Havre de Grace’s Graw Days Festival is coming up Oct. 8

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Havre de Grace plans to celebrate the history of the Graw Racetrack during its Oct. 8 festival. Here are the details:

Havre de Grace Main Street Brings alive the History of the Graw Racetrack at the October Festival October 8, 2011 from 10 am to 5pm

On September 29, 1920, the great Man O’ War won the Potomac Handicap at Havre de Grace. In his 16- month career between June 1919 and October 1920, Man O’ War won 20 of his 21 races. He was the favorite in all of his races, with odds of one-100 in three of his starts. He won one race, the Lawrence Realization, by 100 lengths. Man O’ War set three world records, two American records, and three track records. He retired as the greatest money-winning Thoroughbred in history.  These stories and others, come alive from 10 am -5 pm at the Havre de Grace Graw Days Festival, Saturday, October 8, 2011.

The Graw Days Festival celebrates a colorful time in Havre de Grace’s history beginning in 1912 with the construction of the Havre de Grace Racetrack, affectionately called “The Graw” which thrived through the early 1950’s.  The track was considered one of the best racing strips of the American turf and was the main training ground for owners who hoped to win the Kentucky Derby.  It also made Havre de Grace a popular stop-off for travelers and gamblers up and down the East Coast.

This annual Havre de Grace Main Street event takes place on the city’s downtown streets, Washington Street (between Congress and Green) and St. John’s Street (between Green and Franklin). Over 100 artisan vendors,  food booths, and a beer garden line the streets as well specials by local businesses.   La Banque de Fleuve will host historians and feature photography on the history of the track.  Festive period music is presented by the Peabody Ragtime Ensemble, highlighted with swing dancers. Children’s activities include pony rides, a moon bounce, make and take crafts, games, and contests through Havre de Grace UMC and other organizations.
The Graw Days Festival continues into the evening with dining and dancing known as the Graw Gala,  which is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.  The 1920’s era will be brought to life at the St. Patrick’s Hall on Saturday, from 7 to 11 pm. either black tie or 1920’s costumes are encouraged as participants dance to the Peabody Ragtime Ensemble, learn to swing dance, and enjoy both a silent and live auction. Tickets are $65 each and $480 per table of eight. All funds raised at the event benefit the ongoing efforts of the Main Street organization to continue revitalization of downtown Havre de Grace. Tickets for the Gala can be purchased through the TicketLeap: http://mainstreethdg.ticketleap.com/admin/events/graw-days-gala/details/