Sykesville Art & Wine Festival celebrates its seventh year

SYKESVILLE — Mother Nature smiled on Sunday and provided a beautiful day for folks to take over Sykesville's downtown and have a party. One of the many sure signs that spring has arrived in Carroll County are the sights, sounds and excitement of the annual Sykesville Fine Art & Wine Festival.

This was the seventh year for the event, according to Julia Della-Maria, Sykesville's Main Street Association coordinator. This year the festival brought about 6,000 visitors to downtown Sykesville, according to Della-Maria.


This a great boost to the "over 30 unique and eclectic businesses (in town) — many of them have received awards for their originality and success," said Della-Maria.

"All these festivals bring lots of new people downtown to our store," stated Jane Linde, who co-owns TriSport Junction, a run specialty sports store — "in the center of 'Get Syke'd' Sykesville," added her business partner, Donna Larkin, completing her sentence. "We're amazed at how many people say that they were not aware of our store," said Linde. "We love meeting new people, and we have fun. I mean, we're running a store, we run, and we like to have fun," said Larkin.


It was a day of smiles, selfies, sangrias, and sauvignon. "Look who visited Sykesville… Even the Pope visited," exclaimed a passerby as she made a beeline for the St. Joseph Catholic Community booth at the foot of the hill below the church.

Father John Worgul, of the parish, whirled around to explain, "It really draws people to our booth," as he pointed to the life-size cardboard cutout of Pope Francis with the sign that read, 'Take a selfie with the Pope.'

"Here, (at the festival) we get to talk about the church. We've been here since 1868 and we get to introduce ourselves all over again in a fun way," said Worgul as he was pulled away to take a picture of a visitor with the Pope.

"This is our second year for the booth. We've been a part of the history of the town for almost 150-years and we are excited about the future," said Worgul, who tried to explain more about "our new radio station, WSJF, coming in March 2018," before he was pulled away by folks who had formed a line to speak with him.

This year was the "largest ever with over 50 artist booths and demonstrations, 17 wineries and distilleries … The festival was born with the desire to bring our community together on Main Street in a festive manner — and it brings in people and businesses from all over the state." said Della-Maria.

The Town of Sykesville needs your help again to bring home yet another title — and some cash.

BGR Wine, (Bodegas González Ruggiero) a family winery, was there from Rising Sun. "Long lines … good reception, we've been well-received," said Manuel Gonzalez, who barely had a chance to look up as he waited-on a customer buying a bottle of wine. "This is our second year here. Everyone is enjoying themselves. This is one of best festivals in the Maryland area as far as folks liking our wines. And it one of the best organized wine events. We really like Sykesville," explained Gonzalez, a member of the family that owns the winery.

Stacy Hurley shook her head in agreement as she handed out hot dogs. Hurley, who hails from Sykesville, is one of the family owners of Cryin' Johnnies Hotdogs, a restaurant located in nearby Mount Airy. "This is our first year here, but we've done other (Sykesville) festivals in the past. It's been a good day. We love coming to Sykesville. This event is really well-organized."

Main Street was alive with families who were out to enjoy the afternoon and grab something to eat at the many booths and food trucks. Michael Gosnell is proud of Sykesville and was representative of the high number of young folks in town for the festival. "I was born and raised in Sykesville — and my family has been here for many generations. I think the revitalization of the town and the sense of community is important to the younger generation — and to a successful small town community."

Sunday, the atmosphere; arts and crafts displays, and demonstrations; and live music were free, but the collectible wine glass and unlimited samples consumed as you made your rounds through the heart of historic downtown Sykesville throughout the event cost $25. How cool is that?

"Pretty cool," said Brandon Smith, who was strolling down the middle of the crowded Main Street with his wife, Laura.

"Well, we love Sykesville. We live here. As you know, it's the Coolest Small Town in America," said Laura Smith.

Brandon Smith added: "We like supporting the local businesses. We like seeing the town succeeding and doing well. We like bringing new people into town, and seeing our friends and neighbors."


It was just last June that Budget Travel magazine named Sykesville as the Coolest Small Town in America in a competition in which the town competed against 140 other nominees.

Now, Della-Marie hopes this year's Art and Wine Festival will jump-start the town's new initiative to be named the Best Main Street in America in the national small-business advocate Independent We Stand's America's Main Streets competition. The winning town gets $25,000 to go toward helping revitalize revitalizing the downtown and promote small businesses.

In a recent release it was announced that Sykesville was named as a quarterfinalist in the competition. Nationwide, "More than 156,000 votes were cast for 242 nominees during the nominations phase," according to the release. "Quarterfinalist voting begins May 1 at votesykesville.com and runs through May 28." You really can vote early and often for Sykesville.

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