The Fell’s Point Fun Festival will see some changes this year—Fell’s Point Main Street, which has taken over the execution of the festival, has hired Canton firm Vircity to do the planning.
“Fell’s Point Main Street was basically given the agreement through the Preservation Society to run the festival,” said Janine DiPaula Stevens, president of Vircity.
The Fun Festival has been running on the first weekend of October since 1966, when the event was held to raise awareness of the historic Fell’s Point neighborhood, then slated for demolition to make way for more interstate highway.
That effort to prevent Fell’s Point from being razed was also the birth of the Fell’s Point and Federal Hill Preservation Society, which has run the Fun Festival as its main fundraiser ever since.
DiPaula Stevens said that proceeds from the festival would still go to the Preservation Society.
According to Mike Maraziti, President of Fell’s Point Main Street, community input will help determine the substance of this year’s festival.
“We have been gathering suggestions from the community for years and are working to integrate as many of their ideas into this year’s festival as we can, with a focus on bringing back the festival of years ago,” said Maraziti, also the owner of One-Eyed Mike’s, in a press release.
DiPaula Stevens said that the Fun Festival of years past had a more localized focus than in recent years.
“We really want it to be a local Baltimore festival,” she said, “and bring in the local vendors—all of these local entities that make our community what it is.”
Another goal is to integrate the Latino portion of the festival, and eliminate the feel of having two different festivals as one heads north on Broadway, DiPaula Stevens said.
Lastly, a kickoff event will be held on the Friday night before the festival, “so that when Saturday comes we’re running,” she added.
DiPaula Stevens, a Fell’s Point resident (on the Canton border), will be planning the festival with Anne O’Brien, founder of the Tyanna Foundation and also a Fell’s Point resident.
by Erik Zygmont