DENTON — Caroline Summerfest, the annual end-of-August tradition, will return to downtown Denton for its 31st year.

The free summer celebration will be held on Market Street between 1st and 3rd streets on Friday, Aug. 16, and Saturday, Aug. 17, culminating with a large fireworks display over downtown Saturday night. This year’s event will feature a circus theme, “Surf’s Up.”

In 2018, more than 11,000 people packed the streets of Denton for Caroline Summerfest’s 30th anniversary, which included visits from Gov. Larry Hogan, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford and Comptroller Peter Franchot.

“I love this event every year because it brings people together,” said Hogan, who also visited Summerfest in 2014 and 2016. “Not only does the whole county come out, but they get people visiting from all over. It is a community with so much character and wonderful people. It has some of the nicest people you will ever find.”

During Franchot’s visit last year, he praised the volunteers for their 30 years of dedication and called Summerfest “an iconic Maryland festival.”

“This event brings thousands of people together from all over the state,” he said. “To be here for 30 years shows the commitment and love the community and volunteers have for Summerfest. It is a first-class event all the way around.”

This year, the event will take place from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and noon to 9 p.m. Saturday. The event will feature four performance stages, including the new Market Street Pub Acoustic Stage. Nonprofit food and craft vendors will line the downtown streets. KidzArt! and a car show also will be at Summerfest.

The music begins at 5:15 p.m. Friday. The opening ceremony will be held at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Caroline County Courthouse. The opening will feature performances by the Colonel Richardson High School Spirit of the Revolution Band and the North Caroline High School Band of Blue.

Friday also will feature a classic car show below 1st Street. Check-in is at 5 p.m., and the car show will run from 6 to 10 p.m. Trophies will be given to the top 25. To register, visit carolinesummerfest.com.

Saturday will feature the Rivah Run, a 2-mile paddle from Martinak State Park in Denton to the Choptank River Yacht Club. Check-in will start at 9 a.m.

Advance registration is recommended for the Rivah Run, but registration will be accepted on-site the day of the event. To register, visit carolinerecreation.com. The cost is $15 per paddler in advance and $20 the day of the event.

The downtown festivities will start at noon Saturday, with the performance schedule kicking off at 2 p.m.

KidzArt! will return to Summerfest for another year, and will feature a variety of family-friendly, free activities and crafts at the open lot off Market and 3rd streets under the big tent until 8:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

George Jackson will have his 2019 Christmas scrolls to sign for U.S. troops overseas Friday and Saturday. The scrolls, which will be sent to the troops for Christmas, will be near the front of the courthouse.

Caroline Summerfest is a pet-free, wheel-free and alcohol-free event. Park your bicycle, scooters and skateboards on the bike racks at 3rd and Gay streets.

Throughout Summerfest, musicians will perform on four stages.

Courthouse Stage

Jeff Washington opens Friday Summerfest from 5:15 to 6:16 p.m. Cari Ray and the Shaky Legs will perform from 7:15 to 8 p.m. The Sammati Dance takes the stage from 8 to 8:30 p.m. The Justice Quartet closes Friday evening from 8:45 to 10 p.m.

Randall Butler opens Saturday at Summerfest from 2 to 2:30 p.m. Penny Pistolero follows from 3 to 3:45 p.m. Silhouette Song takes the stage from 4 to 4:45 p.m. The Dance Denton Legacy DDL Showcase will be held from 4:45 to 5 p.m. Sam Pugh takes the stage from 5:10 to 6 p.m. Poppy Blue Eyes follows from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. Black Dog Alley and Friends closes the night from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

Main Stage

Justice Duo Father and Son opens Friday at Summerfest from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. Cari Ray and the Shaky Legs will perform from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Devon Beck takes the stage from 7 to 8 p.m. Mike Hines and The LOOK closes Friday evening from 8:30 to 10 p.m.

The Justice Trio opens Saturday at Summerfest from 2 to 2:30 p.m. 21 Horses performs from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. Choptank River Big Band 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. Justin Ryan Band performs from 5:45 to 6:50 p.m. The U.S. Navy Sea Chanters close Saturday evening from 7:45 to 8:40 p.m.

Family Stage on Third and Market streets

American UkeBox opens Friday at Summerfest from 5 to 5:30 p.m. The African Drum Circle follows from 5:35 to 6:05 p.m. The Dance Denton Legacy DDL Showcase will be held from 6:10 to 6:25 p.m. The African Drum Circle continues from 6:30 to 7 p.m. Slim Harrison and the Sunnyland Band will perform from 7:15 to 7:45 p.m. Glen Wong and the St. Michaels Uke Orchestra takes the stage from 8 to 8:30 p.m. Emerging artist Aspen closes Friday evening from 8:50 to 9:25 p.m.

Summer Sounds Elementary Honor Band opens Saturday at Summerfest from 3 to 3:15 p.m. Paul Belanger follows from 3:15 to 4 p.m. Slim Harrison will have an instument-making workshop from 3:15 to 4 p.m. The Sunnyland Band joins Harrison on stage from 4 to 4:30 p.m. The YMCA Pound Fitness Demonstration will be from 4:30 to 5 p.m. Emerging Artist Reagan Kent performs from 5 to 5:20 p.m. The Dance Showcase will be held from 5:30 to 6 p.m. Slim Harrison will have an instument-making workshop from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. The Sunnyland Band joins Harrison on stage from 6:15 to 6:45 p.m. The Mike Elzey Guitar Studio Showcase closes Saturday evening from 7 to 8:15 p.m.

Market Street Pub Acoustic Stage

Justice Duo Father and Son opens Friday at Summerfest from 6 to 6:35 p.m. American UkeBox follows from 6:45 to 7:10 p.m. Jon Bensen’s solo will be from 7:25 to 7:50 p.m. The Poppy Blue Eyes will perform from 8 to 8:30 p.m. John Belser closes Friday evening from 8:35 to 9:15 p.m.

Randall Butler opens Saturday at Summerfest from 3:45 to 4:15 p.m. Jon Simmons and Friends performs 4:15 to 5:45 p.m. The Mike Elzey Guitar Studio Showcase will play from 5 to 5:30 p.m. Silhouette Song Acoustic takes the stage from 5:45 to 6:15 p.m. Penny Pistolero plays from 6:30 to 7 p.m. Sam Pugh perform from 7:15 to 7:45 p.m. Emerging artist Aspen closes Saturday evening from 8 to 8:30 p.m.

The festival is supported in part by a grant from the Caroline County Council of Arts, Maryland State Arts Council and Maryland Tourism Development Board. The Town of Denton and Caroline County Recreation and Parks produce the event with the volunteer support of hundreds of citizens. More than 100 area businesses and nonprofits support the festival through donations and in-kind gifts.

For more information, call 410-479-8120 or visit www.caroline summerfest.com.

Like the event on Facebook for festival updates at facebook.com/carolinesummerfest.

Follow Caroline/Dorchester Editor Dustin Holt on Twitter @Dustin_StarDem.

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