Paradise Community Association hosts film festival fundraiser Aug. 24

Saturday, Catonsville residents have an opportunity to see how a national television audience saw their community 50 years ago.

The first Paradise Film Festival will provide a chance to view another aspect of the area's history as well.

The Aug. 24 event will include a 40-minute episode of the 1960s TV show "Route 66" that was filmed in Catonsville and a 17-minute film by Charlestown Retirement Community about the history of the Short Line railroad.

"There's excellent shots of Spring Grove, there's excellent shots of the streetcar in Paradise, excellent shots of houses in Paradise along Frederick Road," said Maureen Sweeney Smith of the Route 66 episode. "People love to see that."

Sweeney Smith has been working with Stuart Merenbloom, president of the Paradise Community Association, to make her dream of hosting the film festival a reality.

"There's so many good things happening in Catonsville it's like, unreal," Sweeney Smith said. "I haven't seen it like this in a long, long time."

She said she got the idea for the festival in the spring from a March fundraiser that featured both films. Money from that event helped Boy Scout Joshua Wood install a kiosk on the Short Line Trail.

She said both films are a way to highlight the area and to fund projects to continue to improve the quality of life in Paradise.

"Charlestown, back in 2011, I didn't know this, but Charlestown was working on a video of the Short Line Trail in Catonsville," she said. "It's just like this wonderful marketing piece landed in my lap.

"There's so many good ideas on things we could be doing to increase business and help out the trails," she said. "The Paradise Community Association, there's just a lot of energy for them, they're dying to get involved."

The Paradise Community Association is hosting the festival at Christian Temple at 5820 Edmondson Ave.

The event will feature two screenings, one at 2 p.m. and one at 4 p.m. Both will be indoors to avoid weather complications.

The community association will sell popcorn and baked goods throughout the screenings.

Tickets are $5 per person. All proceeds go to the improvement association to fund its improvement projects in the area.

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