A lot of the 30-somethings in Prince George’s County have money to spend on food, drink and entertainment, but many journey into Washington, D.C., to enjoy a night out instead of looking closer to home.
“Prince George’s is a very vibrant ‘foodie’ county,” said Quianne Perrin of Largo, who owns a marketing agency and also is a member of the Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce.
A self-described “foodie” herself, Perrin worked with restaurants, officials and a host of entertainers to organize the Taste Prince George’s Food and Wine Festival on Saturday at the Six Flags theme park in Upper Marlboro.
Performers scheduled to appear include R&B singer Reesa Renee, rock-techno group Bonnie Rash, the female group Bela Dona, jazz keyboardist Marcus Johnson, gospel groups Soul Messengerz and 7 Sons of Soul, and Black Alley, a Washington, D.C., group eager to meet new fans in the county.
“We’re very excited to be part of this event,” said Josh Hartzog, who plays bass guitar for Black Alley.
For $25 per person in advance, visitors have access to rides and parking at Six Flags, as well as access to the Gotham City section of the park, where restaurants and wineries will offer tastings for $3 each.
Participating wine organizations include Flo Wines, Romano and Port of Leonardtown.
There will also be a Cocktail Concoction Lounge, offering specialty cocktails, hookahs and hand-rolled cigars, along with cooking demonstrations by local chefs featuring celebrity couples and competitive eating challenges.
“This is a way to create some exposure for the restaurant community in the county,” said Craig Muckle, public affairs manager for Safeway and also a member of the chamber. “There’s a clientele that wants to be served and needs to be served.”
Also participating will be more than dozen entertainers on several stages.
“It’s a chance for local artists to really shine on a larger platform,” Perrin said.
Black Alley’s bass guitarist Josh Hartzog, known as Josh on Bass, described the band’s music as “soul garage,” an allusion to a garage as a place full of different things.
“We infuse rock with hip-hop, with funk, with soul and touch of go-go,” he said. “We’ve got R&B, jazz, calypso — everything.”
“Basically we release emotion,” said Hartzog. “If you’ve had a bad day, you can dance it out, or if you’re happy, you can celebrate.”
Formed five years ago, Black Alley has released three CDs, “Soul, Swagger, Rock, Sneakers;” a live version of the album, “Live from the RNR Hotel,” recorded at the Rock & Roll Hotel on H Street in the District; and “Recycle Bin,” a CD of fan favorites.
“We care about our fans,” Hartzog said. “We love them and think about them.”
A Richmond native, Hartzog, 27, said he started playing the drums as a boy in church and later switched to bass guitar. He said he wants to perform for the rest of his life like Chuck Brown did.
The band was lucky enough to spend time with Brown on his last birthday. Known as the “Godfather of Go-go,” he died in May 2012 at age 75.
“He inspired me so much,” Hartzog said. “He actually did this [playing and performing] until the day he died.
Hartzog said the band performs regularly in Washington, D.C., on Thursdays and Fridays and has also traveled out of the region to Boston and other cities around the country.
The next step is to become known around the country and one way to do that would be to audition for “America’s Got Talent,” something the band is considering, he said.
“We want to take the soul garage movement nationwide,” said Hartzog, adding that everyone in the band is on the same page.
“We see the goal — we’re this close to it,” he said.