Hampstead Day heralds summer's approach, even several years after relocation

As the holiday weekend kicked off Saturday, the unofficial beginning of summer, the weather was perfect for the 46th annual Hampstead Day.

Originally run by the Hampstead Rotary Club, the day has been a tradition that was held along Hampstead’s Main Street in years past. This year it was held at the Arcadia Carnival Grounds.


“Unfortunately, the Rotary Club disbanded in 2001 due to lack of membership and asked the Hampstead Lions to take over,” Kenneth Wright, Hampstead Lions Club member, said in an email.

Because of the Main Street revitalization project, the Lions Club had to move the event in 2015. “At the time the Lions Club researched a number of locations in Hampstead, but they did not have the facilities needed to host Hampstead Day,” Wright said.

The event kicked off at 8 a.m. Saturday and as the morning crept along, there were more people coming out to enjoy all it had to offer.

With nearly 100 vendors, there was something for all ages. There was a car show, which had 57 cars registered by 10 a.m. Participants parked their gleaming vehicles along the paved parking lot beside the activities building and in the grass. The car show element was added to the Hampstead Day festivities around 2009 or 2010, according to Wright.

A menagerie of vehicles provided a little something for everyone, from classic, antique vehicles to some newer models peppered in — plus antique fire equipment.

“Since moving to Arcadia the car show has grown considerably,” Wright said. In addition, there was an antique tractor show for those interested.

Among the classic rides, a group of men sat, soaking in the sun and discussing life. Bill Groves of Eldersburg has been attending the Hampstead Day car show for the past five to six years.

“I’ve owned my 1932 DeSoto for more than 30 years,” Groves said. Right near his shiny yellow vehicle was a similarly bright yellow car that belonged to his wife, Pat Groves. She had brought her 1928 Ford Sedan.

With Groves was Ron Pruitt of Gamber, Coman Rogers of Sykesville and Bernie Good of Finksburg. Pruitt had brought his 1951 Chevrolet; Rogers, a 1964 Fairlane; and Good, with his 1957 Fairlane.

All of them have been attending the show together since before it was moved to the fairgrounds. “I like coming because there is plenty to do,” Groves said, “and I like the flea market.”

In addition to the car show, there was much to choose from, including pony rides, dog obedience training demonstrations, alpacas, a photo booth, the Civil Air Patrol, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office mobile command center, the National Guard, a roving magician, and the Maryland State Police.

Taking a break from the outside festivities, three generations of one family enjoyed a beverage and something to eat inside the activities building. Lacey Weber, of Hanover, Pennsylvania, has been attending the event for several years. She was there with her daughter Aimee Bohn and granddaughter Gwendolyn Bohn, 3 years old, both of Hanover.

“There is a variety of vendors,” Weber said, “it’s like one-stop shopping.” Weber continued to point out that she did like when the event was held on Main Street in Hampstead because she “enjoyed more of the antiques and collectibles that were present.” But she continued, “Although this location is better for parking.”

Aimee pointed out that it’s “somewhere to bring your children and give you something to do on a Saturday.”


As Aimee was reminiscing about Hampstead Day being held in town, she said, “It was also good for downtown businesses.”

Not to be forgotten, Gwendolyn was quick to add that “the bouncy house is my favorite.”

Among the vendors was Jill Gebhart, owner of Jill’s Jams Mixes & More in Hampstead.

Although she participated in Hampstead Day for about 15 years previously, this was the first year for her to attend at its current location. “I am really enjoying it,” Gebhart said. “The Hampstead Lions are great to work with.”

“They are terrific and very organized,” Gebhart continued. “They have been very attentive to ensure we [vendors] have everything we need.”

“This is a great location and for the customers there is easily accessible parking, no busing; and there are plenty of choices for them [vendors],” she said. “This day, like the community, has grown and it’s like a reunion. I get to see people I haven’t seen in years.”

For any early birds attending, if they skipped breakfast there was plenty of food options to choose from; and by the time lunch rolled around, the line for the food snaked outside the building. There were many food options for people to choose from. The food was provided by the Hampstead American Legion and the Upperco Volunteer Fire Company.

“All food sales, as noted above, are handled by the noted nonprofits and they received all of the proceeds for their projects,” Wright said.

At a picnic table on the fairgrounds, Gary Eppley, of Manchester, munched on some fries with two others. Eppley used to attend Hampstead Day when it was on Main Street, and this was his first time attending in Arcadia. “I like to support local,” Eppley said. “It’s a good thing, and if they move back to Main Street, we’ll still support.”

“With this event, you never know what you’re going to find,” Eppley said, “and you get to see people and catch up.” Eppley added that he really enjoyed the car and tractor shows, pointing out that his favorite entry was a 1934 black Ford convertible.

All the proceeds from the day benefits the Hampstead Lions Club as a fundraiser, just as it was for the Rotary Club, and all the funds raised are used to support the maintenance cost of their 26-acre park on Hillcrest Avenue.