Somerset County Celebrates 350 Years This Saturday
Somerset County, located on the southern tip of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, was founded in 1666, making it 110 years older than the United States. The county was named after Lady Mary Somerset, sister-in-law of Cecil Calvert, second Lord Baltimore. When conceived, Somerset County stretched from the bayside to the seaside and from the Virginia line to the Nanticoke River, encompassing what is now the three Lower Shore counties as well as a part of southern Delaware.
Seventy-six years after its founding, Somerset was split, with the seaboard side established as Worcester County in 1742. The town of Princess Anne, founded in 1733, was declared the new county seat of Somerset in 1744. In 1867 a portion of Somerset and a section of Worcester countes were partitioned to create Wicomico County.
Somerset County’s rich history, heritage and traditions will be the subject of a 350th anniversary celebration Saturday, Sept. 17 at the Somerset County Recreation and Parks Facility at 30290 Sam Barnes Road in Westover.
The event, which is free to the public, gets underway at 3 p.m. when the exhibit tent opens. The grounds open at 5 p.m. followed by a ceremony and presentations at 6 p.m.
The festivities continue from 7 and 8:30 p.m. with demonstrations from Maryland State Police and area color guards.
Other event highlights include historical exhibits about skipjacks, colonial and Native American times, African-American culture and boat building, according to Clint Sterling, director of Somerset County Recreation and Parks.
The celebration will also feature music, theatrical, dance and high school band performances, as well as craft and food vendors. The first 1,000 attenders will receive a hot dog, chips and a drink, Sterling said.
Sterling said other event highlights include inflatable bouncy houses for the kids and a production of a play called ‘Make Peace,’ which is a historical recreation of the county’s history.
The celebration will conclude at 8:45 p.m. with fireworks, weather permitting.
“We want people to feel like this is something worth celebrating and just have a good time and celebrate what makes our county unique and great,” Sterling said. “What we want to do is cast a wide enough net so that any group that wanted to participate that has anything to do with the county has the opportunity to show what they do to make the county a great place to live in and that’s what this event is about.”
For more information, call (410) 651-2968 or (410) 651-4980.
WBOC intern Joseph Edwards contributed to this article.