Rockville's Hometown Holidays back for 21st year
Popular three-day festival will be held downtown
Hometown Holidays is back for its 21st year in downtown Rockville this weekend with musical acts that will stir it up, an opportunity to sample food from area restaurants, and dozens of activities and entertainment.
The annual Memorial Day weekend celebration will occupy the streets, parking lots and plaza in Rockville Town Center, closing off Maryland Avenue, East Middle Lane and Gibbs Street.
Events will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
This year's headlining act is The Wailers, the reggae band that backed Bob Marley with hits like "Stir It Up" and "Get Up Stand Up." The band formed in 1969 and signed with Island Records in 1971.
The Wailers will perform on Sunday following Can't Hang, a Baltimore-based reggae/ska/rock band hat will perform at 7 p.m.
The city will pay The Wailers $25,000 for the performance, said Colleen McQuitty, Rockville's special events coordinator.
Last year's headliner, Rick Springfield, was paid $50,000. KC and the Sunshine Band and Blues Traveler in the years before him were each paid $40,000.
Pat McGee, a melodic rock musician from Richmond, Va., is Saturday's main stage act. The city is paying him $12,500, McQuitty said.
Sharon Little, a soul and blues singer, will open for McGee at 7 p.m.
City spokeswoman Marylou Berg said the event's budget is expected to be less this year, estimating it will cost about $200,000, with $75,000 in sponsorships.
"We spent less on entertainment this year and that accounts for the smaller [budget]," she said.
McQuitty said she is expecting about 50,000 people will attend over the three-day period.
Among the dozens of musical acts on seven stages will be the return of the Taste of Rockville, sponsored by the Rockville Chamber of Commerce, with dozens of restaurants with food for sale.
For the second year the city will partner with the Metropolitan Center for the Visual Arts (VisArts) to hold the annual VisArts Fine Arts Festival at Hometown Holidays. This year the festival is expanding to both Gibbs Street and Maryland Avenue.
Real Maryland FC, a division II professional soccer team that calls Richard Montgomery High School's Leonard Stadium home, is cosponsoring the event for the first time and will lead soccer drills and activities for children.
Rides and activities for children and teens will be available in the Middle Lane parking lot for a fee.
The "Going Green Expo" will again feature exhibits where visitors can learn about products that save energy and are environmentally friendly.
Ride and Stride for Rockville, a fun walk, run or bike ride through the city's neighborhoods, will begin on Sunday at 8 a.m. and end at 12:30 p.m. at the corner of West Montgomery Avenue and Maryland Avenue. Participants can choose from a 2-kilometer or 5-kilometer walk or run, 12-mile bike ride or the more challenging 28-mile "Neighborhood Discovery" tour. Fees are $30 for those 13 years and older and $15 for those ages 2-12.
The weekend celebration will culminate with the 65th annual Memorial Day Parade and wreath-laying ceremony on North Washington Street. The Rockville Concert Band and Chorus will perform at 9 a.m., followed by a ceremony at 9:30 a.m. honoring those who died serving their country. The parade will begin at 10:30 a.m.
Pvt. 1st Class Thomas D. Murphy of the U.S. Army Infantry will serve as the parade grand marshal. Brian van de Graaff, the morning weather forecaster for ABC7 News, will be the event emcee.
The 21st annual Rockville Hometown Holidays will be held Saturday, Sunday and Monday in Town Center. Events on Saturday and Sunday, including roving entertainment, rides for children, Taste of Rockville and the VisArts Fine Arts Festival, will begin at 1 p.m. Musical entertainment will follow both nights.
Memorial Day ceremonies will begin at 9 a.m. Monday, followed by the 65th annual parade at 10:30 a.m. on North Washington Street near Town Center.
For more information about Hometown Holidays, visit the city's Web site at