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How the Street Festival Came to Be

Laurel and Carroll Avenues will be the site of an afternoon of music, games, ethnic foods, crafts, antiques and contests

This description announcing the Summer Festival of 1981 still rings mostly true in 2018. Back then, newly elected Mayor Sam Abbott had proposed a Victorian Festival as the kick-off for the campaign to revitalize the “Laurel/Carroll Business District,” as it was called. The first step toward revitalization required a new name. “Takoma Old Town” emerged as the winner from more than 106 entries.

That first festival included “over 40 booths . . . . selling Latino, Armenian, Asian, Middle Eastern, health foods and hot dogs, as well as antiques, stained glass, and crafts.” The Sunshine Skiffle Band and Hambone Sweets provided music. The Victorian theme, in keeping with the upcoming Centennial, was reflected in contests for Best Victorian Costume, Best Bathing Outfit, and Most Magnificent Mustaches.

The festival attracted 4000 people and was repeated the following year. By 1986 the Victorian theme was dropped in favor of simply “Takoma Old Town Street Festival.” It included three stages for local bands as well as pony rides and a Moonbounce for the kids. Over the decades the festival has continued to expand, becoming a beloved tradition in the life of the community and beyond.

Street Address:
7328 Carroll Avenue
Takoma Park, MD 20912
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 5781
Takoma Park, MD 20913

When visiting Historic Takoma, please walk, bike or take public transportation. Metered parking is available either in the City lot adjacent to the TPSS Coop, or in front of the Carroll Avenue businesses.