A chip off a festive block

Fleet Street Fling aims to draw attention to an artistic, diverse street just north of the hub of Fells Point

June 15, 2006|By MARC SHAPIRO | MARC SHAPIRO,SUN REPORTER

There's a little block just outside of the heart of Fells Point that may be somewhat overlooked.

Since the 1900 block of Fleet St. is on the outskirts of the more happening area, businesses there have put together an event to turn some heads. Called the Fleet Street Fling, it runs all day Saturday.

"It's just a nice little thing that brings the community together and gives us a chance to showcase our street," says Tom Rivers, one of the organizers of the event and the owner of restaurant and bar Ale Mary's.

Fleet Street will be alive with arts, crafts, music, food and family fun, the goal being to attract attention to this artistically rich and diverse neighborhood. Rivers is hoping that the event will help make the area more well-traveled.

"We don't get a lot of foot traffic," he says, "and there's a lot of cool little things on this street that not a lot of people know about." In addition to several art galleries, shops and restaurants, the street has a Segway dealership. Rivers notes it's fairly routine to see onlookers puzzled and intrigued by Segway tours.

Organizers hope the block will be hopping for seven hours. Streets will be filled with artists, jewelry makers and craftspeople displaying and selling their work. Luann Carra, owner of art gallery/gift shop Zoe's Garden, says the Fleet Street Fling is a great opportunity for local artists to exhibit their work together.

"All the artists hang together, and they're really jazzed up about having their stuff on display," says Carra, whose mosaics and paintings will be on display.

She also notes some of the more atypical artists who will be there, such as woodworkers and T-shirt makers. She said she was particularly excited about some "really amazing jewelry makers" and the addition of many fine artists.

The day's festivities will include a fashion show from LaJeans, a disc jockey spinning throughout the day and karaoke. Visitors will be able to check out foods from area restaurants and have their portraits drawn. For those looking to get their bodies in tune, Zoe's Garden will be giving free massages and yoga demonstrations.

Ale Mary's will be grilling hamburgers and wings outside and serving other items from its menu "picnic grill style," as Rivers says. The restaurant's corner of the street has been designated as the beer garden, where wine will be served as well.

This party isn't just for grown-ups, though. Kids can watch a magic show, get their faces painted and jump around on a moon bounce.

Rivers says the Fleet Street Fling was an idea that came from crab feasts years ago and grew into the community block party that it is now. Although it took a break last year, he says it will be an annual event. All of the proceeds will be invested back into the block for new planters, flags and plants.

"It's going to be a really fun day for the community," Carra says.

The Fleet Street Fling is Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the 1900 block of Fleet St.. The event is free. For more information, call 410-276-2044 or e-mail info@alemarys.com.

marc.shapiro@baltsun.com

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