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Hampden hosts a 'family-friendly' HonFest

Stretching the parameters of a wholesome HonFest, three women on The Avenue stripped down to their bras and leotards Saturday to promote Sugar, a nearby sex-toy shop.

In the booth behind them, a banner said, "Stirring up raw passion."

But festival organizer Denise Whiting asked the women at the Sugar booth, all students at Johns Hopkins University,  to put their clothes back on.

"We have a more conservative definition of 'street legal,' said Whiting, owner of Cafe Hon and the boutique store HONtown. "It's a family-friendly festival."

For her part, Sugar owner Jacq Jones said that while she had asked the women to promote the store, she did not ask them to take off any clothes and did not know it had happened until afterward. She said she did not condone their actions.

HonFest, an annual homage to women with high hair, was almost a slice of Americana, except for the occasional guy in hot pants and a beehive hairdo sashaying along West 36th Street.

One musical performer gave a shout-out to "Hampden U.S.A.," calling it one of the nation's best neighborhoods.

HonFest was so wholesome that St. Thomas Aquinas School in Hampden sold beer as a fundraiser and a former president, Harry Truman came to check it out. Well, not exactly. It was Harry Novak, 62, who wore a black suit, with shorts instead of trousers, and black dress shoes with no socks.

A sign on Novak's back announced him as "Dirty Harry Truman," a reference to Clint Eastwood's character, "Dirty Harry."

And a button on his lapel said, "Give 'em hell, Harry."

Novak handed out fake $1 bills that said, "The buck stops here," and his wife, Barbara, modeled an orange dress with high-heeled shoes.

"This is not a new look for me," she said.

"We just heard about (HonFest)," Harry Novak said. "We said, this is one party we have to check out."

Also seen: Lady, a 16-year-old beagle mix with hip displasia and kidney disease, laying comfortably in a baby stroller.

"She can walk, but we give her a break," said Lady's owner, Mark Arrington, 54, of Hampden.

HonFest was so wholesome, it was better than Christmas for Chris Goatee, of Catonsville. She and nine friends asked Whiting to take a group picture of them.

"This is our Christmas," Goatee told Whiting.

Angie Mathai wouldn't go quite that far.

"It's next to Christmas," said Mathai, also of Catonsville. "It's my second favorite thing of the year."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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