Monday, September 29, 2008

rain doesn't prevent good times at burtonsville day

The Eubie Blake Jazz Ensemble performs at Burtonsville Day last weekend. Check out this slideshow of this year's festival.

Despite the threat of rain, East County residents came out en masse for the eighteenth annual Burtonsville Day festival, held Saturday at the Marilyn J. Praisner Center on Old Columbia Pike. Started in 1990, the celebration - which, depending on the year, is either one or two days long - includes a free movie, a parade, and a day-long festival with food, entertainment, and booths featuring local businesses and community organizations.

At the East County Citizens Advisory Board table, new members Eric Luedtke and Anthony Ramirez having passers-by fill out a survey on the quality of life on the east side. "If you come to our [monthly board] meetings, maybe one or two people show up," says Luedtke, who lives in Burtonsville. "This enables us to get a broader idea of what people want."

After living in East Springbrook for six years, Ramirez is "finally starting to get more involved," he says. "This is a very unique portion of East County. It's very dynamic, it's not as established as other communities . . . we're still growing. We're becoming more diverse. It's already exciting, but I think it could get more exciting."

so much more AFTER THE JUMP . . .

Intermittent rain didn't stop East County residents from coming out to enjoy Burtonsville Day.

Jeff Jones, pastor of Liberty Grove United Methodist Church, was happy to see the strong turnout. "It's good that the community can come out and share with each other, meet your neighbors, learn about your community," says Jones.

Wearing a shirt with the American flag on it, Councilmember Don Praisner (D-Calverton) was easy to spot as he paced the festival grounds, and seemed to be enjoying himself. Nearly four months after being sworn into office, Praisner says he's still "in the learning curve," especially with the ongoing budget crisis looming over the next council session this fall.

"Gonna have a lot of tough decisions," says Praisner. "It's not a matter of who much we can give but maintaining what we have . . . It requires a lot of concentration, because there are a lot of words, so you gotta keep listening."

Alison Praisner Klumpp, daughter of Councilmember Don Praisner, and her daughter Kaitlin Klumpp, in the BBA Fashion Show.

Inside the Marilyn J. Praisner Recreation Center - so named for the councilmember who passed away earlier this year - visitors could take part in arts and crafts, a book sale, and a fashion show hosted by Eileena York from the Burtonsville Business Association. Keeping with the theme of "Caring Starts In Our Hearts," the fashion show required contestants to enter with a friend or relative and talk about how the person touched their lives.

Half of the eight pairs who took part in the contest entered that afternoon at York's urging. Winners, who were selected at random for lack of an actual rating system, received gift baskets donated by local businesses. Supporting the Burtonsville economy was one of the many reasons York organized the fashion show, she says.

"We need to keep the Burtonsville legacy alive," states York. "Our rural roots, our small town feel, and we have businesses and we need to support them."

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