Broadway Comes to Chestertown’s Music in the Park


Cast of Tred Avon Players’ “Little Shop of Horrors”. They will be singing in Saturday’s Music in the Park concert.  Top Row: Ricky Vitanovec, Rachel Elaina, Beth Anne Langrell, Erinne Lewis, Bill Gross, Mike Sousa, Shelby Swann – Middle Row: Ed Langrell  – Bottom Row: Kathy Jones, Sarah Anthony, Matthew Keeler

The Tred Avon Players will present an evening of music from Broadway musicals at Chestertown’s next Music in the Park concert. Directed by Marcia Gilliam, this talented group of local singers and actors will bring the magic of Broadway to Fountain Park’s stage this coming Saturday, July 21.  The music will begin at 7:00 pm and last approximately 90 minutes. Bring something to sit on as only limited seating is available. Admission is free and open to the public.

The concert will feature songs from famous composers such as Irving Berlin, George M. Cohen, Cole Porter, and Stephen Sondheim.  There will also be more tunes from more modern day composers such as Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton), Stephen Schwartz (Godspell), and Dave Malloy (Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 ).  The song list includes “Skid Row” from Little Shop of Horrors, “Seasons of Love” from Rent, “All That Jazz” from Chicago, “Another Op’ning,  Another Show” from Kiss Me, Kate,  “Together” from Gypsy. And more songs from Spamalot, Phantom of the Opera, A Little Night Music, Godspell, Wind in the Willows, George M!, and Damn Yankees.

There will be solos, duets, and trios along with full ensemble numbers. Some to sing along with. Some to make you smile, some to make you sigh, and some surprises! If you’ve enjoyed the classic Broadway musicals as performed at the Church Hill Theatre or in Oxford by the Tred Avon Players, then don’t miss this chance to walk down Broadway again!

Accompanying the singers will be noted pianist Ellen Grunden. Chorus members include Marcia Gilliam,   Bethany Piccone, Shelby Swann, Beth Anne Langrell,  Ed Langrell,  Rachel Elaina, Erinne Lewis,  Bill Gross,  Ricky Vitanovec,  Matthew Keeler, Sarah Anthony,  Kathy Jones,  Leigh Marquess, and Galen Marquess.

In case of rain, a concert may be rescheduled or a rain location may be sent to the email list and posted on a sign on the stage in the park on the day of the concert. These free programs are sponsored by the Town of Chestertown with support from The Kent County Arts Council & Community Contributors. To help make these programs possible, please send donations payable to the Town of Chestertown to Music in the Park, Chestertown Town Hall, 118 N. Cross Street, Chestertown, MD 21620.

Kent County 4-H: Come to the Fair! July 19-21


The greased pig contest is always one of the most popular activities at the Kent County Fair. Well, maybe not for the pig!

Come to the Fair! See the animals, the antique tractor pull, the greased pig! Starting on Thursday, July 19, the annual Kent County Fair will open its gates for three days of exhibits, demonstrations, rides, contests, good food, music, and more.   The fairgrounds will be open to the public each day, Thursday through Saturday, at 9:00 am, with exhibits and activities until the official closing at 11:00 pm.

Admission is $2.00 per person which covers all exhibits and shows, except midway rides.  The midway opens at 5:00 pm on Thursday, 4:00 pm on Friday, and noon on Saturday.

There is plenty of parking – no extra charge – on the grounds.  Note that the first day of the Kent County Fair, Thursday, is officially Senior Citizen Day with free admission for all those over 60.  A bargain!

The fairgrounds are located near Tolchester at 21349 Tolchester Beach Road. This is the 35th year at the Kent Agriculture Center, formerly a US army base that housed Nike missiles.  You can still see the old missile sites off to the side of the main fairgrounds. New this year is a shuttle service to and from the Tolchester Marina provided by the Rock Hall Tram. Directions to and a complete schedule for the Kent County Fair are at the end of this article.

The fair is one of the main summer attractions for local families—and an event that hundreds of young 4-H’ers and their leaders have been working toward all year.  They have been working and learning in their club meetings, raising rabbits, pigs, cows and other livestock, growing vegetables, creating arts and crafts, and generally gaining the skills they will need as adult members of the community.  Many of those who win ribbons in their various categories at the county level will proceed to the Maryland State Fair to take part in 4-H competitions at the state level.

Thursday highlights include the Dog Show starting at noon in the show ring.  The competition will include demonstrations of Fitting & Showing as well as Rally & Obedience.  There are both Open and 4-H divisions.

4-H clubs work with a wide variety of domestic animals and livestock. Here a young 4-H’er from the Puppy Pals club proudly shows his trained dog.

There is Senior Bingo from 10:30 am until noon on Thursday.  The Dairy Goat Show begins at 1:00 pm.

The official Fair Opening Ceremonies will take place at 6:00 pm Thursday, followed by the culmination of the Dog Show from 6:30-8:30 with Agility & Obstacle Courses.  Then the Pretty Animal contest starts at 7:30 pm with entertainment at 8:00 pm by a hypnotist.  We have been assured that the judges of the Pretty Animal Contest will not be influenced by the hypnotist!  Or you can get your face painted by Wendy Woo Woo anytime between 6:00 and 8:00 pm.  Wendy will also be painting faces on Friday from 5-8 pm and again on Sat from 5-7 pm.

On Friday, the Livestock Show for Beef, Sheep & Swine opens at 10:30 am.  The 4-H Fashion Interviews begin at 4:30 with the official Fashion Revue at 6 pm. The Show & Shine Pick-up Truck Show starts at 5 pm with awards presented at 6:30.  Other highlights on Friday include the greased pig contest at 7:00 pm followed immediately by the ever-popular pie-eating contest. At 5:00 pm you can try your hand at the Hay Bale toss. And if you don’t succeed at first, you can try tossing hay bales again at 5 on Saturday!

If you get your face painted–or even if you don’t–you might want to stop by and get your portrait done by the resident Caricature Artist–Friday only–6-8 pm.

On Saturday, the spotlight shifts to horses and dairy cattle.  The 4-H Horse Show starts bright and early at 9:00 am, both English and Western.  Then the Dairy Cattle Show begins at 10:00 am.  The Open Horse Show–again English and Western–begins at noon.

Saturday features not one but two tractor pull contests!  The Antique Tractor Pull is at 10:00 am while the Pedal Power Tractor Pull will begin at 12:30 pm.  In between the two tractor pulls, you might want to check out the horses and riders at the Jousting Tournament presented at 11 am by the Eastern Shore Jousting Association.  Later, at 4:00 pm Saturday is the Youth Turkey Calling Contest.  The Livestock and Cake Auctions begins at 7:30 on Saturday night. All proceeds go to benefit local 4H clubs.

The food is always great at the Kent County Fair.  Food is available all day with a different special dinner menu each day.  Thursday is a crab cake platter served from 5:30-7:30 pm.  On Friday and Saturday dinner runs from 5:00-7:00 pm.  Friday’s entree is pork barbecue and on Saturday it’s chicken barbecue.

While you’re there, be sure to look for Kent County native Josh Miller’s chainsaw sculpture demonstrations ongoing throughout Thursday evening and again from noon til closing on Saturday and Sunday. Miller graduated from Kent County High School in 1999 and is currently living in Felton DE.  See the Spy article on Josh Miller and a gallery of his fabulous “chainsaw art” here.

Kent County native Josh Miller carving a bear at a “chainsaw art” demonstration 


The fairgrounds are located at 21349 Tolchester Beach Road in the former US Army base.  Directions from Chestertown.  Take Route 20 heading toward Rock Hall, turn right onto Route 21 (note of Kent Ag Center sign), keep left of the fork in the road, then continue approximately 3 miles to Fair Grounds on left. There is plenty of parking on the fairgrounds. 

New this year is shuttle service provided to and from the Tolchester Marina provided by the Rock Hall Tram.


Map of Kent County Fair exhibits and events


For more info see the Kent County website.

2:30 – 5:00 p.m. – Enter Indoor Exhibits: 4-H & Open Divisions. None accepted after 5:00 pm;

6:00 p.m.   – Judging
2:30 – 9:00 p.m. – 4-H Animal Exhibits Entered

THURSDAY, JULY 19: $2.00 Admission per person

SENIOR CITIZEN’S DAY (60 years and over) Seniors exempt from admission.

6:00 a.m. – Grounds Open for Animals and Outdoor Exhibit Set-up
6:30 – 8:30 a.m. – 4-H Animal Exhibits Entered
8:30 a.m. – Open Rabbits and Cavies on grounds
9:00 a.m. – Fair Officially Opens: All Commercial, Outdoor Exhibits & 4-H Animals In Place
9:00 a.m. – Rabbit & Cavy Show
10:00 a.m. – Poultry Show (All open Poultry on Grounds by 9:30 a.m.)
10:30 a.m. – Senior Bingo, until 12:00 noon
11:00 a.m. – Open Small Pets Show; on Grounds by 10:30 a.m.
11:00 – 12:00 p.m. – Open Dog Show Registration
12:00 p.m. – Dog Show-Open & 4-H: Fitting & Showing, Rally & Obedience, Show Ring
12:30 p.m. – 4-H Livestock Weigh-In, at scales
1:00 p.m. – Dairy Goat Show (All Open Dairy Goats on Grounds by 12:00 noon)
2:00 p.m. – 4-H Tractor Drive
4:30 p.m. – 4-H Ambassador Interviews, Picnic Area
5:00 p.m. – until – Midway Open: M & M Amusements
5:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Special Dinner Menu
6:00 p.m. – Fair Opening Ceremonies
– 4-H Ambassador Contest-Fish Bowl Questions
6:00 – 8:00 p.m. – Face Painting: Wendy Woo Woo
6:30 – 8:30 p.m. – Dog Show, Horse Ring (Agility & Obstacle Course)
7:30 p.m. – 4-H Pretty Animal Contest, following Ambassador
8:00 p.m. – Hypnotist

FRIDAY, JULY 20: $2.00 Admission per person

8:00 a.m. – Open Show Livestock on Grounds
10:30 a.m. – Livestock Show: Beef, Sheep & Swine
4:00 p.m. – until – Midway Open – M & M Amusements
4:30 p.m. – Fashion Revue Interviews
5:00 p.m. – Hay Bale Toss (youth & adults) * Also same time Saturday!
5:00 – 6:30 p.m. – Show & Shine Pick-up Truck Show. Awards presented 6:30 pm
5:00 – 7:00 p.m. – Pork Barbecue Dinner
5:00 – 8:00 p.m. – Face Painting: Wendy Woo Woo
5:00 p.m.– until – Exotic Animal Exhibit: Workhorse Farm Rescue & Exotics
6:00 p.m. – 4-H Fashion Revue
6:00 – 8:00 p.m. – Caricature Artist
7:00 p.m. – Greased Pig Contest
7:45 p.m. – Pie Eating Contest

SATURDAY, JULY 21: $2 Admission per person

8:00 a.m. – All Open Class Dairy Animals & Milk Cows On Grounds
9:00 a.m. – Horse Show: 4-H (English and Western Divisions)
10:00 a.m. – Dairy Cattle Show
10:00 a.m. – Antique Tractor Pull, registration begins at 8:00 a.m.

11:00 a.m. – Jousting Tournament- Eastern Shore Jousting Association

12:00 p.m. – Corn Hole Tournament
12:00 p.m. – Horse Show: Open (English & Western Divisions)
12:00 p.m. – until – Midway Open – M & M Amusements

12:00 p.m. – 6 p. m.- Tennis Ball Archery activity- open to the public
12:30 p.m. – Pedal Power Tractor Pull

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.- Live Archery Demonstration
4:00 p.m. – Youth Turkey Calling Contest
5:00 p.m. – Hay Bale Toss (youth & adults)
5:00 – 7:00 p.m. – Face Painting: Wendy Woo Woo
5:00 – 7:00 p.m. – Chicken Barbecue Dinner
7:30 p.m. – 4-H Livestock Auction
4-H Cake Auction (immediately following livestock auction)


6:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon – Ag Center Fair Grounds Clean-up
6:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – All 4-H, Open and Commercial Animal & Indoor Exhibits Released
10:30 a.m. – 4-H Tug-a-War: Final 4-H Green & White Challenge Event
11:00 a.m. – 4-H Awards Program – All 4-H’ers must be present
1:00 p.m. – Fair is not responsible for exhibits & items left after this time





“Annapolis Bluegrass” Kicks Off Music in the Park Summer Concert Series


The Annapolis Bluegrass Coalition in 2017 Photo: Mike Hartnett (fiddle), Larry Conner (guitar), Roger Green (mandolin), Terry Wittenberg (banjo), Jim Duvall (bass)

Bring your dancing shoes for this Saturday’s Music in the Park concert featuring the Annapolis Bluegrass Coalition.  The music starts at 7 p.m. in Chestertown’s Fountain Park and continues until about 8:30 p.m. One of the area’s most popular groups, Annapolis Bluegrass Coalition, combines instrumental virtuosity with close harmonies in a mixture of bluegrass standards, originals by band members and a few “out-of-genre” tunes adapted for the bluegrass style. The band will concentrate on bluegrass standards for its Chestertown set, as well as a selection of originals by band members.  Come join the fun!

The band leader and founder is Roger Green, who plays guitar and mandolin, and sings both lead and harmony vocals. He also writes most of the bands original material.   Larry Conner plays guitar and also sings lead and harmony vocals.  On banjo and vocals is Terry Wittenberg. Rounding out the group are Mike Hartnett on fiddle and Jim Duvall on bass fiddle.

For more information on the band and to hear some of their music, visit the Annapolis Bluegrass website at

Music in the Park performances begin at 7 p.m. in Fountain Park and run until about 8:30. Annapolis Bluegrass is always one of the best-attended performances of the series and a limited number of seats are available. Audience members are advised to bring folding chairs or blankets.

In the event of rain, the concert will be rescheduled if possible.

These free programs are sponsored by the Town of Chestertown with support from The Kent County Arts Council & Community Contributors. To help make these programs possible, please send donations payable to the Town of Chestertown and designated for “Music in the Park,” to 118 N. Cross Street, Chestertown, MD 21620.

The Chestertown Music in the Park schedule is below followed by the schedule for the three Thursday evening Riverfront concerts sponsored by Washington College.

Chestertown’s Music in the Park:

Saturday, June 23 – Annapolis Bluegrass

Saturday, July 7 – Chesapeake Brass Band – marches, popular and patriotic songs

Saturday, July 21 – Music from Broadway  –  songs from various musicals, movies, and similar popular songs

Saturday, Aug – 4 – Swing City – big swing band era songs – 1930s-40s style

Saturday, Aug 18 – Legacy Day soul band – Soulfied Village – block party 6-10 pm  DJ + Live Music all evening – crafts, exhibits, food, beverages, dancing in the streets


You also won’t want to miss the Thursday Evening Washington College Riverfront Concerts

Washington College sponsors a series of three Thursday evening concerts during the weeks when there is not a Music in the Park concert.  Theses concerts start earlier – 6:30 pm and go for about 90 minutes.

The three Washington College Riverfront Concerts are:

Thursday, June 28            Sombarkin (gospel/spirituals/acapella vocal trio)

Thursday, July 12              Ultrafaux, Gypsy Jazz on July 12th with special guest mandolinist Danny Knicely.

Thursday, July 26              High & Wides CD Release Celebration (Americana//bluegrass)

The Washington College Riverfront Concert Series takes place on the Custom House Lawn on the riverfront at the end of High Street. Concerts begin at 6:30 pm. Rain dates move to the Wilmer Park Pavilion. All concerts are free and open to the public.  Bring blankets or chairs or just sit on the grass.


National Music Festival: One Week Left!


Richard Rosenberg, NMF Artistic Director, conducts a concert during the 2017 National Music Festival.     Photo by Philip Rosenberg.

The National Music Festival, now in its seventh year in Chestertown, is one of the best classical music experiences around. And it’s a bargain! NMF concerts tickets run $10 to $20. You would pay $50, $100, or more for the equivalent quality in D.C., Philadelphia or New York. And some are even free! Most of the rehearsals are free and open to the public. They are very informal. You can come in at any point during the scheduled rehearsal time. Stay for fifteen minutes just to get the flavor or spend an hour and hear professional musicians hone their craft.

Monday, June 11, features The NewBassoon Institute. You can catch the small break-out rehearsals in any of three locations from 3:00-5:00 pm–at Tom Martin’s Bookplate or Chestertown Town Hall, both on Cross Street or at the River Club above the Evergrain Bread Company at the corner of High and Queen (entrance on Queen Street).  Then the three groups will come together for a full rehearsal with all musicians at the Sultana Education on Cross Street from 5:30-6:30. The concert itself starts at 7:30 at the Sultana. All the bassoon rehearsals and the concert are free and open to the public.

Check the open rehearsal schedule online here or the concert schedule here.

The National Music Festival will be Chestertown at various locations through Saturday, June 16, culminating with an all Tchaikovsky concert Saturday evening at 7:30 pm with the  Festival Symphony Orchestra at the  Chestertown Baptist Church.  Tickets are $20.  Richard Rosenberg will conduct.  Also featured will be cello soloist Gwen Krosnick and guest conductor Robert Stiles.

The Fiddlesticks ensemble with local children who took violin lessons provided free-of-charge by the National Music Festival staff during the school year got a chance to show their new skills during the opening concert of the festival held at the First United Methodist Church.      Photo by Philip Rosenberg.

Musicians rehearse for the first concert of the 2018 National Music Festival in Chestertown.     Photo by Philip Rosenberg.



A Festive First Friday in Chestertown!


Walnut and Wool owner Samantha Arrow cuts the ribbon for her new boutique inside She-She- on High. The store features furniture and clothing.   Photo by Peter Heck

Summer is here!  We know that the summer solstice on June 20 marking the day with the most hours of sunlight is the official beginning of summer, but Friday, June 1, was a perfect summer day.  Hot but not too hot.  Sunny but with just enough cloud cover to provide some shade.  It was a great evening for Chestertown’s first First Friday of the summer!

Twigs and Teacups on Cross St.       Photo by Jane Jewell

And there were lots of reasons to make this a special first Friday.  There were three ribbon-cuttings for new businesses in downtown Chestertown – The Listening Room on Cannon St., the Blackbird Boutique at the corner of Spring and Park Row across from the park, and Walnut & Wool in the back of She-She on High St.  A fourth business, Elbe Body with licensed massage therapist Linda Moyer, was celebrating it’s new location at 300 Cross St. inside the old train station, the previous location of The Tidewater Trader.

Author Gail Priest signs copies of her books at Twigs and Teacups
Photo by Jane Jewell

The RiverArts June exhibit opened to the public with a reception and an opportunity to vote for your favorite work.  The exhibit will remain through June. There is a wide variety of styles and subjects including paintings, pottery, and sculpture.  There are several lovely designs in fabric.  Especially interesting is a free-standing multi-piece sculpture in mixed media –mostly wood– titled Rite of Spring by Ron Akins. With its exquisite details of pixies and woodland creatures, it looks as if it came straight from a garden in fairyland.

Detail from “Rite of Spring” mixed media sculpture by Ron Akins at RiverArts   Photo by Jane Jewell

“Garden Paths” by Barbara Vann      Photo by Peter Heck

“Kooky Quartet” by Ken Sadler      Photo by Peter Heck

“My Turn to Reflect” 3-d sculpture by Larry Fransen of Annapolis winner of People’s Choice award      Photo by Peter Heck

The Listening Room on Cannon St. Town Councilman David Foster, Main Street President Paul Heckles, owner Michael Hoatson, Town Councilwoman Linda Kuiper. Photo by Peter Heck

Blackbird Boutique ribbon cutting- owners & sisters Lauryl Clark (red shirt) & Jordan Clark (with scissors) Photo by Peter Heck

The Dover English Country Dancers performed in Fountain Park as part of Washington College’s Alumni Weekend.  If you looked closely, you might recognize local Chestertownians Karen Smith and Steve Mumford in their colonial garb.

Dover English Country Dancers – Karen Smith of Kingstown front right in blue and white. Photo by Peter Heck

Old Kent Quilters’ Guild displays their wares. Win a quilt – Raffle ticket only $1 Photo by Peter Heck

Enjoying a cool drink in the early summer evening outside the Hotel Imperial   Photo by Jane Jewell

The D.A.R., Daughters of the American Revolution, had a table outside the Historical Society. Photo by Peter Heck

Mariam Satchell of Purple Lilly Studio displays her custom-made soaps and lotions.   Photo by Jane Jewell

Chris Jones, Bill Drasga, Frank Gerber, outside “Music Life” Photo by Peter Heck

All in the Family! States’ Attorney candidate Bryan DiGregory’s family was all decked out in matching t-Shirts supporting their candidate! (L-R)daughter Kate DiGregory, In-Laws and grandparents Judy and Rob McSparran, daughter Molly DiGregory.    Photo by Jane Jewell

Kent County Councilman William Pickrum, Vita Pickrum, Deputy States’ Attorney for Kent County and candidate for States’ Attorney candidate Bryan DiGregory.    Photo by Jane Jewell

Soroptimists Connie Jones, Louise Skinner, Connie Morris outside Gabirel’s Photo by Peter Heck

Eleanor Houghton, age 9 in 3rd grade in Centreville, wears a flag in her hair as she picks out her favorite art at Carla Massoni’s Art Gallery Photo by Jane Jewell

Virginia Kerr tastes an organic, biodynamic wine at Chestertown Natural Foods. Photo by Jane Jewell

S.O.S (Save Our Schools) volunteers Jodi Borst and Beth Proffitt.     Photo by Jane Jewell

Do You Wanna Dance?
DJ Tim Sullivan (on left) plays only original vinyl 45s from 1954-’63.  Auctioneer & musician Bill Blake on right.       Photo by Peter Heck




Tea Party on Parade!


The 2018 Chestertown Tea Party Grand Marshall Kate Livie      Photo by Peter Heck

We all know about the famous Boston Tea Party where the colonial patriots in 1773 threw a shipload of tea into Boston Harbor to protest the British crown’s tax on tea.  But not as many have heard about the similar action claimed to have occurred on the Chester River in Chestertown the next year in response to the call from Massachusettes and other colonies to boycott British tea.

Perhaps you had not heard about it because it didn’t happen!  Or maybe it did. … History is silent on the matter. No contemporaneous records have been found reporting that local residents –in broad daylight and not disguised as Indians as the Boston protesters were–boarded the British ship Geddes and tossed the chests of tea into the river. Still, stories have been whispered down the years and local children have been taught the story in school for decades. We do know for certain that the then Kent County residents thought about it, talked about it, and did pass the official Chestertown Resolves calling on citizens to buy no tea.  Their sentiments were clear. No Tea!  No Tax without Representation! And then in celebration and remembrance, the first Chestertown Tea Party Festival was held 43 years ago.

The 2018 Tea Party this past Memorial Day weekend, May 25-27, was a huge success with the largest crowds in several years. While there was no official estimate, Tom Yeager, the MC for this and most recent years, said that the crowd was at least twice as large as last year. Attendance during part of the last decade had been curtailed variously by rain, the recession, and $4 a gallon gas, but in recent years the festival was clearly growing.  Crowds are always in the thousands, with estimates for many past years running between 5,000 and 10,000.

The weather was perfect–if a bit hot–with no rain on Friday or Saturday.  And the rain politely held off until after the 2:30 p.m. raft race on Sunday.

The parade route down High Street was crowded.  The big draw was the horses, sturdy Clydesdales straight from Budweiser along with the Light Dragoon horses and more.  There were bands galore, high school bands from Kent County, Queen Ann, and Largo–even the Centreville Middle School band was there.  In addition, there were several groups in colonial garb playing revolutionary tunes on musical instruments of the era.  The Chestertown Ukelele Club dressed in trendy “colonial Hawaiian” style with flower leis around their necks and tri-corn hats–adorned with more flowers–on their heads. The bagpipers wore kilts.  Parade winners are listed at the end of the photo gallery.

Budweiser Clydesdales      Photo by Jim Block

American Revolutionary War re-enactors shooting genuine black powder muskets as used by the British army. Photo by Jim Block

A traditional Fire House Dalmatian dog      Photo by Jim Block

The Largo High School Band with it’s energetic and high-stepping dance team won first place in the band competition.      Photo by Peter Heck

“The Brigade of Blue” – Kent County High School Marching Band.      Photo by Jim Block

Kent County High School Band      Photo by Peter Heck

Queen Anne’s County High School Band – Pride of the Eastern Shore

Chestertown Ukelele Club in Leis and tri-corn hats      Photo by Peter Heck

John Lawrence times three! Three generations of John Lawrences — grandfather, father, and baby age 5 months – all named John Lawrence     Photo by Jane Jewell

Meet and Greet with the Clydesdale      Photo by Jane Jewell

Tea Party Parade winners 2018:

Riding/walking unit: 1st – Budweiser Clydesdales    2nd – Rough Riders

Band: 1st – Largo High School   2nd – Queen Anne’s County High School   3rd – Kent County High School

Marching Unit: 1st – First Delaware Regiment   2nd – First Regiment Light Dragoons   3rd – Maryland Loyalists

Float: 1st – Kent School     2nd – Chester River Association

Mayor’s Cup: Budweiser Clydesdales

The “tail end” of the parade. Note how the horses’ tails are carefully braided and tidily pinned up with a bow.     Photo by Jim Block

2018 was the 43rd annual Tea Party Festival in Chestertown.  Plans now begin for the 44th  Chestertown Tea Party Festivalto be held over Memorial Day weekend 2019!  Hope to see you there!



















New Chestertown Eatery – Germaine’s New Orleans Style Carry-Out


Germaine’s Carry-Out Grand Opening Thursday, April 19, at 827 High St, Chestertown, MD, 21620

It’s open! Germaine’s Carry-Out celebrates its grand opening with a New Orleans-inspired menu today, and you owe it to your taste buds to pay a visit.

Germaine’s is located at 827 High St., the site of the fondly-remembered Herb’s Soup and Sandwich take-out. But while the location is the same, Germaine’s puts her focus on the subtly flavorful Creole cuisine, as developed by the original French and Spanish settlers of New Orleans. On any given day, the menu will feature a choice of soups — with chicken, shrimp and Andouille sausage gumbo always in the spotlight — sandwiches, including muffulettas and po’boys, and a choice of crepes. Germaine’s is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

John Hanley and Germaine Lanaux. John helped to muscle the huge freezer out of the truck and into the restaurant.       Photo by Jane Jewell

Germaine Lanaux grew up in New Orleans, sampling the offerings of the city’s great restaurants from an early age — and learning the elements of French cookery from her father Gaston. After her family moved to Baltimore, she began her career as a chef at Martick’s Restaurant Francaise, then spent some 15 years traveling in Europe, working as a chef in Spain and Paris. Upon her return to the U.S., she opened her own supper club and catering business in Baltimore, Cafe Germaine. Having moved to Chestertown a number of years ago, she now brings this rich body of experience to her new venture.

The Spy staff visited Germaine’s late in March, when she hosted a “soft” opening to give the town a small sample of her fare. The free muffulettas — with soppressata, mortadella, salami, olives and pickled vegetables on a sesame seed roll — were delicious. She plans to add larger carry-out meals and rotating dinner specials to the menu at some time soon. And be sure to ask about office trays.

The Mufaletto –a speciality of the house!  Photo by Jane Jewell

Germianes’ menu is very reasonably priced.  Shrimp, chicken, andouille, and rice gumbo is $10.  The traditional white bean, potato, and kale soup runs $4 for a cup and $6 for a bowl. In sandwich selections, the muffuletta is $8 while the Cuban–ham, house roasted pork, swiss cheese, salami, pickles and mustard on cuban bread with creole seasonings–is $9.  The Big Easy at $10 is a shrimp po’ boy with remoulade. Germaine’s also offers a variety of crepes at $8 and a Nutella crepe at $6.

Germaine believes in buying local as much as possible.  Consequently, many ingredients come from Kent County farms or other Eastern Shore sources.  They partner with Cedar Run Farm  and Langenfelder Pork for pasture-raised and naturally-fed beef and pork. Much of their produce comes from Oksana’s farm on McGinnis Rd just outside Chestertown.  Oksana’s vegetables are grown without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers from non-GMO seeds. Chester River Seafood, Crow Farm, Langenfelder Pork near Kennedyville, St. Brigid’s Farm also just outside Kennedyville, and Unity Nursery are also regular suppliers.

For more information and full menu, visit Germaine’s website, or call 443-282-0048.

The whole crew – Cathy, Corey, and Germaine – ready for action!      Photo by Jane Jewell

Germaine’s Carry-Out with a New Orleans Twist at 527 High St. Photo by Jane Jewel###

Fun and Fellowship at First “Unity Day”


Kids loved the bouncy castle in the Garnett schoolyard.     Photo by Jane Jewell

The first “Unity Day” was held from 1:00-4:00 pm, Saturday, April 14, on the grounds of Garnet Elementary School and Bethel AME Church and on College Ave, the street in front of the  church and school.  Food trucks lined the street along with booths and tables from community organizations. Among those taking part were several Washington College student groups, the WC Graphic Information (GIS) Center, CV Starr Center,  Washington College Admissions, Sumner Hall Grand Army of the Republic Post #25, National Alliance for Mental Health, the Diversity Dialogue Group, and the Kent County Democratic Club.   There were also booths for Arts by Alan Johnson, the Garfield Center for the Arts, Kent County Arts Council, the Kent County Humane Society, Kent County Library, Maryland American Beauty Pageants, and Kent County Indivisible among others.  Chestertown farmers’ market manager Owen McCoy even brought a baby goat for kids–the human kind–to pet!

Photo by Jim Block

For several years, members of the Diversity Dialogue Group and other community members have talked about the need to bring together the various communities within Chestertown and Kent County.  Plans began to firm up when Washington College officially signed onto the project last year.  The college is right down the block from Garnet Elementary School.  The Garnet building, now Chestertown’s integrated elementary school, was, until the early 1970s, the segregated Black  High School.  Now the surrounding neighborhood is mixed racially and ethnically though still predominantly African-American. Quite a few of Washington College’s off-campus students live in the area.  One of the goals of the day was to help forge links between the college and the neighborhood and the community as a whole.  It all came together in a well-attended event Saturday — and Mother Nature brought it all to perfection with a warm, sunny Spring day.

Photo by Jim Block

Bethel Church provided a Fish Fry. Also present to feed the hungry were food trucks by Papa Smurf and Crazy Rick’s.  Hot dogs were provided by the KCHS Band committee, tacos were from Los Jariochos and cookies from Washington College.

There were activities for both kids and adults, including free face painting, crayons and coloring pages, a dance contest, and a “mural-in-the-making” by KidSpot.  Two large “bouncy castles” in the Garnet schoolyard drew crowds of kids all afternoon.

And there was music all afternoon — both live and recorded.  The Chestertown Ukelele Club played several songs.  Guitarist and vocalist Fredy Granillo was accompanied by drummer and CPA Bob Miller. There was also a drum circle.

Exact attendance was hard to determine with people coming and going throughout the day, but event organizers estimated the crowd at 5o0 to 1,000, noting that some people came and left and then returned again bringing friends and neighbors.

Many community leaders came together to make the day possible– with committees working hard over the past year.  Organizers included Elena Deanda, Washington College professor of Spanish language and Black Studies; Larry Samuels, Armond Fletcher and Lolli Sherry of the Diversity Dialogue Group, Ruth Shoge, Lynn Dolinger, Rosemary Granillo, Michael Buckley, and Jamie Barrett, among others along with many volunteers.   Planning is now in the works for the second annual “Unity Day.”

Photo Gallery by Jim Block and Jane Jewell

Barbara Foster standing) and Carolyn Brooks (seated on right)  helped run coloring activities for local kids.      Photo by Jane Jewell

Photo by Jane Jewell

Organizers of Chestertown chapter of Maryland American Beauty Pageants Photo by Jane Jewell

Photo by Jim Block

Photo by Jim Block

Fredy Granillo (left)                                                                    Bob Miller

















Photo by Jane Jewell

Photo by Jim Block

Armond Fletcher with cookies

















Photo by Jim Block

Photo by Jim Block

Photo by Jim Block





































































A Sad Farewell to Lemon Leaf Cafe


Lemon Leaf Cafe on High St. in Chestertown

There have been rumors for months that the Lemon Leaf Cafe and the adjoining co-owned JR’s PastTime Pub might close.  Those were confirmed today, Thursday, Feb 15, when owner and operator JR Alfree posted the following message on the cafe’s FaceBook page just a few minutes after 3:00 pm.

“Family and friends,

I’m so very sad to let you all know that after 8 years, the Lemon Leaf Cafe and JR’s Past-Time Pub in Chestertown, MD, will close our doors for the last time on Saturday, February 17.

Opening the restaurant was the greatest adventure of my life. Together with my team we won awards and accolades and served so many cups of cream of crab soup. I felt like we were the living room and dining room of Chestertown. We hosted many special events, community gatherings, and simple dinners for friends and family. People gathering for happy moments like weddings and sad moment like funerals would come to the Lemon Leaf and JR’s and feel at home. It has truly been the privilege of my life to serve the Chestertown community for many years and I am heartbroken that it has come to an end.

Unfortunately, the business ran into some challenges that despite our very best efforts, we could not overcome. We have a large historic building and it’s badly in need of major repairs. I hope in the future, someone will give the building the time and investment it needs so it will again serve the downtown Chestertown community.

Thank you to my wonderful managers Cathy, Jesse and Jeff, and to the entire staff for giving it all they had.

On behalf all of us at the Lemon Leaf and JR’s, let me say a final thank you to everyone who let us be a part of your lives.

Warmest wishes,

JR Alfree”

Visit the Lemon Leaf  facebook for more information or to leave a message.

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