If you spent any time last week in downtown Westminster you were welcomed by the sights and sounds of FallFest.

From the annual parade along Main Street and Pennsylvania Avenue and the sounds of the Westminster Municipal Band to the array of rides and food to the various local businesses and nonprofits in attendance it was a successful event. You might have voted for your favorite pumpkin at the Pumpkin Carving For A Cause event hosted by Carroll Hospital Auxiliary & Volunteer Services.


The event featured creatively carved pumpkins with a range of submissions county wide. It included several local municipalities including Westminster, Hampstead, Mount Airy, Sykesville, and the entire Carroll County delegation. The Boys & Girls Club of Westminster and Habitat for Humanity of Carroll County designed and built a kids playhouse that was being raffled off during the weekend.

Congratulations to Abby Gruber of Westminster’s Department of Recreation and Parks, the many Westminster city employees, business sponsors, event attendees and the numerous volunteers for another wonderful introduction to the fall season with this annual event. The hard work of all involved showed throughout the weekend, making the 41st FallFest of Westminster yet another success.

The downtown Main Street area in Westminster Friday night featured a vibrant liveliness that included shopping, busy restaurants, and various forms of entertainment. From the welcoming smell of Badac Pizza at the JeannieBird Baking Company, live music, and a beating pulse of downtown that differed from other Friday nights in the City.

This year, Midnight Madness was the product of the group Westminster At Midnight. The group is a collaboration of local downtown Westminster, merchants, restaurants and businesses. The volunteer group includes Tiombe Paige of Cultivated, Jamie Schneeman and Lynn Olexy of Downtown Yoga, Carly Hudson of Edward Jones, Dave Baldwin of Furnace Hills, Cari Pearce of Flip Yours, Lynn Aaron of the Liberty Shoppe, and Val Giovagnoni of Ting. The city of Westminster’s Main Street manager Sandra Anderson and the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce were also involved regarding additional lighting and sponsorship of Midnight Madness.

If you happened to have been downtown that night you might have also wandered just slightly over to Libertypalooza another event downtown that evening that included live music, free acupuncture, a VW Bus photo booth, and free henna tattoos. To say that downtown Westminster was hopping last Friday night was an understatement.

With all the remarkable businesses and liveliness in downtown Westminster last Friday night I heard a number of shoppers commenting on the evening. Some mentioned how much they enjoyed the evening and how they hoped Main Street would be like this more frequently. Other attendees felt that it was time for Westminster to be a place of more activity on a Friday night.

Recently, the city of Westminster council voted unanimously to authorize the city to acquire a downtown property located at 17-25 West Main Street for $750,000. The council discussed a smart growth survey for the downtown area from over 20 years ago that identified the property as a key parcel for the city’s downtown area. The property is zoned mixed-use and allows for multi-family housing in combination with a retail or office use on the first floor.

With the acquisition of the downtown property and more potential public and private partnerships between the city and businesses now could be a golden opportunity for Westminster to revitalize Main Street into a thriving hub for our county seat.

Tom Gordon writes from Westminster. He writes every other Saturday. Email him at tgordonwrites@gmail.com