Katie Johnson ’07 and her boyfriend, Jared Noe, purchased and began renovations on Havre de Grace’s State Theater in early 2018, they dreamed of it becoming a place that not only showcased live entertainment, but one that also supported area small businesses. They didn’t know it then, but this dream would come to life in a way they could never have imagined. Shortly after renovations were completed and the theater opened, it was forced to close again with the onset of COVID-19. In response, Katie and Jared turned their business model into one featuring professional grade live streams and virtual events. On April 25, they hosted Lockdown Festival, a six hour music marathon presented virtually from the State Theater, in partnership with Lunar Bay Studio, Harford Community Action Agency and Slate Ridge Entertainment. Lockdown Festival not only provided local artists with the opportunity to perform again, but it also raised $6,000 for Harford Community Action Agency’s Food Bank! The event’s success inspired organizers to plan Lockdown Festival 2.0 to again benefit HCAA’s Food Bank on May 16 (https://www.facebook.com/events/974732159632406/). Katie and Jared’s commitment to their community doesn’t end there. They will also be hosting Virtual First Fridays as a means of highlighting local small businesses until they are able to reopen. We are inspired by Katie and Jared’s passion for giving back during this difficult time.
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