It got out of hand. It was supposed to be a bicycle parade, or maybe a walk on the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail. That's all.
But "it just grew," said Muriel Carter, president of the Glen Burnie Improvement Association.
What it grew into is a five-hour health and safety fair set for Saturday at the GBIA carnival grounds, featuring a melange of events, demonstrations and exhibits.
The fair celebrates the opening of the nation's 500th rails-to-trails project, the conversion of unused train beds into hiking and cycling paths. The milestone trail is the Minuteman Trail in Boston, officially opening on Saturday, said county Park Superintendent David Dionne.
The original idea was to have a low-key walk or bike parade for children on the 13.3 mile Baltimore and Annapolis Trail. But plans changed radically over the summer. The GBIA is pumping $2,000 into the fair; dozens of stores and organizations, as well as three county agencies, will be represented.
"I hope we'd get around 500 people. I'd be thrilled if we'd get more," said Katherine DeGrange, fair co-chairman with Ms. Carter.
"The way it's turning out, we hope we can do it again next year," Ms. Carter said, admitting that she'd like to see this become an annual community event.
The day will begin at 9 a.m. with a one-mile fun walk, featuring prizes for the most colorful attire, funniest hat and most unusual socks. Prizes are $60 certificates toward shoes at the Athlete's Foot at Marley Station mall.
At 10 a.m., a bike parade will take children up the trail, from M Street to the GBIA building. Prizes for the best-decorated bike will be given in two age groups, under 6 and 6 to 12. Helmets, knee pads and reflectors will be given.
Starting at 10 a.m. and running throughout the day will be free raffles for a $200 certificate toward a bicycle at the Pedal Pushers Bicycle Shop in Severna Park, a child safety seat and a certificate for a bicycle tune-up at Pedal Pushers, Ms. Carter said.
"We are promoting bike safety," Mr. Dionne said. "Kids can get their bikes checked for free."
Bolt-tightening and other minor work will be done courtesy of Old Mill Cycles Inc. in Millersville, the Pedal Pushers and the Bike Doctor Inc. in Arnold, he said.
County police will check bikes for safety and test cycling skills in a bike rodeo.
Health-related features will include a toothbrush exchange, sponsored by the county Health Department and the Anne Arundel Dental Society. Anyone under 18 can exchange a used toothbrush for a new one. Free blood pressure checks will be done by the Glen Burnie Volunteer Fire Company. Exhibits will include spotlight prevention of sports injuries.
Safety exhibits will include pedestrian safety, fire prevention featuring Sparky the fire prevention dog, crime prevention featuring McGruff the crime dog, auto safety featuring crash dummies Vince and Larry, and "buckle-up bunnies" to teach children how to buckle seat belts.
The Oriole Bird will appear from 10 to 11 a.m.
Jazzercise instructor Millie Swenson will lead demonstrations to music; the Extension Service homemakers will present exhibits on nutrition; there will be rollerblading demonstrations; refreshments will be sold to benefit several community organizations.
In case of rain, some of the events, such as the fun walk, will be canceled, and the rest will be held in the GBIA building.
Also marking the 500th rails-to-trails project will be a seven-mile run mostly on the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail, starting at 9 a.m. Sunday, Mr. Dionne said.
The race is sponsored by North Arundel Hospital and the county Department of Recreation and Parks. The entrance fee is $13 in advance and $15 on race day; proceeds will benefit the hospital's pediatric unit.
When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Glen Burnie carnival grounds at the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail, First Avenue S.E., Glen Burnie. (In case of rain, in the GBIA building.)
Scheduled events: 9 a.m., one-mile fun walk; 10 a.m., bicycle parade; 1:30 p.m., fire prevention poster contest awards.
Information: Glen Burnie Improvement Association, 766-6760.