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New Hampdenfest date announced

After organizers originally said Hampdenfest was canceled because of a conflict with another event, a compromise has been reached and the festival will take place on a new date.

Benn Ray, co-owner of Atomic Books and one of the festival’s organizers, confirmed the festival will now be held on Sept. 20.

“Hampdenfest is back on. That’s all I got at the moment. [Sept.] 20 is the new date. Still working through a knot of details,” Ray said in an email.

It was announced earlier this month the neighborhood festival, famous for its toilet racing event, was canceled because there were not enough city resources available due to the Star-Spangled Sailabration also being scheduled for Sept. 13.

The city reached out to the organizers in July after noticing the events were scheduled for the same weekend, to let them know the city would be unable to accommodate the neighborhood festival. Baltimore is hosting the events because of the role the city played in the War of 1812, most notably Francis Scott Key writing the poem that would become the National Anthem following the bombardment of Ft. McHenry.

The announcement of the new date for Hampdenfest came after a flurry of mixed signals from organizers last week.

Initially, organizers said it would be impossible to reschedule the event. Organizers had thought about Sept. 20 but decided that wasn’t feasible because too many vendors and musical acts were booked elsewhere on that date.

But then organizers met with city officials and elected representatives at Ray’s store to discuss alternatives, and it appeared that a compromise to keep the festival was likely to happen. Following the meeting Ray called discussions with the city productive and said organizers were reconsidering moving the date of the festival, which has been held annually since 2003, to another date.

“There was discussion about not having the festival at all, which pretty much everybody at the meeting seemed to consider not a viable solution,” Ray said last week.