ESSEX — After cancellation due to COVID-19 last year, one of the community’s most anticipated summer gatherings, the Essex Day Festival, is in full swing this year on Sept. 18, and the organizing committee is welcoming children and families back for a day of fun, excitement and interesting activities.
“Essex is designed to bring the community together,” festival board member Brian Marchetti said. “Our goal is to have something that appeals to people of all ages.”
In recent years, over 10,000 people have attended the Essex Day Festival, and the board expects this year’s 46th annual Essex Day to be no different.
“We are looking forward to seeing faces that we have not seen for a while, in addition to some new faces,” another board member Lisa Harlow said. “It is important for people to get out, meet their neighbors and see what Essex has to offer.”
Over 120 food and craft vendors, many of whom are local, will be on hand throughout the event location, and attendees can expect other features and attractions, such as an antique and classic car show (nearly twice the size of previous years’ shows), carnival games and a kids fun zone.
“I am excited to have everyone back this year,” Harlow said. “It will be a fun event that is great for everyone.”
A musical feast of gospel and rock and roll is expected as well, starting at 12 p.m.. Starleigh Entertainment, an agency representing much of Baltimore’s top live entertainment, is sponsoring the event and has asked four local bands to play a show, including In-Tension, Sugar Jack, Glamour Kitty, and headliner AWAKEN, who will close the line-up for the evening.
Meanwhile, on another stage called the Circle of Faith, others will be performing, including Three Bridges and Elvis impersonator Randoll Rivers. Also, strolling entertainment such as stiltwalkers, and a dunk tank will also be available for visitors to see and enjoy.
The Heritage Society of Essex and Middle River’s Heritage Museum will be open from 11-4 p.m. on Essex day, for those who may never have seen the objects collected over the years.
To start the event, a parade will travel down the street, covering roughly two-thirds of the event space, and it leads into an opening ceremony that will start at 11:15.
Marchetti said that the festival brings neighbors together and promotes camaraderie among people who live in the same community with one another.
“It is no secret that communities have have drifted away from a sense of unity over the past few years, but with this, we can bring the community together again, and give people an inexpensive day to create as many memories as possible,” he said.
He added that the festival is a family-friendly event that offers something special for everyone, while also keeping with the tradition of previous Essex Day festivals, which date back to 1975.
“I expect the festival to be hugely successful, purely based on the fact that people are hungry to get out and are looking for something to do,” he said.
The board, he said, started work to organize the festival nearly a year in advance.
“We work hard to create something that is magical for the community,” he said, “and we want people to come out and experience everything that we have to offer.”
Essex Day Festival Event Schedule
Starleigh Entertainment Main Stage
11:30 am: Parade and Opening Ceremonies, hosted by Wendi Townsend, on-air personality at 98 Rock
12:00 pm: In-Tension
1:30 – 2:30 pm: Sugar Jack
3 to 4 pm: Glamour Kitty
4:30 to 5:30 pm: AWAKEN
Circle of Faith Stage
Hosted by Del. Ric Metzgar
With Special Guest: Randoll Rivers
2 to 3 pm: Three Bridges
3 pm: Dangerously Delicious Pies Pie Eating Contest
3 to 4 pm: Three Bridges
This year’s Kids’ Zone features carnival games, pony rides, strolling entertainers, costumed characters, bounce houses, a dunking booth, Maryland Department of Natural Resources wildlife and more!
Essex Day Car Show
All years, makes, models and bikes welcome! The show is limited to the first 75-80 cars on site! Awards for Crowd Favorite and Top 20 entries! $15.00 per car entry. Questions? Message the Essex Day Facebook page or text Scott Smith at 410-978-3529.
Each year during our opening ceremonies, we take a moment to honor those who are no longer with us who in their lifetime made an impact on our community.
Heritage Society of Essex and Middle River
The Heritage Society Museum will be open for tours from 11 am to 4 pm. The Museum is housed in the 1920 Fire/Police Station which also served as the local court house. Exhibits include police and fire memorabilia, The Avenue of Shops, Doc Lazarus’ Pharmacy, the old school room, the Landmark room, Veterans’ room, and more. The gift shop will be open and have the new ESSEX-opoly games for sale for a $20 donation.