Reisterstown Festival marks 25 years

Among those featured in the 2003 Reisterstown Festival was Jordane Bollack, Ms. Patriot Pools. This year's event will take place Sept. 6 and 7 in Hannah More Park in Reisterstown. (Filel photo / August 19, 2014)

Summer doesn't end on Labor Day in Reisterstown.

That's the unofficial motto of the annual Reisterstown Festival held every year for the last 28 years the weekend after Labor Day — this year on Sept. 6 and 7 on the grounds of the Hannah More Park.

A two-day event packed with live music, food, a parade, an international beer garden, fireworks and more, the Reisterstown Festival is a family event that aims to please all ages, organizers say.

"It's a great big party," said Sherri Brogan, co-chairwoman of the event. "People like that ... they have another party after Labor Day. They love the idea of a community outdoor event and they come out for it."

Activities kick off at 9 a.m. on Saturday with the annual parade down Main Street. As in the last three years, the grand marshal of the parade will be a local who is nominated and voted for by the community.

"It keeps the community engaged and excited about the festival," Brogan said, of the voting process, which closes on Aug. 18.

The parade can last up to two hours, Brogan said, with marching bands, local cheerleaders, Boy Scout troops, antique cars and various floats by local businesses typically marching.

"A lot of people throw candy," Brogan said, who as co-chairwoman, will ride in the parade and throw candy necklaces. "Kids love it. It's fun."

At Hannah More Park, the children's area opens at 10 a.m. Saturday and features a full lineup of events including karate demonstrations, magic shows and science shows.

"We have lots of kids' activities and it's all free," Brogan said. "We do everything we can do to make it fun for all ages."

As of last week, there were 30 crafters planning to participate, Brogan said, adding that businesses and political candidates would also have booths.

The International Beer Garden will be back. New this year will be an 8-foot screen in a tent on Sunday so people can watch the Ravens' opening game. The beer garden will also have games available, like cornhole, to play.

"It is a nice, family-oriented festival," said David Higginbottom, owner of Chesapeake Food Concessions, who has been selling his gyros, fresh cut fries, crab cakes and funnel cakes for at least 20 years. "They have some pretty good local bands and a national act sprinkled in."

While live music has always been an important part of the festival, this year marks the first time there will be three headlining bands instead of the traditional one. Cris Jacobs Band, Carey Ziegler's Expensive Hobby and Dean Crawford and the Dunn's River Band will all take to the stage during the event.

"We have three really, really well known bands playing this year," Brogan said with pride. "What's cool is it's free."

It is important to note, Brogan said, that while the festival is free to everyone, it is not free to produce. The festival is a program of the Reisterstown Recreation Council, a nonprofit volunteer organization that is assisted by the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks.

Throughout the year, volunteers work hard to organize the event. Without the support of local businesses, the festival would not be a success.

"It is important our business partners are recognized," Brogan said. "I'm just very humbled how the community has continued to rally to have this festival. What keeps it alive is the dedicated volunteers behind the scene. We have great volunteers working to get the best entertainment, the best vendors. Everybody does their part."

Higginbottom agreed.

"It is extremely well run by volunteers who are very professional," Higginbottom said. "It is a great way to go out and see your neighbors."

The Reisterstown Festival is takes place Sept. 6 and 7, at Hannah More Park, 12035 Reisterstown Road.