Four days of family fun

August 24, 2011|By MARIE GILBERT |
  • Art Shanholtz hammers an iron rod at the 2010 Williamsport Days, while Doug Bitinger of Cumberland, Md., watches with his daughters, Lena and Belle. This years community festival begins tonight.
File photo

WILLIAMSPORT, Md. — When Bobbi Cole says Williamsport Days offers something for everyone, she’s not kidding.

It’s a street dance, band concert, craft show and food fest all rolled into one.

In fact, the celebration has so much to offer, it’s held over a four-day period.

With a wide variety of activities, it’s easy to see why, each year, several thousand people converge on the town, said Cole, president of the Williamsport Days Committee.

“Mother Nature plays a part in attendance,” she said. “But I can honestly say, I can’t remember a time when we didn’t have a big crowd.”

This year, Williamsport Days will be held today through Sunday, Aug. 28.

It officially opens at 7 tonight with a concert by the Williamsport Community Band in the Byron Memorial Park Bandshell. Cole said the concert will honor Luther “Jay” Grimes, who is marking his 50th year with the Williamsport Volunteer Fire Co.

“It’s a particularly important evening,” she said.

In the event of rain, the concert will be held in the Springfield Farm Barn.

Williamsport Memorial Library’s annual book sale will be held 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday in the lower level of the library. Proceeds from the sale will be used to purchase new books and other library necessities.

Also on Friday, the Lion’s Club will hold its annual ox roast at the Improved Order of Red Men Tribe 84 beginning at 6 p.m., followed by a town dance at 7 p.m. on Salisbury Street. Music will be by provided by DJ-TNT, who will be presenting an Elvis tribute throughout the weekend.

For craft and food lovers, Byron Memorial Park will be the place to be on Saturday and Sunday.

Cole said about 100 vendors will be spread out across the park — many traveling from as far away as Florida and South Carolina.

“I’m a big crafter myself and go to a lot of festivals,” Cole said. “I think we have one of the best layouts, the best flow for both vendors and visitors. The park is a phenomenal place to hold an event like this.”

Many nonprofit groups also will be participating, she said, including members of the Williamsport Lions Club, who will be selling their famous funnel cakes.

Because activities will be offered in other parts of the town, Cole said a trolley will be available to take festival-goers from one point to the other, including to the C&O Canal Family Reunion, scheduled for Sunday from 3 to 4 p.m. at Cushwa Basin. The park’s new canal-touring boat will be on display and National Park Service rangers will be providing songs and stories.

Williamsport City Councilwoman Joan Knode said activities also are planned from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Town Museum, in the lower level of the Springfield Farm Barn.

Knode said the museum features many local displays, including hand-made rugs by the the Williamsport Woolies rug hookers as well as historical memorabilia of Williamsport and the C&O Canal.

There also will be a book signing with Tim Snyder, author of “Trembling in the Balance: The C&O Canal During the Civil War” on Saturday and Sunday, noon to 3 p.m.

Buck Fisher & Friends will provide some down-home music in the Springfield Farm Barn, starting at 5 p.m. Sunday.

Cole said Williamsport Days is a family-oriented, community event. But it also has a charitable side.

Each year, following expenses, the committee donates proceeds to local causes, she noted. In the past, money has funded the Williamsport Food Bank and repairs in Riverview Cemetery following vandalism.

“Everything goes right back into the community,” Cole said. “That’s our sole purpose.”

If you go ...

WHAT: Williamsport Days

WHEN: Today through Sunday, Aug. 28; officially opens at 7 tonight

WHERE: Various locations throughout Williamsport: Byron Memorial Park Bandshell, Springfield Barn, Williamsport Memorial Library, downtown Williamsport

COST: Many events are free.

CONTACT: For more information about events at the museum and barn, call Joan Knode at 301-223-7229. Information on Williamsport Days is available at and

File photo
Art Shanholtz hammers an iron rod at the 2010 Williamsport Days, while Doug Bitinger of Cumberland, Md., watches with his daughters, Lena and Belle. This year’s community festival begins tonight.

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