44th Annual Essex Day will Feature New Parade, Car Show and More
This Saturday, September 21 is the 44th Annual Essex Day Festival, presented by the Eastern Regional Lions Club and sponsored in part by Medstar Franklin Square Medical Center and Starleigh Entertainment.
The festival features a full schedule of live bands; car show; a kids’ zone with children’s activities; costumed characters; free tours of the Heritage Society of Essex and Middle River Museum; more than 120+ arts and crafts, novelty, sports, and food vendors; a pie eating contest and more!
Last year just prior to Essex Day, the festival committee introduced the event’s new mascot, Cubey, a nod to the red Essex Cube landmark at Virginia Avenue and Eastern Blvd. that welcomes everyone into our community.
So this year, the committee wanted to add something new and kick up the celebration a notch with a parade! According to Paul M. Blitz, Historian at the Heritage Society of Essex and Middle River, there has not been an Essex Day parade in more than 25 years.
“The Essex Day Festival is a family friendly event. What better way to celebrate with your children than a good old-fashioned parade? This year we are very limited as the route will be completely inside the already closed section of Eastern Avenue, but depending on the feedback it could be expanded next year,” said Will Feuer, Essex Day Treasurer and Parade Chair.
Community groups, local businesses and students from the area’s high schools will be participating. Following the parade, there will be a demonstration of Chesapeake High School’s ROTC program on the Starleigh Entertainment Main Stage.
Several decades ago, there was a parade from the Middlesex Shopping Center down Eastern Avenue to the main stage on the midway. For the last ten years there has been a short procession from the First National Bank to the main stage. This year the Parade will start at approximately 11:10 at the Mace Ave. end and proceed along the midway with two Fire Engines, the Bat Mobile, a marching band and more.
After the parade and the drill demonstration by Chesapeake’s Marine Corps JROTC Honor Guard, opening ceremonies will begin at 11:30 am with WMAR 2 News anchor Jamie Costello.
The Starleigh Entertainment Main Stage will feature four favorite local acts, kicking off at 12 pm: Red Dirt Revolution, Square-1, Kanye Twitty and Damn Connellys.
“We are really excited that Starleigh Entertainment agreed to sponsor our event again this year,” said Essex Day board member Brian K. Marchetti. “Rob Baier is a local guy who does a tremendous job, and he has been very generous to us for this community event. He has provided us with a fantastic lineup and mix of bands that will include something for everyone.”
Also new to Essex Day this year is a Scales and Tales exhibit and demo, which will feature animal ambassadors including an Eastern Screech Owl, Corn Snake, Maryland Terrapin and Common Snapping Turtle.
Scales & Tales, an environmental education program of the Maryland Park Service, affords people the opportunity to see live wildlife, mostly native to Maryland, up close and personal. This informative and entertaining program uses live non-releasable birds of prey and reptiles to promote stewardship of our wildlife and other natural resources.
Through the stories, or “tales” of how these animals come into the care of the program, Scales & Tales naturalists discuss very important environmental issues, such as loss of habitat, environmental pollution, resource management and biodiversity.
The Essex Day Car Show, while it is not new to the event, will be bigger and better this year. “We are really excited to expand our car show this year,” said Paul Rufe, President of the Essex Day Festival. “With the help of Scott Smith from the Watersedge community and our sponsor, Norris Ford, the car show will be able to accommodate more cars and include a wider variety of vehicles.”
There will be dash plaques for the first 65 registered vehicles and trophies ten different categories. Festival goers can vote for their favorites.
No matter if you are coming for the music, food, new attractions or to check out the vendors, one thing about Essex Day remains true: it is all about community.
“Essex Day has become a day for family and friends to come together, a great time to reacquaint with childhood friends, a time to shop for those wonderful crafts that you’ve been looking for,” said Delegate Ric Metzgar, who has attended the event nearly every year since it was first presented as Super Sunday. “Essex Day is a day to relive your great memories of days gone by and to make new ones.”
Essex Day Festival
Saturday, September 21, 2019
10 am to 6 pm
400-500 Block Eastern Boulevard, Essex, MD 21221