Third Annual Chestertown Harry Potter Festival

The Chestertown Harry Potter Festival Returns!
September 30 – October 2, 2016

Wizards and muggles will celebrate the spirit and excitement of the Harry Potter fandom in this colonial river town for the third consecutive Chestertown Harry Potter Festival – a fun-filled weekend on September 30 – October 2 with free and ticketed events to benefit the Garfield Center for the Arts and the Kent County Fund through the Mid-Shore Community Foundation. The festival invites fans of all ages to convene and enjoy the town’s local arts and activities. Warner Bros. Entertainment and J.K. Rowling are not associated with or responsible for the festival in any way, and the inspired group of fans who created it hope they won’t be sent to Azkaban for expressing their enthusiasm!

The weekend’s events take flight on Friday September 30 with a talk by Dr. Patrick McCauley, author of Into the Pensieve: The Philosophy and Mythology of Harry Potter at Chestertown’s “Flourish and Blotts” (The Bookplate, 112 S. Cross Street) from 4:30-5:30pm. Wands, robes and your house colors are ideal attire for the Festival Kick-Off Party at “Hogwarts” (the Garfield Center for the Arts at 210 High Street) from 6:00-9:00 pm. Fans of all ages can enjoy magic, trivia, wizard rock and costumed fun with a $5 fee at the door for adults; no cost for children 12 and under!

You’ll need your broom on Saturday to cover the activities in locations inspired by the award-winning books by J.K. Rowling: a self-guided Scavenger Hunt from 9am – 3pm in downtown Chestertown’s shops transformed into magical-themed retailers, Potions Class, costume contest, and street theatre. Wizard crafts and licensed merchandise will be available throughout the day. From 10am – 4pm, Potter in the Park will feature free activities in central Fountain Park for muggles of all ages, including dueling, face painting, magic, wizard rock music, crafts, photo opportunities as well as themed food and vendors. The annual Costume Contest is open to those who register and draws a big crowd from 3-3:45pm.

The DC Quidditch Club will host a tournament with college and club teams from the region competing for the prized Chestertown Quidditch Cup on Saturday and Sunday in Wilmer Park, on the waterfront. Players of all ages and skills can join Kidditch on Saturday from 9am – 12pm to learn the game from experienced Quidditch players.
Ticketed events have been a highlight of the weekend that require an advanced purchase online, with limited space – so plan ahead. Tickets will officially go on sale September 1st, 2016 (“Start of Term”!) when a link will be available on the website and Facebook page.

The Hogwarts Experience at The Garfield for wizards (ages 8-13 only) from 10:30am – 12pm and 4-5:30pm has been a sell-out event where students meet the sorting hat and take lessons from wizardry professors. Tickets are advance purchase only, $35 per person.

New this year: Madam Malkin’s High Tea – a magical event with delectable confections for Potter fans of all ages, catered at the Occasions Boardroom, 327 Cannon Street from 10:30am – 12pm and 4-5:30pm! A souvenir festival teacup & saucer, costume corner plus edible wands, canary creams, cauldron cakes, pasties, bludgers, and a tasty golden snitch will require a $35 advance ticket per person.

Back by popular demand is the annual pub event, with an all new venue: House Party at the Hogshead (age 21+) at The Fish Whistle, 98 Cannon Street from 6:30pm-9:30pm with themed food and drinks, wizard rock dance party, trivia contest, and time to show your house colors. Advance purchase tickets are $35 each.
Nearly Headless Nick’s 524th Deathday Party will be celebrated at Garfield Center for the Arts, from 7:30 – 9:30 pm for wizards under 21. Dancing, Harry Potter trivia, and more. Make sure to come and “Pin-The-Head-On-Nearly-Headless-Nick”! Food and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for sale. Tickets are $10, and will be available at the door.

For festival updates and details, accommodation recommendations, and directions visit or the Chestertown Harry Potter Festival on Facebook.

The Chestertown Harry Potter Festival is organized by an all-volunteer committee of loyal Potter fans to celebrate the spirit of Harry Potter and promote the local community and its arts.

Located in the historic district in Chestertown, The Garfield Center for the Arts ( is a cultural organization whose mission is to nurture, celebrate, and support arts and artists through performance and education.

The Mid-Shore Community Foundation ( is a 501(c)(3) public charity that supports nonprofit organizations and charitable efforts that enhance the quality of life for residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties, Maryland. The Fund for Kent County is MSCF’s permanent source of discretionary grant funding for Kent County initiatives.

Third Annual Chestertown Harry Potter Festival

NRITYA – The Rhythms of India

The fall installment of the Garfield’s Educational Outreach Program features NRITYA, a pair of sisters performing the ritual dances of their native India, in a performance that is open to the public on September 22nd at 10am.

NRITYA features Indian Classical dancers Lakshmi Swaminathan and Lavanya Thamire. Lakshmi is the director of Natananjali School of Dance, which was awarded a citation by the Maryland Governor in 2008 for promoting Asian culture through dance. Lavanya is a student of the Kuchipudi Kalanidhin dance school, and as a company dancer she has performed at venues such as The Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center, NY.

The program begins with a brief introduction of India as well as Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi, which are South Indian Classical Dances. Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi have two main elements: pure dance (dance that has movements forming decorative patterns but does not tell a story) and interpretative dance (dance that uses expressions and movements to describe the lyrics and tell a story).The audience will be taught a few movements using various hand gestures and to show different emotions using facial expressions.

Following this will be the performance of a story narrated in English using the techniques of Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi, demonstrating that dance is indeed universal.

The Educational Outreach Programs at the Garfield Center are co-sponsored by The Hedgelawn Foundation and the Kent County Arts Council.  General admission is $5, with special rates applying to school groups.

Please contact Tess Hogans ( or 410-810-2060) for more information. The Garfield Center is located at 210 High Street in Chestertown.

Chestertown’s RiverFest 2016 to Feature Large-Scale Light Sculptures

Charlie the Peacock and Diamonds, popular installations at Baltimore’s Light City festival, will come to Chestertown starting Sept. 23.

Two of the most popular art installations from Baltimore’s Light City festival, “Charlie the Peacock” and “Diamonds,” will be in Chestertown beginning Friday, September 23, as part of the two-day RiverFest celebration.  Funding for the installations is being provided by SANDBOX, ThinkBig, the Kent County Arts Council and an anonymous donor.

Also being unveiled are three sculptures created by local artists specifically for RiverFest. Artists Rob Glebe and Cindy Fulton each submitted a work, and Breon Gilleran and Patti & Dave Hegland collaborated on a third. Their creations will be mounted on the pedestrian bridge near the Fish Whistle restaurant.

Chestertown’s RiverFest 2016 to Feature Large-Scale Light SculpturesCharlie the Peacock, a dazzling light show in the form of a giant steel peacock, will be installed for two nights at the Town Landing, foot of High Street, Friday and Saturday and will tower over street parties both nights.  Conceived and created by Baltimore based artists Tim Scofield and Kyle Miller, Charlie was voted Best Exhibit of 2016 by the readers of Baltimore Magazine. With his steel feathers fully extended, the animatronic peacock measures about 20 feet tall and 40 feet wide and weighs more than half a ton.

Charlie works his magic through 14,400 light emitting diodes, or LEDs, which the artists control remotely through an iPad. The movement of the feathers is controlled by a 16-ton log splitter.  Scofield and Miller worked with technicians Will Cocks and Steve Dalnekoff on the fabrication.

Friday night’s RiverFest kick-off party at the foot of High will start at 5:30 with music by Pres Harding and the Illuminators. Food, wine and beer will be for sale, along with glow sticks and necklaces.  At 9 p.m., viral YouTube sensation Tyshawn “YvngSwag” Johnson will perform a set of his millennial hip-hop dancing. Johnson, a senior at Kent County High School, has amassed more than 3 million views of his original YouTube video, “Big Green Tractor REMIX” and has 570,000 followers on Instagram at @yvngswag.

Saturday, as the finale of RiverFest, a Peacock Glow party will take place next to Charlie beginning at 7 p.m. with family-oriented offerings such as ice cream, ping-pong and crafts. From 8 to 10, popular Baltimore deejays Shawn Smallwood and Ducky Dynamo will provide dance music.

Field of Diamonds

The creative work of husband and wife team Mina Cheon and Gabriel Kroiz, the large-scale LED sculptures titled “Diamonds” will be installed along the curve of S. Cross Street, on KRM Real Estate Development’s Stepne Station property, from Friday, September 23, through Saturday, October 1.

Cheon and Kroiz created their first diamonds back in 2007 in Seoul and have since exhibited different versions in the U.S. and abroad.  For Light City, they placed 15 diamonds along the Inner Harbor.  For Chestertown’s display, they plan to install five sculptures in a variety of sizes, from 3 ½ feet to 14 feet high.

Mina Cheon is a Korean American new-media artist, scholar, and full-time professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Gabriel Kroiz, an architect and educator, is the principle of Kroiz Architecture and an associate professor and chair of the undergraduate program in architecture and design at Morgan State University.

Baltimore’s first annual Light City Festival was held last spring and was billed as the first large-scale international light festival in the United States. For more information, visit

Chestertown’s RiverFest 2016 to Feature Large-Scale Light Sculptures

RiverFest Events
Friday, September 23, 2016 — Foot of High Street
5:30 Live Music with The Illuminators
food & beverages available for purchase
7:15  Illumination Ceremony & Sculpture Award
7:45  Lighting of the Sculptures
8 – 10 Dance Party with Charlie the Peacock
9- 10  Hip Hop Performer Yvngswag

Saturday, September 24, 2016 — Wilmer Park
9 am  Kayak & Canoe Drop Off
10       Paddle History Tour
11        Festival Opens
11 – 12 Kent County High School Jazz Band
11 – 3   Poker Run (no set time)
11:15  Paddle Races Begin
Noon  Chester River Rowing Club Demo
Noon – 3 Michael Butler Band
1:30  Paddle History Tour

2:50 Cardboard Boat Parade
3:00  Cardboard Boat Race
3:30   Awards Ceremony for All Races
4 – 5    Steel Band
5 pm Festival in the Park Ends

Saturday – Foot Of High Street
7 – 10 pm   Peacock Glow Party with DJ Smallwood
Ice Cream Cart
Beer & Wine

For information about RiverFest, visit

Putting a new focus on the humanities in the age of technology

WASHINGTON, DC, Sep 14 – The study of humanities in the nation’s colleges and universities is on the decline. These days, the focus is on technology and the sciences as more students set their sights on what they think will be higher paying jobs when they graduate. But it may not be good for the nation to pay short shrift to those who advocate renewed attention to subjects such as history. And many supporters of liberal arts contend that there are jobs out there for those who seek non-science degrees.

In an effort to encourage more students to opt for the study of humanities– particularly the study of history– a new literary award was created last year to entice authors and publishers to produce more books based on historical events, works of fiction, and nonfiction that accurately portray past/present events and personalities in a way that engages young learners.

The goal of the Grateful American Book Prize “is to create an allure for the study of history among kids early on in their education,” according to education advocate David Bruce Smith. “If we, as a nation, lose our passion for the past we will ultimately lose our passion for who we are, and what we are capable of doing with our lives. The study of history teaches us how to become better citizens,” he says.

Steven Pearlstein is the Robinson Professor of Public Affairs at George Mason University. He also writes for the Washington Post, which recently published his article headlined “Meet the parents who won’t let their children study literature.”

It seems that more and more parents are concerned about what kinds of jobs might or might not be available for their degree-seeking children as they apply for entry into an institution of higher learning. “I certainly got that sense when I buttonholed students and parents at an information session this spring for high school seniors who had been accepted to Mason,” Pearlstein wrote.

Professor Pearlstein concluded in his article that “in the wake of the Great Recession, the number of degrees in the core humanities disciplines — English, history, philosophy – has fallen sharply. In the mid-1960s, they represented as much as 17 percent of degrees conferred; now that figure is just over 6 percent.”

Smith noted what he called an important statistic that Pearlstein cited in his article from a study conducted at Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. The Georgetown researchers found that students who graduated with humanities and liberal arts degrees in 2011 and 2012 fared equally well as those with degrees in computer science and math when it came to finding a job. The unemployment rate for the humanities majors was 8.4 percent; for the technology majors, it stood at 8.3 percent.

As Pearlstein put it in his article: “So here’s what I’d say to parents who, despite all the evidence, still believe that liberal arts majors waste four years contemplating the meaning of life: At least those passionate kids won’t make the mistake of confusing the meaning of life with maximizing lifetime income.”

New York’s First Textile Month is Here

September marks the first ever New York Textile Month, with 31 days of presentations, events, talks, and installations. This month is particularly appealing to us at Smilow because we’re constantly looking to textile designers for exciting ways to bring our enduring furniture into the current aesthetic. With the constant flow of inspiration through social media, now is a time when fashion, design, and furniture are able to pull ideas from each other—textiles are as relevant as ever. One talk we’re really looking forward to is The “Heritage of Handcraft as an Inspiration to Marimekko Print Design”, a presentation by Artwork Studio Manager Petri Juslin, which discusses how hand printing influenced pattern design in the mid-century (Tuesday, September 20th from 5 to 7pm). As Textile Month founder Lidewij Edelkoort explains: “We simultaneously experience a return of the interest in textiles and their cultural expressions. Fashion design starts to focus on fabric, interior design brings back upholstery, and art students reach out to the loom. There is a renewed interest in material processes and an urgency to understand what fabric is made of. In the USA the production of textiles has long been lost but begins to make a timid come-back, crafting and producing all American products with local yarns and fibers; weaving the weft of tradition with the warp of innovation.”
Below, see five ways customers have customized our Rail Back Armchair through the use of unique textiles.

New York’s First Textile Month is Here