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Scenes from My Greenbelt Labor Day Festival 2021

posted in: Events, Pandemic

Like so many Greenbelters and visitors, I was beyond thrilled to have even a somewhat limited Labor Day Festival BACK! And with mostly GREAT WEATHER, too!.

With everyone experiencing the Festival in their own way, here are MY top memories of Labor Day Festival 2021. With thanks to Linda Ivy and the other hard-working festival organizers for their creative adaptations to a 2021 world.

Above, instead of carnival booths we had food trucks and the lines were long! The empanadas I tried were out of this world.

For the opening ceremony this year the smaller stage didn’t accommodate the usual dignitaries but they seemed to manage just fine on the lawn.

Photos by the author (L) and City of Greenbelt

As always, the exciting part of this event is the announcement of the new Outstanding Citizen, which for 2021 is Shaymar Higgs! That’s especially exciting for Greenbelt Online because Shaymar is a member of our Editorial Board, so this website received a really nice mention during the recitation of his long (for such a young guy) bio.

So congratulations to Shaymar! May this recognition spur him on to even greater achievements in his teaching and promotion of the arts.

Shaymar is shown on stage with Mayor Colin Byrd and Outstanding Citizen Committee Chair Bob Zugby. On the right he’s congratulated by Outstanding Citizen of 2021 John Henry Jones.

Photo by Chris Colvin

Next, Katy Gaughan (the Greenbelter best known for her Drumming for Wellness) made great use of the Center parking lot, filling it with drummers, dancers and her own awesome energy.

It was great seeing Roosevelt Center full of people again, as it was Saturday during the Information Day.

I was especially pleased to see participation by the new Granite Building, fully rented and ready for its October 1 opening. Shown here, from left, are wellness counselor Rachael Pitts and nurse practitioner Julia Gabriel, both of whom will be operating out of the lower wellness floor of the new facility. Behind them is co-owner and manager of rentals Kim Kash.

As a newbie videographer, I checked in with the Greenbelt Access Television folks shown here – Phoebe McFarb, Claude Aubert and Alan Haley. We talked shop and I promised to let people know their Utopia Film Festival IS happening this year – November 19-22.

On Sunday morning cyclists gathered for the ever-popular Tour de Greenbelt, led by Mayor Pro Tem Emmett Jordan and Jeff Lemieux of Proteus Bicycles.

Two of the tour-goers were Amethyst Dwyer and her passenger McKenna.

Sunday’s Craft Fair in Roosevelt Center included this booth about the proposed Maglev train, manned by Greenbelt Online Editorial Member Owen Kelley. His outstanding research debunking the claims of Maglev’s proponents is now compiled in the book Ridership Revisited.

Photo by City of Greenbelt

The Festival included TONS of sports and games and when Emmett Jordan posted a pie-eating challenge on Facebook, I decided to check it out. My photos of the event aren’t blog-worthy but the one above by the City sure is.

Photos by (L) City of Greenbelt; (R) the author.

I left after the kids contest, not realizing that the one for adults was coming up next, only realizing my mistake when I saw Emmett in the Center showing off his ribbon. Thankfully our city photographer captured his winning moves.

Photo by City of Greenbelt

On Labor Day itself the main event is the parade, led by the new Outstanding Citizen.

Photo left by Katy Gaughan. Photos on the right by the City of Greenbelt.

I’ll admit I didn’t take any photos of the parade but I had a good excuse – I was marching with the New Deal Cafe, shown above. And having a blast, btw.

The Cafe, marching with the Greenbelt Cooperative with the slogan “Better Together,” won Best in Parade!! Here’s our group photo near the reviewing stand – I’m holding a purple umbrella and waving. My job was dancing, with abandon.

Because there was no carnival this year or the income it produces for the whole Festival, only one band could be hired, and happily it was Fast Eddie and the Slowpokes, led by Greenbelter Ed Crowley. He’s on the right here with a young guitarist and the Nighthawks vocalist Mark Stutso, who sat in with the Slowpokes. The band closed the festival with their usual great music and LOTS of appreciative dancers and listeners.

At other times during the Festival unpaid performers came to the stage to entertain, one of whom was Betty Ladas, shown above. I don’t think I’d ever heard her perform solo before and was blown away by her singing and playing, including several songs she wrote herself. What a talent!

Again, thanks to everyone to made Greenbelt’s 2021 Labor Day Festival a huge success.

Photos by the author unless otherwise noted.

NOTE: By contributing these pandemic stories, photos, et cetera, Greenbelters are making an unconditional donation of the material to the nonprofit Greenbelt Online.org and the Greenbelt Museum/City of Greenbelt, which reserve the right to keep, lend, or otherwise dispose of the donated material, and may use the material on our website, for social media or other postings, in promotional materials or in future exhibits.

Follow Susan Harris:
Susan started blogging about Greenbelt soon after moving here in 2012, and that first blog has grown into this nonprofit community website. She also created and curates the Greenbelt Maryland YouTube channel. In 2021 Susan joined the Board of Directors of Greenbelt Access TV. Retired from garden writing and teaching, she continues to blog at GardenRant.com.

3 Responses

  1. Betty Conner
    | Reply

    After reading this, I feel an urge to go to Realtor.com to start looking for a place to live in Greenbelt! What a special place, and what a great ambassador you are for it!

  2. Rene'
    | Reply

    Out of town and missed the Labor Day festivities. Thanks for the recap. It was second only to being there.

  3. Claude A. Aubert
    | Reply

    Great article, thank you for putting this together.
    I think the year is wrong in “Outstanding Citizen of 2021 John Henry Jones”.

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