Marylanders and their out-of-town guests will flock to Westminster next weekend for one of the popular events of the fall season -- the Maryland Wine Festival. Always held on the third weekend of September, the festival attracts more than 20,000 visitors to the Carroll County Farm Museum. This year's event was selected as one of the favorite festivals in North America by TOURS!, a publication of the National Tour Association.
The state's 10 commercial wineries will be there with their best wines. Wine experts will be on hand to explain wine production and the art of wine tasting. But wine is not the only attraction. You can enjoy on-stage entertainment, fine food and crafts or the grounds of the museum.
Along with a variety of jazz, swing, classical, country, Dixieland, and steel-band groups performing on stage, there will be strolling musicians, a juggler and a minstrel entertaining on the grounds. The food, provided by some of the area's finest restaurants, ranges from snacks to gourmet platters.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $12 for those over 21 (proof of age required), which entitles you to 10 1-ounce samples of wine and an engraved festival glass. For information, call (410) 876-2667.
Annapolis 300 commemorates the 300th anniversary of Annapolis as Maryland's state capital. A 16-month-long observance will be launched next weekend with 10 days of activities. It begins Friday at 10 a.m. with the arrival of the Maryland Dove at the Annapolis City Dock. Aboard the Dove will be Francis Nicholson, (portrayed by an interpreter), Maryland's royal governor at the time when the capital was moved from St. Mary's City to Annapolis. A procession and ceremony will follow, and the Dove will be open to visitors.
On Saturday there will be a parade, one of the city's biggest in recent history, through the historic district at 10 a.m. Throughout the weekend the city's museums and historic sites will offer reduced admissions, and each will receive visits from famous historic characters, such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Banneker. The Dove will also be open during the weekend.
Festivities will conclude Sept. 24-25 with a Colonial Fair at City Dock (10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday); the Kunta Kinte Festival at St. John's College (10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday); a tour of 14 bed-and-breakfast homes in the historic district on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and a performance of "1776" by the Annapolis Dinner Theater. (410) 268-3333.
The Historical Society of Kent County Inc. is sponsoring its 25th annual Candlelight Walking Tour of Chestertown's historic district Saturday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Many of the 16 homes and properties on the tour were built in the 18th century, such as the Geddes-Piper House, which serves as headquarters for the Historical Society, and the Nicholson House, named for Capt. John Nicholson, who served with distinction in the Continental Navy.
The Dover Country Dancers, the Dover Early Music Consort and the Wesley Bellringers will provide entertainment at some of the homes, and Christ United Methodist Church in Chestertown will serve a roast-beef dinner that evening from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Call (410) 778-0911. Tour tickets cost $15 and will be available on tour day at the ticket booth on High and Cross streets and at the Butterfly Bush on Cross Street. (410) 778-3499 or (410) 778-0416.
Civil War Remembered
Civil War Remembered combines two big events: a commemoration of the 132nd anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, with scheduled events on the battlefield, and the third annual Sharpsburg Heritage Festival in the town of Sharpsburg Saturday and next Sunday.
Throughout the weekend, park rangers will lead tours of battle encampments and of Union General George McClellan's headquarters at Pry House. Other activities include infantry firing demonstrations, a concert of Civil War music and a traditional Dunker church service. One of the weekend highlights will be a torchlight tour Saturday evening from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. depicting the battle's effect on Sharpsburg's civilian population. Reservations are required. Call (301) 432-5124.
In the town of Sharpsburg, the Heritage Festival runs both days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Living history presentations and a lecture series reveal the town's history. The festival also features period music, Civil War memorabilia, crafts, a quilt exhibition and food. Visitors can take a walking tour of the town. (301) 432-8308.
House and embassy tour