Clouds or no, Towson fest shines on

About 200,000 people are expected to attend 2-day event ending today

May 06, 2001|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

Slightly overcast weather did nothing to cloud the enthusiasm yesterday at the Towsontown Spring Festival.

The 34th annual festival drew thousands who strolled, ate and enjoyed the pleasant weather. On one stage, martial-arts experts gave demonstrations; down the street, Towson University cheerleaders whipped up the crowd.

"Kids love stuff like this," said Brandy Childs of Lansdowne, as she guided son Bryan, 2, and daughter Courtney, 5, away from a body-painting stand.

Traditionally held the first weekend in May, the event is sponsored by the Towson Business Association to raise awareness of the area and funding for local programs.

"We are one of the largest outdoor street festivals on the East Coast," said Susan K. DiLonardo, executive director of the business association. "We are expecting about 200,000 people this year over the two-day period."

John Feeley brought a group of about 25 volunteers from Towson Presbyterian church to help out for the day. With so many visitors expected yesterday and today when the festival runs from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., there is a lot of work to be done, Feeley said.

"It's a combination of go-fer and trash pickup," said Feeley, who added that the group uses the money it makes at the festival to take a summer mission trip. "We clean up and do any of the heavy lifting the merchants might need done."

The festival has grown over the years, DiLonardo said, and draws a mix of old and new visitors and vendors.

"We have some vendors who have been coming back for 20 years or more," she said. "We used to have three stages, and this year we have five, so we have definitely gotten bigger."

About 400 vendors hawked everything from funnel cakes to dolls, as the aroma of Italian sausages and crab cakes wafted through the air. Twelve blocks were cordoned off for the day, with thousands of people wandering among the booths, stages and three beer gardens.

Mitchell Jaglo thrilled those waiting in line at Ostrowski's booth at the intersection of Washington and Pennsylvania avenues with his animated shaking of fresh, squeezed lemonade and limeade.

"I'm shaking this lemonade because I believe in these festivals," said Jaglo, a laboratory manager at EBA Engineering Inc. who works weekends at Ostrowski's in Fell's Point. "We have been at this same corner in this same festival for the past 20 years."

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