First Friday – a Spy Guide


First Friday in Chestertown is always a special occasion. Sponsored by the Downtown Chestertown Association, it brings in crowds to enjoy art, music and a variety of other happenings along the town’s main streets. Many shops stay open to 8 p.m. At many stops along the street there are enticing tables of free snacks and wine and other beverages – and of course, your favorite downtown restaurants are open for business.

But this month, the attractions have spread out beyond Friday – and even beyond Chestertown. Here’s a Spy guide to some of the happenings in and around town this weekend – there’s something for everyone!

And now the Downtown Chestertown Association invites everyone to their 9th annual “Independents’ Day” and July First Friday celebration on Friday, July 7, in Fountain Park from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

According to a DCA press release, local, independent businesses set the stage for this family-friendly celebration with fun food, entertainment, and patriotic giveaways. New to the event this year are a bounce house and free face painting. Food will be available for purchase from Papa Smurf and Lockbriar Farms Ice Cream. Downtown volunteers will be handing out free popcorn, lemonade, snow cones, glow in the dark bracelets, stars and stripes pinwheels, American flags and other festive accouterments, all generously sponsored by local businesses. Bring your lawn chairs and settle in for the live entertainment, featuring Music Life students and owner Bill Drazga, as well as Mayor Chris Cerino.

“Downtown Chestertown is more than a shopping and dining destination, says Kristen Owen, DCA President, “it is also a center for many activities that enhance our lives – the farmers’ market, festivals, theatrical and musical events, educational programs and art exhibitions. By extending our hospitality and inviting people to come experience downtown we hope they will feel an ‘ownership’ in its future.”

Bill Drazga owner of Music Life plays the keyboard as one of his music students sings. Instructor Chris Jones accompanies on guitar with Frank Gerber on percussion. At June’s First Friday. 

Independents’ Day sponsors include Cross Street Realtors, Bookplate, RiverArts KidSPOT, Twigs & Teacups, Spa Angels Skin Care, Figg’s Ordinary, Yerkes Construction, Main Street Historic Chestertown, She She on High, Town of Chestertown Ward 2 Council Member Linda Kuiper, Lemon Leaf Café and the Historical Society of Kent County.

Music fans can begin the weekend early with Washington College’s Riverside Concert series. This week’s show, “Guitarras Americanas,” features Fredy Granillo and Jonathan Stone, playing a variety of music with a strong emphasis on Latin American styles. The show, on the lawn behind the Custom House, begins at 6:30 and is free – bring a lawn chair or blanket, a picnic dinner, and enjoy an evening of guitar virtuosity.

Backlit Lilies, watercolor by Barbara Zuehlke

On Friday, the Artists Gallery at 239 High Street will feature the work of Barbara Zuelkhe, one of its member artists. Barbara’s show, “Shadows and Patterns,” was inspired by the dramatic colors, glow and shadows of landscapes often found in late daylight, and by the cast shadows that create contrast and drama in still life and floral paintings. Drop by and see this award-winning artist’s work – as well as a variety of other offerings by the gallery’s members. Refreshments will be available.

At the Carla Massoni Gallery, 203 High Street, the work of Marc Castelli will be featured through July 16. The exhibit will include five new watercolors of Chesapeake log canoes, as well as a generous selection of his portrayals of watermen and workboats. Castelli has long been recording the life of local watermen. You’ll want to keep an eye out for his new book of selected works due out this fall. In addition, works by Ken Castelli – Marc’s son – will be on display, including several of his much sought-after log canoe boat models.

Massoni’s is also displaying images by photographer Michael Kahn of 3 Class yachts in action, many from the recent St. Barths Bucket Regatta. Drop by at 5 p.m. for the First Friday reception and a chance to talk to the artists.

Hegland glass bowl in the Arrow series

Don’t forget to wander down the breezeway between Houston’s Dockside Emporium and Dunkin’ Donuts to see the Hegland Glass Studio.  Their glass art, both functional and decorative, are fabulous and would make a unique gift for anyone.  (Or just keep it for yourself!)  Then across the way from Hegland  is the RiverArts Gallery, which has a new exhibit every month plus a variety of wearable art by members – silk scarves, hand-made jewelry, and more.

The Garfield Center’s Short Attention Span Theater wraps up its run this weekend, with eight ten-minute plays to tickle your funny bone. Shows are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. As a bonus, Friday and Saturday night, before the main show, check out the “Hey, Wait a Minute” festival of one-minute plays in the theater lobby at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. These are comedy sketches that range from a violin lesson gone wrong to a woman looking at shoes.

Brad Chaires gives a paleontology lecture at the Garfield Center’s One-minute Play festival.

For more music, take the scenic drive out Rt 20 to The Mainstay in Rock Hall. On Friday, the Pam Ortiz Band continues its series of “Songs for Our Future” concerts there. The theme of the concert is free speech, and the band will be joined by special guests, poet Robert Earl Price and bass player Tom Anthony. The concert begins at 8 p.m., and all proceeds go to benefit the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland. Call 410-810-1400 for reservations. Suggested donation is $15.

Nicki Parrott, Rossano Sportiello, & Chuck Redd

Sunday afternoon at 3:00 pm, the Mainstay presents a jazz concert featuring Rossano Sportiello on piano, Nicki Parrott on bass and vocals and Chuck Redd on vibes and drums.

First Friday is just one wonderful evening in a long, event-filled, Thursday-Sunday weekend in Chestertown and Kent County. Don’t miss it!



Letters to Editor

  1. Patti Hegland says:

    We appreciate the “shout out”!
    Patti & Dave Hegland
    Hegland Glass

  2. James Scott says:

    Thanks for including me in your news letters. I’m old Washington College (’59), that’s 1959, grad who gets back every year or so. Still have some friends and fraternity brothers who are still living there, and loving it. Keep up the good work.

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