ELKTON — As the end of summer gives way to autumn this month, downtown Elkton will usher in the new season with its annual Fall Fest on Friday, Sept. 20, and Saturday, Sept. 21.
The festivities will begin on Friday with a kickoff party from 5 to 8 p.m. with live entertainment, a car cruise, and food available for purchase.
Then, Fall Fest will get into full swing on Saturday with activities and performances throughout the day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fall Fest is free and open for all to attend — people only will need to pay for any crafts, foods and contest entries, according to Jessica Price, executive director of the Elkton Chamber & Alliance.
Price said this year’s festival will feature a revamped children’s area near the Cecil County Arts Council with a moon bounce, obstacle course and 11 different games for children to play. There will also be various children’s characters walking around and a balloon artist making balloon animals and the like.
Price said this year the Elkton Chamber & Alliance wanted to get even more businesses participating in Fall Fest.
“We’re just trying to get the whole street involved this year,” she said.
With each passing year, downtown Elkton gains new merchants, adding to the booming business atmosphere there. But Price noted that also means the town has to get creative with finding space for crafters during Fall Fest as the areas they normally use are being taken up by businesses.
“It’s a good problem to have though,” she said.
Crafters will be stationed up and down Main Street from Bow Street to the arts council building.
The Historical Society of Cecil County will have a “Find Your Friends” station where people can leaf through old yearbooks.
“They’re going to have all their old yearbooks on display for people to come in and look through them and look for friends from school that they may not have seen in forever,” Price said.
Dancers from Bobbie Ann’s Dance Studio will perform, and cub scouts will be doing their cart derby behind the stage on North Street.
There will be a Pretty Baby contest with different age categories in the morning. In the afternoon, singers will get to compete in the Voice of Elkton, which will include two rounds: the first round in which the judges will have their backs turned and they will be graded solely on their vocal ability, and a second round in which the judges will turn around and will score the contestant’s performance ability, according to Price.
Drummer “Bobby D” Jones started a program called Hooked on Drums which is kicking off a new scholarship with the Elkton Chamber & Alliance, as well as holding a Fall Fest tribute to Mary Jo Jablonski, former Elkton Chamber & Alliance executive director and Elkton commissioner, who passed away in February.
Price said she hopes Jablonski would approve of this year’s event, particularly all of the activities for kids.
“I hope she would like it,” Price said. “I know she’d be really excited about the children’s events. Mary Jo was a longtime daycare provider before she ever started her job here. She was always wanting to make sure that there were things for children to do.”
Price added that when Jablonski was planning this year’s event, she had made a list of bands she was going to contact. Philadelphia-based Jumper Band was on that list, so Price said she knows they picked someone that she would approve.
Price encouraged families to come out and explore Elkton at Fall Fest.
“It’s just a good day of fun … It’s a good day to come out with your family and enjoy your time downtown,” she said.