When the Downtown Sykesville Connection plans an event, it has to prepare for all kinds of possibilities, ranging from a scorching summer day to making sure there are enough volunteers in place.
It’s all part of the process as the organization works on events that celebrate holidays and all that Sykesville has to offer.
The group met Monday with the Sykesville Mayor and Town Council to share its schedule of events for 2019.
Events on the list were no surprise to the body, as they are annual, but the DSC presented the calendar so members could ask questions. The 2019 schedule includes: the May 5 Art & Wine Festival, seasonal Farmers Market, June 30 Coolest Mile on Main Street and Fourth of July Parade, Oct. 26 Trick or Treat on Main Street, Nov. 9 Sykesville Craft Beer Festival and Dec. 14 Merry Main Street.
“Will the Coolest Mile on Main Street require a road closure?” Council Member Christopher True asked.
The event is scheduled for a race first, followed by the Fourth of July parade, but the document distributed at the Monday meeting did not specify what public safety measures would be required.
“I believe the first time we did it, it was a rolling road closure,” said DSC Board Vice President Mary Vaccarino. “I believe it was all closed, so I'm assuming there will be a road closure.”
“We also talked about moving the time for that,” said Council Member Alan Grasley.
There was a note on the document stating that “the DSC would like to review lessons learned from last year and meet with town stakeholders to improve this event in 2019.”
“I think that was one of the lessons learned,” Grasley said. “It was in the heat of the day.”
DSC Executive Director Julie Della-Maria said after the meeting that issues at the midsummer race stemmed from the fact that The Coolest Mile on Main Street occurred on the hottest day of the year.
“It was 107 degrees and felt like 112,” Della-Maria told the Times. “It was a race and a bunch of things couldn’t happen.”
The Piney Run Nature Center was supposed to bring an ATV with animals, and Clydesdale horses were scheduled to come to the parade — but they all had to cancel, she said.
There were also issues with volunteers.
“Some groups had elderly volunteers,” Della-Maria said, “so they scaled back [because of the heat].”
Vaccarino suggested the parade be scheduled for earlier in the morning.
“[It depends] on how the run goes,” Mayor Ian Shaw said, ‘But it’s obviously something we need to discuss, so thanks for that.”
The next step for the DSC is to apply for town permits for each event specifically — which Della-Maria said should be easier once they hire a part-time event coordinator.
“Now it’s not the main street program by itself,” Della-Maria said. “It’s several entities working together. It’s extensive work to make sure the State Highway Administration permit is done properly, the emergency action plan.
“There are so many little things people don’t know — the CSX [freight train] slows down when we have events,” she said. “And each event takes up to six months to plan. We are already starting the Art & Wine Festival.”
Della-Maria said the DSC is also always looking for volunteers — whether for pouring beer at the Sykesville Craft Beer Festival or for art projects.
“Don’t just say, ‘I want to see this.’ Get up and do it,” she said. “Come sit at the table with us to figure out the next round of madness.”
Aside from through the organization’s Facebook page, contact information is available at the DSC website: www.sykesvillemainstreet.com.