Columbia City Fair celebrates town's 26th birthday Festivities kick off today at lakefront

June 18, 1993|By Rona Hirsch | Rona Hirsch,Contributing Writer

It's got all the makings of a great party -- good food, loud music and a simulated car crash. After all, it's not every day a planned community celebrates its 26th birthday.

But celebrate it must. Beginning at 6 p.m. today, the Columbia City Fair opens at the Kittamaqundi Lakefront in Columbia Town Center for a three-day birthday bash commemorating the birth and growth of the town.

Featuring live entertainment, international cuisine and dramatic demonstrations ranging from Tai Kwon Do Plus to the ominous GEICO Seat Belt Convincer, the 17th annual fair promises to enlighten visitors to Columbia's organizations and accomplishments.

"Community organizations will educate you, entertain you and make sure that you are well fed and refreshed," fair director Connie Kraft said. "The goal is to show you they're here and how you can become a part of them, or to raise money for scholarships to give back to the community."

The fair's theme, "Celebrate Columbia," will be reflected in the 18 presentations and 160 display booths represented by the 40 businesses, 70 community groups, and 25 artisans and crafts people exhibiting their products and services.

Planning for the $80,000 event began in November, said Ms. Kraft who, in her sixth year as director, has been been involved with the fair for 16 years.

The theme represents the same goals of the first fair held on Columbia's 10th birthday.

"The fair celebrates Columbia's uniqueness, history, community and businesses, to learn what Columbia has to offer," said Linda Elengold, fair promotions manager.

Organizers expect about 50,000 visitors over the next three days, despite predictions of 90-degree plus temperatures.

"If it'll be hot, they get to buy more lemonade," Ms. Kraft said. "It's cool by the lake. They can find a shady spot where they can listen to the entertainment."

Guests can relax to the sounds of jazz, folk, reggae and rock, observe three martial arts demonstrations and two gymnastic presentations, or watch a simulated 5-mph car crash with crash dummies.

Scores of health and social service organizations, educational foundations, medical plans, fraternities and alumni groups ranging from Grassroots and the Domestic Violence Center to the Black Student Achievement Program and Alpha Phi Alpha will provide information about their services.

A county government booth manned at selected times by County Executive Charles I. Ecker will afford residents the opportunity to speak their minds. The unconvinced can stroll over to a voter registration booth.

Frustrations can be relieved at a dunking booth -- dunkees courtesy of the Howard County Fire Fighters Association.

There will also be a device that measures baseball pitching speed, and visitors who successfully sink baskets may win tickets to a Washington Bullets basketball game.

The icing on the celebration will be the official cake-cutting ceremony. "Huge sheet cakes" for the town's birthday will be given to the first 1,000 celebrants, Ms. Elengold said.

"But we feed kids under 12 first," she said.

In a "tribute to all of Columbia's talented youngsters," Backstage Dance studio will present selected dances followed by Howard High School students performing excerpts from their spring production of the musical "Grease."

Cash prizes and gift certificates will be awarded to county student winners of the City Fair Poster and Columbia Birthday Essay contests.

Entertainment geared for children includes a performance by the Blue Sky Puppet Theatre; a sing-along with Partners in Song; a Children's Corner, featuring a hands-on arts and crafts area for 3- to 10-year-olds where they can design Father's Day cards and sand or pasta art; and five kiddie carnival rides.

At a fair that promises something for everyone, the La Leche League offers nursing mothers tent-enclosed rocking chairs and changing tables.

Finally, for Columbia-obsessed fans, the Columbia Association and The Sun for Howard County offer a Columbia trivia contest. The association will award stickers to winners at the Columbia Welcome Center. Sun readers must send in their answers by Aug. 1 to be eligible for cash awards.

Young Sun readers who entered the Kids Coloring Contest may turn in their completed works of art at the Sun booth to reap their rewards.

COLUMBIA CITY FAIR SCHEDULE

Friday, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Learn about county community organizations, meet local businesses, shop for handmade arts and crafts, and enjoy a variety of foods from around the world.

Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.

Early-Bird Ride Special, 10 a.m. to noon. All rides are 50 cents each.

Children's Corner, noon to 5 p.m. Features a hands-on arts and crafts area for 3- to 10-year-olds in tents at the north end of the Columbia Association building near the North Stage. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Sunday, noon to 9 p.m.

Fun Run/Walk, 9 a.m. Participants may run or walk the Howard County Striders' two-mile course around Town Center. Registration will be from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the starting point, 5550 Sterrett Place.

Children's Corner, noon to 5 p.m. Features a hands-on arts and crafts area for 3- to 10-year-olds in tents at the north end of the Columbia Association building near the North Stage. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Cake Cutting, 2 p.m. At South Stage with entertainment by Backstage Dance.

All three days

Admission is free.

Free entertainment will be offered on two stages.

Carnival rides and games: Tickets are 75 cents. Each ride requires one to three tickets. Half-day hand stamps are available for $8.

Foods from across the country and around the world will be available.

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