During an era of sophisticated fun, The Graw drew locals and travelers alike to the racetrack in Havre de Grace to watch the eleganthorses run and, most likely, bet a dollar or two.
Celebrating these golden years of the town's historic racetrack, Havre de Grace Main Street is holding its fourth Graw Days Festival 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 8 downtown on Pennington Avenue and Washington, St. John and Congress streets. The festival will go on, rain or shine.
The Graw operated from 1912 until the 1950s and brought in well-known characters, such as Al Capone, who often visited the racetrack and other town establishments. People traveling up and down the East Coast would stop at the racetrack to gamble, drink and have a good time.
"[The Graw was] considered one of the best racing strips of the American turf and was the main training ground for owners who hoped to win the Kentucky Derby," according to Havre de Grace Main Street's website.
Horses and horse racing are the focus of the festival with several historic presentations and displays and horse-themed activities for children, along with pony rides.
Several guest speakers, including Harford County Executive David Craig, will speak about the history of the town and its famous racetrack and give people a feel for how life really was back in The Graw's heyday.
Booths with artisans and crafts people will also line the streets while live music appropriate for that time period plays. There will also be food, a beer garden and horse-drawn carriage tours of downtown Havre de Grace.
Later on in the evening, that's when the real party starts.
Adults are invited to the Graw Days Gala at St. Patrick's Hall, 515 Pennington Ave., for an event that brings the '20s back to life.
People can either come in costume or black tie attire. Tickets are $65 per person and can be purchased online at mainstreethdg.ticketleap.com. Advance tickets are encouraged, as seating is limited.
The night will have food, drinks and a silent auction, not to mention a few familiar faces from the time period — if you see Mr. Capone or movie starlet Jane Russell, be sure to say hello.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun