The 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival drew 2,000 festival participants and also $100,000 worth of safety improvements to the Lex Park ArtsPark as well as .
Hundreds of volunteers and contributors and thousands of participants made the 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival at the Lex Park ArtsPark into an anticipated annual event — after only its 2nd year. The third festival is already scheduled for April 7, 2019.
The Community Development Corporation conceived of the Cherry Blossom Festival to draw visitors to the heart of Lexington Park where scores of spring-blooming cherry trees line roads closed to vehicle traffic. The roads meander through more than 80 acres of trimmed grounds and copses of old hardwoods.
The southern 50 acres hold an attractive and popular disc golf course. The ArtsPark Committee of the Community Development Corp. is working to turn the upper 35 acres into a passive park, intersected by a well lit bicycle/walking trail, and accented with public art. As with the plein art and open-air performances at the Cherry Blossom Festival, the Committee sees the passive park as a venue open to creative endeavors of all kinds.
Already, at the northeast corner of the ArtsPark at Coral and Tulagi Place, Three Notch Theatre is in its 15th successful season producing community theater and serving as home to The Newtowne Players.
More than 50 vendors and artists participated in the Cherry Blossom Festival this year. Scores of performers including singers and dancers and muscians performed live all afternoon. And more than a dozen art activities designed to appeal to all ages and skills were available to learn, dabble, and play.
Frisbees and dogs — especially in costume — are a mainstay of the festival. Helping to make the property safe for all of this encouraged romping, Patuxent River Naval Air Station provided 144 hours of skilled personnel for tree and limb removal. Four days of site work pulling housing debris and other trash left in ravines and woods was performed though the St. Mary’s County Detention Center. St. Mary’s County’s Department of Economic Development estimates the work represented $100,000 investment in the park.
St. Mary’s County departments of Public Works, Recreation and Parks, Community Oriented Police, and Economic Development provided support as well.
Five interns from St. Mary’s College of Maryland performed yeoman work in publicity, fundraising, vendor outreach, and artistic inspiration throughout the months of planning and during the festival. St. Mary’s College, in honor of its interns, was the first member of the ArtsPark Founder’s Circle with a major sponsorship on behalf of the ArtsPark. The college was joined by MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital in the Founder’s Circle, in recognition of the recent opening of the East Run Center, at Great Mills and Chancellors Run roads.
Sponsors of the festival and ArtsPark also include St. Mary’s County Arts Council, Old Line Bank, Cedar Point Federal Credit Union, Southern Maryland Toyota, Tom and Katie Watts, Phil Riehl State Farm Insurance, Tom and Helen Daugherty among scores of other businesses and individuals supporting the transformation of the property into a park.