"If you do a survey with visitors and you ask them, Hons wouldn't rank," Hinds said. "Hons wouldn't even be on the radar screen. ... It's not something that people think of, and it's not as if visitors come in the Visitor Center and say, 'Where's the Hon?'"
Though Waters and others may see Honfest as a lampooning of an old Baltimore icon, most folks at Honfest don't look down on the Hon, said Benn Ray, president of the Hampden Village Merchants Association.
"Some people feel as though you have an upper-middle-class suburban group of people that are mocking a working-class Baltimore demographic," Ray said. "But honestly, being at Honfest, I see just as many working-class people enjoying it as suburbanites."
Whether loved or loathed, the hairstyle, festival and that three-letter word have certainly become Baltimore staples, said Ida Slaughter, the owner of 9th Life, a Hampden thrift store. She said she never uses hon in conversation, but she loves dressing up '60s-style and appreciates the droves of people drawn to the neighborhood for the festival.
"The festival is great for Hampden, so I'm not going to knock a Hon when it's beneficial and people seem to enjoy it," Slaughter said. "I guess every place has to have some kind of gimmick."
If you go
Honfest starts tomorrow and continues Sunday along 36th Street in Hampden. Events run 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. tomorrow and noon until 6 p.m. Sunday. Free. For more information, go to honfest.net.