photo of The Seldom Scene band

Celebrate Gaithersburg Festival (Video)

The 32nd annual Celebrate Gaithersburg festival takes place in Olde Towne from noon – 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 8 at the intersection of Summit and Diamond Avenues. Admission and parking are free, with shuttle service from Lakeforest Mall. For information and to download the Festival App visit the Gaithersburg website.

Celebrate! Gaithersburg, a lively street festival now in its 32nd year in and around Summit and Diamond Avenues in Olde Towne, kicks off the summer with something for everyone. This year’s festival has a special focus on tradition, highlighted by great bluegrass bands and an amazing BBQ showdown. The Festival takes place on Sunday, June 8 from noon to 5 p.m. Admission and parking are free, with shuttle service from Lakeforest Mall.

The Celebrate! Gaithersburg BBQ Showdown, presented by Battley Harley-Davidson, features local BBQ trucks, vendors and restaurants. Purchase delicious slow-smoked meats from Copper Canyon Grill, Better than Carolina BBQ, Big Fat Daddy’s, Curley’s Q, Carnivore BBQ, Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company, Branded ’72 and more! Vote for the People’s Choice Award through the Festival App, available on the City’s website, and witness as celebrity judges determine the best beef/brisket, pork and chicken entries around.

Thirsty adults can visit Dogfish Head Craft Beer Garden for a choice of brews, including 60 Minute IPA, Namaste, Firefly Ale, Festina Peche, while enjoying a Raison d’Etre Infused Bratwurst on a Pretzel Roll.

On the Backyard Bluegrass Stage, located in Griffith Park next to City Hall, The Seldom Scene brings Grammy-nominated talent to Gaithersburg, performing classic fan favorites and newer tunes. In the 40 years since they began weekly jam sessions in Ben Eldridge’s Bethesda basement, The Seldom Scene have become one of the single greatest contributors to the progression of bluegrass while setting a new standard and attracting new audiences to the genre. Legendary weekly DC-area residencies included bluegrass versions of country music, rock and even classical pop. Their popularity soon found them playing more frequently—but they continued to be seldom seen, often photographed with the stage lights only on their feet or with their backs to the camera on several early album covers. Founding members are Ben Eldridge (banjo), Lou Reid (mandolin/vocals), Dudley Connell (guitar/vocals), Ronnie Simpkins (bass/vocals), and Fred Travers (dobro/vocals). The band will be performing from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen stir up a tasty bluegrass/newgrass stew simmered from a blend of instrumental, vocal and songwriting skills so hot, it earned them five 2013 International Bluegrass Music Association Award nominations, with wins for members Mike Munford (Banjo Player of the Year) and guitarist Chris Luquette (Momentum Award – Instrumentalist of the Year). Their new album, On the Edge, is already making listeners hungry for more. They’re on the Backyard Bluegrass Stage from noon to 1:30 p.m.

Grand Ole’ Ditch, performing from 4 to 5 p.m., is a contemporary, homebrewed bluegrass band born in the mountain town of Cumberland, Maryland. With a style steeped in Appalachian musical tradition, the band reimagines contemporary music with bluegrass stylizations. Grand Ole’ Ditch is all about having some new fun with that old Appalachian sound. The band features a serious lineup of musicians, including Dave Williams on the mandolin, Jacob Mathews on the upright bass, Jody Mosser on the dobro, Ryan Hohing and Lucas Mathews on guitar, and Craig Miller on his banjo.

There’s a lot more to enjoy at Celebrate! Gaithersburg. Marvel at the wonders of nature in a live butterfly house, enjoy the sizzling Latin sounds of Afro Bop Alliance and Ola Fresca, shop for treasures made by local artisans, celebrate summer in a beach ball pit, and get your fill of funnel cakes, fried Oreos and kettle corn. Visit for details.

Enjoy the sounds of The Smithereens and other entertainers. You will find four zones filled with family fun. The Global Zone features culturally diverse crafts and entertainment. The Healthy Choices Zone promotes wellness. The Green Zone provides hands on learning about the environment. The Kids Zone features lively children’s activities.  You can also sample food, enjoy the Growler’s Beer Garden and shop for unique items from artisans and crafters.

Check out amazing Art Cars and help create one just for Gaithersburg.

Witness a naturalization ceremony and help welcome new citizens. City officials will also announce Gaithersburg’s distinguished citizen, distinguished friend and outstanding organization. See you there.


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