Arts & Entertainment District :: Chestertown, MD Events

We often talk about how lucky we are to live in an area that is so rich in culture:

music festivals and movie theaters,

art galleries and artists’ studios,

book fairs and boat festivals,

live theater and lecture series,

sailing lessons and story telling. . .

It’s almost as if someone said, here’s a town – let’s fill it with all manner of arts and entertainment.  Well, that’s kind of exactly what has happened.  :)

This past summer, Chestertown was designated by the Maryland State Arts Council as an Arts and Entertainment District.

So what does that mean? Well, for visitors it simply means more of a good thing.  More events, festivals, shopping, opportunities for fun.  For residents, it means more job opportunities, tax incentives for arts related developments, and an even more vibrant place to live.

Chestertown is a pretty small place.  When we talk about “downtown” we’re talking about High Street from Spring Street to Queen Street, and extending over to Cross Street, which is really just a few blocks.  With the new designation, the downtown will be expanded to include the waterfront, the marina and all the way over to Wilmer Park for a total of 51 acres.  This article in The Chestertown Spy explains it a bit better than I can.

AND, concurrent with the A&E designation, Chestertown has also received a National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant, which will be used to create a Public Arts Master Plan.  Essentially turning the town into a walking art gallery, with installations in different places that will encourage people to stop, look and even linger.  An example of what this might look like was seen during last weekend’s RiverFest which we told you about in the last blog post…and here’s a little video evidence:

And here it is lit up at night:

Riverfest in Chestertown, MD

Photo courtesy of the Chestertown Spy

Amazing stuff!!   If this is any indication of what’s in store, then we can’t wait for it to start in earnest.   We’d love to see Chestertown grow and thrive as an arts destination.  It would be beneficial to the residents as well as the local businesses, and the Brampton is all for it!

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RiverFest in Chestertown, MD :: Celebrating Art & History

Chestertown, MD festivalsLeave it to the inventive folks of Chestertown, MD to create an event that celebrates the arts, the environment, and local history all at the same time.  RiverFest 2015 is a brand new festival that takes place in Wilmer Park, beautifully situated along the banks of our magnificent Chester River.

Tons of activities are packed into this one afternoon, Saturday, September 26, and there is certainly something for everyone.  Chestertown is well known for its many artists and artisans; the river and the bay are at the forefront of almost every endeavor made in this town; and of course the historical richness is obvious.  Bringing all these elements together is a natural for its sponsors Chestertown RiverArts, Washington College’s Center for Environment and Society, and SANDBOX (a program at WAC that merges the disciplines of art and science).

Plein Air artists will be scattered around the event, recording it in paint as it happens.  There will of course be water activities like kayak and canoe racing as well as the beloved Carboard Raft Regatta.  Yes, rafts made out of cardboard that actually go into the river.  Whether they come out in one piece is part of the excitement!  For the tourists, there are walking tours of historic downtown Chestertown.

Food and drink aplenty, public sails on the Sultana and other tall ships, as well as a supper cruise on the River Packet are all part of the festivities.

Perhaps what we’re most excited about though, at the end of the festival, is the lighting of a beautiful, solar powered, floating sculpture in the river that will light up as the sun goes down and the full moon comes up.  That promises to be a beautiful sight, but what is just as delightful is the idea of this giant wooden sculpture literally floating on the river!  It will be moored in place near the end of High Street a few days before the festival, and then left in place for a while after, when it will then be assessed and hopefully set up in a permanent location.  Designed by Jacqui and Vicco Von Voss, you can follow its progress here.

Permanent art installations such as this one are hopefully to become more commonplace here in the near future.  With its state designation as an Arts and Entertainment District, Chestertown is poised to become an even more attractive destination for those seeking culture, natural beauty and really fun things to do!  More on that to come…

Be sure to book your weekend with us at the Brampton Inn!

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Chestertown Jazz Festival Weekend 2015

We’re very excited because this year the Chestertown Jazz Festival is an entire weekend instead of one Saturday afternoon … giving us more opportunities to hear some great music by world class performers, check out the vendors, and bask in the warm September sun by the river.

Jazz Festival in Maryland

Starting on Friday, September 10, enjoy an evening of  blues with a twist; The Campbell Brothers Trio bring their “Sacred Steel: African-American gospel music with electric steel guitar and vocals” to the the Garfield Center for the Performing Arts, as part of the monthly Blues at the Garfield series.  Check them out on you tube-they are incredible!

Then on Saturday, September 11, from 11am to 6pm, Wilmer Park becomes a festival site, with 4 major acts, food and wine vendors, and arts and crafts for sale.  All along the banks of the Chester River, with the magnificent Schooner Sultana available for public sails that afternoon as well.  The forecast is calling for sunny skies and high temperatures in the 80’s. . .if that holds up (and why wouldn’t it?!), I promise you it will be one of the most pleasant afternoons that you won’t soon forget!   The river, the breeze, the music, the sun, a picnic basket (with wine, perhaps?) and friends.  It really doesn’t get any better.

Maryland Festivals

This will be the third time I personally have seen Frederic Yonnet, the headlining act, and I cannot wait.  He is on a mission to change the way folks see the harmonica, and I’m pretty sure he is succeeding.  He has played with Stevie Wonder and Prince, and believe me, he is right at home being in the spotlight.  You won’t be able to take your eyes off of him, he is that good!

Then on Sunday, head over to Crow Winery for their first annual CrowFest for more music and more fun, including of course, wine tastings!

Summer may be ending but the good times just keep on rolling here in the land of pleasant living. Be sure to reserve your room with us at the Brampton Inn for the festivities!

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