ESSEX — It was a beautiful day on the midway last Saturday for the 44th Annual Essex Day Festival! More than 120 vendors lined Eastern Blvd., which featured a Car Show and Kids’ Zone; some of the best local bands took the stage; and the day started off with an all-new parade. According to Essex Day Festival board member Brian K. Marchetti, more than 15,000 people packed the midway this year.

“I was overwhelmed by the response we received from the parade participants,” said Will Feuer, Essex Day Festival treasurer. “An expanded parade route was a late addition to this year’s festivities, but we were able to shift vendors around and dedicate an entire lane of Eastern Blvd. for the parade to travel to the main stage.”

More than 150 people paraded down Eastern Avenue to the delight of children and adults alike ⎯ spectators got to see Essex Elementary PTA , Chesapeake High School’s Marine Corps JROTC Honor Guard, the Rare Form Marching Band, a dancing “Dilly the Pickle,” a bubble-blowing fire truck, and loads of tricked out Jeeps.

Opening ceremonies featured MC Wendi Townsend from 98 Rock, who did a fantastic job as a last-minute stand in for Jamie Costello from WMAR who had a family emergency. Elected officials included Senator Johnny Ray Salling, Delegate Ric Metzgar, Delegate Bob Long, and Rod McMillion from the Baltimore County Board of Education. Representatives for Councilman Todd Crandell and County Executive Johnny Olszewski were also in attendance.

Samuel Moskowitz, president of MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, and Linda Rogers, vice president, also took the stage along with key medical staff who discussed some of the important work being done at the hospital, especially involving cancer treatment. MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center was a premier sponsor of the Essex Day Festival.

Essex Day, which was first called “Super Sunday” as it was previously held on a Sunday each year, always keeps the tradition of taking a moment of silence for those who have passed. This year, the event recognized the following community members: Eleanor Romadka, the beloved wife of Mr. Bob Romadka. She was a longtime philanthropist and supporter of the Essex community, especially the Community College; James Bruzdzinski, who had operated his family-owned funeral home on Old Eastern Avenue since 1957; and James R. Myrick Sr., a beloved Captain on Middle River and husband of Cecile Myrick, who owned Crab Quarters Restaurant for many years.

Also featured at the event was the Circle of Faith stage, with MC Delegate Ric Metzgar, who had a wide variety of entertainment from local churches, the Victory Stars Dance Group and even a Ben Franklin re-enactor. The Car Show, which was new and improved this year with the efforts of Scott Smith, had nearly 30 cars on display. The Starleigh Entertainment Main Stage featured a wide variety of music, including Red Dirt Revolution, Square-1, Kanye Twitty and Damn Connellys.

“I love everything about Essex Day,” said Rob Baier, owner of Starleigh Entertainment. “It’s been so great helping out with this event the past two years, and I am looking forward to continuing to make Essex Day even bigger and better in years to come. I love Essex, and I think it is really important to give back. I appreciate everyone who has helped work with us to make this free community event a success.”

“Having Starleigh Entertainment handle the stage is the only way to go,” said Feuer. “Rob puts quality musicians on the stage and keeps the audience engaged all day long!”

Marchetti, who did some emcee work on the main stage throughout the day, also gave The Avenue an event recap: “Essex Day 2019 was amazing," he said. "I thought what we did in 2018 couldn’t be topped, and yet it happened. There was a rock climbing wall, dunking booth, an awesome car show and Jeep display. We had mascots, the man on stilts, Ben Franklin, and the bands, WOW, what a show they did!! Event t-shirts sold out this year, and that is a first for the event. The people, the community, the vendors, the volunteers – everyone had a great time!”

He also added, “Remember, what we do, we do for all of you. Be a part of your community, your home, and make sure to join us next year for more exciting and amazing attractions. We are always having fun in the 21221.”

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