I ask you, Hampden, are you ready to get your HON™ on?
Regardless of how you answer that in the wake of controversy over the trademarking of "HON," this weekend is HONfest, the annual festival founded by Cafe Hon owner Denise Whiting. It takes place Saturday, June 11, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, June 12, from noon to 6 p.m., on The Avenue, West 36th Street.
This year's festival promises to be a more restrained affair. Last year's fest spanned three days and spilled into Roosevelt Park, bringing 65,000 people to Hampden, according to organizers.
While still planning on attracting as many, if not more attendees this year, the festival returns to its two-day format —and its previous Avenue-spanning size between Chestnut Avenue and Falls Road..
And though the festival's aspirations for 2011 may be more conservative, that doesn't mean that folks aren't talking about it. In fact, just about everywhere I went in Hampden this week, people asked me, "So, what do you think about HONfest this year?
And what I think is there is an array of goings-on packed into these two days.
On Saturday, on the Heineken Stage, 900 W. 36th St, you can see the Li'l Miss Hon Contest, The Singing Lucies, Miss Honettes, Dave DeBoy's Crabs for Christmas 30th Anniversary Review, Baltimore's Best Hon, belly dancing, allegiance-pledging, Cruise and the Landis Expandis Show and more.
On the Falls Road Stage, 36th and Falls, will be the School of Rock, Brooks Long Band, Egyptian Cotton, Invasion, Whisky Train and Rob Fahey and the Pieces.
And at the Bacardi Lounge Umbrella Radio Stage, 36th and Chestnut, you can see Geoffry Welchman, Charlie West, Warren Cherry, Russ Haire, Teporah, Janice B., Marc Evans and Red Sammy.
On Sunday on the Heineken Stage, check out the Hypnotic Hons, Elvis tribute artist Tommy El, Baltimore School of Dance, YouTube sensation Mike Butler, more Best Hon competition, Cindee Velle Dancers, the Transporters and more.
The Falls Road Stage will host Qui Lo, Unity Reggae Band, 8 Ohms Band and Whiskerfish on Sunday.
The Barcardi Lounge Umbrella Radio Stage features Paul Iwancio, Joe Scala, Sarah Pinsker, mOsno, and Sahffi on Sunday.
The festival will also include a Glamour Lounge, painted screens, lots of food and tons of vendors.
For more information about the festival, schedule of events and parking, be sure to visit the HONfest website at http://www.honfest.net.