Festival will highlight the county's waterfront

Event will help raise money for aviation museum

May 12, 2006|By KRISTI FUNDERBURK | KRISTI FUNDERBURK,SUN REPORTER

When a dozen seaplanes touch down on Martin's Lagoon, the festival will begin.

The second Baltimore County Community Waterfront Festival, set for tomorrow in Middle River, includes music, food and crafts - and, naturally, a boat show.

It also offers a chance to learn about an aviation pioneer, meet an astronaut and climb into the cockpit of a fighter jet.

Some of the proceeds from the festival, which is designed to highlight the county's 175 miles of waterfront, will go to the Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum.

Throughout the day, visitors can tour the museum's new exhibits and get a close look at a small squadron of aircraft.

About 20,000 people are expected to attend, and $40,000 to $45,000 is expected to be raised, said John Markley, deputy director of the county's Department of Recreation and Parks, which organized the festival.

John Tipton, the aviation museum's marketing communications director, said money from the event will go toward building an education center for engineering and, later, a larger museum.

"We're a small museum, a little unknown and out of the way," he said, "but we want to become a cultural destination point for the community."

Another beneficiary of the festival, which will run from 10 a.m. to dusk, is the Marshy Point Nature Center in Chase. Shuttle buses will run between the festival site, near Martin State Airport, to the nature center. There, visitors can take boat tours and nature hikes, and see reptile exhibits, and children can learn about building wooden boats.

"It's really an exceptional array of things kids and families can do together," said Hal Ashman, the nature center's council president.

The Marine Trades Association of Baltimore County will stage a show with more than 100 boats. Tours on a skipjack will be offered, and boats will be for sale.

The Essex/Middle River/White Marsh Chamber of Commerce is helping organize the food for the event, Markley said. Restaurants, including River Watch Restaurant and Marina and Island View Waterfront CafM-i, will be selling food.

The festival also includes airplane and helicopter rides, plane flybys and a look inside news helicopters.

Volunteer fire companies will demonstrate water rescues, and county public school choral groups and country musicians, are scheduled to perform.

The first county waterfront festival, in October 2004, raised money for victims of Tropical Storm Isabel.

Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith said in a written statement that the festival is a celebration of the county's revitalization and the "energy, spirit and optimism of Baltimore County's neighborhoods."

For this year's festival, the aviation museum created an exhibit to tell the story of Glenn L. Martin, who started a company that attracted 50,000 workers to eastern Baltimore County.

In the back of the museum is the Maryland Room, where an exhibit is dedicated to Tom Jones, a former NASA astronaut who flew four shuttle missions. Jones, who grew up in eastern Baltimore County, is scheduled to speak at the festival.

The seaplanes are to take off from the lagoon at 5 p.m.

The festival will conclude with a fireworks display after dark.

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