EDGEMERE — On Saturday, residents experienced eccentric sights, wacky carnival games and a variety of local music at this year’s Odd Fest held at the North Point-Edgemere Volunteer Fire Station.
Through the blistering heat, almost 200 Dundalk and Edgemere community members attended the yearly event of Odd Fest organized by Jeff Phillips and the local North Point Lodge of Odd Fellows.
This year’s event brought an abundance of neighborhood shops and crafts, along with a band of misfit oddities that roamed the outdoor venue. All proceeds from food, drinks and admission went to the club’s Odd Saint Nick program that provides Christmas presents to less fortunate local children.
“We want to try and do something to reach out and attract newer members and a younger crowd, and along with it, we wanted to do a charity event,” Phillips said. “One of my problems with a lot of charities is most of your money is going toward advertising or paying salaries — we’re all volunteers and anything do is a one hundred percent turnaround.”
Odd Fest 2022 began at 1 p.m., as clowns, pirates, wizards and other whimsical characters paraded around the grounds for attendees to see. Walking through admission, guests were greeted with community vendors who sold arts, crafts, tapestries, trinkets and homemade lemonade.
Unlike Odd Fests from before, this year’s was held at the North Point-Edgemere Volunteer Fire Station to capitalize on a bigger space and have more available parking for attendees. According to Phillips, the Odd Fellows club partnered with the volunteer firemen to join in their cause for the group’s Christmas charity.
“The problem with our lodge is it's small — the problem is parking and outside space,” Phillips said. “We made a partnership with the firemen who were nice enough to join in our cause and let us use their facilities for the day.”
Along with using the volunteer fire station’s hall, Phillips and the Odd Fellows designed an indoor EDM dance floor accompanied by a setlist of disc jockeys and artists such as DJ Amp, Tzeech, Slee-P and many more.
“I like the fact that there’s a lot of different things to do,” attendee Michelle Matthews said. “You can go inside and play video games, I can go out here and get barbecue or play some carnival games.”
And as the heat dragged on, the hot wing contest by Crossroads Bistro commenced with 12 flaming hot-flavored wings placed in front of the five contestants each. The crowd cheered on as every contestant dug into their plastic box of hell before the winner, Tony Remmey, was crowned.
Remmey has won the hot wings competition at Odd Fest four times running and does not plan on stopping soon.
“I had to look at it this way: you get free wings or bragging rights,” first-place winner Remmey said.
The event’s music choice came with a variety of genres and styles. While there was classic rock for the boomers and electronica for the ravers, everyone of all ages came together to listen to the extensive curated setlist.
“I like how it has an eclectic taste in music,” attendee Eric Schmidt said. “It’s not one specific genre.”
Soon after the contest was over, the stage was cleared for Dundalk rapper TONTO to perform for guests at the beer garden. In his 45 minute setlist, the rapper entertained both young and old audiences while receiving community exposure despite the blazing weather.
“It was very hot, I really liked the audience and crowd it was like Woodstock in ‘99,” TONTO said. “It was really cool and I appreciate Jeff giving me the opportunity for the event."
After TONTO’s performance, there was a brief intermission before four-time world record sword swallower Dai Andrews awed the crowd with his gut-wrenching talent. Andrews hyped the crowd as well as brought attendees onto the stage to assist him while performing sword swallowing tricks and defying fear.
Odd Fest kept the party going until 9 p.m., as children busted moves on the EDM dance floor and adults chatted in the beer garden. For this year’s event hosted by the Oddfellows, Phillips went above and beyond in thanking attendees, volunteers and local businesses who participated.
“Odd Fest ‘22 was a success,” Phillips said in a statement afterwards. “But it absolutely would not have been possible without the help and support of many people and local companies who generously donated their time, talents and resources to make it happen!”