Why wait until December and frantically race through crowded malls searching for gift ideas?
Several groups make shopping delightful and carefree this weekend, as the holiday bazaar season gets into fullswing.*
At Ascension Episcopal Church, browse through a gathering of specialty shops, artists and craftsmen at the annual Mistletoe Mart.
A$2 admission entitles you to tea, cookies and a chance to win door prizes. A cafe features homemade entrees for lunch or dinner.
Doorsopen at 23 N. Court St., Westminster, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Information: 848-3251.
The mart is just one of many this Saturday.
The Carroll County Christmas Farmers Market offers visitors 100 stalls full of handmade gifts and arts and crafts, from stocking stuffers to tree toppers. Parking and admission are free 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 14. Information: 848-7748.
Liberty High School on BartholowRoad, Eldersburg, plans a craft show 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fine crafts and collectibles are for sale. You will be helping the Band Boosters raise money. Information: 795-2368.
Emory United Methodist Church invites guests into its "Country Craft Cupboard," where handmade craftsand decorations and home-baked goods abound. A bargain basement promises some good buys for shoppers, too. Stay for lunch in Cafe Noel. Doors open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1600 Emory Road, Upperco. Information: 833-6596.
St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church plans a fall festival 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Crafts, books, plants, lunch and a few white elephants will abound at 1375 N. Main St., Hampstead. Information: 374-9655.
Mount Airy Mennonite Church displays and sells self-help crafts 4 to 9 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at 7101 Watersville Road.
The crafts are made by craftspeople around the world. Information: 829-9403.
When you get your shopping out of the way, dinner will be waiting for you at several churches and fire halls Saturday.
Salem United Methodist Church serves fried chicken, roast beef and ham from 1 p.m. at Winfield Fire Hall, 1320 W. Old LibertyRoad. Cost is $8 for adults and $3 for children. Carry-outs cost $9.Information: 875-4101.
Pass the pasta at Union Bridge United Methodist's spaghetti supper 4 to 7 p.m. All the Italian food you can eatwill be dished at the Community Center on Ladiesburg Road. Information: 775-2644.
If you like seafood, end your shopping trip in Manchester, where the fire department will have a shrimp feed and dance from 5:30 p.m. on. Tickets are $18 per person and Travelin Lite will play the tunes. Information: 374-5807.
Combine dumplings and dancingat the annual German party, which features ethnic food and entertainment. Cost is $20 per person from 7 p.m. to midnight at Friendly FarmRestaurant, Route 140, Westminster. Information: 876-3859.
The plays, and dinner, are the things this weekend, too.
Havilah-Hayes Dinner Theatre presents "The Odd Couple" at 6:30 p.m. Friday and 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Fitzgerald's Classic Catering prepares dinner and then you can sit back and laugh as Felix and Oscar adjust to life as singles.
Curtain rises at Big Pipe Creek Park, Route 832, Taneytown. Information: 875-2296.
Or follow a murderous plot with the Mount Airy Players' production of "Design for Murder" 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $6 for play only and $15 for dinner. Reservations requested.
See the crime designs at Calvary United Methodist Church, 403 S. Main Street. Information: 829-0144.
Enjoy a Sunday in the county. Start with breakfast 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Union Bridge Fire Hall on Locust Street.
Enjoy all you can eat pancakes and sausage. Cost is $4 for adults and $2 for children and proceeds benefit the volunteer fire company. Information: 775-7422.
Take in a concert at 2 p.m. Sunday at Western Maryland College.
The Vladimir Lande-Jose Cueto Ensemble becomes the second offering of the college's 1991-1992 Sundays of Note season. Admission is $5, with students 18 and younger in for free. Come to McDaniel Lounge, Westminster. Information: 857-2265, Ext. 265.
Feel like stepping out? Son of a Gun plays 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Westminster Fire Department, 66 E. Main St. Dinner will be served 1 to 3 p.m. Cost is $7. Information: 857-0250.