For my second summer in Baltimore, I am determined to do all the things that I missed the first time around. This included, of course, walking the extra two blocks past 33rd and N. Charles Streets toward the music blasting in the Wyman Park Dell to visit the Charles Village Festival (June 7-8). Coming from Hopkins, my two friends and I imagined a summer-version of Spring Fair: fried oreos and carnival food galore, artsy vendors selling their wares, a soundtrack courtesy of local bands and maybe some harsh words between Planned Parenthood and some Pro-Life protesters. And having experienced Hampden’s Honfest last year, I was excited for what sort of “Charles Village Flair” I’d see. But what I saw was, well, small.
Granted, I don’t expect the small Charles Village Association to pull off a street fair the size of Artscape, but I was expecting there to be more to it. After a stroll down N. Charles towards 29th and the Dell, we had essentially seen all of it. Not to say that bigger is always necessarily better, but with the exception of watching the live bands playing on the stage, there wasn’t really a whole day’s worth of activities. The band performing was pretty good, but due to the heat my friends and I weren’t really in the mood to sit and listen for long. We pretty much felt that after one walk through, we had seen all there was to see.
For kids, there was the requisite moonbounce and, judging from the screams coming from inside, the Charles Village Kiddie Citizens were having a ball. Interesting and unexplained were the dozen or so hula-hoops scattered on the park grass. We took full advantage of them, pulling out all the stops. Truly challenging was the oversized hula-hoop that must have been over 5 feet in diameter. Locals with circus tricks, like juggling, up their sleeves joined the kids on the grassy knoll giving it a bit of whimsical flair.
The vendors and booths were a combination of local artisans and non-profit organizations. Among the handmade scarves, fork jewelery, and buttons were booths sponsored by Greenpeace, the Maryland Ethics Society, Friends of Druid Hill Park and the Charles Village Civic Association (and a few others). While the promise of funnel cake and gyros typically makes my mouth water, the idea of eating such heavy food in the heat sort of turned me off. However, the SnoBalls looked great.
Visitors were a mixture of families, students, older couples and local hipsters — a fair sampling of Charles Village’s usual population; an eclectic mix that made people watching almost as amusing as the festival itself.
Cute and a little kitschy, the Charles Village Festival was well-worth an afternoon spent but probably no more.
More adventures next time,