The town of Mount Airy celebrates May Fest

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Visitors today can imagine all of the hard work people did that came with the developing of Mount Airy. Citizens celebrate that hard work with the May Fest, established in 1988 by local businessman, Ben Gue.

Ben Gue, who also owns the business Ben Gue Gifts and Collectibles, with ice cream cone in hand, joked that he started The May Fest. “…for the ice cream.”

Gue really started “The May Fest” so that people can come together and recognize Mount Airy for its history and dedication towards its people.  This town has been through many disasters and prosperity but yet, the town has lasted more than 180 years.

“The May Fest” included games, food, and items for sale. About 6500 people swarmed the streets of Mount Airy. Entertainment included karate demonstrations, bands, and 1950’s era jazz, entertainment that appealed to all ages.

“My favorite part of The May Fest… would be for people to come together and put an event on and make it successful for the residents and the visitors to Mt. Airy,” said Pete Bowlus, Mt. Airy museum volunteer.

The museum of Mount Airy was open on The May Fest weekend.  Even though it is a small space, the museum is fascinating.  According to the Town of Mount Airy website, ( it opens mid-April from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm for the season and will continue to be open each Friday and Saturday – 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The Museum is closed for the winter from December through March. The Mount Airy Museum is located in the lower level of the Old Town Office Building, on the corner of Park Avenue and Main Street.

The town of Mount Airy was established in the year of 1830 by a man named Henry Bussard. Henry Bussard not only founded Mount Airy, but built the first set of homes in the town. Mount Airy was established because of the railroad line that ran from Baltimore to Frederick. In the 1840’s the few people who lived in the new town had the need to build a church. So, in 1846 the Ridge Presbyterian Church was created not only for religious purposes, but also for a school.

The population of Mount Airy started to grow in the 1860’s as well as the houses. Mount Airy has been reported to have several fires since it was discovered.  The fires are still in many local residents’ memory.  These fires set back Mount Airy’s growth, but Mount Airy has always managed to bounce right back.


An 1800's photograph of Main Street A view of May Fest  2013 from Main Street

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