People lined Main Street on a beautiful Saturday morning in Gaithersburg. Parents sat on the sidewalks, children ran around holding blue and orange balloons and music filled the air.
It was the 5th Annual Kentlands Day, and people were out with their families to celebrate their community.
Presented by the City of Gaithersburg and the Kentlands Market Square Merchants Kentlands Day is an all-day community event featuring multiple performances, activities and fairs, as well as appearances and demonstrations from dozens of local businesses.
An estimated 20,000 people attended the event one year ago, and it looked like Kentlands Day approached that number again on Saturday.
The day began with a parade down Main Street, featuring more than 20 groups and businesses waving and performing for a crowd which lined the sidewalks. Event sponsors Potomac Pizza, Kentlands Community Foundation, Great Kids Village, Chik Fil A and Lakeland Park Middle School each had floats, many of which threw t-shirts and toy figurines to the kids in attendance.
The parade also featured multiple performances and demonstration from local groups. Baltimore-based performance-group “The Band” put on an upbeat drum and dance routine, students of Kicks Karate showcased their skills with their sensei and the Duffy School of Irish Dance put on a traditional performance.
The City Council, including Mayor Sidney A. Katz, local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, congressman Jim Delaney, fire and rescue vehicles and Gaithersburg-area businesses Cuppa Love Tea, Mosquito Squad and artventureUS! also marched in the parade.
“The kids loved the parade,” said Gaithersburg resident Jessica Lund, who was there with her husband and children. “It’s very kid friendly for us."
It’s as good for the families as it is for local businesses. The parade gives local performance groups like the Pritchard Music Academy Marching Band an opportunity to show the community the benefits all their work they do throughout the year, owner Becky Pritchard said.
“We’ve been rehearsing every day,” Pritchard said. “It’s good to get out and be able to play, and this is a great venue.”
But the parade is just the introduction to a day full of festivities. There is also a business fair, a “Taste of Kentlands” demonstration, a car show and a silent auction, as well as entertainment offerings on the main and community demonstration stages.
Many of the groups who performed in the parade also brought their act to the main stage, and the Kentlands Community Children’s Chorus, Two Left Feet Dance School, Quince Orchard High School, Metropolitan Ballet Theater, ProFIT Club Zumba-Doonya and the Lakeland Park Middle School drama department also put on shows for a sizeable crowd.
Local bands Fuse and Throwing Wrenches both played sets on the demonstration stage.
“The community really comes out,” Pritchard said. “It’s just wonderful. It’s really helpful for the community.
At the end of the day, the community is what Kentlands Day is all about; celebrating the joys and successes of a close-knit neighborhood.
Of course, it’s about having fun, too.
“We’re going to go visit some of the booths,” Lund said. “The kids want to go to the jump houses.”