Close your eyes and picture cascading flowers flowing from window boxes on wrought iron balconies in New Orleans. Listen for the sweet sounds of jazz and backwater blues. You’ll almost be able to smell the beignets and “cafe au lait” brewing at the French Market. On August 19 and 20 Caroline Summerfest is Jazzin’ Up the Streets for a New Orleans-inspired music celebration in historic downtown Denton. The rain date is Sunday, August 21.
This traditional end of the summer celebration starts its music-rich tribute on three performance stages on Friday, August 19, from 5 to 10 p.m. and on Saturday, August 20, from 12 to 9 p.m. Free parking and shuttle bus transportation are available from the Health and Public Services Building off Sixth Street (across from Fire Hall) on both days.
One of the characteristics that keeps Caroline Summerfest vibrant and popular is its ability to evolve and grow by adding new program nuances each year. “At the end of each event we do a careful evaluation of not only how well the event was managed, but also what features really clicked with festival-goers,” says Kat Stork,
deputy director, Caroline County Recreation and Parks. “We take that data, add in new event features that the staff and volunteers may have seen at other festivals, and fit these together with our tried and true popular features like the fireworks, KidzArt and the annual sand sculpture,” she adds.
An example of one of the new features brought to Denton from other music festivals is the instrument petting zoo. Here children are actually encouraged to touch, and play a variety of musical instruments. If you want to introduce your child to music you won’t want to miss this interactive program, which has been presented at festivals, schools and day care centers throughout the country. “Think petting zoo with musical instruments instead of animals,” says Stork.
The first-ever Summerfest instrument petting zoo will be held on Saturday, August 20 on the Courthouse Green and is sponsored by B&B Music. Another new feature is the “World’s Longest Chalk Board” which will be located between the KidzArt area and Market Street both event days.
Other event features
This year’s event will again feature an opening ceremony, but will be followed by a street performance showcase by area marching bands on Friday instead of a pedestrian parade. The inaugural performance of the Courthouse Community Band will be featured on Saturday, and both days include strolling jugglers, “balloonatics” and street corner percussionists.
This year’s Summerfest car show will include an exclusive display of classic and custom cars in partnership with the Ridgely Car Show. Check in this year will be at Bullocks Plaza. The cars will get increased attention at the event as they “cruise in” to the Summerfest show staging area on Market and First streets with a police escort.
Other features include:
- Fireworks display. Fireworks launch from the bottom of Market Street at 9 p.m. on Saturday.
- KidzArt!! Enjoy a variety of family-friendly free activities and crafts at the open lot off Market and Third streets on both Friday and Saturday until 8 p.m. Since the event theme is a musical one kids can expect to make lots of musical crafts. This year the children’s sandpit and Boxtown USA will be found in the KidzArt area.
- Plus bounces, giant slides and games, face painting, sand sculpting, the “World’s Longest Chalk Board” and other activities that will keep kids and adults busy for hours.
And, of course, you can also enjoy the variety of festival foods and gaming, all benefiting local nonprofits.
Diverse live music on three stages
A variety of music will be performed on three stages throughout the festival, including: Bluesman Tom Larsen Band; Mike Hines & the Look; Fox Twin Trilogy; Chris English Blues; Mike Elzey Trio and Youth Performer Showcase; United States Navy Band’s Commodores; Joe Holt Jazz Trio; Street drummer Tommy Buckets; A Breath of Fresh Air; Jeff Washington Band and River & Rhodes and Butler & Jamison.
Caroline Summerfest is a pet-free, wheel-free and alcohol-free event. Park your bicycle, scooters and skateboards on the bike racks located at Third and Gay streets. For more information, call (410) 479-8120 or visit www.carolinesummerfest.com. Like the event on Facebook for festival updates at facebook.com/carolinesummerfest.
The festival is supported in part by a grant from the Caroline County Council of Arts, the Maryland State Arts Council and the Maryland Tourism Development Board. The Town of Denton and Caroline County Recreation and Parks produce the event with the volunteer support of hundreds of citizens. More than 100 area businesses and nonprofits support the festival through donations and in-kind gifts.
PHOTO #1 Instruments
Think petting zoo with musical instruments instead of animals and you’ll get the gist of this new feature coming to Caroline Summerfest. This creative educational program gives children permission to touch for a change and allows kids to try playing different instruments while learning about them.
PHOTO #2 Marching Band
This year’s Caroline Summerfest will feature a special street performance showcase by area marching bands on Friday instead of a pedestrian parade.
PHOTO #3 KidzArt
Many free hands-on family-friendly activities and make-it and take-it crafts will be available under the tent at the open lot off Market and Third streets on both Friday and Saturday until 8 p.m. Volunteers will be on hand to help and guide the activities.
PHOTO #4 Jug Band
Self-taught multi-instrumentalist, storyteller and dance caller and Maryland Performing Artist Touring artist Slim Harrison’s Sunnyland Jazz Jug Band will be performing both on Friday and Saturday. For more than four decades, Slim has performed nationally and internationally with numerous folk music icons including Pete Seeger. His performances at Summerfest will be supported by a Maryland Presenting and Touring Grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.