Carroll County Times

Sykesville outdoor speakers go live on Main Street

SYKESVILLE — Main Street in Sykesville was fairly quiet Wednesday morning, in between short bursts of country music.

The music was coming from outdoor speakers that were being installed through the Downtown Sykesville Connection and its collaboration with local businesses.


“This is a reflection of the collaboration with property owners,” said DSC Executive Director Julie Della-Maria, standing next to a cherry picker installing a speaker outside E.W. Beck’s. “It shows the community really pulling together for the basic good.”

The eight speakers will provide ambient and holiday music, as well as evenly distributed sound for festivals and events — rather than sound from one speaker as has been done in the past.


Tobi Butler, an employee at S.K. Printing, said that was good news.

“There was a parade a month ago with only one speaker across the street,” she said Wednesday morning. “It was just blaring right at our store, and we couldn’t hear our customers.”

Della-Maria said that having multiple speakers will also make it so that the volume — which can be adjusted on each individual unit — can be set lower.

Next door to S.K. Printing, co-owner of the shop Cowboys & Angels, Emily Marcellino, sat at her computer.

“I’m so pumped,” she said. “Normally [music comes from] either live bands brought onto the street for big events or just playing music through my speakers.

“This is going to be awesome,” Marcellino said, “especially for the holidays — to have ambient noise and music.”

Outside on the corner of Oklahoma Avenue and Main Street, Donna Larkin danced and waved her hands in the air to the music coming from a speaker that had just been installed above State Farm Insurance.

“Music is a great commonality to me,” she said. “Just stepping out there today, it makes you want to say ‘hello’ to people.”


Larkin owns Tri Sport Junction and said when she first considered opening a shop six or seven years ago, she didn’t think Sykesville was a viable option.

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Now after having her shop on the corner of Main Street for four years, she said the small town has come so far.

“We are thrilled about being here,” Larkin said. “All the merchants work together on community events — but it’s more about the feeling, getting the community out and together with their neighbors.”

The speakers — which Della-Maria said are the first to be fully installed on buildings instead of mounted on poles — will be located at Firehouse Creamery, Patapsco Distilling Co., E.W. Beck’s, State Farm Insurance, Cowboys & Angels, Sweet Simplici-tea, by the park across from the Visitor Center and by the volunteer fire department building.

They are being put on the buildings, she said, because Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. will not allow anything to be to installed on phone poles and street lights for leisure.

And to ensure the historic quality of the buildings is preserved in accordance with the Historic District Commission, the speakers will be painted.


“We are about to paint them according to our agreement with the HDC,” Della-Maria said, “to respect that [Sykesville] is an historical town.”

The installation and painting is expected to be complete by the end of the month, she said.

Mike Hooper tests the radio-controlled speakers along Main Street in Sykesville Wednesday August 22, 2018.