Second Saturday benefits from beautiful day[Old Town]

Laurel Leader

This year’s inaugural Second Saturday event on April 14 was a success thanks to great weather, gifted artists and the hard work of the Laurel Arts Council.

The council, along with the Laurel Board of Trade, hosted an Artists Block Fair on Main Street that drew some two dozen artists from around the area. There were booths featuring watercolors, oil painting, needlework, photography, handmade dolls, sculpture and jewelry. Musicians played, poets recited their verse and kids were delighted with face painting and sno-balls.

Among those who contributed to the event were a number of Old Town residents. Cheryl Dyer helped organize the day. She also displayed and educated visitors about her bronze sculpture. Laverne Debnam helped staff the information booth. Clif Collins recited pieces from his new poetry book, “Lives of the Apostles.” Ken Skrivseth dazzled on the keyboard.

The event built on a similar art-themed Second Saturday event held last fall. The warm, sunny day helped. The sheer number of artists attending was higher and they represented a variety of media and disciplines. It was delightful to spend a Saturday afternoon admiring the talents of local artists. There were so many of them there, that there was always something new to see, and the presence of a face painter and a few treats helped keep even the smallest of kids engaged and happy.

“Today has been really good,” said Bobby Johnson, a Laurel resident who began making jewelry after his retirement several years ago from Prince George’s County Schools.

Johnson’s jewelry is made mostly from recycled materials, including old silver flatware and beer and fruit cans. Some pieces even feature river glass from the Patuxent and Patapsco rivers. He reported many visitors and strong sales. He was also grateful that some Main Street businesses opened their doors to the artists so that they could use the restroom or cool off for a bit.

Other artists with whom I spoke echoed Johnson’s comments, with some saying that they were “swamped” with visitors and were pleasantly surprised by sales. They all agreed they would return to Laurel for similar events in the future.

Congratulations to the Laurel Arts Council, Laurel Board of Trade and all the artists who made the first Second Saturday such a success. To learn more about the Arts Council’s activities, contact laurelartscouncil@gmail.com.

The Laurel Historical Society will honor three recipients with its Community Impact Awards at its annual gala on Saturday, April 28. The award is a recognition of efforts by local groups and individuals to foster community.

Main Street Pharmacy, which is owned by Ali and Mariam Thakkar, will receive the Small Business Community Impact Award. The Thakkars are business members of the LHS and Mariam Thakkar is treasurer of the LHS board. The couple and Main Street Pharmacy are frequent sponsors of local events and organizations.

Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services will receive the Nonprofit Community Impact Award. LARS assists struggling area families with everything from food assistance to eviction prevention and has supported its mission through popular community events like its annual Turkey Trot and Spring into Summer 5k.

Bob Mignon, the former owner of Minuteman Press on Main Street, will receive the Individual Community Impact Award. Mignon is a lifetime member of the LHS and active in other community groups like the Lions Club and Laurel Board of Trade. His Main Street Minuteman Press location in 2015 debuted a storefront covered in historic Laurel photos that has remained popular.

St. Mary of the Mills will host a Cinco de Mayo-themed Designer Handbag Bingo on Saturday, April 28, in the Breen room in the basement of the church, 114 St. Mary’s Place. The doors open for dinner at 5:30 p.m. and games begin at 6:30 p.m. Game packs are $25 with reservations or $30 at the door. Raffle tickets will be offered for canned goods donations to the parish pantry. RSVP to events@stmaryofthemills.org or call 301-725-3080.

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