Jazz artist Deanna Bogart serenades World War II vet M. Ross Evans at the Stars and Stripes Festival
Vocalist/musician Deanna Bogart serenades World War II veteran M. Ross Evans on the saxophone at the Sunday celebration of the Chesapeake Beach Stars and Stripes Festival.

Chesapeake Beach, MD – A grand display of American pride got the 2018 summer season started in Chesapeake Beach. The bayside town hosted its Seventh annual Stars and Stripes Festival Saturday, May 26 through Monday, Memorial Day, May 28. While Memorial Day is supposed to be a solemn occasion, organizers of the three-day event have consistently proven that blending reverence and remembrance of fallen American warriors with an atmosphere of celebration is an appropriate way to commemorate the weekend. The theme of the 2018 Stars and Stripes Festival was “Patriotism and Me.”

The festival’s opening ceremony was held Saturday morning, May 26 at Veterans Memorial Park. Guest speaker Dr. Hal “Tobey” Raper spoke as Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He also replicated the physical challenges faced by the polio-stricken 32nd U.S. president. Then, speaking as himself, Raper told the audience that FDR was the only man to serve as the nation’s president “who could not walk.” Raper explained that he owed his existence to Roosevelt, who established a treatment center in Warm Springs, GA where his (Raper’s) parents—both healthcare professionals—met and subsequently married. “I met him as a boy,” said Raper, who also recalled the sad day in April of 1945 when FDR died at his Warm Springs home. Raper said he was the last Georgia resident to pet FDR’s dog Fala, before the president’s entourage left the Peach State by train for the long, sad journey back to Washington, DC.

The ceremony featured plenty of patriotic music performed by the U.S. Naval Academy Band Wind Quintet and the duo of Dana and Jeremy. Taps was played Navy Musician Davy DeArmond. During Dana and Jeremy’s performance of “God Bless the USA,” many attendees stood and waved the small American flags they were given by Scouts when entering the park.

Chesapeake Beach Mayor Patrick “Irish” Mahoney commended the town government staff and members of the Stars and Stripes committee for making the event an annual success. In addition to introducing a large number of elected officials attending the ceremony, Mahoney acknowledged the presence of three World War II veterans. The Huntingtown High School Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps Honor Guard presented the colors while Pastor Glenn Swanson of Bayside Baptist Church delivered the invocation and benediction.

The show of pride continued Sunday, May, 27 when many more locals gathered at Kellam’s Field for a Family Festival. Members of American Legion Post 206 served a free lunch to attendees. Live music was performed by Spam Time and headliner Deanna Bogart. Towards the end of her performance, Bogart descended from the stage to serenade World War II veteran M. Ross Evans on the saxophone.

Chesapeake Beach resident and oyster restoration expert John Bacon won the “guess the mystery artist” contest town staff held due to the contractual embargoing of announcing Bogart as the featured act. Bacon won a $500 gift card from Chesapeake Beach Resort and Spa.

Sponsors of the Stars and Stripes Festival were American Legion Post 206, Bay Business Group, Howlin Realty Management, Long and Foster Prince Frederick, Mamma Lucia by the Bay, North Beach Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary, Prime Time Children’s Youth and Activity Center, Rod ‘N’ Reel Inc., Roland’s of Chesapeake Station, Sharon’s Way Benevolent Fund, Sneade’s Ace Home Center, Trader’s Seafood Steak and Ale and Woodfield Ice Company.

Stars and Stripes Sunday

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com