Caroline celebrates summer
DENTON — Caroline County celebrated summer and achievement at the 29th annual Caroline Summerfest in downtown Denton.
The street party was held on Market Street between 1st and 3rd streets on Friday, Aug. 18, and Saturday, Aug. 19, culminating with a large fireworks display over downtown Saturday night. The event featured three performance stages,
nonprofit food and craft vendors, KidzArt!, a car show and the annual Rivah Run.
Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford made his third trip to Caroline Summerfest during a visit to Denton Saturday, Aug. 19. Rutherford joined local athletes at the main stage to present the athletes proclamations for their outstanding achievement in 2017.
He awarded proclamations to North Caroline High School’s state championship softball team, state champion wrestlers Alex Eaton and Tyler Bauer, the 9- and 10-year-old Caroline Little League Maryland state championship team and local gold medal winners in the Maryland Special Olympics.
“It is very special to be here at Caroline Summerfest and meet these outstanding athletes,” Rutherford said. “We are proud to recognized their hard work and achievements.”
State Del. Jeff Ghrist, R-36-Caroline, led the ceremony, and he was joined by fellow Eastern Shore Delegation members Sen. Addie Eckardt, R-37-MidShore; Del. Chris Adams, R-37B-Wicomico; state Del. Johnny Mautz, R-37B-Talbot; and Del. Jay Jacobs, R36-Kent.
Denton Mayor Abigail McNinch and the Denton Town Council presented the athletes with proclamations, along with county commissioners Dan Franklin, Wilbur Levengood and Larry Porter.
The Special Olympians earning gold medals included Abigail Alton, basketball; E.J. Alton, basketball; Mason Thomas, basketball and swimming; Bradley Cowell, swimming; Abigail Gibbons, basketball and swimming; Kelsey Rowe, swimming; Todd Pulleyn, basketball, swimming and golf; Rebecca Gibbons, swimming; Caitlyn McCormick, swimming; and Ryan Freeman, basketball and golf.
The North Caroline High softball team included Ali Ward, Megan Robbins, Azalie Haro, Mackenzie Werner, Brea Bishop, Emily Ward, Kiley Macmillan, Sarah Kintop, Kolby Downes, Alexandria Penn, Lauren Williamson, Sarah Mast, Abigail Trice, Aubree Strange, Hayden Smith and Kendall Dixon. The coaches were Andrea Ward, Jody Ward, Henry Ward, Brenda Murphy and Mike Penn.
The Caroline Little League included Abby Gunther, Anijah Hammond, Anna Hutchison, Autumn Huber, Eileen Johnson, Hatteras Ghrist, Jaylyn Jackson, Katelyn Tribbit, Madelyn Porter, Natellie Newman, Rebbecca Wroten and Tyonna Singletary. They were coached by Barrett Spencer, Matt Ghrist and Lee Hutchison.
After the presentations to the athletes, Rutherford greeted festival goers and met with organization members set up along Market Street. He also looked at the classic cars parked along 1st Street.
“I always enjoy looking at these cars,” Rutherford said. “The owners do a great job of restoring them. They really do a great job showcasing the cars.
“It is always great to visit Caroline Summerfest,” he said. “It is great seeing the community come out for the event. It supports so many organizations. I’m happy to be able to come and visit here.”
Friday featured the opening ceremony and performances by the Colonel Richardson High School Spirit of the Revolution Band and the North Caroline High School Band of Blue. The bands played the National Anthem together, and then the drumlines performed.
The bands then moved to opposite ends of Market Street to perform songs from their respective field shows, however, a threat of severe weather cut the performances short.
Caroline Summerfest had not seen rain in nearly a decade, but storms had been brewing all day Friday. Summerfest officials and emergency personnel kept the community aware of the weather threat.
Once the severe weather threat reached the Eastern Shore, officials cleared downtown Denton, giving the community nearly an hour to seek shelter and prepare vendor booths for the incoming weather.
McNinch praised Summerfest officials and emergency personnel for giving people plenty of time to seek shelter.
“Sue Simmons, her volunteers and the emergency services did an outstanding job preparing for the weather,” she said. “The community knew before the event began there was a chance for bad weather with officials communicating on social media.
“Once the storms got to the Eastern Shore, they altered everyone to seek shelter,” she said. “We still had a lot of people come out on Friday. The buses transported people to their cars. Vendors had plenty of time to hunker-down. There was never a rush because the community received the warnings about an hour before storms hit.”
Summerfest did continue Friday, even with heavy rains and lightning. The Caroline County Public Library had a crowd gathered inside to watch several performances.
“We had another great Caroline Summerfest,” McNinch said. “We did have rain but it did not stop the celebration. This event is about our community and our local organizations and all the great things they have to offer. The volunteers put on another outstanding show.”
The 29th annual Caroline Summerfest in downtown Denton culminated Saturday, Aug. 19, with a fireworks display.
Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford awards certificates to local gold medal winners in the Maryland Special Olympics at Caroline Summerfest Saturday, Aug. 19.
Ka’Nyha Raikes performs with the Colonel Richardson High marching band at Caroline Summerfest in Denton Friday, Aug. 18.