SYKESVILLE — What can be more fun than a barrel of monkeys?
How about the 13thannual Freedom Fun Days, on Saturday and Sunday at the Sykesville-Freedom District Fire Department grounds on Route 32.
The weekend of activities starts early with breakfast in the firehall, sponsored by the department's Women's Auxiliary. There also will be a sprawling flea market featuring more than 100 vendors, offering everything from antiques to arts and crafts items. Both events start at 7 a.m. Saturday.
"Our feature, or theme, for this year is honoring our troops," said chairman Jon R. Buck, president of the Freedom District Business Association, the major sponsor of the event.
"We'll be having an air show with the Maryland Army National Guard Airborne Division making a parachute drop. Then the helicopters will doa fly-by and land on the grounds to pick up the sky-divers," Buck said.
The sky-divers will perform various maneuvers on the way down to the grounds surrounding the fire hall. Afterward, the Maryland National Guard Marine Color Guard will present the colors and Liberty High School's band will offer a concert of John Philip Sousa patriotic music, all of which is part of the opening ceremonies.
Saturday's activities, including stage performers and roving entertainers that continue until 11 p.m., is sponsored by Carrolltowne Mall.
The mallmerchants are sponsoring a trolley service from the mall to the firehall grounds from noon to 8 p.m. The merchants also will have a sidewalk sale at the mall, Buck said.
This year's Fun Days will feature some changes in the lineup of activities. For starters, there will no longer be a hot air balloon race, although a tethered balloon willbe available for rides.
Buck said the electrical wiring system atthe fire hall no longer provides space enough for the number of balloons entered in a race.
A new activity this year will be a celebrity softball game between the business association and local media representatives at noon on Saturday. Dwight Dingle, manager of WTTR radio, heads up the media team lineup. The station will broadcast live from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Sunday starts with the Eldersburg Optical 10-K race at 9 a.m., and includes cash prizes and a post-run victory party.
At 10:30 a.m., youngsters 16 and under will take part in the Youth Sports Competition, also new this year and sponsored by the Freedom Area Recreation Council.
"We'll give out ribbons andsome other awards to the kids based on how good they are in the different areas," Buck said. "We're
trying to target total family involvement with this event -- we have the kiddie rides, but this is for the older kids to give them something to do."
Skip lunch so you'llhave room for the Pizza Eating Contest at 3 p.m., sponsored by Vince's Pizza and open to all ages. Three trophies will be awarded in two categories, age 13 and under, and over 13, so everybody has a chance to win.
Both days offer a variety of other activities. History buffs can enjoy a Civil War re-enactment. The kids take pony rides, participate in face painting, and enjoy clowns and jugglers. Music loverscan sit and listen to several bands offering country, blue grass, orrock 'n' roll.
Many local service and community organizations also will have booths, offering food, products and services.
"Fun Days is a format for local organizations to make money for themselves and their charity," Buck said. "Whatever we have left over from the business sponsorship of our entertainment goes to the fire department. We've given as much as $7,000 to the fire department from Fun Days."
Carroll Community Television, Channel 55, will be taping activitiesboth days. People who have broadcast and production skills and who want to help out during the weekend are invited to call 848-8988 to volunteer.
For more information about Freedom Fun Days, call 795-3341 or 549-7475.
FREEDOM FUN DAYS SCHEDULE
7-10 a.m... ... Pancake breakfast
8-11 a.m.... .. Air show: Army sky-divers; balloon rides
10 a.m.-4 p.m.. WTTR remote broadcast
11 a.m.-noon... Marine color guard/Opening ceremonies
Noon-1 p.m... ..Celebritysoftball game: media vs. businesses
1-2 p.m... .. ..Civil War re-enactment
1-3 p.m... .... Pony rides; face-painting; Tulip the Clown
1-4 p.m... .. ..Strolling magician/juggler -- Funtime
2-3 p.m... .. ..One-man band -- Bob Devlin
3-3:30 p.m... ..Magic act -- Tiptoes
3:30-4 p.m... ..Youth dancers
3:30-5:30 p.m.. Tiptoes fun balloons
4-6:45 p.m... ..Norris Brothers Band
7-8 p.m... .... Whirligig -- Celtic music
7:45-8 p.m... ..Youth dancers
8-11 p.m.. .. ..Dixie Highway Band
9-10:30 a.m.. .. .. Eldersburg Optical 10K race
10:30 a.m.-noon.. ..Youth sports competition
Noon-1 p.m... .. .. Civil War re-enactment
1-3 p.m... .. .. ..Free Wheeling -- country band
1-3 p.m... .. .. .. Pony rides
1-4 p.m... .. .. .. Tulip the Clown
1-4 p.m... .. .. ...Motions of Mime
1-4 p.m... .. .. .. Tiptoes face-painting
3-4 p.m... .. .... Pizza-eating contest
3-5 p.m... .. .. .. Stilt walker -- Funtime
4-5 p.m... .. .. .. Dudes of Dixieland Band
4-7 p.m... .. .... Juggler Mike Kushla
5-5:45 p.m... .. .. New vaudeville show --Funtime
5-6 p.m... .. .. .. Dudes of Dixieland band
6-7 p.m..... .. .. Youth dancers; roving bluegrass
6-8 p.m... .. .. .. Balloons and games -- Funtime
7-8 p.m... .. .. .. Country-western/bluegrass
8-11 p.m... .. .. ..Big Cam and the Lifters