Crafters on the festival circuit have marked their calendars for Laurel's Main Street Festival on Saturday, May 7, where hundreds of vendors set up shop from Route 1 to Seventh Street, uniting the community for a day of celebration.
Sponsored by the Laurel Board of Trade, this year's street party will celebrate its 36th year. Board of Trade administrative coordinator Maureen Rogers said 350 vendors will pack the street and nearly 100,000 people are expected to attend.
As usual, the festival gets going with a parade at 9 a.m., lining up on Sixth Street and traveling Main Street to Route 1.
"Vendors come from around here, as far south as Florida and as far north as Maine and New York. Everywhere," Rogers said. "Most vendors come back and they all want to be in their same spaces. Then, we get new vendors each year and that way we keep growing."
After moving to Laurel last summer, Kathryn Komar, 31, said her handmade Wolfdreamer Jewelry will makes its debut at the festival, selling unique and colorful necklaces, earring sets, bracelets and beading. Komar and her husband, Colin, moved to Laurel from Morgantown, W.Va., she said. The craftor is getting ready to mark her first year of jewelry making.
"I always liked to be crafty and artsy and I love wearing jewelry," Komar said. "My husband once made the joke that if I made it, I won't have to buy it."It just got me thinking, 'Well, what if I did start making it?'"
Komar, a science teacher at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, said she started the small business to help bring more to the classroom for her students, such as supplies and activities. The relaxing and tranquil process of making her products also helps focus her mind at the end of a long day.
" I just try to play with different colors, styles, and see what's interesting or looks nice, what can be more edgy or what can be more elegant," she said. "I play with all sorts of styles and appeal to everyone and their interests."
Aside from participating in small craft shows and selling through her Etsy website account, Komar said the Main Street Festival will be her largest event, as she and her husband gather her entire stock of jewelry, including at least 200 matching necklace and earring sets and a variety of bracelets.
"It is the day before Mother's Day, so jewelry and moms could be a good combination," Komar said, laughing. "But even if I don't sell a lot, maybe I can get a lot of exposure and just do more business that way. I'm going to come out and bring a good attitude and a lot of smiles."
A longer commute is in store for vendor Patti McFadden, who said she'll be traveling from her home in Miami, Fla., to sell handmade princess crowns and magic wands for her eighth year at the Main Street Festival.
Beginning as arts and crafts with her children, McFadden said she dived into her Princess Crowns business 35 years ago, traveling and selling at show all over the country. Although she no longer travels as often, McFadden said she's made a family tradition coming to the Laurel festival while visiting her daughter in Millersville.
"It's a hometown show. It's a nice little atmosphere [and] it's fun for everybody," McFadden said. "The people are real nice. It's a long way from home, but it's a good show. I enjoy doing it."
Under a 10-by-10-foot tent, princess crowns and magic wands will fill the space as children wander inside to pick their favorites, McFadden said. Then, shoppers make their way to the princess throne, where McFadden will adjust the crown size and curl its ribbons, pointing children toward the tutus to complete their princess wardrobe.
Everything ranges from $3 to $5, she said.
"It's just something fun for the kids," McFadden said. "This year, I'm bringing a few different things that I haven't brought before. I have a wreath made out of flip-flops and I'm bringing tutus for your toes, which are little flip-flops with tutus attached to them."
This year, McFadden said she is looking forward to the parade in the morning as well as ice cream that's handed out to vendors later in the day.
Komar said she also hopes to step away from her booth.
"I've never been there, so I really don't know what to expect," Komar said. "I'm also using it a bit more like a learning experience as well. I'm hoping that if my husband will man the booth for a little bit, I can go wonder around and take a look at some things myself."
Rogers said food available at the festival includes crab cakes, Gyros, popcorn, funnel cakes, hamburgers, cheese steaks, French fries, corn dogs, fried rice and teriyaki. Carnival rides will also be set up around the area, along with three stages for different band performances.
"The festival is about people coming together and showing what they have done, what they do throughout the year, and sharing it with the people of Laurel and the surrounding areas," Rogers said. "That sharing might be of the awesome food or the products that they hand-make or organizations that have come into Laurel and sharing their businesses and nonprofit agencies with us. It's a big deal."