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Catonsville marks 45th arts and crafts festival

Vendors will line Frederick Road on Sunday, Sept. 9, for the 45th annual Catonsville Arts & Crafts Festival, organized by the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce.

Visitors will have access to craft vendors from up and down the East Coast, local food vendors and live music from the area, according to organizers, who say turnout in the past has ranged from 25,000 people to nearly 30,000, and they hope for similar numbers this year.

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and extends from the 700 block to the 900 block of Frederick Road from the intersection of Ingleside and Bloomsbury avenues with Frederick Road, and continuing west to the intersection of Melvin and Sanford avenues with Frederick Road, which will be closed to vehicle traffic.

Frederick Road will close to public vehicle traffic at 6 a.m. for vendors to set up. The festival is free to enter and scheduled to go on rain or shine. Organizers recommend parking on Catonsville’s side streets.

“It’s always an amazing event. The street is just packed,” said Teal Cary, executive director of the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce.

After a particularly wet and humid summer, Cary said, she’s hoping for more pleasant weather — the long-range forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and temperature in the upper 80s — but said the festival can cope with rain.

“We have had rainy festivals, and people still come out. You just see a sea of umbrellas,” she said.

The festival’s 256 vendor spaces are sold out for 2018, organizers said. Bands will perform on a stage at Egges Lane, near the fire station. Five bands will play sets from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Food and drink options will be in wide supply, although alcoholic beverages, along with non-service dogs, bikes, in-line skates, scooters and skateboards, are prohibited.

Alcoholic beverages won’t be for sale for consumption at the festival. But a farmers market will be selling wine from local vineyards and, at the craft festival, Baltimore Whiskey Co. and Guinness Brewery have reserved spaces to offer tastings and sell merchandise.

The KidZone, hosted by The Y in Catonsville, will return to the festival this year. Called “Construct the Ville,” Cary said it features building activities and a moon bounce.

Michael Newcomer, of Newville, Pa., has been crafting guitars, fiddles and ukuleles out of cigar boxes for about 10 years, and traveling to craft shows for about seven.

This is his first time selling at the Catonsville festival, he said.

“From the pictures, it looks like a good show to be at,” he said. “Downtown looks like you’re stepping back in time.”

Newcomer said the number of people that tend to show up for the festival was a big draw for him, as was the impression the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce left him with, that the day was well organized and run.

As before, the festival will feature an arts and crafts competition for vendors. Each vendor has the option to display an item to be judged by a committee, and first-, second- and third-place ribbons are awarded to individual display items, Cary said. There’s also a $50 cash prize for the best overall booth.

Business owners along Frederick Road say the event benefits them, too.

Beth Reymann, owner of Pat’s Porch gift and candy shop, at 819 Frederick Road, said she rents a tent in front of her store during the festival.

“That way I’m not blocked” by other vendors, she said. Reymann said the day of the festival is one of the busiest of the year for Pat’s Porch.

“I don’t sell things under a tent, but I have a tent to invite people into my shop,” she said. “I want people to come into the store to see the store, as opposed to just picking out some merchandise from the street.”

Allison Glascock, owner of Blue Iris Flowers, at 918 Frederick Road, said her shop is participating in the festival for the first time this year. They’ve always worked weddings the day of previous festivals, she said.

“We’ll be opening our store like normal,” Glascock said. “We have the two spaces rented in front of our store.” That way, she said, the shop won’t be blocked by other vendors.

“I’m aware that it’s a big deal,” she said.



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