By Kaylea Granville
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer
Since 1968, thousands of Baltimore County residents and guests from other states gravitate towards Towson’s downtown area during the first weekend of May to sample deep-fried oreos, purchase handmade crafts and listen to popular bands.
Just like in previous years, the 52nd annual Towsontown Spring Festival was family-oriented with the purpose of exposing visitors to the numerous benefits and perks of living in this fast-developing city.
“The goal of this event is to bring people into the bustling suburbs of Towson,“ said Liz Bailey, marketing director for the Towson Chamber of Commerce, who estimate an annual crowd of up to 250,000 people.
Food from different cultural backgrounds, art of all genres, home improvement gadgets and skin care products were among the types of vendors that flooded the streets near Uptown. Cranked Up Cardio danced with the Towson crowd to get passers-by pumped for the two-day festivities on the intersection of Washington and Pennsylvania avenues.
“The food selection ranges from classic carnival foods to ethnic, gourmet delights, along with countless delectable sweets,” said Chamber Director Nancy Hafford.
E-Art Tie Dye were one of the many companies that graced the area with their hand-crafted tie dye merchandise. Errett Brown and his wife, Vanessa, displayed T-shirts, hoodies and socks, as well as other merchandise.
Brown said he started his T-shirt business in 1987 in New York City and was inspired by Grateful Dead art before he met his wife and transformed Tahoe Tie Dye to the name it’s known as today. The business supports his family, he said.
Eventually, the Browns decided to expand their company by experimenting with other items that would sell, he said. He uses events like the Towsontown Spring Festival as a way to bring in the most revenue since he said selling online is a “difficult market” for his brand.
Radio station, Today’s 101.9 and Z 104.3 hosted bands such as “That’s What She Said” and “Almost Journey” to perform on two stages erected on Washington Avenue. While visitors fill their bellies with deep-fried oreos and ice cream from The Chamery, they excitedly stand in line for carnival rides that cost anywhere between $1 to $5.
When entering the downtown area, other vendors promoted their products, such Art by Barton located in Canton. Charlie Barton said he creates silk screen prints, or photos that are made by layering an image that take anywhere from 12-48 hours to finish.
One of Barton’s apprentices, Caroline Hill, said, “I’ve been working with Charlie for four years and I knew after dropping out of the university that art was something I wanted to pursue.”
“I do the framing for the art,” Hill said.
Towson University students such as Jordan Coiro attended the festivities.
“It was so fun coming to this event,” said Coiro, an Andover, New Jersey native who has been at Towson University four years. She said she never knew that something like this happened so close to school.