Jones Falls Celebration Set for Sunday, Sept. 16

For two hours a year, part of the JFX is closed to allow people to walk, run, rollerblade, and bike on the expressway.

THE CITY that brings together its people to have fun and healthy recreation can revive itself in other ways, too. That’s the principle behind the annual Jones Falls Valley Celebration, to be held on Sunday, September 16.

Actually, the fun starts the day before, with a chance to canoe and kayak the Jones Falls from 9:00 a.m., starting from Robert E. Lee Park. The watercourse has become more challenging, as drains have been cleared, allowing water to flow faster, and making waterfalls higher. According to Bill Miller, executive director of the Greater Homewood Community Corporation (GHCC), the removal of debris has resulted in 14-foot falls. Last year, the same falls were only eight feet high.

Events on Sunday, Sept. 16

A highlight of this popular event will be a chance for pedestrians, joggers, rollerbladers, and bicyclists to take over a segment of the Jones Falls Expressway. Join a thousand road runners on Sunday, September 16th.

Before the general public begins using the JFX, an 8K race competition will be held starting at 8:30 a.m., beginning north of the Cold Spring Lane entrance and finishing at the end of the Expressway by Fayette Street, with a party at the finish line. Yellow Transportation buses will return participants to the Cold Spring Parking Lot after the race.

The Jones Falls 8K Express is USAT&F Certified and sanctioned by the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) and the Baltimore Road Runners Club (BRRC). The race has been designated as the Maryland State RRCA 8K Championship, and offers individual cash prizes ranging from $50 to $150.

From 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., the general public will gain access to the northbound lanes of the JFX, which will be closed to vehicles from Cold Spring Lane to downtown. Start from the University of Baltimore’s Bolton Lot (across from The Lyric) at Mt. Royal Avenue and Oliver Street.

The Baltimore Walking Club has outlined a 5K trek that takes participants up the JFX and through city neighborhoods near the Jones Falls, taking in scenes of historic mills, quaint houses and rolling hills. The Baltimore Bicycling Club has likewise planned tours, ranging from eight to 40 miles in length.

The Bike/Walk/Blade event will be kicked off by a gala parade that includes the Fifi the Poodle 14-foot pink kinetic sculpture, antique bicycles, and other attractions. The parade will step onto the JFX from the UB Bolton Lot starting at 9:30 a.m

Festival on the Falls

From 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., the Festival on the Falls offers activities and entertainment at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum. A “Nature Art Stroll” with the theme of “People Celebrating Trees” is offered, featuring Billy B, described as an “environmental entertainer for children.” Other nature-related activities will include rock climbing and tree plantings.

The Double Decker String Band will be among the entertainers. Artisans and craftspeople will display their work. There will also be interactive activities and exhibits and streetcar rides. Food and beverages will be available for sale, to be consumed in this picnic-like setting.

Sponsors of the Jones Falls Valley Celebration include: BGE, Billy B, National Tree Trust, Baltimore Street Car Museum, Baltimore Community Foundation, Comcast, Midtown Community Benefits District, Greater Homewood Community Corporation, Parks & People Foundation, Bonnie Matthews (illustrator), George L. Peters, Jr. (photographer), the MTA, and Struever Brothers Eccles & Rouse, Inc.
      If you have any questions, would like to volunteer or need a vendor application, contact Julie Fisher at 410-396-0364 or email to:

     Other information is available at 410-528-8706 or
     For details about the 8K Express Race, call Dave Cooley at 410.377.8882 or email to:
     Want to kayak or canoe the Jones Falls? Call Kathleen Warren 410-261-3515 or email to:

Copyright © 2003 The Baltimore Chronicle and The Sentinel. All rights reserved. We invite your comments, criticisms and suggestions.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on September 5, 2001.