Sunday, May 17, 2015


When I showed up yesterday to served my shift at the Inner Arbor booth at Wine in the Woods, two things were obvious. It was punishingly hot, and we were in a sunny, crowded area. I quickly backed up into our little tent for a quick bottle of water, and put on a cool "Peace, Love, Merriweather Park" bracelet.

It turned out that the reason our little corner of the world was so busy was that we were next to the Horseshoe Casino booth, and they were running some sort of a prize promotion with one of those big wheels. Lots of people wanted a turn, and so their line ran right in front of our table. And they were waiting, and it was hot...
"Would you like some water?"
This was the start of many great conversations yesterday. It became easy to say, "Look! This is where you are standing, this is what the new park will look like. This is the Chrysalis. It's the first structure we are going to build. It should be ready for Wine in the Woods next year..."
It quickly became apparent that most people who were willing to wait in line for a chance at a prize from Horseshoe Casino were also excited about a new park in Symphony Woods. (This is not a scientific study.) The concept that Symphony Woods is becoming a destination park that could be enjoyed most days in the year was supported by everyone I talked to.
A few people had heard some wildly inaccurate rumors about the park that we were able to quickly dispel. That was gratifying. No, William Cochran's Horns will not be broadcasting music 24/7 throughout the park. No, they are not cutting down so many trees that concerts from Merriweather will be much louder for the surrounding neighborhoods. Where do people hear this kind of nonsense, one wonders?
But questions like this were few and far between. Throughout the time I was there, I found people excited and interested to learn more. I especially enjoyed the young woman who described Symphony Woods as her backyard.
"Wow!" I said. "You're going to have the greatest backyard ever."
She said, "It's so great! In the summer I can sit on my deck and listen to concerts at Merriweather!"
"We can, sometimes," I replied. "We live in Oakland Mills."
She nodded excitedly. "Me, too!"
There you have it. A young professional with her own place. Happy to live in Oakland Mills. Happy to hear concerts from Merriweather. Happy that Symphony Woods is her backyard.
Yesterday, in the heat and with all the crowds, the Inner Arbor booth was definitely the place to be. If you are coming to Wine in the Woods today, make sure to come by.


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