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Olney Days celebration returns for full weekend of events

by Judith Hruz


Olney Days, the beloved weekend tradition that celebrates the community, will return April 29 to May 1 with a full schedule of events — old favorites mixed with a few new activities.

The coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the majority of the weekend’s activities the past two years.

“We are excited to bring back Olney Days in full force for 2022,” said Helene Rosenheim of the Olney Civic Fund (OCF) Board of Directors. “All the events are outside and we modified a few things in consideration of the pandemic.”

Olney Days will kick off on April 29 with an outdoor movie, “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” on the big screen at at Olney Boys and Girls Club, 4501 Olney Laytonsville Road.

Food trucks will be onsite and audience members are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket for their seating comfort.

Saturday morning, April 30, will start early with the final Joe’s Ride and Stride at Oakdale Church, 3425 Emory Church Road. After 20 years, Joe’s Ride will transition to another event next year.

Russ and Betsy Sanford started the event after their 10-year-old son Joe lost his battle with cancer. Not only did they want to remember their son, but they also wanted to honor all of the children in the community that have passed away.

“On behalf of the entire Sanford family we’d like to sincerely thank the Olney community for all the love and support they have shown to us and the families of Joe’s Ride over the almost 20 years,” the Sanfords said. “Although Joe’s Ride is ending, we are so very happy to know that, through the support of the MasonStrong Village, the Remembrance Service will continue. Again, our most sincere appreciation for all the support we have received from the Olney Community in spreading the message that ‘Love Never Dies.’”

Later on, a free paper shred and electronics recycling event will be held from noon to 3 p.m. behind Sandy Spring Bank, 17801 Georgia Ave.

New this year will be a collection of new and worn clothes, blankets, linens, towels, shoes and household good (artwork, frames, utensils, kitchenware, toys, instruments). Choose 2 Reuse will sell them in countries that need such items and donate a portion of the collected money back to Olney Civic Fund to help offset some of the expenses of the event.

Montgomery County Recreation will hold the first Rec Regatta at the Olney Swim Center, 16605 Georgia Ave., to race cardboard boats.

Boats must hold two people and awards will be given for the Fastest Boat, Best Design, Team Spirit and Titanic.

Olney Days coordinator Barbara Falcigno said, “I didn’t know what this was until I looked it up online. It looks like a blast — both making and racing the boats.”

Carrie Headen, manager of Montgomery County Recreation Aquatics, added, “The pool will be open at noon for boat building. Bring your friends to help construct a boat that can be as simple or complex as your imagination, cardboard and duct tape allows.”

The event is free, but registration with Montgomery County Recreation is required so they know how many people to expect.

Party in the Park will fill Olney Manor Park on Saturday from 3 p.m. to dark, featuring family-friendly activities, music, beverages and fireworks.

Some events — games, glitter tattoos, giant slingshots and fire truck rides — will charge a fee to help raise money to fund the event:

The event will also feature free activities, including a scavenger hunt, tug-of-war, corn hole, ladder ball and giant Jenga.

Local organizations, including Kang’s Black Belt Academy, Master Method Karate, Olney Studio of Dance, Dancin’ 4 Ever and Studio of Ballet Arts will perform demonstrations.

Two areas of games will be available. One will be run by Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department (SSVFD) and are designed for younger children. The FUN Zone is designed for older children and adults and will be run by the Olney Civic Fund to raise funds for Olney Days. More than 30 different “Minute It To Win It”-style games will be featured.

“One will need a steady hand to stack three golf balls on top of each other in one minute or bounce six pencils into six different cups,” Falcigno said. “The games look easy but are deceptively hard, especially because you need to complete it in one minute. It will take several tries before being successful and I think both kids and adults will have a blast trying them.”

Raffle tickets for items donated by local business — including a golf package, a date night package with a restaurant and theater tickets, Apple AirPods Pro and two tickets to a Nationals vs. Orioles baseball game with parking passes — will be available for purchase.

Party in the Park will also feature a stage where several local bands will perform throughout the day, including Rock Creek Band, Audio Fuel, Marsh Brothers Band and Priceless Advice.

A jazz concert by the Olney Big Band will begin at 7:30 p.m., followed by a fireworks display.

Local food trucks will be on hand and adults aged 21 and over can enjoy the Beer & Wine Garden, featuring selections from The Brookville Beer Farm, Elder Pine Brewing & Blending Co., The Greene Turtle, Lone Oak Farm Brewing Co., Waredaca Brewing Co. and Olney Winery.

Paid parking inside Olney Manor Park will be available for $10 starting at 2:30 p.m.

Free parking will be available next door at Oakdale Church, 3425 Emory Church Road, but will require a parking pass. Olney residents can visit one of the Olney Days participating sponsors to obtain a pass. A list of sponsors is available at www.olneycivicfund.org.

Free parking will also be available at Shaare Tefila, 16620 Georgia Ave.; the ICC Commuter Lot on Georgia Avenue, and the Park & Ride at the corner of Georgia Avenue (Route 97) and Norbeck Road (Route 28).

A free ongoing shuttle service from the lots to Olney Manor Park will be provided by Martin’s Sedan and Limousine Service. The shuttle will drop off visitors at the entrance to Party in the Park.

Olney Days Parking coordinator Jim Smith encouraged partygoers to carpool or use ride services.

On Sunday, May 1, the Olney Days Car & Truck Show will highlight the best local cars for the 26th year.

Bobby Fletcher organized the show and said, “We just need a little sunshine, and the participants will be sure the cars shine.”

Olney Days started almost 40 years ago with a parade, and the parade will close out the weekend of events.

The parade route will start at Prince Philip Drive, travels north on Georgia Avenue and end on Spartan Road.

This year’s grand marshal will be the Olney Lions Club, who was the recipient of GOCA’s Citizen of the Year award because of the club’s many contributions of time and money during the pandemic.

Parade coordinator Kathy Curtis said parade entrants “are really excited to be back after the last two years. Hopefully a lot of people will be out to cheer on the groups as they march up Georgia Avenue.”

Parade judges will include area residents Tom Farquhar, a Sandy Spring Museum board member, who grows vegetables for the Olney Farmers Market; Dr. Lara Minahan, an orthodontist who practices and lives in the community; Matt Quinn, a Greater Olney Civic Association officer and member of the Olney Town Center Advisory Committee; Mark Friedman, president of the Hallowell Homeowners Association; and Janet Friedman, who is known for her years of service as a Montgomery County Police Department elementary school crossing guard.

When the parade is finished, a selection of food trucks will be available around at St John’s Episcopal School, 3427 Olney-Laytonsville Road.

Admission to all Olney Day events is free and funding to cover the $35,000 cost of the weekend comes from the local business community.

“As a nonprofit organization, we depend on the generosity of local businesses and community members to support our efforts,” Falcigno said. “While we rely on local corporate sponsors to help fund activities, Olney Days cannot happen without our many committed volunteers. So, when you see someone in a volunteer T-shirt, please say thank you.”


    OCF is a local, non-profit organization dedicated to raising public awareness of Olney charitable, educational, civic and cultural activities and supporting local charitable projects and civic events such as Olney Days. Learn more at www.OlneyCivicFund.org, on Facebook and Twitter @OlneyCivicFund, on Instagram @OlneyDays and #OlneyDays.

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