Havre de Grace Seafood Festival

Israella Womack, age 5, right, takes a bite out of some fried seafood while her mom, Ida Womack, splits the food with her children. (KIRSTEN DIZE | AEGIS STAFF, Patuxent Homestead / August 15, 2011)

While rain and thunderstorms fell on the 31st annual Havre de Grace Seafood Festival this weekend, a steady stream of visitors started pouring into the festival Sunday after the rain bid the city farewell.

"The Havre de Grace people are very hardy so they came out in the rain," Robert Adams, with Seafood Unlimited based in Orlando, Fla., said Sunday.

Adams, who was working at his stand at the festival, said business had been slow Sunday. Consistent rain fell in the area until about 1 p.m. and led to flooding of some city streets.

Adams said Saturday, even with the rain, the crowd was steady and once the rain stopped Sunday, people started to visit again.


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Adams said he came up for the festival last year and plans to return again next year if the opportunity presents itself.

Seafood Unlimited was among less than a dozen vendors remaining in Tydings Park as of 2:45 p.m. Sunday.

With umbrellas in hand, people started again making their way to the park for some tasty treats and before long the sun peaked from behind the clouds.

"There was a break in the rain, and I wanted some seafood," Kelly Martin said.

Martin's husband, Timmy Martin, said they also came out to support the city and the event, and added that both of them are Havre de Grace natives.

"Every time we come it rains," Timmy Martin said.

The Martins weren't the only ones who didn't let the rain deter them from visiting the festival.

Jack Larkin, of Abingdon, was at the festival with his family enjoying the food.

"Gotta have seafood," Larkin said.

He explained that he and his family recently moved to the area from Richmond, Va., and are getting to know the area. They also visited the Maryland BBQ Bash in Bel Air on Saturday.

Linda Hess was visiting the festival with her granddaughter and granddaughter's parents. Hess explained she is from New Jersey and they are from Baltimore and the seafood festival was a great halfway point.

The family shared a meal before continuing on their way.

"Those who like crabcakes are happy as crabs," Hess said.

The rain also delayed games at the Cal Ripken World Series in Aberdeen Sunday, but Sharlene Kutlin and her family took that time to visit Havre de Grace and the Seafood Festival.

Kutilin, her son Nick and Josh Cheng were in the area for the baseball tournament from Surrey, British Columbia, in Canada.

Josh and Nick's team was scheduled to play Mexico Sunday.

Kutilin said she and the boys were sharing a meal with their host, Rebecca Grasham, of Kingsville and her family.

"We couldn't sit in the hotel," Kutilin said.

Instead of sitting and waiting, Kutilin went to the Internet and found information about the festival.

"It takes a family from Canada to take us 15 miles up the road to Havre de Grace," Grasham said, laughing.

Monday morning, festival coordinator Lori Maslin estimated there were around 20,000 people at the three-day-event. Although the weather did hold down attendance, most of the vendors did well on Saturday, she added.

"All in all, it was a successful event," Maslin said, "even with the bad weather on Saturday and Sunday."

Once all of the bills are paid from the event, Maslin said, she will keep a certain amount of money for next year and write several donation checks.

Some of the organizations they will be donating to are the Haven House, Inc., the Have de Grace Maritime Museum and the Susquehanna Hose Company.