Friendsville Days To be Held August 9 & 10, 2019
The unique community of Friendsville comes together once again for Friendsville Days, their annual homecoming and celebration, slated for August 9th & 10th. This two-day event features a parade, live entertainment, fireworks and activities for young and old. Held in the beautiful Friendsville Community Park, this year’s theme will be “Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” in honor of the town’s beloved library and efforts to build a new building.
Organized by a devoted group of locals, the event begins Friday evening with a serving of a free community meal at 5:30 PM. A Cornhole Tournament begins at 6 PM on the softball field and Crowming of the Friendsville Days Monarch happens on the Main Stage at 6:30 PM. Children will be able to enjoy inflatables and kids’ games presented by the Friendsville Community Watch until 8:30 PM while adults can cap off the evening with Optimus Riff, a popular local band that plays rock, funk, jam, and electronic music. They have a large repertoire of covers as well as originals, and will play from 7 – 9 PM.
On Saturday morning a volleyball and basketball tournament will be held in Town Park, with a Parade through town kicking off the rest of the festivities at Noon The action returns to Friendsville Town Park for an all-day event featuring kids games, face painting, pony rides, inflatables and so much more. In addition to great vendors, there will be local authors tents set up around the park, ready to meet and greet their readers.
Music lovers will enjoy the line-up of entertainment for the day. From 1:30 PM – 3:30 Matt Tichon takes the stage to play his own brand of rock and pop music performed on piano and acoustic guitar. He plays a wide range of music from the 1960s to present day and was awarded with Pittsburgh’s #1 acoustic act 1997-99.
At 4 PM, Abacus Jones, a rock band from the Uniontown, PA area, will play original music and a large variety of covers that everyone in your family can enjoy! Their influences include The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Guns n’ Roses, Frank Zappa, The Police, Soundgarden, Sam Cooke, Weezer, The Shins, Feist, Tom Petty, and many more!
The evening ends with the popular Rick K. & The Allnighters playing from 7 to 9:45 PM. Referred to as “America ’s Most Exciting Show Band”, this is a high energy and fun show that encourages crowd participation. They will take you on a high speed, cross-country tour of rock’s greatest hits! Meet your tour guide, Rick K., as he leads you through the Fabulous Fifties, gets groovy with the 60’s Explosion, then hustles you into the Disco Nights of the 1970’s. As always, the event will conclude with a fabulous fireworks show.
Other events during the day will include a wing eating contest, volleyball, basketball and horseshoe tournament, and puppet show. There will also be a Car, Truck and Motorcycle Cruise-In for grown-ups and plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained including inflatables, Teddy Mountain workshop, carnival games, a Paw Patrol and Cat in the Hat Meet and Greet. Pony rides will be available from 6:00 to 8:00 PM and brave souls can try their luck on the mechanical bull from 3 to 7:30 PM Come hungry…there will be plenty of food vendors available all day with a variety of treats to tempt you.
Friendsville Days has a long history. Begun as a homecoming weekend originally hosted by the Friendsville Ladies Auxiliary, it has had different organizers throughout the years, but has remained the charming, home-town festival with activities for every member of the family.
The Town Park has 23 acres and holds various activities throughout the year including the popular Celtic Festival in early June, the annual Fiddle and Banjo Contest in July, movies in the park, the Gran Fondo Bike Race and more. The playground, softball fields and level walking paths make this river front site popular all through the year.
Friendsville itself has plenty to offer year-round. Of course, whitewater enthusiasts know it for wonderful rafting available on the Youghiogheny River, and hikers and bikers alike enjoy the scenic Kendall Trail which runs along the Yough River offering breathtaking views and photo opportunities. With eclectic restaurants and shops, the town is worth a visit any time of the year.
While many just see Friendsville on their way through to Deep Creek Lake, many may not know the unique history of Garrett County’s oldest settlement which recently celebrated its 250th Anniversary. The first settlers (The Friends) came to this area in 1765, which until that time, was a Native American settlement. The Friend Family Museum, located on Maple Street, relates a lot of the early history of the area.
Want to know even more? Thanks to the talent and hard work of local resident Crede Calhoun (known to Lake-Front readers for his cover photography), the history of Friendsville comes alive on a cool interactive walking tour, free and open to the public. The tour takes you through the history of the area, from its earliest settlers to its time as a manufacturing hub in the county, its earliest businesses and the history of the cool old buildings that still line Maple Street.
Participants can either walk or bike the tour which consists of 18 sign markers or go online to hear verbal histories of the town’s longest living residents. It begins in the town parking lot just off the exit from I-68 and takes about 2 and a half hours to complete. This project was funded by the Maryland Heritage Area, Garrett County commissioners, the Town of Friendsville, and the Garrett County Arts Council.
Information for the Tour and selected oral histories can be found at www.visitfriendsville.org/historytour/ and at most businesses in town. Be sure to make this lovely little hamlet a stop on your next adventure in Garrett County.