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Anniversary Special Advertisers’ Catalog

We start our 27th year with a boom edition
      To history’s long and illuminating parade of catalogs, Bay Weekly adds an entry, this hefty Anniversary Special Advertisers’ ­Catalog*. The anniversary is the start of our 27th year, ­celebrated with this record 72-page edition — and our continuing awe that we could do it, did do it and continue to do it. 
      Back when partner Bill Lambrecht was saying if we build it, they will come, issues this size danced in our brains. Partner Alex Knoll would measure the thickness of a particularly large weekly, like the Columbia Flyer or Baltimore City Paper back then, and imagine our own future. For many years, that’s the direction we were headed. Then for many years — years of recession and reckoning with the online revolution — it seemed impossible. Now you’re holding that dream in your hand. 
      Who doesn’t love a catalog? For generations they’ve been wish books, fueling our dreams and making them a reality no matter how far we found ourselves from centers of commerce. Sears catalogs built much of America, with mail-order houses delivered ready for assembly. Novelty is another attraction as catalogs keep an implied promise to show you what’s new not only in style but also in technology. The wonders of the world were delivered to us on catalog pages.
      If you’re lucky enough to have been around for America’s revolutionary 1960s, you’ll remember The Whole Earth Catalog (published regularly from ’68 to ’72). It promised its readers not only the Whole Earth but also tools to keep the Earth whole. Philosophies as well as technologies filled its many pages, all purporting to empower readers as planetary citizens. 
      Bay Weekly’s Anniversary Special Advertisers’ Catalog is not so ideologically inspired as The Whole Earth Catalog. But we, too, are carrying out a mission, and self-sufficiency has a lot to do with it. From the beginning, our mission has been to sustain Chesapeake Country by bringing its resources together in our pages, through our stories and advertising, as a whole bigger than its parts. Key among those resources are the partner advertisers who have invested their time and energy in local enterprises that satisfy Chesapeake Country’s needs.
      Before we created Bay Weekly, I needed a Bobcat to come move some earth for me. The closest I could find was two counties away. Bobcats were not the only elusive service or product; your knowledge of your community was constricted by the roads you traveled. Twenty-six years ago, we were unique in uniting much of two Chesapeake counties, Anne Arundel and Calvert, into a region you could know — and know what was where — through our pages.
      Since then, of course, the internet has put not only our larger community but also the world at our fingertips. You and I can find a shoe store, a restaurant, a Bobcat online in an instant. But what the internet doesn’t give us is community. Each issue of Bay Weekly assembles your community for you in a nice tidy print package populated by advertising partners who are your neighbors. Ours is a substantially self-sufficient community, where we do for one another. 
       When it came time to celebrate our 26th birthday, we wanted to show you how big a part our advertising partners play in our success. So many of them — 51 — wanted to celebrate with full-page ads that we brought them all together in this Anniversary Special Advertisers’ Catalog. Our advertising partners told us they love a catalog. We hope you do, too.
      Wrapping our Anniversary Special Advertisers’ Catalog are the stories, columns and puzzles you expect from every week’s paper. The theme they share this week is the return of good times to Chesapeake Country, when spring takes us back to nature, fun and the water.
* In spelling catalog without the final ‘ue’ of Brits and traditionalists, we follow American usage and the guidance of the Associated Press stylebook.