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Woof! It's the Dog Day of Summer PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Friday, 29 July 2011 06:24

Tails will be wagging this Sunday, July 31st ,at the second annual Dog Days of Summer in Salisbury. The annual event hosted by Tails and Tub’s Self-Service Dog Wash (810 Beaglin Park Drive, next to Old West Steak House) benefits the American Cancer Society’s Bark for Life fundraising dog walk.


If you've heard about research using dogs to literally 'sniff out' cancer, you can learn more from special speaker Gary Beauchamp. He's a leading expert and researcher in the study and will talk about this cutting-edge area of cancer research. That's at 9am.


A full day of canine friendly activities follows, starting with the fundraising Bark for Life dog walk. Pets and owners – both individuals and teams – can register on-site (or at www.relayforlife.org/barkwicomico) . They leave the lot at Tails and Tubs at 810 Beaglin Park Dr. (next to Old West Steak House) at 9:30am for a 2-mile stroll to the Salisbury Dog Park in the city park and back.


Games and contests for dogs and their human friends will run continuously from 10-2:30. There are the “look like your dog” and “dog cookie eating” contests: including musical chairs, Simon says, and “red light, green light” played with dogs. Prizes will also be awarded for “silly pet tricks” and “best face licker.”Another special attraction is the pets and people "kissing booth."


The very popular K-9 Police Dog Demonstration is scheduled for 1:30pm. A bounce house (humans only), provided by Ace Hardware, will be available all day as will face painters. The Little Kickers karate demonstration team will perform at 11:30, and Voodoo Illusions Magic Show is scheduled for 12:30.


Two raffles an hour give participants chances to win door prizes from area merchants like Williams Market, Farmers and Planters, L.O.R.A. (Locally Owned Restaurant Association), Layton’s Chance and Bordeleau Wineries, Weeping Willow Kennels, and others.


“Dog Days” historically refers to the hottest and most uncomfortable time of the year. To keep people and pets cool during the event, Real Property Maintenance Heating and Cooling has constructed a unique “cooling pavilion” which will spray water mist on everyone passing under and around it.


Vendors with products serving the canine community include: Invisible Fence, Elite Imagery Professional Pet Portraits, Pets ER, Delmarva Unleashed Magazine, Jet Carpet Cleaning, ScatzNDogs pet waste removal systems, Great Expectation Great Dane Rescue, and Signs of Comfort Pet Memorials. Other supporters of the event on hand include: Coldwell Banker Real Estate, PNC Bank, Signs by Tomorrow, and Matice Interactive.


There will be plenty of food and refreshments to eat (and share with your dog). Flannery’s BBQ, Common Grounds coffee and smoothies, and others will have cool drinks and snacks. Admission is by donation with proceeds going to Bark for Life.

Last Updated on Friday, 29 July 2011 06:27
Chincoteague's Ponies: Misty's Annual Ride PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Sunday, 24 July 2011 06:21


Every horse-mad little girl has read Misty of Chincoteague, Marguerite Henry’s 1947 novel about the “wild” ponies of Chincoteague Island, a tiny spit of land on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. A key part of the story is the “pony swim,” when the herd living on the island is rounded up to swim across the channel to the mainland. The foals are auctioned with the proceeds supporting the village fire department.


People are sometimes surprised to learn that the pony swim and auction are real. Always held on the last Wednesday of July, it’s a unique event, a romantic, exciting spectacle with a little mystery thrown in.


The mystery is where the horses come from. The romantic story is that their ancestors were survivors of a Spanish shipwreck. There’s some evidence to support that. Very early records mention horses on the island. But a massive hurricane that sent water over eight miles inland struck in the early 1700’s. Nothing on the island survived. But horses were back within a couple of decades. It’s most likely that they were put on the island to graze, as were pigs, cows, and sheep. Because there were no fences, some of them wandered off. Also, taxes at the time were levied on how much livestock you owned, so savvy farmers could have slipped their critters onto the island until the tax collector left. When they went to retrieve them, some had vanished into the heavy undergrowth.


There are actually two herds. Assateague Island is partly in Maryland and partly in Virginia. The Maryland herd is completely feral. Aside from receiving contraceptives, they are left to face the elements without care. The Virginia herd, however, is formally owned by Chincoteague’s fire department (which is why they are known as the Chincoteague ponies). They receive regular veterinary checks and are handled by humans who called themselves the Saltwater Cowboys. To keep the herds separate, there’s a fence which straddles the Maryland/Virginia state line. (It’s the only physical barrier between two states, by the way. That’s going to be a Final Jeopardy question some day.)


To watch the swim, get to Chincoteague early. You’ll be jockeying for a spot on the shore with up to 50,000 other spectators. Use the shuttle bus from the school parking lot; there’s nowhere to park near the water. The exact time of the swim varies; it’s at low tide, and the wind and current have to be mild. The Cowboys round up the horses a day or so before the swim and get them settled. Most of the animals have been through this before and are very mellow about it all. They follow the Cowboys’ lead horses into the narrowest part of the channel for the five minute swim. Outriders on mounts swimming alongside the herd keep an eye out for any horses lagging or having trouble. There are boats nearby to move in if a horse needs help, but that’s rarely the case. Even the youngest foal seems to enjoy the adventure.


Once on land, the horses are corralled for an hour to rest while vets check them over. Then there’s a stately parade of horses and foals through the streets of the village to the fairgrounds and the large, shaded field where they spend the night.


The auction is on Thursday morning. Between 50-70 foals are auctioned in order to keep the herd at 150 head. Bidders are checked to make sure they are qualified to care for and train their pony, which go for an average of $1,300. That’s out of the price range for most youngsters who show up with a few hundred dollars they’ve earned in their pockets and a foal-sized halter in their hands. A group called The Feather Fund invites kids to apply for a “pony-ship.” Those who qualify are subsidized by the fund to bid on the pony of their dreams. And when the auctioneer announces that “this colt is a Feather Fund pony,” not too many other people put in bids.


Chincoteague has a lot of beach resort amenities without a lot of the crowds. There are many hotel packages for the Pony Penning. Most have a minimum stay of 3 nights. www.chincoteaguechamber.com and www.chincoteague.com both have listings of accommodations, restaurants, and activities.

Salisbury Trader Joe Anthem PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Friday, 08 July 2011 06:54


As the rumors start about the future of the now-empty Super Fresh store, the dream of a Trader Joe's in Salisbury floats tantalizingly in the air, not unlike the intoxicating aroma of the coffee aisle at the grocery.


Knowing that the best causes are those which have a rallying song, here it is:

The Salisbury Trader Joe’s Anthem!


(to the tune of “There Ain’t Nothing Like a Dame”)

With apologies to Rodgers & Hammerstein


We’ve got crab cakes

We’ve got cole slaw

And we’ve got Smith Island Cake.

We’ve got road side stands with produce

Oh, the salads we can make

We’ve got grocery stores to visit

And where we can always go.

What ain’t we got?

A Trader Joe’s.


We’ve got Giant and Food Lion,

And we had a Super Fresh

But for specialty organics

They are second rate, at best

And a field trip to Annapolis

Is just too far to go.

Salisbury needs a Trader Joe’s!


We’ve gone on Facebook to inquire

When will we get our heart’s desire?


Salisbury needs a Trader Joe’s

Everybody knows

No other grocery comes close

To the wonders of Trader Joe’s.


Be a vegan or a carnivore

You’ll still be there a while

For both party goods and staples

Overflow from every aisle.

There’s no MSG or transfats or ugly GMOs

That’s why we want a Trader Joe’s!


They’ve got great gourmet treats…

And lots of non-hormoned meats…

And healthy carry out treats…

And really decadent sweets…

And it’s not for elites…

It’s for anyone who eats!


There’s not a thing that’s wrong with living well here

That can’t be cured by putting us near

A brand new, genuine, our own, real Trader Joe’s!

Fare Thee Well, Super Fresh PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Thursday, 07 July 2011 06:14


The doors to the Salisbury Super Fresh slid shut for the last time today. The chain is struggling financially, and the store on College Avenue is one of the casualties of the reorganization. Sadly, even though the chain has known this was likely to happen for months, it did virtually nothing to support or prepare the employees, many of whom had been working there the entire 13 years the store was open.


The “Store Closing” sale certainly helped the corporate bottom line, though. The place buzzed like mosquitoes at a sunbather’s convention. “Everything Must Go” is a magnet for bargain-hunters. Why not buy extra rolls of paper towels and olive oil if they are 20-30-40% off? It’s not like the jars of salsa will go bad if you don’t open them until football season.


I made a swing through the place every week during the closing. There was an atmosphere of a scavenger hunt as shoppers browsed the aisles, seeking out bargains. Should they load up on spaghetti and salad dressing now at 30% off or gamble that the stuff will still be on the shelves when the price drops further? Oh, look! Margaritaville Coconut Shrimp is 40% off! Not something I usually buy, but with what I’m saving on the other stuff, I can splurge, right?


There is probably a government grant to be awarded for a study about what people buy and ignore when food is sold at a discount. I would’ve thought that cereals, cookies, diapers and baby products, jugs of fruit juice, cooking oils and baking staples, bacon and hot dogs would go fast. But those lasted until pretty close to the end of the run. The wine racks were cleaned out immediately, even though the discount never dropped below 20%. Toothpaste and dental floss – gone immediately. Personal care products – womens’ division – ample supplies. Contact lens supplies also lasted a while. At 30% off? I’m not going to need to buy any for months! But the cosmetics lasted a long time.


Throughout it all, there was the spectre of the employees quietly restocking as the minutes to their final paycheck ticked away. Many of them are familiar faces, people with names and families we’ve gotten to know. Most of them don’t have any future plans or much, if any, of a severance package. That knowledge put a damper on the fun. You avoided eye contact and you wondered if you should slip them a couple of dollars, the way you do with the homeless guy in west Salisbury who sits on Nanticoke Road with his dog. You asked about their future and wished them well, then slunk away a little guiltily.


When the signs read “Up to 90% Off!!” there wasn’t much left. A few packages of sauce for Indian meals, one last bottle of olive oil (I took it), some baby wipes, about two cases of frozen corn, and several boxes of gelato. The aisles of empty shelves seemed enormous and the place seemed so much brighter. Sounds echoed.


One of the employees told me the owner is actively looking for a tenant, and that the store almost has to be used as a grocery. She’s heard rumors, but wasn’t about to share them, darn it! I mentioned Harris Teeter, the wonderful theme park of food that has three stores in Delaware. But the demographics of Salisbury are different from Delaware’s upscale beach and retirement locales, so that’s not likely.


Which leaves the tantalizing hope…dare I say it? Trader Joe’s?


Nanticoke River Jamboree PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Thursday, 16 June 2011 17:05


Celebrating one the Bay’s Most Beautiful Rivers


Long ago, all of the Shore – both shores – was like this: quiet rivers flowing to the Chesapeake unmarred by development; wildlife scurrying, swimming, rooting, burrowing; eagles and ospreys soaring; the breeze weaving through the salt marshes; the mosquitoes merrily buzzing in the afternoon humidity (hey, even Eden had a snake).


By some happy accident, the Nanticoke River maintains much of that pristine elegance. From its headwaters in southern Delaware to its mouth on the Chesapeake, it is one of the healthiest and least developed tributaries of the Chesapeake. It has among other things, the highest concentration of bald eagles in the Northeast US, and paddlers and birders are enraptured by its peacefulness, vistas, and abundance of wildlife.


There are several groups dedicated to protecting the Nanticoke. This Saturday, June 25, one of them – the Nanticoke Historical Preservation Alliance – hosts the Nanticoke River Jamboree, a day-long celebration of the “history, culture, and natural wonders of the Nanticoke River.” (Actually, the event kicks off with an overnight paddling trip, but the main events are on Saturday.)


The schedule calls for paddling trips, bike tours, and walks along and near the river. Groups and agencies setting up displays and holding activities include the Phillips Environmental Center’s mobile aquarium, Horn Point’s ‘Touch Tank,’ the Dorchester Garden Club, National Park Service, Nanticoke Watershed Alliance, the Underground Rail Road Museum, and the Coast Guard. There will be a native plant sale; David Harp, whose photos capture the Bay in all its dimensions, and Tom Horton, whose chronicles of the region are required reading will both be on hand, as will Daniel Firehawk Abbott, who will be interpreting Native American life in the region.


Admission is $2 per person, $5 per family. The schedule of events runs from 10-5 at Handsell House on Indiantown Road in Vienna. For more information, including the overnight paddle, go to www.nanticokeriverjamboree.com.

Delmarva Chicken Festival PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Thursday, 16 June 2011 16:09


The world’s largest frying pan, the world’s fastest chicken-picker, and the world’s most extensive chicken menu.

It’s time for the 62nd annual Delmarva Chicken Festival.

The annual homage to Gallus domesticus is this Friday and Saturday, June 17 & 18 in Georgetown, DE. It started as an adjunct to an industry meeting and competition for poultry growers. That event lasted just one year, but the local organizers realized the festival had a broad public appeal, so they announced a chicken cooking competition, and added a carnival, craft exhibit, home & trade show, and live entertainment. Traditional games like the egg toss and egg-and-spoon races were added for kids. An elimination round of the Mountaire Chickin’ Pickin’ Championship will test the nimble fingers of people picking and shredding of over-roasted chickens.

As a reminder of just how important chickens are to Delmarva, exhibits will focus on the 1700 chicken farms which produce over 500-million tons of chickens each year. You can watch chicks hatch in an incubator, check out antique and modern poultry equipment, and learn about the industry and the environment.

And, of course, there is food. Don’t even think about hamburgers. There are chicken pizzas, chicken cheesesteaks, chicken hot dogs, chicken quesadillas, chicken on a stick, chicken tenders, chicken BBQ, chicken wraps, and – of course – fried chicken. Sizzled to perfection in the world’s largest frying pan. Measuring 10 feet in diameter with an eight foot long handle, the current pan is a replacement for the original, which was retired a few years ago. Like its predecessor, it needs 180 gallons of cooking oil to fill it and can fry up 800 chicken quarters at a time. Between the two pans, they’ve fried over 200 tons of chicken in the past 60 years. Colonel Sanders would be proud.

The Delmarva Chicken Festival runs from 10-8 both days on the grounds of the Delmarva Christian High School in Georgetown (which is where the first festival was held in 1948). Admission is free, but there is a $1 charge for parking. For directions, a schedule, and other information, www.delmarvachickenfestival.org.

Eastern Shore Hot Happenins' June 16-July 3 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Monday, 13 June 2011 19:56


June 16

“Caribbean Cornucopia” Riverfront Concert, Custom House, Chestertown (Water & High Street), Calypso, reggae, zouk (French Caribbean dance music) Free. Bring your own chair. 410-810-7161.


June 17-18

62nd Annual Delmarva Chicken Festival, Lewes. At the Delmarva Christian High School. Annual celebration of Delmarva’s poultry industry. Lots of chicken to eat, live entertainment, home and trade show, arts & crafts, industry displays. 10-8 each day. www.delmarvachickenfestival.com


June 17-19 & June 24-26

Short Attention Span Theater; Prince Theater, Chestertown. Fantastically fun and creative event. An evening of new, original 10-minute plays (suitable for ages 15 and above). $15 adults; $5 students. 410-810-2060. www.princetheatre.org


June 17

Rock Hall Cruise Night. Relive the 60’s in and around the dock and town. 7pm. 410-639-7280. www.rockhallcruisenightsbysmilinjakes.blogspot.com


Mid-Atlantic Symphony, Freeman Stage at Bayside, Fenwick Island. 7pm. Kids free. $10. 302-436-3555. www.freemanstage.org


June 18

Chincoteague Water Heritage Festival, Robert Reed Waterside Park, 10-4. Oystering, decoy carving, crab pot making, clamming, boat building, knot tying, net making, eco-tours. www.chincoteagueculturalalliance.com

Frederick Douglass Statue Unveiling and Celebration. Easton. Weekend of commemorations, lectures, and presentations. 410-770-3751 for schedule and locations.


June 19

Kapriole! At The Mainstay, Rock Hall. Netherlands-based group performing European dance music, traditional tunes, modern music inspired by the Renaissance, world music, and festivals on flute, accordion and many other instruments. $15. Reservations recommended. 410-639-9133. www.mainstayrockhall.org


June 22-25

Trappe Family Fun Festival. Carnival rides, game booths, pit beef, crab cakes.


June 23

“Virginia’s Musical Traditions on Record” Barrier Islands Center, Machipongo. 7pm. Lecture and ‘concert’ of 78 rpm records of some of Virginia’s earliest and signature musical traditions: gospel, string band, Piedmont blues. Bring your own records to share. 757-678-5550. www.barriersislandscenter.com

Kenya Safari Acrobats, Freeman Stage, Bayside, Fenwick Island. 7pm. Gymnasts perform balancing, human pyramids, limbo, hurling through hoops, and other exciting feats. Free. 302-436-3015. www.freemanstage.org


June 24-25

“A Day in the Life of the Islands” Photo Contest. Annual event recording life in and around Chincoteague and Assateague Islands. Photos must be taken on Friday & Saturday and submitted by Saturday evening. Prizes awarded Sunday morning. $20 registration fee covers submission of two photos. Separate category for kids under 12 (no registration fee for them). Cash prizes. www.chincoteagueculturalalliance.com


June 25-26

Thunder on the Narrows, Chester, MD. Two days of high-speed racing. Hydroplanes and skiffs at 100mph. 6 classes. Doors open 10am. Races start at noon. $7; kids under 12 free. 410-643-5851. www.kentnarrowsracing.com


Sea Glass and Coastal Arts Festival, Lewes Historical Society, Lewes, DE. $5. 302-645-7670. www.leweshistoricalsociety.org


June 25

Great American Family Campout. Kiptopeke State Park, Virginia. 757-331-2267


Nanticoke River Jamboree; Vienna, MD. Celebrate one of the last pristine rivers on the east coast. Paddling, biking, walking, birding. Food. Native American presentations. Native plant sale. $2 per person; $5 per family. 10-5. www.nanticokeriverjamboree.com


Cardboard Boat Races, Oxford. “How long can you tread water?” Participants try to navigate waters around Oxford in homemade cardboard boats. Classes include rivalries for fire/law/Coast Guard; local merchants & businesses; funny boats; kids 5-12; teens. Proceeds benefit Special Olympics. www.cardboardboatrace.org


Tilghman Island Seafood Festival. Where else to get the freshest crabs and seafood than from the watermen themselves? 11am. 410-886-2677


July 1

First Friday, Chestertown. Monthly celebration of the arts is special in July. Many more openings, receptions, artist demonstrations, and gallery events than usual. Also coincides with the Chestertown Independence Day Celebration in the town square. 5pm-9pm.


July 2

Cape Charles Volunteer Firemen Seafood Festival. Cape Charles (Cape Harbour). 5-10pm. $40, $10 (kids 3-10). AYCE fish, clams, shrimp, BBQ, hot dogs, hamburgers. Beer for sale. Live music. Proceeds benefit fire department. www.capecharlesvfc.com 757-350-5020


Ice Cream Social and Raptor Show, Pocomoke River State Park, Snow Hill, MD. 2pm. $3 Meet at the camp store. 410-632-2566.


July 3

Kent County Waterman’s Day, Rock Hall. 1pm. Anchor toss, workboat docking contest, most patriotic workboat float. Proceeds benefit scholarship for watermen children. $1. 410-778-1127

Last Updated on Monday, 13 June 2011 19:59

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