DENTON — The sound of music and the smell of fresh cooked food filled downtown Denton on Friday, Aug. 16, and Saturday, Aug. 17, for the 31st annual Caroline Summerfest.

The free summer celebration was held on Market Street between 1st and 3rd streets. This year’s event featured the theme, “Surf’s Up.”

Local nonprofit vendors and organizations lined downtown, serving food and providing activities for all ages. Musicians performed on four stages from the start of the festival Friday until a fireworks display ended the event Saturday night.

Friday’s festivities featured performances by the Colonel Richardson High School Spirit of the Revolution Band and the North Caroline High School Band of Blue. The festival also held a classic car show and the annual Rivah Run, a 2-mile paddle from Martinak State Park in Denton to the Choptank River Yacht Club.

“The folks that are here are having a great time,” said Sue Simmons, head of Caroline County Recreation and Parks. “The streets were filled Friday night. We have a lot of people here for Saturday. We have so many great performances going on.”

“We’ve had excellent support from our local business community,” Simmons said. “Our volunteers are wonderful. They come out on Wednesday, are here for the duration of Summerfest and stay to clean up. We have many good, dedicated folks that we certainly appreciate.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford walked through downtown Denton shaking hands and posing for photos with local residents.

They were on hand during the 2014 gubernatorial campaign, and also visited together in 2016 and 2018. Rutherford attended the 2015 and 2017 festivals.

Hogan said Caroline Summerfest is an outstanding event, and the volunteers and organizations do a wonderful job putting the festival on each year.

“I love the people of Denton and Caroline County,” he said. “I just remember from when I was running for governor back in 2014 how welcoming the community was.”

“It is a great feeling to come back and see them every year,” Hogan said. “I promised when I was running that I was going to keep coming back to all these great communities on the Shore, and I’m just doing what I said I was going to do.”

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