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Bel Air Downtown Alliance

August 2014





AUG. 8-9 The biggest event of the year, the Mars Supermarkets Maryland State BBQ Bash attracts over 100 competing BBQ teams and 30,000 people to downtown Bel Air for two days of fun, music, vendors and great barbecue – not to mention $10,000 in prizes!




OutdoorMovieslogoThe first Outdoor Movie in Shamrock Park this year was Frozen bringing over 700 people to Bel Air at night. The entire crowd sang together when “Let It Go” played! Two more movies are offered in August to cap off the season: Aug. 18, The Lego Movie; Aug. 22, Brave. Courtesy sponsors provide pre-show entertainment and fun activities for kids before the movie that starts at sunset. Free popcorn, too!

                                                Hosting 42 Events Annually
                                                Find a Complete List




HeartBeat Boutique
HeartBeat Boutique is not just about exclusive fashion lines, customizable jewelry and distinctive accessories. The core of HeartBeat’s business is its personal care and experience from the Rodriguez family.

With nearly four decades of experience in retail fashion, owners Susan and Ken Rodriguez and their daughter, manager Krista Lewis, founded HeartBeat nine years ago to bring exclusive fashion lines to Harford County. “We wanted to bring to Bel Air something that wHeartBeatownerse did not feel was being offered in terms of fashion, clothing and jewelry,” says Ken.

The family wanted to create an atmosphere where customers could see the latest fashion trends and be able to customize to fit their needs. Susan and Krista do all the buying for HeartBeat, which allows the store to cater to a wide market segment. “They are the face of the whole store. They are there all the time,” says Ken.

HeartBeat also boasts the area’s finest selection of Brighton products. With Brighton’s Your True Color line, customers can visit and design custom jewelry. These exclusive perks along with the family care of the Rodriguez family make HeartBeat a must-visit for Harford County fashionistas.I95

HeartBeat Boutique
Ken & Susan Rodriguez, owners
Krista Lewis, manager
13 N. Main St., Bel Air


Harford Artists’ Association
If you are an artist or a fan of art, the Harford Artists’ Association (HAA) is the organization for you. Founded in 1967 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, HAA is dedicated to the promotion of the visual fine arts in Harford County.

The HAA’s galleryArtistGallerylogo, housed in the caretaker’s cottage on the grounds of Rockfield Manor, is a member-only volunteer co-op. It features the works of local artists, including original paintings, pottery, sculpture, artisan jewelry and photography. The gallery offers gift itemsincluding fiber art, prints and notecards. Hours are Thursday and Friday, 1-6 p.m., Saturday, Noon-6 p.m., and Sunday, Noon-4 p.m.

This October, HAA celebrates the fifth anniversary of its gallery. The HAA will host a weekend of events Oct. 10-12, including an open house on Saturday and a family art festival on Sunday. Other events this fall include “Pictures at an Exhibition,” a regional juried art show opening Sept. 4 with a wine and cheese reception on Sept. 13, 1-4 p.m.

GalleryHouseThe Harford Artists’ Gallery and Association supports other non-profits including the Harford Family House, SARC, Toys for Tots, and offers a scholarship to an art major at Harford Community College. I95

Harford Artists’ Association
503 E. Churchville Rd., Bel Air


VagabondLogoVagabond Sandwich Company
If you are looking for a unique, relatively new place to eat, look no further than Vagabond Sandwich Company in Bel Air. Opened in August 2013, Vagabond Sandwich Company is “a unique, off-the-norm sandwich shop,” says owner Ben Meyer.

Meyer, who has been working in restaurants for over 25 years, opened the restaurant as his first solo venture as an owner. “I wanted to bring something unique in to the area,” says Meyer. His idea comes from California, where a local woman would make sandwiches and coffee for the town’s many transient residents, or “vagabonds.” Meyer says that “Being creative by using simple, fresh ingredients to keep people happy is what we’re all about.”

A fan of traveling across the country, seen on the walls and in the theme of the restaurant, Meyer creates many unique breakfast and lunch combinations for customers. “I like to make things a little different and interesting, putting a fun perspective on ordinary sandwiches.” One-of-a-kind breakfast and lunch sandwiches, tasty tortilla wraps and delicious salads line the menu. Vagabond Sandwich Company is open Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. I95

Vagabond Sandwich Company
Ben Meyer, owner
111 Thomas St., Bel Air


From making a Black Hawk virtually fly while on the ground with Mudbucket® to developing an automated rat trainer, CTSi’s work is diverse. Their new coffee shop app, Coffee Button, is not much of a stretch for the CTSi engineers.

“We had this desire to help a small coffee shop that we like, but quickly realized that we were prohibitively expensive for that size business,” says project manager Jared Marmen. “It hit us to make a product that serves the entire independent coffee shop market and thinly spread that cost out.”

The Coffee Button is a free application that provides perfectly-timed orders of your favorite menu items at your local shop, avoiding the unnecessary hassles of waiting in line. CTSi has been developing the app working closely with Shamrock Coffee, another Main Street small business.

“It is great to be able to test the app in our local community with people that know us and trust us. When we make our push into large cities this fall, we know that we proved ourselves on Main Street first and are ready.” I95

Jared Marmen, manager
18 S. Main St., Bel Air


MaintowerlogoMain Street Tower
Main Street Tower, family owned and operated restaurant, has been in the heart of Bel Air since 2002 with Italian-American fare, daily food and drink specials, nightly entertainment and Sunday brunch, a wildly popular all-you-can-eat buffet, with breakfast, lunch and Italian dishes. The Buontempo family has made The Tower a destination for great food, atmosphere and fun and was recognized as Bel Air’s 2007 Business of the Year.

The Tower offers customers the main dining, large booths in the Garden Room, a sports bar with great service, and a Rooftop deck bar overlooking Main Street, open year-round. The private banquet room is great for special events, meetings and large parties. Nightly entertainment brings out crowds for dancing to DJs, bands and karaoke.

Main Street Tower
29 S. Main St., Bel Air


buontempoLogoBuontempo Brothers Pizza
Buontempo Brothers Pizza has been serving Bel Air Italian cuisine with fresh ingredients for over 30 years. Prized for their classic New York-style pizza and subs, Buontempo offers a take-out menu popular with area offices and catering services. Spacious seating, including an upstairs loft, is available for large private parties. I95


Buontempo Brothers Pizza
1 S. Main St., Bel Air
410- 838-7460

Mario & Renato Buontempo,
and Richard Lynch, owners


heartsPhotoHearts of Harford
You’ve seen them around town. Hearts of Harford, a public art project through the Bel Air Downtown Alliance and the Town of Bel Air, combines art with community spirit in Bel Air, the “Heart of Harford” County.

While sponsors work with local artists to create the artistic theme for their Heart, the Alliance provides the basic form and coordinates design approval. The sculptural form is created by local artist Adrienne DeRan and serves as the canvas for area artists to create designs on the four-foot frame.

The popular Bel Air Armory Heart was sponsored by People’s Bank. Others are found at WSMT Insurance on Broadway, the Historical Society of Harford County, Gold Medal Physical Therapy, and Klein’s ShopRite, near Broadway. The newest Heart of Harford was installed July 24, 2014 at the Mary E.W. Risteau Courthouse building at Bond and Thomas Streets, sponsored by the Harford County Cultural Arts Board. Another Heart is being created by the Bel Air Cultural Arts Commission to be installed at Bel Air Town Hall this autumn.

If your company would like to sponsor a Heart of Harford, contact Erika Sturgill at the Bel Air Downtown Alliance.


Bel Air Downtown Alliance
AllianceBeLocallogoThe Bel Air Downtown Alliance is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2001 by forward thinking and proactive residents, business owners and volunteers who envisioned a vibrant downtown destination for residents and visitors alike. The Alliance strives to increase economic vitality and attract visitors by hosting 42 events annually and by participating in promotional campaigns, state and local programs, economic development initiatives and grant writing.

The Alliance is aErikaSturgillCoffeen organization within the Maryland Main Street Program, part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This allows participation in local initiatives to revitalize historic districts by leveraging local assets and hosting fundraising activities. The Main Street Program, with a proven method of success, is built on organization, promotion, design and economic restructuring.

Public and private sectors have a vital interest in Bel Air’s downtown and continue to work together to achieve common goals for Main Street. With over 125 active volunteers and a Board of Directors comprised solely of volunteers, the Alliance strives to bring a dramatic change to Bel Air for our future while honoring our historic fabric and enhancing public art opportunities. I95

Erika Sturgill, Exec. Director
Bel Air Downtown Alliance