PORT DEPOSIT — Several dozen people of all ages stood in the center of town Saturday afternoon, eyes turned upward, and waved energetically.
George Hipkins piloted his drone over the crowd, steering it into different angles and shooting video to be used for the Port Deposit entry into HGTV’s “Home Town Takeover” contest.
The network that features shows such as “Property Brothers,” “Fixer Upper” and “Love It Or List It” also runs “Home Town” featuring Erin and Ben Napier. The couple rescues decaying older homes in Laurel, Miss.
Now the show, which started in 2016, is going on the road with “Home Town Takeover.”
It was a last minute decision to enter the contest said Vicki Rinkerman, Port Deposit town administrator. If the town wins, Erin and Ben Napier, stars of the HGTV show, will renovate three properties in Port Deposit.
“The deadline is Friday,” Rinkerman said. “But wouldn’t it be great if we could show them the people and how awesome Port Deposit is?”
George Hipkins, 19, shot the video, which his father, Walter Hipkins, will turn into a video promoting the town, proposing properties and introducing particular people with great stories to tell.
“We’ve got to make it short and sweet,” Rinkerman said. The final product will include an interview with Tania Fleming, who opened “Cool Beans Market” at 14 South Main St. last year.
The three homes being spotlighted are 75 North Main St., known as the McDowell Blackburn House, built in 1812, the Vannort House, built in 1850 and located at 93 North Main St., and at 62 South Main, the McClenahan and Nesbitt Houses, built around 1880.
Rinkerman wasn’t sure if the last-minute push would work. A social media post to be at center square at 1 p.m. was launched Friday. By 1 p.m. Saturday there was a nice crowd standing at the corner of Main and Center Streets waiting for Rinkerman to give orders to wave.
Standing behind a large banner reading “Port Deposit Pride” there were also a few handwritten signs. The paint on Jakob and Karen Hartline’s sign was still wet when the mom and son arrived, however that did not stop the duo from frantically waving the “Port Deposit (hearts) HGTV” sign wildly on cue.
Anna Kendig’s handwritten sign read “Keep Port Deposit Seedy.” She explained she did not want her adopted home town to become so popular that it priced the current residents out.
Kylie Heath stood in the seat of her stroller to wave, with her mother, Lacey Heath, keeping a firm grip on the little girl.
Port Deposit is no stranger to television. Every time there’s a flood the tiny waterfront town gets attention from news stations. In October 2007 Renee Dixon and her family were gifted with a visit from “Extreme Makeover Home Edition.” Ty Pennington and crew built a large house and a new riding barn for Dixon’s Freedom Hills Therapeutic Riding Program.