Blue Grass, BBQ, and More at Downtown Chestertown Block Party

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Main Street Chestertown and the Downtown Chestertown Association (DCA) will host a Fall Harvest Block Party on Saturday, September 15, from noon to 4 p.m. in the 100 block of S. Cross Street.  The Baltimore-based bluegrass band Dirty Grass Players and Chestertown’s own Jigs & Reels will provide the live music for the afternoon event, which will offer plenty of food and beverage, family activities and shopping.

Event committee chair Sean Downey, owner of Barn Life Primitives and Architectural, says the  block of Cross Street between High and Cannon Streets will fill with vendors offering pit beef barbecue, hotdogs, oysters, shaved ice, ice cream, popcorn, kettle corn, sodas, beer and wine. Entertainment will include a children’s art activity hosted by Kaleidoscope Children’s Art Studio, Corn Hole Toss, Giant Connect Four, and an Irish dance performance.

The Dirty Grass Players put an improvisational spin on traditional bluegrass vocal harmonies. Band members are Alex Berman on banjo and vocals, Ben Kolakowski on guitar and vocals, Alex Tocco on fiddle and vocals, Ryan Rogers on mandolin, and Colin Rappa on bass fiddle.  Their sound is influenced by well-known traditional bluegrass players such as Flatt and Scruggs, and “newgrass” talents that include Tony Rice and the Infamous String Dusters.   It also veers into jazz-style improvisation and rock/R&B tributes to the Grateful Dead, James Brown and other music legends.

Keeping the party going between bluegrass sets will be Paul McDonald and John Gillespie of Jigs & Reels. The duo plays Irish dance music, along with some Scottish tunes, on the fiddle, concertina and penny whistle. Their music will accompany a dance demonstration by students from the Hester Academy of Irish Dance.

Main Street Chestertown and DCA invite everyone to come downtown for the Farmers Market (bring a cooler for your produce!) and then stay downtown to enjoy some great music, food, and fun.  For more information, contact Sean Downey (13beaterstreet@gmail.com) or Kay MacIntosh (kay.chestertown@gmail.com), or visit the Main Street Chestertown Facebook page and click on Events.

September First Friday Celebrates Chestertown United

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Chestertown LIVES UNITED. The First Friday of every month participating Downtown Chestertown Association (DCA) members open their doors and invite the community to step inside for an evening of food, music, art, and shopping. During First Friday we celebrate our community and thank customers for shopping local and shopping small.

Please join us Friday, September 7 from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. as the DCA unites with The United Way of Kent County, Washington College, and the 26 local United Way Agencies who make our community a great place to live.

We’ve planned an evening filled with fun. Stroll High Street to meet local non-profit organizations who will share their vision and goals for an even greater Kent County. Visit the United Way booth outside of Chesapeake Bank and Trust to learn more about their annual giving campaign. Meet Kurt Landgraf, President of Washington College, at The Hynson-Ringgold House from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. Slip inside our small independently-owned shops for the latest fall merchandise and fantastic sales on late-summer merchandise. Visit Chestertown RiverArts for the Abstract and Ceramics Show and Massoni Art Gallery for a celebration of work by artist Ken Schiano.

We’re excited to host Washington College student musicians Conor Maloney (5:15 at Gabriel’s Of Chestertown) Madison Morton (6:15 at CREATE), and Emma Hoey (7:15 at Blackbird Boutique). Check out local favorite, Dovetail, on the steps of Chesapeake Bank and Trust. As you stroll Park Row, High St., Cross St., and Cannon St., look for giveaways, snacks, cold drinks, sales, games, and more.

Fountain Park will be transformed into a fun-zone with free corn-hole and activities for all. At 8:00 p.m. the Chestertown Recreation Commission will host a free screening of Beauty and the Beast. In addition to our downtown restaurants, enjoy food by the Walker Family Fried Food Truck, Suzie Bee Hand pies, and Lockbriar Ice Cream along Park Row.

The 26 participating United Way Agencies include: American Red Cross of the Delmarva Peninsula, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Eastern Shore, Del-Mar-Va-Council BSA, Camp Fairlee/Easter Seals, Character Counts! Kent County, Community Food Pantry, Community Mediation Upper Shore, Compass Regional Hospice, Echo Hill Outdoor School, Fiddlesticks! Youth Orchestra, For All Seasons, Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Council, Good Neighbor Fund/ CVMA, Horizons of Kent & Queen Anne’s, Kent Association of Therapeutic Riding, Kent County CARES Foundation, Kent County Medical Day Care Fdn., Kent Forward, KidSPOT, Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence, Playmakers Camp (@GCA), Rebuilding Together, RHYC Sailing School Scholarship Program, Saint Martin’s Ministries, Samaritan Group, United Needs and Abilities.

For more information about First Friday, please contact Jennifer Laucik-Baker of the Downtown Chestertown Association at downtownchestertown@gmail.com, or visit www.facebook.com/downtownchestertown for a full lineup of events.

Downtown Chestertown Association Reboots its Summer Sidewalk Sale

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The Chestertown Sidewalk Sale, July 27-28, is two fun-filled days of amazing shopping deals in stores along Cannon St., Cross St., High St., and Park Row. Occupying the same weekend as Crazy Days, the newly redesigned event will feature evening shopping hours, wine and spirits tastings, additional food offerings and live music. “Our goal is to create a more vibrant event offering new experiences,” commented Downtown Chestertown Association President Jennifer Laucik Baker. “We hope to bring more people into the community and introduce them to some of our new, unique businesses.” What remains unchanged is the special pricing on the latest trends in clothing, home décor, gifts, books, music, and handcrafted items made by Kent County artisans and furniture makers.

The weekend kicks off on Friday, July 27, with stores opening and sales beginning at 10am. You’ll find brands you won’t find in big box stores, and many items discounted by an average of 40%. From 5-9 p.m., enjoy “Chestertown After Dark.” Shops will keep their doors open until 9pm where visitors will find bargains on a wide variety of merchandise while enjoying a festive downtown filled with food, music, and fun. When you’ve shopped up an appetite, visit Figg’s Ordinary, Bad Alfred’s, The Kitchen, Chester River Wine & Cheese Co., Play It Again Sam’s, or the Fish Whistle. For a quick bite on the go visit Park Row for Walker Family Deep Fried Baskets, Suzie Bee Hand Pies, and Lockbriar & Daughter Ice Cream.

Friday night the Downtown Chestertown Association is excited to welcome Maryland wine, beer and spirits producers from Kent, Talbot, and Cecil county. In addition to Chestertown’s own Bad Alfred’s Distilling, producers will offer tastings, as well as bottles for purchase to take home. Look for Crow Vineyard & Winery, Broken Spoke Vineyard & Winery, St. Michaels Winery, Lyon Distilling, and Bull & Goat Brewery in various locations around town from 5-9 p.m.

– Bull & Goat is on tap at Bad Alfred’s Distilling
– Broken Spoke Vineyards at The Finishing Touch
– Crow Winery between The Village House and Welcome Home
– Lyon Distilling at Chester River Wine & Cheese Co.
– St. Michael’s Winery at Gabriel’s of Chestertown
– Wine tasting at Chestertown Natural Foods

As you shop, sip, nosh, and stroll, we’ve planned an evening filled with live music and entertainment. Figg’s Ordinary is hosting free corn hole games in their Cross Street parking lot from 6-8pm. Entertainment and live performances include:

5:00 – 6:30: Pres Harding with lap steel in front of Bad Alfred’s Distilling
5:00 – 6:00: Fredy Granillo with acoustic guitar on corner of Cross & Cannon
6:00 – 7:30: Van Williamson jazz at Figg’s Ordinary and Gabriel’s of Chestertown
6:30 – 7:30: Jigs & Reels celtic at Bee Crafty and Barn Life Primitives

The family fun in our historic arts & entertainment district continues Saturday, July 28 with special sales, face painting, and hand dipped ice cream. Visit the farmer’s market early and come back for a day of shopping with us.

For a full lineup of events and a preview of specials, visit www.facebook.com/downtownchestertown.

Downtown Chestertown Association Welcomes New Executive Committee

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The Downtown Chestertown Association (DCA) is pleased to announce the election of Jennifer Laucik-Baker (37) as the new president of the DCA. Jenn and her husband John are residents of Chestertown’s Arts & Entertainment district the co-owners of Chester River Wine & Cheese Co. and Welcome Home.

“It takes courage, knowledge of how to get things done, and a strong network of trusted advisors to create and run a sustainable business. As the new President of the Downtown Chestertown Association I aspire to help DCA members strengthen our collective marketing efforts, advocate for business needs, and help our small businesses adapt and grow during times of change.”

New DCA Executive Committee members include Shannon Short (Eastern Interiors and Eastern Engraving), Marjorie Adams (Mimi’s Closet), and Sarah Crump (White Swan Colonial Inn and Tavern). Bob Ramsey (The Finishing Touch) will continue as the DCA’s treasurer for another term.

In its 52nd year of service, the DCA helps independent businesses owners through collective marketing, collaborative community events and sponsorships, knowledge sharing and education, and collective strategic planning. The DCA strives to:

▪ Create a positive and welcoming experience for local and out of town guests; strengthen WAC student experience
▪ Create a foundation for cooperative sales and marketing among DCA members and county businesses
▪ Improve understanding of the diversity of shops, galleries, art, food & beverage experiences available in Chestertown
▪ Build awareness of, and participation in, DCA and locally sponsored events
▪ Support execution of county and town marketing; collaborate on strategies and plans

The DCA would like to extend its tremendous thanks to Kristen Owen of Chesapeake Bank and Trust for her inspirational and outstanding leadership as the President of the DCA over the last 4 years. Her passion for partnership created a strong foundation for ongoing collaboration with the Town of Chestertown, Kent County Tourism and Economic Development, Washington College, and Main Street Chestertown. Under her leadership the DCA:

▪ Launched Porchfest, a popular music event partnering local musicians with homes in the downtown shopping district
▪ Strengthened relationship with Washington College, particularly in collaborations with their Student Government Association, Alumni and Admissions departments
▪ Advocated for funding for Chestertown’s Marina and Waterfront as a member of the Chestertown Waterfront Coalition
▪ Increased Small Business Saturday awareness and traffic to downtown retailers by becoming a Small Business Saturday Neighborhood Champion
▪ Established social media presence and improved community engagement

The DCA would also like to thank retiring Executive Committee members Barbara Jorgenson (Historical Society of Kent County), Wanda Gorman (Skippy’s Riverside Gifts & More), and Robert Ortiz (Ortiz Stuido and CREATE Art.Craft.Design).

Taste of the Town Set for May 7

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One of Chestertown’s signature events, the 10th Annual Taste of the Town & County, will take place Sunday, May 7, noon to 3 pm in Fountain Park. Organized by the Downtown Chestertown Association (DCA), the affair pairs restaurants and diners, farms and chefs from throughout the county.

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Attendees can sample a tantalizing variety of dishes prepared by local chefs and caterers who are encouraged to partner with local producers in sourcing ingredients. Prior offerings included cream of crab soup, gnocchi, pulled pork, beef brisket, oysters, beet napoleon, lemon pie and chocolate bread pudding. People’s Choice awards will be given to Most Creative, Best Use of Local Ingredients, and Most Flavorful.

This year, Taste of the Town is partnering with the Maryland Wineries Association to bring wineries from across the state to Chestertown.  Wineries will work with chefs to develop perfect pairings of food and Maryland wines. The food and wine tasting pairings are included in the ticket price. Glasses of wine and separate wine tastings will be available for sale, as well as local beer.

Proceeds from the event and the popular raffle benefit the Samaritan Group of Kent County, which provides emergency shelter and other services for Kent County Maryland for those that find themselves in need and for whom no other source of assistance is readily available.

Advance pass tickets are $15, and are available at The Finishing Touch, 311 High St Chestertown or on line at www.TasteofChestertown.com through April 29. Admission at the door is $20.

The DCA is committed to maintaining a viable historic business district as an integral part of preserving the quality of Kent County life. For additional information, visit www.TasteofChestertown.com or call 443 480 1987.

Santa’s Arrival and Christmas Parade November 25-26

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The Chestertown holiday season officially kicks off on Friday, November 25 at 6:45pm in Fountain Park when members of Kent County Community Marching Band herald Santa’s arrival by fire truck at 7:00pm. After he arrives, Santa will see children in his house until 8:00pm. Boy Scout Troop 130 will take pictures of children with Santa (donation encouraged), and will also selling hot chocolate in the park.

The Annual Kent County Christmas Parade takes place the following day, Saturday, November 26 at 10:00am (rain, snow or shine). This popular holiday event features marching bands, classic automobiles, various floats, Santa, Rudolph, Olaf, the Grinch and of course some of Santa’s trusty elves. Cash prizes will be awarded by parade judges to entrants in each category thanks to the support of Figg’s Ordinary, Chester River Wine & Cheese, Twigs & Teacups, Cassinelli Distilling and Spa Angels. Participation in the parade is open to everyone. If you are interested in participating, please call Kristen at 410-778-1600.

Santa will be in his Fountain Park house seeing children after the parade, from 11:00am to 1:00pm, and Kent County High School Music Boosters will be selling hot chocolate. Santa will also be available in his Fountain Park house on Saturdays December 3, 10 and 17 from 11:00am to 1:00pm. Children will receive gift bags from Santa courtesy of Dukes-Moore Insurance Agency and Garfield Center for the Arts.

Also on Saturday, November 26, celebrate Small Business Saturday by shopping in Downtown Chestertown. This nationwide event spotlighting local, independently owned shops and businesses provides an opportunity to reinvest your holiday shopping dollars in your local community and find some unique gifts, too. This year to celebrate Small Business Saturday, members of the Downtown Chestertown Association are offering a shopping passport, which provides discounts if you shop at participating businesses and also gives you the opportunity to win prizes if you collect multiple passport stamps.

Chestertown’s holiday festivities continue the following weekend, December 2, 3 and 4 with Winterfest Weekend. In its third year, Winterfest is a town wide celebration that kicks off with a special illuminated First Friday, and continues through the weekend with The Soroptimists’ Festival of Trees, a gingerbread workshop, the Chester River Chorale’s holiday concert and many more family friendly events and activities.

For more information about these holiday activities and other events and projects sponsored by Downtown Chestertown Association, please visit www.downtownchestertown.org.

DCA Hosts “Red, Hot and Blue Celebration” August 5

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Mayor Chris Cerino will perform again this year for Red, Hot & Blue Celebration.

The Downtown Chestertown Association (DCA) encourages everyone to their “Red, Hot and Blue Celebration” Friday, August 5, in Fountain Park from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This event was originally scheduled for July 1, but was rained out.

This family friendly event features complimentary cotton candy, popcorn and sno cones sponsored by local, independent businesses, $1.50 hot dogs and 50 cent soft drinks. Downtown merchants will be handing out free patriotic bubbles, glow in the dark bracelets and other festive accoutrements. Bring your lawn chairs and settle in for the live entertainment, beginning with Music Life students and owner Bill Drazga followed by Mayor Chris Cerino and some special guests.

Event sponsors include Bookplate, Cassinelli Distillery, Chester River Wine and Cheese, Gabriel’s of Chestertown, Houston’s Dockside Emporium, KidSPOT, Twigs & Teacups, Linda Kuiper, Bill Arrowood, Lemon Leaf Café and the Historical Society of Kent County.

The Downtown Chestertown Association is a voluntary non-profit membership organization of businesses, non-profit groups and people interested in preserving and promoting the well-being of downtown Chestertown.

DCA Hosts 8th Annual Old Fashioned “Independents’ Day” Celebration” July 1

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The Downtown Chestertown Association (DCA) invites everyone to their 8th annual “Independents’ Day” Celebration Friday, July 1 in Fountain Park from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m

This family friendly event features complimentary cotton candy, popcorn and sno cones sponsored by local, independent businesses, $1.50 hot dogs and 50 cent soft drinks. Downtown merchants will be handing out free patriotic bubbles, glow in the dark bracelets and other festive accoutrements. Bring your lawn chairs and settle in for the live entertainment, beginning with Music Life students and owner Bill Drazga followed by Mayor Chris Cerino and some special guests.

Event sponsors include Bookplate, Cassinelli Distillery, Chester River Wine and Cheese, Gabriel’s of Chestertown, Houston’s Dockside Emporium, KidSPOT, Twigs & Teacups, Linda Kuiper, Bill Arrowood,  Lemon Leaf Café and the Historical Society of Kent County.

The Downtown Chestertown Association is a voluntary non-profit membership organization of businesses, non-profit groups and people interested in preserving and promoting the well-being of downtown Chestertown.

“Downtown Chestertown is more than a shopping 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, art shows, parades, the municipal and county offices, Washington College, historic, arts and non-profit organizations. Our downtown business district is the backdrop for all those things, and by extending our hospitality and inviting people to come experience downtown we hope they will feel an ‘ownership’ in its future.”

Taste of the Town Chefs Receive People’s Choice Awards

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Lina of Little Village Bakery puts final touches on a cake - runner up for Best Use of Local Ingredients

Lina of Little Village Bakery puts final touches on a cake
– runner up for Best Use of Local Ingredients

Guests attending the 9th annual Taste of the Town were tasked with a difficult decision; choosing which dishes were the “Most Creative,” “Most Flavorful,”
and whose food showed the “Best Use of Local Ingredients.” The event was held on Sunday, May 1 in downtown Chestertown’s Fountain Park, and featured 13 restaurants from Chestertown and all corners of Kent County.

“Most Flavorful” dish was awarded to The Kitchen at the Imperial for their Barbacoa beef tacos and spicy sriracha slaw. Runner up was the braised short rib, with red onion marmalade from Chef Larry Ortmann, Chester River Yacht & Country Club. Barbara’s On the Bay was voted “Best Use of Local Ingredients” for the Crab Pretzel, with The Lemon Leaf’s Crab Bisque a close second. Chef Bruce Wetterau from the Kitty Knight House received “Most Creative” for his Crab Stuffed Chicken, with the Little Village Bakery’s Honey Lavender Cupcakes and Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Strawberry Champagne Filling just one vote behind.

The Taste of the Town is sponsored by the Downtown Chestertown Association, (DCA) with generous support from Chesapeake Bank and Trust, Chestertown Natural Foods, DE Nicholson, Yerkes Construction, Peoples Bank, Twigs and Teacups and Dixon Valve & Coupling.

The DCA is committed to maintaining a viable historic business district as an integral part of preserving the quality of Kent County life. For additional information, visit www.downtownchestertown.org.

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