The Washington International Horse Show is rated as one of the top three horse shows in North America, along with the National Horse Show in East Rutherford, N.J., and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, Ontario. Now in its 32nd year, the show returns to the Capital Centre in Landover for a full week, next Sunday through Oct. 28.
Four equestrian teams from the United States, Canada, France and Great Britain will compete in the Bank of Montreal Nations' Cup on Oct. 25. The Big Wall Jump on Oct. 27 is another exciting event with international and national riders attempting to break the indoor high jumping record.
World-class international vaulting is a new exhibition this year. It features individual award winners from the World Vaulting Championships held this summer in Stockholm, Sweden. There's more competition in the Draft Horses, Cutting Horses, Ladies Side-Saddle, Dressage and Fox Hunters categories.
In addition you can see actress Bo Derek riding an Andalusian stallion, exhibitions by Canadian Olympic dressage rider Ashley Munro, Jack Russell terrier races, an antique coaches and carriages exhibition, and Misty II of Chincoteague.
Evening performances begin at 7:30 weekdays, 7 weekends; weekend matinees are at 2 p.m. Ticket prices range from $5 up for weekday and weekend matinees to $15 up for the Saturday evening performance. Proceeds will benefit local and national charities.
For information, call (301) 840-0281.
If Tilghman Island is on your list of places to visit in Maryland, Saturday would be a good time to do so. It's the annual Tilghman Island Day, a celebration that spotlights the life of the Chesapeake Bay watermen with boat races, demonstrations and plenty of fresh seafood.
Sponsored by Tilghman's Volunteer Fire Company, festivities get under way at 10 a.m. and last until 5 p.m. You can stop by the Harrison Oyster Co. to see some expert oyster shucking, visit the Research Vessel Discovery to learn about research being conducted on the bay or look in on Maynard Lowery's boat yard to hear about the art of boat building.
Skipjacks can be seen in Dogwood Harbor, where you'll also find demonstrations of oyster tonging, oyster dredging, crab picking, clamming, crabbing, fishing and other activities. You can hear live music in Kronsberg Park, browse at the arts and crafts tent or catch your own trout in the exhibit tent.
A skipjack race and a boat-docking contest are scheduled at noon, and the workboat races will be held at 2 p.m. There will also be an auction at 4:30 p.m. and trophy presentations at 5 p.m. Both seafood and other types of food will be sold at five locations.
A donation of $4 per person, $10 per family is requested to benefit the fire company. Take U.S. 50 to Route 322 (Easton Parkway) to Route 33 through St. Michaels to the island.
For information, call (301) 886-2677.
Travelers to West Virginia will find incentive besides the beautiful fall scenery next weekend. The 11th annual Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival will take place in Martinsburg, providing four action-packed days of family fare from Thursday through next Sunday.
The West Virginia State University Experiment Farm at Kearneysville will be open to the public Thursday and Friday. On Friday the apple queen will be crowned and feted at a harvest banquet, and on Saturday the agenda calls for the opening of the hunt and blessing of the hounds at 10 a.m., a parade at 1 p.m., a square dance from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and a grand ball from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Pancake breakfasts, an arts and crafts show, an antique car show (Sunday only), and apple contests are some of the other activities.
There are some admissions charges. For information, call (304) 263-2500.
Two big events are planned at historic St. Mary's City next weekend. The Grand Militia Muster will bring 17th century re-enactment soldiers from all over the East Coast to set up their camps in the fields around the Old State House. The Massachusetts Bay Militia, Prince Rupert's Regiment and Fort Orange Guard are among the units that will join St. Mary's own militia for two days of competition in pike and musket drill, swordplay, camp cooking and other demonstrations on Governor's Field.
The Harvest Home Celebration at the Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation gives visitors a glimpse of Thanksgiving preparations by the Spray family and their indentured servants. Guests will be transported from the Visitor Center to the plantation by a horse-drawn wagon. Lunch can be purchased at Farthing's Ordinary, the museum's re- created 17th century inn.
Both events will be held Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Weekend activities are included in the museum's general admission of $5 for adults, $3 for senior citizens and $2 for children 6 to 12. St. Mary's City is off Route 5 in Southern Maryland. For information, call (301) 862-0990.