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Family Fun Fest canceled for now future in doubt


There will be no Family Fun Fest in Glen Burnie this year, and the future of the town's Halloween Safety Party is iffy at best.

The Northern Anne Arundel Chamber of Commerce says it doesn't have enough people to put on the two popular annual festivals and isn't interested in being the chief sponsor.

Edward Kennedy, president of the chamber, said he hopes someone else will agree to organize the Halloween Safety Party.

The chamber and other community groups and businesses took over the festivals in 1993, after the county's work force reduction and reorganization prompted the Office of Community Services to drop the events. But it was the chamber that assumed the responsibility of organizing the events.

"We took on the project temporarily in hopes the county would find another organization, but we can't do it anymore," said Nicole Clary, the chamber's executive director. "We're not really set up to run projects like that."

The county says the projects are out of its hands and that there are no plans to step in and save the festivals, county officials said.

Late last year, the chamber's board realized the festivals were too much for it to handle. The events needed dozens of people and up to six months of planning. Festival organizers had to arrange for performers, exhibitors, contests, games, candy and volunteer assignments, chamber officials said.

Ms. Clary said her group told the Glen Burnie Lions Club, which had helped put on the Fun Fest, that the chamber would no longer sponsor the festivals.

Robert Schwartz of the Lions Club said he hated to see the festivals abandoned but that the events were more than the Lions Club could handle.

"We just couldn't go it alone. We thought about it, but we just couldn't do it," he said.

The Fun Fest and the Halloween party, held at the Arundel Center North, have drawn several thousand people to the downtown area over the years.

The one-day Fun Fest traditionally was held in June. The area around Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard and Crain Highway was closed off to give pedestrians a chance to look at crafts and displays and patronize vendors.

Hundreds of costumed children usually attended the Halloween party, which The Sun and Marley Station Mall helped the chamber put on. The county spent about $7,500 on each festival.

Chamber officials said they spent slightly less.

Mr. Kennedy said the chamber would be glad to pass along its knowledge to anyone interested in taking over the festivals.

"They're great community projects," Ms. Clary said.

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