Camp Blaze's Annual Children's Fair To Take Place On "Cinco De Mayo!"
By Dylan Roche
The countys biggest family tradeshow, the 26th-annual Camp Blaze Childrens Fair, is set for May 5 at the Big Vanilla Athletic club in Arnold. The day will begin at 9:00am and will be packed with fun for the entire family until 3:00pm. In anticipation of the event, Camp Blaze President Cheryl Carnwath divulged some of what fair-goers can expect, including information booths, entertainment, a silent auction, food vendors, sports exhibits, live music and much more!
What began 25 years ago as a small festival in the parking lot of Severna Park High School has grown over the years to be the countys biggest family tradeshow. As always, the day looks to be fun and educational. The Camp Blaze Childrens Fair provides families a day of fun together, while connecting them to the best resources for families available, said Carnwath. With the hopes of bringing a host of family resources together in one place, she and her husband John organized the first Camp Blaze Childrens Fair in 1986. We hit upon an effort where there was a real need, she said.
Businesses, organizations and groups from all over the community will be holding booths at the event, giving families the chance to learn information and find out about available resources which is of great benefit! It gives moms and dads a chance to ask questions they might not otherwise have a chance to ask, and introduces them to experts, services, organizations and products about which they might not know. As Carnwath put it, Never underestimate the importance of being there. Sometimes parents dont know a resource exists until they see it.
While the parents learn lots of information pertinent to family life, the kids are sure to have a great time. The day will offer costumed characters, live entertainment, fun-filled demonstrations, a rock wall and moon bounces.
As a special surprise, this year will be emceed by Adrian Branch, a Maryland Hometown Hero who played basketball for the University of Maryland and the Lakers and is now a college basketball analyst for ESPN. Adrian is a very powerful motivational speaker, Carnwath said, explaining how leading up to the event, Adrian has been visiting local schools and talking to students about life choices and tough issues.
The military will also be in attendance; their display will feature a rock wall, hummer and tent setup. Meanwhile, Camp Woodward will have a 100-foot ramp set up outside and will be performing their feats for guests enjoyment.
In keeping with the fairs theme of Hometown Heroes, Camp Blaze sponsors the annual Hometown Heroes Essay Contest. This years winners 21 students from Summit School in Edgewater will read their essays on stage at the fair.
The essay contest encourages people to recognize hometown heroes, said Carnwath, which, the students realize, are different from superheroes in comics or celebrity idols. They are people in our community and children see in them the qualities that make up a hero.
In addition to the chance to read their essays aloud, winners will receive prizes donated from local businesses, including movie passes, circus tickets and goodie bags.
The annual silent auction portion of the fair will benefit the We Believe Foundation, which raises awareness and funds for teens and young adults with cancer. Silent auction items will include tickets to sporting events, family passes, services, entertainment and high-quality products.
Hungry fairgoers will have the chance to chow down at the food court, where vendors including Arbys, Philly Flash, Subway, OLaughlins, Papa Johns and Dietz & Watson Hot Dogs will have selections from their menu available.
It may be the same event every year, but it takes on its own character year after year, explained Carnwath. I love that every year, it unfolds in a unique way. People are creative in their means of outreach.
Carnwath extends great credit to Larry Ray, owner of Big Vanilla, for his support of the event. Larry is very invested in families, she explained. He has been so good about opening Big Vanilla to us and making this possible.
For more information on Camp Blaze and the upcoming Childrens Fair at Big Vanilla, visit the organization online at www.campblaze.org. Big Vanilla is located at 1209 Ritchie Highway in Arnold.
This years fair falls on Cinco de Mayo! In recognition of the holiday, the Fair will include a special celebratory corner with live music from local bands. Performers will include Cheaters and Beyond The Veil; the concert will also feature youth band Floozie. Composed of local teens Chase McConnell, Will Snow, and Mason Ray, Floozie will be an exciting addition to the live music line-up. Theyve got their own following already, and were glad to have them make an appearance, Carnwath said. The band mentioned they will be introducing some new unheard songs during their half hour set and said, We hope to excite a new type of audience, so it should be interesting to see how people who wouldn't usually listen to our music think of us. More than anything, we're really excited, and really look forward to this day, and are grateful to be a part of the celebration!
Big Vanillas café will be providing fresh fruit smoothies for a delicious Cinco de Mayo flair. Bands are expected to start performing at 10:30am and will be providing live music throughout the day.