Columbia prepares to party

40 years of Columbia and 40 days of food and fun


March 18, 2007|By Sandy Alexander | Sandy Alexander,sun reporter

Plans are taking shape for an expansive celebration of Columbia's 40th anniversary this summer with 40 days of activities that will include a new three-day celebration at the Town Center lakefront.

The Columbia 40th Birthday Celebration Task Force has hired consultants to organize a City Fair, which will be sponsored by the Columbia Association from June 29 through July 1, said Barbara L. Russell, a Columbia Association board member from Oakland Mills and chairwoman of the task force.

After considering several candidates, the committee chose TPC: The Party Connoisseur, an event-planning company in Bowie, and Signature Space LLC, a project management company in Silver Spring, which submitted a joint proposal.

The consultants will arrange and manage all aspects of the event, including music, food, entertainment, booths for community organizations and businesses, and other activities with approval from the Columbia Association committee.

"I think they are going to be fantastic," said Russell, who described the City Fair as "nonstop entertainment Friday night, Saturday and Sunday ... a total, wonderful, celebratory atmosphere for the whole community."

She said an annual City Fair used to be a popular event that started with a celebration of Columbia's 10th anniversary in 1977. It developed into an independent nonprofit group and continued for more than a decade before it folded, she said.

Russell said several people suggested reviving the City Fair for Columbia's 40th anniversary, and she took the idea to the Columbia Association.

While one committee works on the three-day event, a second committee is seeking organizations and businesses that want to join in the anniversary celebration by helping to offer 40 straight days of activities, starting June 6.

The activities will kick off June 6 with the start of the 2 1/2 -week Columbia Festival of the Arts. The 40 days will include Columbia's July Fourth activities and wrap up with a celebration sponsored by General Growth Properties at Merriweather Post Pavilion on July 15.

The committee is seeking organizations and businesses that want to hold or sponsor an event during the 40-day window. Russell said businesses could also offer something anniversary-related to their customers, if they want to participate.

The activities of participants from throughout the county will be collected onto one calendar that will be available to the public, Russell said.

Further details about the celebration will be announced in the coming weeks.

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