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 Elementary 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 history 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.
The Stevensville Middle School Band played tunes through the streets of Stevensville during the Kent Island Day parade on May 20.
Character Counts! Coordinator Elaine Butler, left, walks through Stevensville in the Kent Island Day parade on May 20 with Commissioners Jim Moran and Jack Wilson.
Dale Kinnamon leads the Maryland Rough Riders down the streets of Stevensville on Saturday, May 20, as the group participated in the 2017 Kent Island Day parade.
Community members marvel at the camels at the Kent Island Day parade on Saturday, May 20, in Stevensville.
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.
Jack Shaum, retired reporter with the Bay Times newspaper and WBAL radiohost, was the announcer during the Kent Island Day parade on Saturday, May 20, in Stevensville.
Galilee Lutheran Church of Chester members throw candy at the on-lookers of the 2017 Kent Island Day parade in Stevensville on May 20.
Members of the Shooting Stars 4-H Club participate in the 2017 Kent Island Day parade in Stevensville on Saturday, May 20.
Blacksmith Mike Bouchal bends metal during the Kent Island Day festivities in Stevensville on Saturday, May 20.
Archeologist Dr. Darrin Lowery talks with locals about historic artifacts from Kent Island during the annual Kent Island Day celebration on May 20.
Alivia Pyles, right, gets her face painted during Kent Island Day on May 20 by Amber Englebuch Wachowiz.
Local author Brent Lewis chats with County Commissioner Jack Wilson during Kent Island Day on May 20.
Bob Marsteller, dressed up as Uncle Sam, walks in the Kent Island Day parade on Saturday, May 20.
Chris Algiere with Chesapeake Independent Blues, a War of 1812 re-enactment group, stands on guard during the 2017 Kent Island Day festivities in Stevensville on Saturday, May 20.