For most people, once they become an adult, it’s hard to remember events from your childhood. I vaguely remember much of mine, but one tradition that I fully remember is going to the Upper Marlboro Day Festival every year. Upper Marlboro Day was a day of festivities in the small town of Upper Marlboro, Maryland. The day would start off with a parade downtown and would end with fireworks. You could walk around the entire downtown area and scope out vendors, mom and pop shops, arts & crafts, music and rides. I remember going to this event every year because it was something I looked forward to. It was a fun time for me; to get together with members of my family and spend that entire day with them is a memory I will always cherish. The first time I went, I was one-year old. Of course I don’t remember the details of that year, because I was very young, but the years to follow stick out like a sore thumb. Mainly because as I got older, other small children became additions to the family and I had sidekicks to enjoy the festivities with. The last year that I attended Upper Marlboro day is most memorable to me because my younger cousin Larry and I had so much fun. There is a picture floating around my family of him and I celebrating Upper Marlboro Day and he has a big bandage on his forehead! He must have had himself a REAL good time! Whenever I see this picture, it takes me right back to that day. I was about 6 and he was 2. Such a priceless memory that I get to relive. I wish I had the picture to share, but I’m sure it’s at my Mother’s house with all of the other family archives.
What I remember most about Upper Marlboro Day is the paddle boats, the pony rides, the caramel apples, the popcorn, funnel cake, the arts & crafts vendors and walking into all of the mom and pop shops selling vintage items. Main Street in Downtown Upper Marlboro is like any small town you see in the movies. The streets are narrow and lined with all the essential shops any local would need to function daily. When you watch movies where a parade is marching down a small town street, lined with patrons and locals; that was Upper Marlboro Day. Seeing children on their father’s backs, eating cotton candy and watching the marching band bump down the road…..nostalgic. If I think about it, I can see myself standing in the center of it all. I can hear the music, I can feel the heat, I can see the body of water the paddle boats were in and I can see the grassy knoll and the hay, where the ponies were. There are oftentimes I want to go back and celebrate the town, and I wonder if they still celebrate the day. Today, I found my answer.
It looks like Upper Marlboro Day hasn’t been celebrated in a few years. I’m not sure why they stopped, but it makes me sad to think that one of my favorite childhood memories no longer exists. I decided to look on the Town website to see if there was any explanation as to why they no longer held the event and I found out they just held a town meeting to petition the return of Upper Marlboro Day! It looks like it will be returning in the spring of 2018. I know that I now live over 2000 miles away, but I will make it a point to return to town just to celebrate this day again and to share with my son some of my memories. There isn’t a hell of a lot that I remember from my childhood, but the Upper Marlboro Day Festival will always be cherished and near and dear to my heart! ❤️