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by Terri Hogan
Senior Staff Writer
Community spirit was alive and well during Olney Days, as large crowds turned out to events held the weekend of April 27-29.
Unlike recent years, the weather was mostly cooperative, causing only a little disruption in the weekend’s full schedule of activities.
The weather was a concern for organizers, as Olney Days has traditionally been held in May. The date was changed this year due to planned construction at Olney Indoor Swim Center, which organizers had though would prevent them from using Olney Manor Park.
“In spite of a little rain on Saturday and pretty cool breezes on Sunday, I think the weekend surpassed our expectations,” said Olney Days planning committee coordinator Helene Rosenheim.
The outdoor movie planned for Friday evening at the Olney Boys and Girls Club Community Park was canceled due to rain, but is expected to be rescheduled.
There were some showers on Saturday, but the rain did not seem to dampen the spirits of people attending this year’s new event, Party in the Park.
It featured something for all ages — live music, a beer and wine garden, children’s games and activities, contests, food trucks and fireworks.
“Barbara Falcigno and Ariana Patterson, owner of Rocketeria, deserve a round of applause for coming up with the idea of merging our Fun Fair and Fireworks event at Olney Manor Park on Saturday with the Rock the Lot Block Party that has ended Olney Days for a number of years,” Rosenheim said. “This is one of those cases where the sum is greater than the parts and the merged ‘Party’ really was a great party, ending with an amazing fireworks display.”
Falcigno agreed that the Party in the Park was a great success.
Anticipating that the event will continue to grow, she said organizers are looking into ways to accommodate increased space and parking needs.
Also held on Saturday, the paper shred and electronics recycling drew an estimated 500 cars — double the number from previous years.
Organizers are looking into how to expand that event to meet the growing demand.
Fletcher’s Annual Car and Truck Show featured more than 100 vehicles, the most ever in its 23-year history.
Rosenheim said cool temperatures and gusty winds may have reduced the number of spectators for the parade on Sunday.
“While the numbers may have been down a bit, the enthusiasm certainly wasn’t,” she said. “I figure anyone willing to come sit in those cool breezes was a serious parade watcher and would dress for the weather.”
Also new this year was a community clean-up. Groups and individuals were encouraged to sign up to clean up a specific area.
“We had several groups sign up and do their own thing, which is exactly what I hoped would happen,” Falcigno said. “We found there are a few things we need to change for next year, but with all first-time events, you learn what needs to improve.”
Rosenheim said that with all the changes introduced over the past few years, Olney Days continues to grow and become a better and better community celebration.
“One of the things that keeps me going as the coordinator for the weekend is knowing that we are building childhood and adult memories of a great place to live and grow up in,” she said. “Olney truly is a special place. We’ve been lucky to have leaders in our community, nearly all volunteers, that have helped Olney grow into a thriving, cohesive community full of great traditions and a strong sense of our community’s history.”
The Olney Days planning committee will hold several wrap-up meetings to look at each event to see how it can be improved for next year.
Rosenheim said one of the planning committee’s key goals is to increase the volunteer base.
“It takes many hands to put on these kinds of events,” she said. ”We can’t do this without our volunteers.”
Helen Rosenheim welcomes anyone interested in helping to plan next year’s Olney Days to contact her at email@example.com or 301-774-6774.
The weekend is paid for by the Olney Civic Fund, a nonprofit established to raise public awareness of Olney charitable, educational, civic and cultural activities and to raise funds to support Olney charitable projects and civic events through the involvement of volunteers and business sponsors. For more information or to provide feedback on this year’s Olney Days, go to www.OlneyCivicFund.org.
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