Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner, signaling the unofficial end of the school year and the beginning of summer. Families start planning weekend getaways and vacations, soaking up the sunshine and enjoy time together. Many residents also see the holiday weekend as a sign that it's time for Hampstead Day.
The 45th annual Hampstead Day will be held 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday, May 26, at the Arcadia (Upperco) Carnival Grounds, 5415 Arcadia Ave.
The event is organized by the Hampstead Lions Club and has been in held in Upperco for the past three years, since the beginning of the streetscape project in Hampstead. It is typically held along Main Street in Hampstead, and at the Hampstead Fire Company carnival grounds.
"The physical location for our annual community gathering has changed temporarily because of the streetscape project, but the cohesiveness that we feel in Hampstead is as strong and vibrant as ever," said Del. Haven Shoemaker, who has resided in Hampstead for 25 years.
The day is sure to provide a little something for everyone, young and old.
There will be entertainment, car and tractor shows, and more than 90 craft vendors. For the kids, there will be a puppet show, an inflatable slide, and a magician. Vendors will be coming as early as 6 a.m. to set up their wares and prepare for the hundreds of local and surrounding area residents to browse through. Food will be available for purchase from the Hampstead American Legion Post 200 and the Arcadia Volunteer Fire Company.
The Carroll County Sheriff's Department will be there with a display, as well as the National Guard. Among the vendors are a few new faces, as well as two LuLaRoe vendors, a laser engraver, someone with hand embroidered items, furniture, jewelry, and even some alpacas will be on hand.
Bring your dancing shoes as well as there will be two bluegrass bands performing that day, Fire Mountain and Bluegrass Clippings. If you're interested in being a vendor, they will be accepting applications until Tuesday, May 22.
The Lions will also be raffling a cornhole set that is painted in a Maryland flag theme, and it's electronic and lights up. It will come with the boards and bags; and was donated for the event. Tickets will be $3 each or five for $10.
Residents have fond memories of this day, and it's become a tradition for a lot of families. Local resident Caroline Foreman, who co-owns CaroLove Soaps with husband Larry Foreman, remembers that they moved to Hampstead in 1994, on Hampstead Day.
"We had to detour around Main Street," Foreman said, "The boys and I always had fun. They loved shopping for video games and action figures. We would always have the Lions Club [I think] broasted chicken for lunch."
This will be the fourth year that they are vendors at Hampstead Day.
Hampstead resident Sunshine Safely recalled that "Hampstead Day was always the kickoff to summer."
Safely reminisced about attending the event: "I remember lemons with peppermint sticks was a big hit. I always thought it was an unusual combination, but somehow it worked and was so delicious."
Julie Harvey recalls "walking to Hampstead Day [when it was on Main Street] as a kid from Roberts Field. It was usually always hot! Great food and $20 would last you all day."
Upperco resident Leslie Heird Harford recalled during Hampstead Day, "the North Carroll High School Chorus singing on the front lawn of [the original] Hampstead Elementary School under the direction of the best choral director ever, Mr. Chuck O'Day!"
"And of course, just walking up and down Main Street more times than I can count!" said Harford. "Burgers at the church and snowballs across the street at Bob's Variety. And of course, the penny candy from Lippy's! I can't wait for it to return to Main Street."
The car show will be held during the same time frame as the rest of Hampstead Day and the registration is only $10, the day of the show. It is open to all special interest, restored, or modified vehicles including trucks and motorcycles. Free goody bags will be distributed to the first 50 entries; and door prizes will also be awarded.
Trophies for the top 20 vote-getters will be handed out, as well as one for Best of Show and the Legion President's Choice award. "About six years ago we started judging and awarding trophies," said Jody Aberts, show organizer and Legion member, "we turned it more into a car show, rather than a display."
Typically held at the Hampstead Fire Department carnival grounds, the show had already begun growing in number of vehicles showing up, but since there is more space available in Arcadia, it has really grown. "In 2016, we had about 100 cars in attendance," Aberts said, "that was a high-water mark for us."
"I remember attending Hampstead Day as a youth, and I remember every year there was some degree of a car show," Aberts said.
Like a lot of car shows, there are always a few vehicles that jump out at you; that aren't like all the others you've seen at other shows. "About three years ago, there was a 1957 Mercury two-door wagon, owned by someone in Glen Burnie," Aberts said, "It was a cool car, I had seen at another show and then it showed up here. It even won our President's Choice Award."
The car show will be held rain or shine. If you have questions, call Jody Aberts at 410-259-3438 or David Toupe at 410-733-0857.
The Hampstead Day Tractor Show will be held from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. as well and is also presented by the Hampstead Lions Club. This will be the fourth year for the show, according to Gary Snyder, event organizer.
"Each year it's gotten bigger," Snyder said, "Last year we had 42 entries; and the kids really enjoy climbing and playing with the tractors and seeing how they looked back in the day."
There is no registration cost to those wanting to participate; and all makes, and models of tractors are welcome. Spectators vote for their favorite and the top eight vote getters win trophies. "Kids really have fun voting for their favorite," Snyder said.
For Snyder, a longtime North Carroll resident, the neatest tractor that participated was a 1962 Farmall 504 high crop tractor owned by Tim Lare. "It was one of the original bean picker tractors," Snyder said.
For information about the tractor show, please call Gary "Tadpole" Snyder at 443-257-0823.
The proceeds from this family-friendly event supports the Hampstead Lions Club and the work and services they provide to the community. Admission and parking are free.
Shoemaker summed it up.
"Hampstead Day is a celebration of our great community. Often, you run into folks you haven't seen for some time, and you get the chance to catch up," he said. "Frankly, that's the best part of Hampstead Day, and it's an opportunity that we have each year to celebrate all that is wonderful about smalltown living."