Lighting the holiday season with glitter and good cheer

November 27, 1994|By Dorothy Fleetwood | Dorothy Fleetwood,Contributing Writer

Let there be lights -- the holiday season is here!

On Thursday, holiday celebrants can watch as Baltimore's Washington Monument is set ablaze with strings of colored lights and fireworks. Saturday brings more than 50 boats to the Baltimore harbor to participate in a lighted boat parade. The same day in Western Maryland, 23,110 luminaria will illuminate Antietam National Battlefield. And each night throughout the holiday season, some 200,000 lights will twinkle from trees, shrubs and buildings in Watkins Regional Park in Upper Marlboro, where lighting displays include an animated toy soldier, flying geese, giant bear and other creations.

Here's an opportunity to shake off the humbugs and turn on a light in your life with a little holiday cheer. There's much to be found. Just look at this list, which is only a sampling of what's happening during the Christmas season in Maryland:

THROUGH JAN. 1

* Winter Festival of Lights, Upper Marlboro. A drive-through display with 200,000 colored lights outlining shrubs, trees and buildings; 50 decorated trees; a tunnel of lights; a carousel; a giant teddy bear; and other magical displays. 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. nightly. Watkins Regional Park. Free (donations of canned goods for needy accepted). (301) 699-2545.

FRIDAYS, SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS THROUGH DEC. 18

* Olde Fashioned Candlelight Christmas in Fells Point, Baltimore. Shops and homes in this waterfront community are decorated for an old-fashioned Christmas. A town crier announces the evening's events: fireside readings from Charles Dickens; lamplighter's tours; bell ringers; visits with Santa; holiday music; performances of "The Gift of the Magi"; tours of the Robert Long House; music-box carousel and toy-land train for children; hot refreshments at the Tea Booth on the Square; and other events. Hours: 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. (410) 563-0906.

THROUGH DEC. 3

* Old-Fashioned Holiday at Carroll County Farm Museum, 500 S. Center St., Westminster. Pathways lighted by luminaria lead visitors to the 19th-century farmhouse, where costumed guides will show rooms decorated for an old-fashioned holiday; museum artisans will demonstrate traditional skills in the living-history center. Holiday foods, poinsettias, holiday gifts and wagon rides on the weekends. Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. other days. Admission: $1. (410) 876-2667.

DEC. 1

* A Monumental Occasion, Mount Vernon Place. The official lighting of the Washington Monument for the holiday season, with fanfare, fireworks, music by local choirs and refreshments. 5:30 p.m. (410) 244-1030.

DEC. 1-31

* Holiday Celebration at William Paca House, 186 Prince George St., Annapolis. View the 18th-century holiday decorations at the home of William and Mary Paca. "I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In," theme of this year's event, depicts the arrival of the goods and plants from around the world that furnish the Georgian townhouse. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday; noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission: $6 combination house and garden tour; $4 for house tour; $3 for garden tour; half price for children. (410) 269-0432.

DEC. 2-4, DEC. 9-11

* Christmas Madrigal Evenings, St. Mary's City. Series of candlelight dinners in the reconstructed State House of 1676. Dine with the lord and lady of the manor as madrigals and motets are sung by costumed entertainers. Evenings begin with wassail hour at 6:30 p.m. Admission: $40. (800) SMC-1634 or (301) 862-0981.

DEC. 2-3

* State House by Candlelight, Annapolis. An open-house celebration with candlelight and holiday music. 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Free. (410) 974-3400.

DEC. 2-4, DEC. 9-11

* Ballestone Manor Holly Tour, Rocky Point Golf Course, Back River Neck Road, Essex. Costumed guides lead candlelight tours through the manor house to see Christmas trees decorated as they would have been from 1860 to 1963; toys of eras past; also musical entertainment and cookies by the fireside. Hours: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays; 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission: $2.50 for adults; 50 cents for children under 14. (410) 686-5821 or (410) 887-0218.

DEC. 3

* Lighted Boat Parade, Baltimore. More than 50 decorated and illuminated boats, including the Pride of Baltimore II, circle the Inner Harbor and Fells Point waterfront. 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Free. Inclement weather date: Dec. 4. (410) 837-4636.

* Antietam National Battlefield Illumination, Sharpsburg. Drive through the battlefield by the light of 23,110 luminaria (the number represents the casualties from the 1862 Civil War battle). Hours: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Enter on Route 34. Free. Rain date: Dec. 10. (301) 432-5124.

DEC. 3-4

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