This weekend will be one of the biggest of the summer in Harford County, what with the Cal Ripken World Series in Aberdeen, the Maryland BBQ Bash in Bel Air and the Havre de Grace Seafood Festival all slated to start Friday.
In addition to the World Series opening night activities and inaugural game at Cal Sr.'s Yard, opening night of the two-day BBQ Bash offers plenty of live entertainment, food and drink and in Havre de Grace, the Oak Ridge Boys are the headliner for the Seafood Festival's opening night concert.
Having a Bash
The highlight of the BBQ Bash, as always, is the barbecue competition, and this year's 12th annual Bash promises to be no different.
The Bel Air Downtown Alliance, which sponsors the competition, expects a record 63 professional teams and 43 amateur teams to be grilling starting Friday and into Saturday morning, Alliance director Scott Walker said recently.
The barbecue-themed street festival is held on the parking lots of the Mary Risteau Building State Office Building at Bond and Thomas streets and runs from noon to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The 10th annual barbecuing Tailgate Challenge will be Friday, with awards at 7 p.m.
The main musical act will be Joel Crouse, a country artist who just released the single "If You Want Some," that made the Billboard country charts.
Admission to the bash is free. Also featured are food vendors, the beer and wine garden, a crafter and exhibitor village and a Little Piggies Fun Zone for children.
The beer and wine garden does ask for a $1 donation daily to benefit the Downtown Alliance.
Remote parking will be available at The John Carroll School and Bel Air High School with free shuttle bus service to the bash.
Besides live music, the bash is adding locally based DuClaw Brewing Company to its beer and wine garden this year and will have Mars supermarket as a new sponsor.
The Bash is by far the Alliance's biggest event, Walker said. "It puts us more on a regional and national platform," Walker said. "This is something that really puts us on a much broader stage."
It's also become the third leg of what might be considered the Big 3 of popular summertime happenings in Bel Air, along with the Bel Air Town Run in June and the Bel Air annual July 4th parade and activities.
Teams competing in the bash are vying for $12,500 in cash prizes and the chance to compete in the annual Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue in Lynchburg, Tenn., and The American Royal in Kansas City, Miss.
The amateur teams will be competing in the Tailgate Challenge to see who has the best ribs and will compete for cash, prizes and bragging rights.
An Upper Chesapeake Health mobile emergency unit will be stationed at the bash for the first time, both to provide first aid and promote Upper Chesapeake, and a new portable restroom called Easy Go will be aimed at people with disabilities. The bathroom will be very large and air-conditioned, with a ramp, Walker said.
Harford Moms will also provide a changing station to further make the event child-friendly.
For more information, visit downtownbelair.com.
The three-day Havre de Grace Seafood Festival features seafood delicacies from the East and Gulf coasts, top flight entertainment and plenty of other things to see and do.
This year's Seafood Festival, which is put on by the volunteer-run, nonprofit Havre de Grace Seafood Festival Inc., runs from Friday through Sunday in Tydings Memorial Park.
This is the 33rd year for the festival, which coordinator Lori Maslin noted recently began as "a small community event that has grown into a nationally recognized festival."
According to Maslin, thousands of visitors come to Havre de Grace to enjoy the family themed event which, in addition to food and music, features exhibits by artisans and crafters. She said visitors are also encouraged to visit the city's outstanding museums and historic sites.
Visitors will be treated to a variety of musical acts, headlined by the 6:30 p.m. Friday performance of The Oak Ridge Boys.
The group is stopping in Havre de Grace on its 40th anniversary tour and, as of Thursday, tickets were still available by calling the Seafood Festival's main line, 410-939-1525, or online at http://www.ticketleap.com. Use the search term "Havre de Grace Seafood Festival" to find tickets.
Festival-goers can also see local bands play on a separate stage, and they will have an additional musical treat this year, a second stage with acoustic performers.
Festival admission is free. A wristband will be required to purchase alcoholic drinks and drink tokens are available. Beer and wine cannot be taken out of a fenced festival area. Paid and volunteer staffers will be on hand to ensure compliance with alcohol regulations.
According to Maslin, the festival's expenses are covered by proceeds from concert tickets, beer and wine sales, vendor fees, raffles and auctions. Net proceeds, she said, are donated to local nonprofit organizations or government entities, such as hospitals, volunteer fire companies, museums, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, even the City of Havre de Grace.
More information on the Seafood Festival can be found by calling 410-939-1525 or visiting http://www.hdgseafoodfestival.org.