Balto. Co. plans waterfront festival

Oct. 2 event will feature boat show, fireworks

September 01, 2004|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County plans to hold a festival next month in Middle River, using fireworks, music and food to attract a crowd to its waterfront, officials announced yesterday.

The festival is scheduled Oct. 2 on Martin's Lagoon, on property that is being considered for a major development project. The event also will be a fund-raiser to benefit residents rebuilding from Tropical Storm Isabel, county officials said.

Local businesses, including restaurants, the Baltimore County Marine Trades Association and Lockheed Martin Corp., are covering the costs or donating services for the festival, County Executive James T. Smith Jr. said at a news conference yesterday morning.

The festival will be held on Lockheed Martin property, where the aerospace giant is developing plans for a hotel, waterfront condominiums and shopping on the deep-water lagoon near Martin State Airport. The development would be a key part of the revitalization of Baltimore County's east side.

Smith said the festival is designed to celebrate the county's 175 miles of waterfront and to "show that our eastern county communities have come back stronger than ever."

Events planned include a boat show, sailing demonstrations, airplane and helicopter rides, fly-bys of War Bird airplanes, jazz and choral music, arts and crafts, and wine and food tastings.

"We didn't want it to be a carnival type of event," said Robert Barrett, the county's recreation and parks director. "Instead of the usual funnel cakes, we're hoping there will be more crab cakes. ... You'll see the local flair and flavors."

The portion of Martin Boulevard along the water will be closed during the festival, which will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude with a fireworks display at dusk. Festivalgoers will enter the area from Wilson Point Road, said Ellen Kobler, a county spokeswoman.

Admission is free, but donations will be solicited for the Essex-Middle River Chamber of Commerce Isabel Victims Fund. Officials said they are also hoping that the event will re-energize volunteer efforts to help residents trying to recover from damage caused by last year's tropical storm.

The rain date for the festival is Oct. 3.

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