Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2007

Labor Day in Kensington celebrates 40 years

Parade and festival go back in time with a 1960s theme

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This year’s Kensington Labor Day Parade and Festival is bringing back an event theme and taking a trip back in time.

‘‘We’ve asked everyone to take us back to 1967,” said Linda O’Reilly, one of the event’s organizers. It was the first year of Kensington’s Labor Day parade, and an apropos theme for the 40th anniversary.

‘‘The theme is certainly different. We haven’t worked with themes for years, at least not that I can remember,” she said, and has been involved with the event for four years.

Marching bands, rock bands and dance troops were asked to use music from the era in the parade and the festival that follows, said Suzanne Pasternak, another organizer.

This year between 1,000 and 1,200 people are expected to be in the parade, a substantial number but down from previous years.

‘‘It’s not an election year, so we don’t have as many politicians,” O’Reilly said with a laugh.

As many as 100 groups have participated in years past, but this year, the event’s 40th, the number is down to about 80, she said.

Mayor Peter Fosselman said O’Reilly and Pasternak have done a great job continuing the festival’s tradition. The parade, he said, always draws a large crowd and is a chance for Kensington to make a good impression on people who may not have ever visited the town’s Howard Avenue antique shops or local parks.

‘‘It really pulls together the community and gives the town a great sense of spirit,” O’Reilly said. ‘‘It’s also wonderful because a lot of times you don’t know about organizations right in your own community until you see them in the parade,” she said.

Many of the groups are busy putting the finishing touches on their floats.

The parade starts at 10 a.m. at St. Paul Street and Plyers Mill Road. From there, the parade route circles down Connecticut Avenue, up Montgomery Avenue and over to Town Hall on Mitchell Street where the festival will take place until 3 p.m.

Many of the parade participants have booths at the festival. There are 55 civic groups and vendors ready to talk with neighbors.

‘‘It’s a good chance for neighbors to catch up. ‘How was your vacation, what teachers do your kids have?’ Those sorts of things,” Pasternak said.

Julia O’Malley, president of the Kensington Historical Society, said her group’s members look forward to relating the town’s history to tourists and residents alike.

If You Go

Kensington Labor Day Parade and Festival

10 a.m. Monday — Parade begins at St. Paul Street and Plyers Mill Road, with a new grandstand at Montgomery Avenue and Kensington Parkway. Parade ends near Town Hall, 3710 Mitchell St., around 11:30 a.m.

The festival begins immediately after the parade at Town Hall and ends at 3 p.m.

Visit www.tok.md.gov for more information.