving the event to a Saturday, adding a new musical stage with headliners provided by Starleigh Entertainment, and new attractions such as a beer garden and a Kid’s Zone.
“We’re here for one rea- son- to celebrate Essex,” said U.S. Rep. C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-2) dur- ing the opening ceremonies. “If you look at our country, and you look at what makes a difference, it’s coming together as citizens. Essex is clearly what America is about- family values, patriotism, hard work, that’s what it’s about.”
The officials made note that the event wouldn’t have
been possible with months of work and planning from organizers and volunteers.
“It takes hard work and labor to get this all together and there’s a handful of people that should be recognized for getting this stuff as it is, so many blocks of people and vendors,” said State Sen. Johnny Ray Salling (R6).
Resident and “Baltimore Baritone” Joe DiCara was recognized for his participation every Essex Day event for 43 years.
DiCara said the event was about individuals, but how everyone worked as a team. He told the audience to look into the crowd for the volunteers wearing the bright red shirts.
“When you see them, thank them for doing this. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes and it just doesn’t happen like magic.”
Many speakers also voiced the sentiment that Essex Day represents a new era of growth, advancement, and improvement for the community.
“I believe Essex is on the up-move,” said Del. Bob Long (R-6). “I see things happening around here and it’s an honor to be down here.”
The event was dedicated to four people who had passed away this year that had left a mark on the Essex community. Author and activist Anna Renault, former Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Ofc. Amy Caprio, and community organizer Geroge Wilbanks were all represented by a black chair with a white rose at the base of the main stage.
Salling gave special recognition to Wilbanks saying he was “instrumental in running the Essex Day festival for many, many years.”
He presented a citation from the Maryland General Assembly to his family.
“George was a great figure of the community and his memory still lives on,” said Salling.
The event featured musical performances by local favorites such as Red Dirt Revolution and Dean Crawford, a record list of vendors and new attractions on every street corner, bringing out people from all over the County to experience what sets Essex apart.
Although official attendance numbers are not yet in, Essex Day 2018 was markedly a success and will only grow and improve in the upcoming years, said its organizers.
For more photos of the event, visit www.avenuenews.com.