By Judy Tacyn
Development in the wooded and quiet area known as Fair Oaks began in earnest in the mid to late 1960s. At that time, there were just 29 families in the community, three of which still call Fair Oaks home today. There are now 155 homes in Fair Oaks.
The hub of the community is the pool, where residents really get to know one another. Many of the games, sporting events, and parties are held around the pool and pavilion. The Fair Oaks swim team, known as Frogs, helps kids from different schools make lifelong friends. The Fair Oaks team is in its 20th year and is a charter member of the East Severna Park League.
In addition to the community pool, which has a pavilion, playground, marina and dock directly on Cattail Creek of the Magothy River, Fair Oaks residents have just a short walk to Folger McKinsey Elementary, a National Blue Ribbon school.
Summer starts with a Memorial Day event that begins with runs, a parade, first swim, a baseball game, a picnic, and musical performances. For the Memorial Day parade, children decorate their bikes, ladies perform a drill routine, and men march. There is also a children’s flag team. Afterward, the parade participants gather at the pier for patriotic homages.
Community events are scheduled through throughout the year, including a crab feast, lobster feast, and “the wassail,” where residents gather to sing carols and meet Santa Claus. In the summer, residents of all ages participate in the always competitive and entertaining Community Olympics.
Matt and Mary Casciano
Residents for Three Years
Living within walking distance of Baltimore Harbor was perfect for Matt and Mary Casciano; that is, until the birth of their second child. It was then that they started looking for a suburban community to raise their family.
“When we drove through Fair Oaks, it just felt different, in a way we couldn’t put our finger on,” Mary recalled. “As we passed the pool, Mr. Rob and his snowball truck pulled up and what seemed like a thousand kids came pouring out. We looked at each other and knew this was where we were going to live. It was like something out of an old movie.”
Their oldest child currently attends Folger McKinsey Elementary School. “Every child walking in and out of that school does so with excitement and an eagerness to learn, which we think is truly special,” Mary said.
The Cascianos feel Fair Oaks is rich in personality and a sense of community. “New neighbors are reached out to and quickly become family,” said Mary. “Our family has three young children. We are comforted to know that every member of this community is helping to look out for them and guide them. They say it takes a village to raise a family, and Fair Oaks neighbors have provided the best village we ever could have imagined.”
Matt served two years as the neighborhood association’s treasurer, and Mary is a member of the strategic asset committee, which was set up to help manage community assets for future planning.
Shannon and Jeanne Byrne
Residents for 15 Years
Both of Shannon and Jeanne Byrne’s families moved to Severna Park in the mid-1960s. After they married, they too wanted to put down family roots in the community they both loved.
The sports-minded, active family chose Fair Oaks because of the access to the Magothy River and the beautiful community pool. “Growing up, we both enjoyed time on the Severn River and were members of Severn River Swim Club,” said Shannon.
“Besides the amenities, the actual neighbors in Fair Oaks make it unique,” he added. “The proof is in the pudding; everyone is always willing to go out of their way to help each other. We have many great families who care about their children growing up to be successful.”
Shannon and Jeanne have both coached for the Greater Severna Park Athletic Association (Green Hornets). They have four children.
Resident for 40 Years
“Our family moved to Maryland from Louisville, Kentucky, in 1979 when my husband became the General Electric regional manager for major appliances,” said Gail Condon. “We had three sons who were teens at the time, and finding excellent schools was our No. 1 concern, followed by proximity to water. And we love trees.”
Condon believes that Fair Oaks is unique for many reasons, including that “it is an amazingly social community in which people of all ages party together, play very competitive sports together, and generally help their neighbors in any way they can,” she said. “For most of my 40 years here, I knew the names of every resident.”
Condon’s son, Craig, has returned to Fair Oaks to raise his family, and Condon could not be happier.
“Perhaps the most unique thing about Fair Oaks is the number of children who return to buy a home and raise their kids here - 12 returnees at last count,” Condon said.
She is continually amazed at the kindness of her neighbors. When someone has cancer or delivers a new baby, people make meals, drive to doctors, babysit, paint rooms, do laundry, or whatever they can.
“I have lived in six different neighborhoods in my life,” said Condon, “but this one is really special.”
Stella Kootsikas Angelucci
Resident for 48 Years
Stella Kootsikas Angelucci and her husband were taking a Sunday drive with their children when they saw a house-for-sale sign on Ritchie Highway and Arundel Beach Road, and decided to explore the “country” road that led them to Fair Oaks.
“There were maybe only 50 homes then,” Kootsikas Angelucci said. “We found our rancher in a waterfront community near Folger McKinsey Elementary School. Even before we moved into our new house, the future neighbors reached out to watch our children during the move.”
A child care system was developed, which allowed members to watch other children to earn compensatory care of their own children.
“We had a secretary who kept track of the houses to be exchanged,” she remembered. “Babysitters were then charging 50 cents an hour and were hard to find during the day!”
As her children grew, Kootsikas Angelucci said the summer swim team was an inclusive activity for them. She also noted that the Fair Oaks Frogs summer swim continues to bring the families together.
“My children have wonderful memories of playing at the beach and boating [on the] Cattail Creek-Magothy River to Chesapeake Bay,” she added. “Also, in the early days, water skiing was allowed off our pier.”