For 43rd year, Towsontown Spring Festival set to draw a crowd

There are literally hundreds of details that have be confirmed, ironed out, sorted through and resolved before the 43rd annual Towsontown Spring Festival hits the streets, Saturday and Sunday, May 5-6, in downtown Towson.

But on Monday of this week Nancy Hafford, executive director of the Towson Chamber of Commerce, had only one in mind:

"It's Monday, and the weather's looking absolutely spectacular for four days straight," she said.

"This is going to be a fabulous event."

No matter the planning and fretting accomplished by the chamber, which sponsors the event, and its army of volunteers, the fate of the festival often does ride on Mother Nature.

Still, fans who come to the two-day party — as many as 250,000 each year — have made it a staple of their springtime schedule because of everything it has to offer, from more than 450 vendors and exhibitors to food, beer and wine; from bands performing on four stages to entertainers taking their skills to the streets.

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Opening ceremonies will be held at the corner of Washington and Pennsylvania avenues at noon Saturday. Prior to those ceremonies there will be bagpipers, color guard and Chief Musician Yolanda Pelzer of the Department of the Navy to sing the National Anthem.

Admission is free, and the variety of attractions is geared to every age group.

For the littlest patrons, a Family Fun Area off Pennsylvania Avenue will have moon bounces, carnival games and face painting. Pony rides and a petting zoo will be located behind the M&T Bank located off Washington Avenue.

A "Tween Area," for ages 8 to 18, will be behind PNC Bank off Pennsylvania Avenue, and will include an obstacle course, giant palm trees and a 50-foot spider climb. In addition, the Army National Guard is offering a basketball shoot, bungee jump and rock climbing wall at the corner of Washington and Allegheny avenues.

An antique car display will be located north of West Pennsylvania Avenue on Baltimore Avenue.

For shoppers, the possibilities are endless, Hafford said. With vendors touting art, crafts, flowers, jewelry, handmade items and other treasures, the festival might be the place to buy a specialMother's Day, graduation or wedding present, she said.

Yet along with food, vendors and fun, music has always been part of the Towsontown Spring Festival mix, and this year will be no exception, with four venues:

• The 98 Rock Garden, off West Chesapeake Avenue, will offer music by bands including New Romance, Tripwire and Amish Outlaws. Admission is $2, but senior citizens and those under 21 accompanied by a paying parent may enter for free.

• The Mix 106 Plaza Stage, in the Courthouse Plaza between Pennsylvania Avenue and Chesapeake Avenue, also has a $2 fee (also free for seniors and those under 21 accompanied by a paying parent). This stage will feature bands such as Crushing Day, Proverbs Reggae, The Reagan Years and Star Crush.

• Music in the Urbanite Oasis, in the Courthouse Gardens, will offer jazz and summertime music — including a set on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. by the Stoneleigh Elementary Steel Drum Band.

• And the Z104.3 Sound Stage, on lower Baltimore Avenue, will have kids music workshops, a performance by "X Factor" finalist Paige Elizabeth and also the "SingFest at the SpringFest" competition. To enter, solo singers must be 15 and have no contract with a record label. First prize is $300. Call 410-825-1144 for information or to schedule and audition.

Parking will be available for $5 in any of the Revenue Authority garages and the Towson Commons garage. Organizers request that pets be left at home.

Proceeds from the festival go to the community outreach efforts events. Local service clubs, such as the Rotary, the Jaycees and Kiwanis, use the money they make at the festival to continue their work.

For further information call the chamber at 410-825-1144 or visit

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