Spring fest arrives in Towson today

May 01, 2004|By Jennifer McMenamin | Jennifer McMenamin,SUN STAFF

Revelers can try karaoke, buy stained-glass art and hear Baltimore's mayor rock out with his Irish band. They can also eat a Chicago-style hot dog, reminisce about Beatlemania and board an inflatable cruise ship.

It's all part of the annual tradition known as the Towsontown Spring Festival. This year's fete begins at 10 a.m. today and continues tomorrow, capping a weeklong celebration of the 150th anniversary of Towson's selection as the county seat.

Organizers expect about 400 vendors and between 150,000 and 200,000 attendees at the 37th annual event, which sprawls outward from its hub at Pennsylvania and Washington avenues in the heart of Towson.

"People just put it on their calendar and come back every year because there's always plenty to eat, lots of artisans and information," said Suzan Doordan, executive director of the Towson Business Association, which sponsors the festival.

Among this year's new additions are a karaoke competition that festival organizers have jokingly named "Towson Star Search." Opening rounds are scheduled for 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. today on the information stage at Washington and Pennsylvania avenues. The finals are slated for 4 p.m. today.

This weekend's entertainment will include Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley's band, O'Malley's March, and Beatwater, an ensemble that pays tribute in appearance and sound to the Beatles.

Beatwater takes the stage this morning while O'Malley's March kicks off tomorrow afternoon's entertainment.

Towering over the festivities will be an inflatable replica of a Royal Caribbean cruise liner. The 80-foot-long, 45-foot-tall ship will house a digital theater that shows a four-minute video clip about the cruise line, its destinations and ship features.

"With Maryland having so many rivers and the ocean, and Towson being almost landlocked, it will be a unique visual," Doordan said. Acknowledging that the ship - which requires four hours to inflate - has nothing to do with Towson or its sesquicentennial, she added, "It's a showstopper for sure."

Also new this year will be an expanded children's area. In addition to the pony rides that are offered every year, the kids' section will have a play area where, for $8 per child, kids can play as long as they like on a moon bounce, obstacle course and other inflatable rides.

Proceeds from the festival, which have totaled $50,000 to $70,000 each year, help the business association "keep Towson perky and pretty," Doordan said.

The association, for example, paid for the red welcome banners that hang along most downtown streets and the plantings in public places.

Festival schedule

The Towsontown Spring Festival runs today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and tomorrow from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The festival will have five stages, offering music, entertainment, karaoke competitions, children's activities and informational presentations.

Here's the schedule for the main platform, the Plaza Garden Stage, located on Court House Plaza.


11:30 a.m. Beatwater, 40th-anniversary tribute to the Beatles

1:30 p.m. Great Train Robbery, classic rock

4 p.m. Tony Berry & New Money, Motown sound


1 p.m. O'Malley's March, Celtic music

2:30 p.m. The Ravyns "Baltimore Legends" reunion concert, known for "Raised on the Radio"

4 p.m. The Juveniles, oldies

The complete schedule of events can be found at www. towsontownspringfestival.com

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.