The party's downtown By Deborah Gates Staff Writer
SALISBURY -- Ain't nothing but a party this weekend in downtown Salisbury.
An unofficial cookoff among oyster fritter fryers has Kiwanis Club of Delmar members pitted against the Powellville Volunteer Fire Company in the food court.
Near the bandstand on the Riverwalk on Friday, cold beer poured under warm temperatures and clear skies in an endless stream, while rock music whafted in the background.
Amusement rides whirled.
It's heaven on earth downtown at the 27th annual Salisbury Festival, organized by the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership this year with the city of Salisbury, Comcast and Toyota.
"It's the start of spring," said Jessica Powell of Salisbury, who strolled with family members. "The food, the beer and the bands, fries, crab cakes -- I just ate one. It's all good."
Her sister, Suzanne Devito, enjoyed the fact that crab cakes at the Original Maryland Crabcake vending station are $7 again this year. Their father, Ted Powell of Delmar, took off from his business at Global Staffing to soak in sun.
"My daughters talked me into it," he said. "It's great food. Crab cakes and fries; they're good and at a going price comparable to resort prices."
An estimated 10,000 visitors are expected at the city's showcase family event that started at 4 p.m. Friday and continues today starting at 10 a.m., with more than a dozen vendors with food offerings from funnel cakes to barbecue to boardwalk fries. Sunday activities start at noon with amusements.
Under sunny skies and temperatures expected to warm up in the 80s today, entertainment includes rock and blues band Crossroads and a country music karaoke contest. Temps could reach 90 on Sunday.
"It's a glorious day," said Wes White, selling barbecue at the Adams Rib and Black Diamond Catering station.
Keith Jones, president of the Delmar Kiwanis, boasted that his organization's oyster fritters were the festival's best.
"We cook the whole oyster; we've cooked 3 gallons already, and the day is just getting started."
Nearby, Sara Wilkins, a member of the Lady's Auxiliary at the Powellville fire company, jokingly disagreed: "Our line's usually 100 feet long."
Added Junior Donaway, fire department president: "Our waiting line goes past (the Kiwanis') booth, and people say they'd rather wait to get our oysters."
This year's event is a successful repeat of years past, with at least 100 more parking spaces in the Wicomico County parking lot at Routes 13 and 50, said Brad Bellacicco, executive director of the Chamber. Nonprofit organizations can expect to earn a total of $100,000 during the weekend, he said.
"Nonprofits make a lot of money; it's their big fundraiser of the year," Bellacicco said Friday. "We're excited."Additional Facts
If you go
WHAT.27th annual Salisbury Festival
WHERE. Downtown Salisbury at Riverwalk Park
WHEN. Today, 10 a.m.- 8 p.m.; Sunday, noon-5 p.m.