DOWNS PARK SWITCHES ON SUMMER FUN Concerts, contests, hikes on program PASADENA


Load your cameras with film, pack the fishing gear and the kids in the car and head to Downs Park for a fun, music-filled summer, says Ranger David DeVault.

Officials at the 230-acre park off Mountain Road are planning a number of summerlong events, including a concert series and fishing contest, in addition to its organized hikes, turtle races and sand-castle contests.

The county Department of Recreation and Parks kicked off its events May 15 with a photo contest that will continue until July 15, Mr. DeVault says. Contestants must shoot their pictures within any of the county parks; the rules are available at the Downs Park information booth.

The park kicks off its annual summer concert series -- traditionally popular with the 30- and 40-something crowds -- at 5 p.m. Sunday with The Electric Brigade, a Top-40s band from the Naval Academy, in the park's amphitheater. Another academy group, the Sea Chanters, follow up in the weekly series at 6 p.m. June 6.

Anyone interested should consult the park's monthly calendar of events or call its events line, 222-6239, for information about other performances. The calendar is available at the library or the park information booth.

For the youngsters, Mr. DeVault says the park will begin its Junior Naturalist program at 1 p.m. June 21. Youngsters between 10 and 14 years old are invited to participate in weekly activities and instruction on the Chesapeake Bay, wildlife and other nature-oriented topics.

"It's not like a classroom. It's nature hikes, getting outside and getting dirty," Mr. DeVault says.

Another program popular with children is the fishing contest, which runs from Tuesday until Aug. 30, he said. Anglers can fish in either the park's duck pond or in the bay from the park's beach.

A grand prize will be awarded for the largest fish caught during the summer and recorded at Daubert's Sport Shop on Mountain Road; prizes also will be awarded to the largest catch of a species and the oldest and youngest anglers.

Other events include a "wild flower" nature walk on June 5 and puppet shows by Captain Seaweed at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. June 12.

Mr. DeVault says events calendars and photo contest rules can be obtained by mail. For a copy of either, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Downs Park, 8311 John Downs Loop, Pasadena, Md. 21122. Mark the envelope for the attention of Ranger David DeVault for the rules only.

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