Replica of flag that flew at Fort McHenry makes for a 'banner day in Linthicum'


NATIONAL PARK Service Ranger Vince Vaise brought a 30-by-42-foot flag to the Linthicum branch library last week, a replica of the one flown over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.

With the help of approximately 80 people, the huge banner was unfurled as part of the Summer Reading Program's "Star-Spangled Storytime."

"Everyone held on to the edges of the flag, and when it was completely unfurled, it covered the entire lawn at the library's main entrance," said Adam Mazurek, the branch manager. Vaise also brought a trove of implements, artifacts and uniforms from the era to display.

Linthicum has a connection to Fort McHenry and the original flag. Seventy years ago, Rep. John Charles Linthicum sponsored the bills that designated Fort McHenry a national monument and "The Star-Spangled Banner" our national anthem. The congressman was a direct descendant of Abner Linthicum, for whom the area is named.

Vaise, a Linthicum native, has been associated with Fort McHenry for 12 years, starting as a volunteer. He became a seasonal ranger working summers, and is now a permanent staff member. "I like to talk to the visitors. I was always interested in local history, and like to share it with other people," he said.

Vaise was a senior at Mount St. Joseph High School when he was introduced to the history program at Fort McHenry by his history teacher, Michael Morgan.

For the library program, Vaise wore a lieutenant's uniform from the War of 1812 period. As part of the program, he told the story, "Cornstalks and Cannonballs," about the people of Lewes, Del., who tricked the British invaders and saved their town: According to "the story, people blackened their shovels, rakes and singed cornstalks. The story goes that, from a distance, they looked like muskets and discouraged the British."

The library staff told the young audience about "The Biggest (and Best) Flag That Ever Flew," a story about Caroline Pickersgill and her mother, Mary, who sewed the Fort McHenry flag. The children then had a chance to color or paste together their own versions of the 15-star, 15-stripe flag of that era.

"It was a banner day in Linthicum, and John Charles would have been proud," Mazurek said.

A favorite band returns

The Crabtowne Band, a peren nial favorite, will be back at Linthicum Park next Sunday for its 14th appearance in the Concert in the Park summer series. The show will begin at 6 p.m., and is free and open to the public.

Crabtowne's musical director, William Yakaitis, will lead the 18-piece band in a program of big band classics, jazz, pop and contemporary music. Mel McNerney will be the soloist.

Yakaitis, who plays the saxophone and other woodwinds, is the only performer who has been with the band since its founding in 1981. A native of Baltimore's Brooklyn community, he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Towson University.

A resident of Severn, he has taught instrumental music in Anne Arundel County elementary schools for 32 years. He also is a former chairman of the Anne Arundel County Commission on Cultural Arts (now the Cultural Arts Foundation of Anne Arundel County).

Two of Yakaitis' former students, Dale Rodevick and Ric Tietras, will appear with the band this year.

In addition to its many engagements throughout the county, the Crabtowne group plays weekly at the Surfside 7 in Edgewater.

Linthicum Park is on Benton Avenue, off Camp Meade Road. Extra parking is available on the lot of Linthicum Elementary School adjacent to the park. The concert is subject to cancellation in the event of rain. People are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets for seating.

The summer concert series is sponsored by the Woman's Club of Linthicum Heights, with support from local organizations. Information: Jo Barker at 410-859-3308.

Planning for the fair

The Linthicum Community Fair has been growing over the years, and its organizers hope this year will be no exception. In order to prepare for the event, they are holding a committee meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Friendship Room of St. John Lutheran Church, 300 W. Maple Road. Organizations and individuals who have signed up to participate, as well as those who want to find out more about the fair, are invited to attend.

The 11th annual fair is scheduled for Sept. 30 at St. John's field, with a rain date of Oct. 1.

The event allows nonprofit organizations to raise money, and supports the North County Emergency Outreach Network. Participating groups sponsor games and activities or sell food, beverages and other items, and donate 20 percent of their profits to NCEON.

Display spaces for crafts are available to vendors for $15, without a table. To reserve a space, call Ruth Bishop at 410-859-0757.

Information: Martin Muller, chairman, at 410-859-0621, or Bernadette Simon at 410-859-4433.

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