Flowers, music, food, entertainment, shopping and community spirit are being rolled together for four days in May — dubbed "Towson Spring Daze" by the Towson Chamber of Commerce.
Set for Thursday through Sunday, May 3-6, and sponsored by the chamber, the "daze" events feature Towson Gardens Day and a free evening free Beach Bumz concert Thursday, May 3; a free concert by Uncle Jack's Band Friday night, May 4, and the 45th annual Towsontown Spring Festival, Saturday and Sunday, May 5 and 6.
Towson Gardens Day on May 3 will be centered around the Courthouse Fountain Square area from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The festival was established 26 years ago to encourage the greening of Towson, and includes vendors selling spring flowers, plants, crafts and jewelry, as well as gardening advice, entertainment and a variety of food. Highlights of the day will include:
• A free tour of the historic Courthouse Gardens, led by landscape architect Avery Harden and landscape designer Carol Oppenheimer, at 11 a.m.
• A performance by students of the Anna Apicella School of Dance, at 11:30 a.m.
• Greetings from Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, at noon.
• An awards ceremony at 12:15 p.m. will recognize gardening efforts in Towson's neighborhoods and announce the recipients of the 2012 Towson Azalea House plaque for a property with an outstanding display of Towson's official flower.
• Songs by the Trinity Episcopal Children's Center Chorus, at 12:45 p.m.
In addition, lectures will be offered by the District III Federated Garden Clubs in their on-site "Potting Shed," including "Knock 'em Out With Knockout Roses," with Scott Robinson of L&R Landscaping (10:30 a.m.); "Veggie M.D.," with master gardener Norman Cohen (1 p.m.); and "Five Beautiful Native Plants for Touch Spots, with Vincent Vizachero of Blue Water Baltimore (2 p.m.).
Nancy Hafford, executive director of the Towson Chamber, said the Gardens Day is perfect for a weekday because it gives employees working in the downtown area a chance to take part.
"You'll see office workers, county employees, lawyers from the courthouse, stay at home moms with strollers and senior citizens, as well as gardening folks," Hafford said. "They'll be browsing the street, lugging plants or munching on lunch."
After Gardens Day ends at 3 p.m., a free concert by the group, Beach Bumz, will take place 5 to 7 p.m. in the Courthouse Gardens.
"Beach Bumz plays Jimmy Buffett kind of music," said Hafford. "They've been a favorite in Towson ever since they played at our first Friday night Feet on the Street block party five years ago."
On Friday, May 4, a "Flashback" concert will feature the group, Uncle Jack Dance Explosion, performing "disco, funk and Motown," from 5:30 to 9 p.m. in Courthouse Plaza.
Beer, wine and food will be available for sale during both concerts. Parking will be available for $1 in the Revenue Authority high-rise parking garage off Baltimore Avenue.
For further information, call Chamber Executive Director Nancy Hafford at 410-825-1144.
Two days, 250,000 people
Then on Saturday and Sunday, May 5-6, the 45th annual Towsontown Spring Festival will include some 450 vendors and exhibitors offering art, crafts, flowers, food, beer and wine, as well as bands and entertainers performing on four stages in the blocks surrounding the Towson Courthouse.
If the weather holds up, the annual festival, is one of the largest on the East Coast, draws as many as 250,000 people to the Towson Courthouse area each year, Hafford said.
Admission is free, and hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. The festival stretches from York Road to Bosley Avenue between Allegheny Avenue and Susquehanna Avenue.
For youngsters, the event offers moon bounces, carnival games, face painting, pony rides and a petting zoo.
For ages 8 to 18, the Army National Guard is offering a Humvee on display, an obstacle course, basketball shoot, bungee jump and rock climbing wall. There will also be an antique car display.
In addition to music on the entertainment stages, the annual "SingFest at the SpringFest" competition will be held. First prize is $300. Call 410-825-1144 for more information or to schedule and audition.
For the Towsontown festival, parking will available for $5 in any of the Baltimore County Revenue Authority high rise garages and the Towson Commons garage.
Proceeds from the festival go to community events such as the chamber's Friday Night Feet on the Street block parties, the Christmas Tree lighting festivities, the weekly farmers market, scholarships and the maintenance of banner, flowers and flower baskets in downtown Towson.
Local service clubs, such as the Rotary, the Jaycees and Kiwanis, also use money they make at the festival for their service projects.
"The bigger and better the attendance, the bigger and better the festival grows," Hafford said. "Vendors and visitors keep coming back and they spread the word. The festival builds on its on success."
For a full list of events and vendors go to http://www.towsonspringfestival.com. For more information, call the chamber on 410-825-1144 or go to http://www.towsonspringfestival.com.