By Sandra Zunino
As dusk settles on the streets of historic Easton, the town is getting ready to do anything but go to bed. Locals gathering for the next Easton Main Street event are poised for a night of entertainment.
Live music, dancing in the streets, parades and art festivals – each event promotes Easton as an arts community. With so many events, it only makes sense to have one coordinator to keep things running smoothly. For almost two years, Easton Main Street Events Manager Kathy Hanna has been filling that role.
Events like the Easton Banner Project, Friday Gallery Walks, and even the Farmers’ Market, require much planning, according to Kathy. For each event, there is a committee involving staff members working alongside business owners and community members. “We have several community organizations and local businesses that help sponsor and support community events,” says Kathy.
While some events are ongoing, others are on the drawing board. “There are so many things in the works that have not come to fruition yet,” she says. “It takes a lot of planning to see if it’s something we can do and if it’s what the community wants. If so, we give it a shot.”
Cinema by Starlight, for instance, now approaching its third year, evolved from a suggestion. This popular activity takes place every Friday evening in July and August. Movies are shown on a huge outdoor screen on a grassy knoll just off Harrison Street. “It’s a fun, free community event,” says Kathy. “People love it.”
Also popular is the Summer Concert Series. Regional performers and military bands play for audiences of all ages resulting in people dancing in the streets. “We have about seven or eight free outdoor concerts attracting several hundred people per concert,” says Kathy.
While some events like The Waterfowl Festival and the Chesapeake Film Festival are not organized by Easton Main Street, Kathy says all the entities work together. “We know each other and we all try to support each other,” she says.
Right now, Kathy is coordinating activities for Easton’s 300-year anniversary in 2010. “It’s going to be an all-year event with parades, fireworks and many different projects,” says Kathy. “We are looking for people who might be interested in serving on a committee or volunteering in any way.”
Easton Main Street activities rely heavily on volunteer help. “Plein Air itself involves a couple hundred volunteers,” says Kathy. Plein Air Easton is a weeklong art festival and competition attracting artists nationwide.
Kathy says she used to wonder how these events would come together but has learned to have faith in the community. “They really step up to the plate,” she says. “People come out to volunteer because they have their heart in it.”
Add holiday festivities like the Easter Egg Hunt on the courthouse lawn, the Independence Day Carnival, coordinating Halloween hayrides and the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, and Kathy is one busy person, but says she loves her job.
“The town is so supportive and the businesses and governments have been wonderful,” she says. “It is a real ‘community’ community.”
Most Easton Main Street events can be enjoyed for free. Easton’s Main Street Program works in partnership with the Avalon Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 charitable organization. For more information about events or to volunteer, visit www.eastonmainstreet.com or call Kathy at 410-829-3560.