www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-county/towson/ph-tt-festival-preview-0501-20130425,0,5746999.story

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Towsontown Spring Festival, garden day set for this weekend

New additions at fest include seafood garden, Ferris wheel

By Jon Meoli, jmeoli@tribune.com

8:51 AM EDT, May 3, 2013

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Organizers of the Towsontown Spring Festival believe a set of wholesale changes to the 46th annual festival can provide entertainment to its regular crowd and also bring in younger patrons.

Improving food options, adding carnival rides to the children's area, and offering more diverse musical offerings could make this year's festival, held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. in downtown Towson, a model for future festivals..

"This year, I'd have to say, is probably one of the biggest changes we've ever made," said Todd Huff, Baltimore County councilman for the 3rd District and this year's spring festival chairman. "We're focused on some nice food areas, and the music venues have changed to try to make them more acceptable for the college kids and multi-generational familes in all areas."

One such change came out of last year's "debriefing" meeting two weeks after the 2012 festival, during which as least one board member suggested there be more food vendors. That discussion prompted this year's "Seafood by the Bay" garden which will be located at the bottom of Baltimore Avenue at Susquehanna Avenue.

The seafood garden, sponsored by the radio station 100.7 The Bay, will feature crab feasts at 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, with live music offered throughout the weekend.

The main stage area in courthouse plaza will be transformed into the home of the Monsters of Mock, highlighted by tribute bands playing selections by U2, The Beatles, KISS, and Journey. A Red, Hot, and Blue barbecue will also be located at the plaza.

Towson Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nancy Hafford said the chamber hopes to tap into the younger market through aggressive social media marketing and a connection with the Baltimore Collegetown Network.

Hafford believes the HFS and The Fan Rock Alternative Garden area featuring modern rock, a full bar set-up, and the Looney's Pub truck will get the young adult crowd to stay.

"We're attracting the students this year," Hafford said.

Huff also touted improvements to the Family Fun Area, featuring a large Ferris wheel and carnival rides for children.

"We've tweaked it differently every year, but we wanted to create a massive draw," Huff said. "I really think by going to the carnival rides. If you think about it, this whole corridor doesn't have many carnivals. I think a lot of people will be really excited about that."

The 27th Annual Towson Gardens Day, held in conjunction with the festival, will be held in downtown Towson on Friday, May 3.

Gardens Day features flower and plant sales, food and crafts with more than 100 vendors and runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.

For more information on Towson Gardens Day and the Towsontown Spring Festival, visit http://www.towsontownspringfestival.com/.