Chautauqua festival set at Epworth Park in Bethesda

BETHESDA — Organizers of the 30th annual Chautauqua Homecoming Days & Bethesda Festival invite people to take a stroll down memory lane and relive the feelings of the days of yore at a historic Methodist campground.

Visitors can stroll along the lake, enjoy the beautiful fountain and reminisce under the majestic oaks during the festival set for Saturday and Sunday at Epworth Park, 215 N. Main St., Bethesda.


On Saturday, the day starts at 8 a.m. with the white elephant sale. Also at 8 a.m., the concession stand at the park entrance opens for breakfast with coffee, doughnuts and sausage gravy and biscuits.

The craft fair at the the Bethesda Community Center on South Main Street begins at 8 a.m. At 8:30 a.m fishing contest registration begins for children ages 2-14 at the auditorium in the park, with the actual fishing contest beginning at 9 a.m. Hazen Lodge 251, Bethesda, sponsors this event.

At 9 a.m., Epworth Park souvenirs, memorabilia and baked goods are available for purchase. Visit the craft show along the avenue with over 30 crafters, vendors and antique dealers, which also starts at 9 a.m.

Also at 9 a.m., the Spirit of America miniature train will again provide rides around the park. The chance auction and more crafters, vendors and yard sale vendors will be at the Epworth Center until 2 p.m.

Starting at 11 a.m., people can enjoy a chicken barbecue dinner at the Methodist Church, or they can purchase brat sandwiches at the auditorium. People can also stop at the park concession stand for a chicken sandwich, hot dog, Coney dog, kraut dog or sloppy joe along with potato salad and baked beans, or enjoy a root beer float, ice cream treats or an apple dumpling.

At 11 a.m. is the lineup of parade participants at Virginia Street. At 11:30 a.m. is the Children’s Bicycle Parade (ages 13 and younger) with lineup at Virginia Street.

At noon is the festival parade; awards will be presented. From 1-4 p.m., the Bethesda Fire Department will have demonstrations and children’s activities at the corner of Lake and Virginia streets.

At 2 p.m. the entertainment begins rain or shine in the open-air covered auditorium with Diane Parsons and Friends presenting oldies from the 1940-’70s. At 6 p.m., the Shuman Family takes the stage performing country, folk and rock.


At 9 a.m. the concession stand opens.

At 10:45 a.m. the morning worship service begins in the auditorium with the Rev. Tom Detling from Bethesda United Methodist Church leading the service.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., registration will be held for the Bethesda Car Show, sponsored by the Bethesda-Belmont-Morristown Rotary Club. At noon is a roast pork dinner that will be served at the park concession stand as well as sandwiches and other food items.

At 11 a.m., a chicken barbecue dinner is offered for a cost at the Methodist Church. The dinner includes one half chicken, potatoes, green beans, dessert and drink.

At noon the white elephant sale opens; the antiques and craft sales and local artists continue; chance auction continues; and Spirit of America train rides begin.

Also, the Bethesda Car Show is from noon to 4 p.m. The car show will take place on the west side of Epworth Park at the corner of Lake and Virginia streets. There is a registration fee and dash plaques for the first 75 entries. Trophies will be awarded. D.J. Frank Prebeg will offer oldies music. Food and beverages are also available, plus door prizes and a 50/50 drawing.

At 1 p.m. people can purchase brat sandwiches at the auditorium.

At 2 p.m. in the auditorium, entertainment begins with the bluegrass band Almost Famous. All concerts go on rain or shine in the open-air covered auditorium.

At 6 p.m. there will be food at the Shepherd Farm Barn & Events Center, 433 N. Main St. Starting at dusk, or about 9:30 p.m., there will be a fireworks display at 433 N. Main St. You can also park at the Bethesda Christian Church to view the fireworks. All proceeds go toward the purchase of a new fire truck for the Bethesda Fire Department.