Solomons, MD  – For nearly 40 years, Solomons Island and the Calvert Marine Museum (CMM) have dedicated the weekend prior to Columbus Day to celebrate the importance of the Patuxent River. The 2015 Patuxent River Appreciation Days (PRAD) was held Saturday, Oct. 10 and Sunday, Oct. 11 under sunny skies, boosting the number of attendees.

When they weren’t building wooden boats, enjoying the antics of CMM’s otters, listening to a variety of live music or savoring local food, the many families in attendance were off on an excursion, either on the 112-year-old bugeye Wm. B. Tennison or the skipjack Dee of St. Mary’s. The vessels cruised through Solomons Harbor, turning around and coming back to CMM’s dock after passing the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory.

In addition to the large boats, visitors also traveled Back Creek in smaller boats propelled by oars and human feet.

Musical entertainment included performances by the Annapolis Bluegrass Coalition, GrooveSpan, Southern Maryland Jazz Orchestra, Some Assembly, Riverside South, Patuxent Voices, Mac Walter, Smoke Creek Rounders, Bob Pfeiffer and Eric Skow, the Eastport Oyster Boys, Moondog Medicine Show, Mermalade and Chesapeake Country Cruisers Dance Party.

Five area wineries participated in wine-tasting at Corbin Pavilion.

Children and adults also eyed the many environmental demonstrations, showing the important role oysters play in cleaning the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, the wildlife living on the river’s shores, the major role agriculture plays in the Patuxent Watershed and plantings native to the region.

On Sunday afternoon, Oct. 11 the much-anticipated PRAD Parade was held. Units marched up Route 2, heading north to CMM. Area schools, youth organizations, nonprofit agencies and churches were among the entities represented. Shriners International Pa-Po-Peake Shrine Club had numerous units in the parade, including motorcyclists, convertibles and clowns.

Due to the holiday, attendance figures from CMM were not available. However, museum officials predicted at least 10,000 people were likely to attend the free event and view the parade if the weather cooperated.

Gallery pictures of the Sunday, Oct. 11 2015 Patuxent River Appreciation Days activities by Ron Bailey.

Contact Marty Madden at