Volume 14, Issue 28 ~ July 13 - July 19, 2006

Parade, Pies and Politics

Shady Side Celebrates an All-American 4th

by Ben Miller

Tasseled-loafered Annapolis lobbyists take note. The way to a Maryland legislator’s heart may be through lemon-meringue pie, apple spice cake or, possibly, Bay Breeze Bars.

These desserts — all first-place winners — and more cakes, cookies and pies brought three Maryland legislators to Shady Side on the Fourth of July to take on a tough task: Pick the winners of a baking contest hosted by the Shady Side Rural Heritage Society.

Competition was fierce, but State Sen. John Astle, House Speaker Michael Busch and Del. Virginia Clagett made the difficult decisions with grace and aplomb.

The baking contest at Captain Salem Avery House followed a Norman Rockwell style parade through Shady Side.

The parade, organized by the Kiwanis Club, was democratic but not just for Democrats. Anyone with an American flag on their hat or their vehicle — from bicycles to fire trucks to Corvettes and candidates for office — was welcome to join in and throw candy to the crowds.

The baking contest was a long tradition for Speaker Busch. “Twenty years,” he said, claiming to have refrained from eating pie since last year’s event in anticipation. Astle and Clagett also have lengthy tenures as judges. All represent District 30 and have helped the Shady Side Rural Heritage Society receive state grants for the museum and its programs.

Judging an event could be risky for politicians, and Busch said this was “the toughest contest to date.” There are winners and losers. A sore loser could mean a lost vote.

This wasn’t the case at Shady Side. The judges gave out many ribbons. The winners won with modesty; the losers lost with good humor. And the cakes, cookies and pies provided dessert to many people.

A large sheet cake representing a tobacco barn, a symbol of Southern Anne Arundel County, won the originality prize for Lindsey and Maddy Whitaker, whose grandmother, Joanne Riley, collaborated with Bea Poulin on the photographs of tobacco barns that are the museum’s current featured exhibit.

This Shady Side Fourth of July had an all-American tradition for everyone: a parade, pies, hot dogs, hamburgers, drinks, a misting tent, games for kids, a wading pool with ice water, patriotic music by the Bay Winds Band of Annapolis led by Michael J. Svec, plus a beautiful view of the West River.

Plan to be there next year. Astle, Busch and Clagett — the latter two facing primary and all three general election challenges — hope to be there, too.

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