By Jalen Wade
BOWIE — Every year, the people of the City of Bowie gather in a little-known festival to celebrate community within their town.
The festival is a way for the city to come together and share what it is about their town that they find so great. It is called Bowiefest and the all-day event was held Saturday, June 1 at Allen Pond.
The festival opened with a short address and introduction made by members of the city council, Dr. Isaac Trouth, Dufour Woolfley, followed by Bowie City Manager Alfred Lott on the Robert V. Setera Amphitheater.
Trouth introduced both Woolfley and Lott and the national anthem. During his introduction, Trouth spoke with a great amount of pride toward the city of Bowie.
“We welcome everybody here to the city of Bowie, a city that is on the move, a city that is the number one city in the state, not by my proclaim but by several new media,” Trouth said.
Following the national anthem, the Artistic Dance Academy, a dance studio based in Upper Marlboro, took the stage. While on stage, the girls of the academy danced to a varied selection of songs ranging from contemporary artists such as Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé to more classic selections such as Michael Jackson. Dancers of different ages from tots to teens came up on stage to perform for the crowd of parents.
Cindy King, 57, the director of the dance academy, stated that they have performed at the festival for a number of years.
“This has been an annual event that we have done for many years, we participated for multiple years at a time but our schedules got really full and we reconnected last year for the first time in five to six years of absence,” said King.
King is a former Bowie resident of 15 years and spoke on why she and her company enjoyed performing Bowie fest.
“We love it. It’s a great family-oriented event where everyone is friendly and nice with positive vibes all around,” said King “It’s a great place to dance especially if you do the morning slot before the heat sets in.”
The festival was packed full of families sitting around chatting with each other while children played with each other on the playgrounds surrounding the pond. There was live music as well from the band “The Young Senators Reloaded.”
The event was also a place for businesses both large and small to come out. All along the park, stands for various shops and foods surrounded the festival from places as well-known as Chick Fil A to lesser-known wares shops owned by residents.
Amy Weed, 48, owner and painter at Amy Weed Art, an original artwork in pastel and acrylics business, spoke on how the festival is good for small businesses.
“It’s got a lot of good traffic, it’s in a great area, there’s a variety of people, so hopefully it goes well,” said Weed.
Food and art shops were not the only stands seen at the festival. Various non-profit organizations from around Bowie such as churches and sports teams like The South Bowie Sharks came. County Council Chair Todd Turner, 57, had his own stand available at the event where he was shaking hands with residents.
Turner spoke on why he felt Bowiefest was an important event.
“I think it’s important because you see today thousands of people come out, it’s about community although Bowie is a big town it still has that small town feel and this is where you get to see people who you haven’t seen in a couple of weeks to come out and celebrate what Bowie represents,” said Turner.
Residents spoke on what they felt Bowie meant to them as a city.
“Bowie represents that hometown feel. Even though we’re a big city people know each other some and it’s those commonalities that we try to share as residents, I am a resident as well as the elected official representing it so this is an epitome of what this city represents” said Turner.
This small-town feel is something that Bowie resident Mary Albertson, 57, loves about the city and hopes it continues for generations to come.
“It’s my hometown,” said Albertson. “I love the people. My mother-in-law is from Bowie. It’s the culture.”