DUNDALK — This year’s Heritage Fair officially “opened” on Saturday, as a powerful thunderstorm that inundated the fairgrounds and knocked out the electricity forced the opening ceremonies to be held on Saturday night.
It was as if, one official said, Tommy Toporovich didn’t want the Fair to continue without him.
A member of the Dundalk Independence Day committee since 1960, Toporovich passed away in April at the age of 89.
A longtime member of the Dundalk Heritage Association, Toporovich was also a sponsor of the fair. Each year since 1960, Toporovich donated funds to support Dundalk’s Fourth of July festivities in the name of his brother, S/Sgt. Edward Toporovich, who was killed in action on April 6, 1944.
In 2015, Toporovich relinquished his role as the Heritage Fair’s longtime master of ceremonies, but continued to serve on the Heritage Association’s Board of Directors.
“We’re down to two original’s here now,” Dundalk Heritage Association president Joe Falbo said during the belated opening ceremony. “Carol Fogle and Bob Fogle. Tommy, with us for a long, long time, very active in this community, belonged to every organization under the sun. He did what he could for this community, and we’re going to miss him.”
Everyone then went silent as a military veteran played “Taps” in memory of Toporovich, followed by a recording of Louis Armstrong’s classic song “What a Wonderful World.”
Prior to the ribbing-cutting, Weis Markets was praised for donating $25,000 to the Heritage Fair. Three people represented Weis and helped hold the scissors during the ribbon-cutting: Bill Volz, Derrick Richter and Rob Santoni.
Del. Bob Long (R-6) reminded people to remember the families of all the first responders and of the men and women in served in the military.
County Executive John Olszewski, Jr. thanked Weis and other sponsors for helping make the fair possible, and to all the fair volunteers for “giving countless hours” making the fair possible.
“And thank you to Dundalk for being an incredible community where the Heritage Fair has been proudly housed for so many years,” Olszewski said.
Olszewski then cut the ribbon along with Volz, Richter and Santoni.
Unfortunately, the Chorus of the Chesapeake, which was to perform during the opening ceremony, was unable to return on Saturday.