The unpredictable spring weather couldn't keep attendees away from the inaugural Made in Maryland Festival, the first event of its kind designed to celebrate local flavor and state spirit.
Held on Sunday, May 7, the festival brought together more than 2,000 guests from across the state to celebrate Maryland's talent, charisma, and quirks. Hosted by Kurtz's Beach, in conjunction with Route One Apparel, the festival showcased more than 60 Maryland-based vendors including local food trucks, craft breweries, live entertainment, and dozens of local artisans and crafters.
The five-hour celebration to "all things Maryland" showed our hometown spirit at its finest. The Maryland flag was splattered across every item imaginable – clocks, game boards, umbrellas, clothing, and home dcor pieces to name a few. Even the food was Maryland-themed, with crab soup available to warm up chilly guests and wrapped-around lines for crab cakes from Jimmy's Famous Seafood's truck. And, of course, it wouldn't be Preakness month without Black-Eyed Susan cocktails made with Baltimore's Tart Vodka.
There was also no shortage of family-friendly activities for festival goers—among the favorites were story time with the Chesapeake Mermaid, snapping photos with Mr. Boh, a friendly game of corn hole, and relaxing next to a beautiful view of the Chesapeake Bay.
"The response was overwhelming, to say the least," said festival organizer Hayley Bowerman. "As soon as we started advertising, we were slammed with applications from vendors, companies and organizations all wanting to be a part of the festival. The neat thing about our vendor lineup was that no two vendors were the same. They each offered something very unique to Maryland."
Kurtz's Beach, which calls itself the hidden gem of the Chesapeake region, is no stranger to throwing extraordinary events. The Pasadena venue hosts more than 100 weddings every year and is now in its third year of hosting large-scale festivals.
The venue held its first major event, Wine on the Water, in 2015; after a tremendous turnout, they launched their spring celebration, the Bounty of the Bay Seafood Festival. To keep the crowds wanting more, Kurtz's decided to offer something special and unique to the region and teamed up with Ali Von Paris, founder and CEO of Route One Apparel, to create the Made in Maryland Festival.
The organizers hope to make the festival an annual tradition, while reminding residents about the hard-working businesses and organizations that surround the Chesapeake region. John Mason, co-owner of Kurtz's Beach, says that even though the company has changed with the times, they still have pride in what and who they are – and most of all – in Maryland.
"For forever and a day, I've wanted to do something to celebrate what Maryland is all about here on the Chesapeake Bay," said Mason. "Festivals have been a great way for us to introduce Kurtz's Beach to new generations. Seeing folks come in and enjoy the space, and spend a day out on the Bay that's what it's all about."
The Made in Maryland Festival proudly supported the education and restoration programs of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Kurtz's next event, Wine on the Water, will be held on October 21-22.