by Lisa Tome
This week, officials from the Perryville Chamber of Commerce are hoping to gain approval for a longer, earlier Autumnfest celebration.
The proposal includes four days of carnival rides and a beer and wine garden held on an adjacent property.
"We hope to expand the carnival. The last one we had was the YMCA carnival. The four-day carnival is the biggest part of this whole thing. It will draw attention to the downtown center for four days instead of just one day. It just makes sense," said Matt Roath, president of the Perryville Chamber. "I've been wanting to do this for years."
He feels that the bigger Autumnfest could raise more money for the parade which is held on Saturday. He said that typically, the parade costs $3,000 to host. With increased revenue, more money could be raised. That way the chamber could pay for parade groups to come from Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. Typically, when a group is invited to a parade, the parade hosts chip in for transportation costs.
Roath said by moving the event forward two weeks to September 28, instead of the second weekend in October, it is less likely to compete with other events in the area. Havre de Grace and Aberdeen Proving Ground typically host large events during the second weekend in October.
Under the new plan, the parade would still begin at Perryville Middle School and end at Lower Ferry Park (the area adjacent to Rodgers Tavern).
Autumnfest would be held on Saturday, September 28 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. The carnival would run from Wednesday, September 25 through Saturday.
Roath said the carnival vendor, Stine Amusements, would provide "more and better rides" if the carnival was longer than one day.
Another part of the plan would include live music on Friday, September 27 from 6-10 p.m. and also again on Saturday. The Beer and Wine Garden would be held on the property which was formerly the Rendezvous parking lot. Roath explained that this plan includes responsible consumption of upscale craft beers, micro-brews, and more.
The Beer and Wine Garden would be open Friday night and during Saturday's Autumnfest.
He said the bottom line is that the changed date and expanded Autumnfest would draw in more people and Perryville wouldn't be competing with other towns.
The chamber will present this plan to Perryville town officials at a work session.