Take a break from all that political programming on your televisions and get into the grass roots yourself. You are invited this weekend to whichever party you prefer.
The county Republicans promise old-fashioned fun at their picnic to honor state Sen. Larry Haines from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Agriculture Center, Smith Avenue, Westminster.
Alesia Band and the Haines Family Singers provide entertainment.
Weather permitting, the Maryland State Balloon will sweep you into the clouds for a $3 fare. Pony rides are free.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $1 for children under 16.
Not to be outdone, the Carroll County Democratic Club serves families at its annual picnic, too. Admission is $5 per person or $10 per family and reservations are requested.
Meet elected officials and hopefuls, too, from 3 p.m. to dusk Sunday at Landon Burns Park, Route 27, Westminster. Information: 876-3215.
Before the political partying, start your weekend with a relaxing cruise to help you unwind from the hectic week.
Take the TGIF sail on Piney Run Lake's pontoon for adults only.
At a cost of $1.50 per sailor this 6 p.m. boat ride is just the ticket. All aboard at 30 Martz Road, Eldersburg. Information: 795-3274.
Want to relax with the children instead? Try Carroll Players' presentation of "Tales for Tots." The children's dinner theater features six stories sure to delight youngsters. The fun continues with poems, face painting and balloons.
Fried chicken tops the menu. Cost is $5 for children, age 3 to 10, and $10 for those over 10. Reservations are requested doors open 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Frock's, Bond Street, Westminster. Information: 876-2220.
While we are on the stage . . .
Theatre on the Hill offers a choice of two plays this weekend. "Lend Me a Tenor," an operatic comedy of errors on a hilarious scale.
Curtain rises at 7 p.m. Sunday in Alumni Hall at Western pTC Maryland College, Westminster.
Or, you still have time to catch "Fiddler on the Roof," at 8 p.m. Saturday, also in Alumni Hall. Admission is $13 for adults and $7 for children. Information: 857-2599.
Catch the sounds across the lake at 7 p.m. Friday as Cascade Lake plays host to JT and Mike playing acoustic rock. Admission is $4 on Snydersburg Road, Hampstead. Information: 374-9111.
More musical opportunities abound around the county. If you like songs of the South, try the Bayou Razz-Jazz Festival Saturday and Sunday at Linganore Wine Cellars, 13601 Glissans Mill Road, Mount Airy.
Hear the Last Chance Jazz Band, sample Cajun and Creole menu, browse through crafts stands and tour the wine cellars. The children will have rides and clowns to entertain them.
Admission is free but parking is $6 per car. All that jazz runs from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Information: 795-6432.
Bluegrass sounds at 7 p.m. Sunday at Hashawha Environmental Center, John Owings Road, Westminster.
The 1992 Concerts in the Park series, sponsored by Carroll County Department of Recreation and Parks and Arts Council, opens with Bob Paisley and the Southern Grass.
Admission is free but bring a chair.
Refreshments will be sold, too. Information: 857-2103.
If you are feeling lucky, stop by the Knights of Columbus All Day/Night Bingo. Doors open 10 a.m. Saturday and games begin at noon.
The $40 package includes 80 games, dinner, unlimited and free coffee and tea, plus a $1,000 jackpot.
If the smoke bothers you, you can still play in the non-smoking room.
Catch the calls at Eldersburg Community Center, Routes 26 and 32. Information: 795-2551.
Put your culinary and artistic skills to work and learn cake decorating with Chris Oldham at the Carroll County Farmers Market from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
Pick up some fresh produce, plants and crafts, too, while you are shopping at the market on Smith Avenue, Westminster.