It's never too early to enjoy the holiday spirit. At least it seems so in Hampstead. Members of St. John's United Methodist Church must be the first to roll out the holiday carpet for their annual Christmas at the Church, a festival for the whole family.
This year, the festival will be held on the church grounds, at 1205 Main Street, Hampstead, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. You'll discover a complete outdoor Children's Fair on the parking lot along Gill Avenue, and family entertainment all day.
From gifts to decorations, you can browse through arts and crafts articles created by members of the church and also sold by local crafts people. As ever, those memorable baked goods and plenty of homemade hot foods will be ready to chase the autumn chill.
The luncheon, ever-popular with a choice of seafood or chicken salad, is by reservation only for seatings at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. For reservations, call 239-8088.
The silent auction of fine crafts and useful items donated by local merchants will again be featured.
St. Mark's craft fair
Anyone who's been to Cascade Lake will find another half mile an easy drive to St. Mark's Lutheran Church on Cape Horn Road (turn right from Snydersburg Road to Cape Horn), where members of St. Mark's are holding a craft fair.
"It's our first one. We've had flea markets in the past, but after a while you get so much junk. So we decided to do a craft show this year," said Maretta Warner, who, with Brenda Keyser, is organizing the fair to raise funds for the small, but very active, church.
From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, at least a dozen local crafts people will fill the grounds of the church. Members of the church have crafted many holiday decorations.
"We've been making things for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas," Ms. Warner explained, from playful witches sewn and stuffed to Pilgrims and all kinds of Santas, plus tree ornaments of ceramic and other materials.
Drop in a bid for silent auction items. When "silent" bids are opened, the highest bidder is called.
Enjoy the country air with soup and sandwiches served picnic-style on tables outdoors, plus homemade baked goods to munch and carry home.
There's still room for crafts vendors.
Each 8-by-10-foot space is $5. Vendors also supply a silent auction item valued at $10.
Information: Brenda Keyser, 374-2627; Maretta Warner, 239-3841.
Church women's yard sale
If you're looking for some of North Carroll's best scenic driving and enjoy yard sales and good homemade food, plan a stop in Millers for the semiannual yard sale by the Millers United Methodist Church Women.
From 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, rain or shine, there will be plenty to peek through, plus soups, sandwiches and baked goods.
Millers United Methodist Church is on Warehime Road. From Manchester, take York Street to Miller Station Road, turning right to cross the railroad tracks and right at the four-way stop to Warehime.
From the North Carroll Community Pond, take Basler Road, turn right to Maple Grove Road and left on Warehime.
Landscapes on display
After a full summer of painting landscapes, Jan Van Bibber will have works on exhibit today through Oct. 22 as one of three artists featured in "Country -- Three Perspectives" at the Main Street Gallery, 109 Main St., Annapolis.
The opening reception will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday. The gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and closed Tuesday.
Mrs. Van Bibber has taught at Hampstead Elementary and Spring Garden Elementary and is at work on a children's art book based upon the work of Matisse.
Information: Main Street Gallery, (410) 280-2787.
Marie Stuart Society to meet
Until Saturday, you can telephone your reservation for luncheon and discussion of "The Enduring Fascination of Mary Stuart" by Thomas DiMaggio, a lecturer at Franklin and Marshall College, Dickinson College, Harrisburg Community College and the Harrisburg Scottish Society.
This meeting of the Marie Stuart Society will be held from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 8 among the second-floor antiques and memorabilia room at Peppercorns Cafe, 14 N. Main Street, Shrewsbury, Pa.
"We're not historians, but a group of people who have the desire to increase our knowledge," says Janet Marie Carothers of Stewartstown, Pa., founder of the local society, which is part of an international study club based in Scotland.
Anyone with a keen interest in Mary Stuart and life in the 1500s can join the group.
Directions: from the first Shrewsbury exit off Route 83 north, travel west on route 851 to the first traffic light; turn right to an avenue of antique shops, where the cafe is the third building from the corner.
The luncheon and speaker will cost $12.50 for members and $15 for nonmembers. Seating is limited.
Information: Linda Wunderlich, 840-8518; Janet Carothers, (717) 227-0681.
Pat Brodowski's North Carroll neighborhood column appears each Wednesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.