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New season of Frederick Road Fridays to start June 14

One of Catonsville's favorite traditions returns Friday with some new twists.

Frederick Road Fridays, a 12-concert series hosted by the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce, starts June 14 at the series' new location in front of Peace A Pizza at the Mews on Mellor.

Out of the Blue, a band that plays music similar to Jimmy Buffett, will play 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the new site, just down Mellor Avenue from the previous years' location on Egges Lane at Frederick Road.

Sally Grace, owner and manager at Peace A Pizza, said she is looking forward to serving more hungry concert-goers this year.

"We've always been busy with it the past two years with it across the street," Grace said. "This year, we're hoping that it is busier than it has been in the last couple years but we don't know for sure.

"Not everybody who comes to the concert will be eating here obviously, but we'd like to attract as many people as possible," she said.

Grace said she will add a few extra staff on Friday nights and is working on creating a system that will allow visitors to order inside and have their food delivered to them outside at the concert.

"We're going to be preparing a lot more," she said. "We're a little bit extra stressed, but it's a good thing to be busy.

"I think it'll be good for everybody," Grace said. "From what I hear, everybody is excited about it and we're excited about it."

The location isn't the only thing new about the series this year. In addition to offering food and wine for sale, there will also be craft beers from Heavy Seas.

Teal Cary, executive director of the chamber, said she is looking forward to the new partnership with the Halethorpe microbrewery, which is touting its connection to the series on its website.

"That is why we are having them," said Cary on the importance of supporting area businesses.

Attendees will have an opportunity to sample and vote on a variety of Heavy Seas beers at the first concert Friday. The top three or four favorites will be featured at the concerts throughout the rest of the summer.

Another new feature to this year's concerts is the chamber's pairing with local non-profits, who will help sell food and drinks throughout the evenings and take home a portion of the proceeds from the evening for their organization.

"It just helps," Cary said. "They're all local community groups.

"There's a lot of folks who can benefit from this as time goes on," she said.

Only two groups of the 12 groups are not based out of Catonsville — Maryland Search and Rescue and Disabled Sports USA.

But Cary stressed that Catonsville residents are active in both.

"They're not just random groups, they all have a local connection," she said.

The Catonsville High School Comet Booster Club is the nonprofit slated to serve at the first concert. Club president Beth Reymann said she is excited for the new opportunity to raise money for the new Comet Park athletic facility at the high school.

"I was glad actually to get the first one," Reymann said. "Because it's right at the end of the school year, because that way we would be able to get enough volunteers."

She said all 12 spots were originally taken when she contacted the chamber but was able to get a spot.

"It's (good) for the community exposure," Reymann said of working a Frederick Road Fridays concert. "Maybe reach people who haven't heard (about our organization)."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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