It's time to deck the doors with auctioned wreaths


November 22, 1999|By Lisa Breslin | Lisa Breslin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IF YOU'RE in the mood to deck your doors with something unusual this holiday season, then mark your calendars for the Carroll County Arts Council's second "Festival of Wreaths" from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4 at the Winchester Exchange Building in downtown Westminster.

This year's roster will be more impressive than last year's, with themes to suit the serious, the silly, the traditional and the fanciful bidder. Decorators have promised wreaths with gardening themes, Victorian themes, outdoor recreation themes and celestial themes.

Fans of Pokemon, Longaberger baskets, the Baltimore Orioles, Boyds Bears, and Snowden and Beanie Babies will find just the right wreaths.

The council's call for entries lured 106 donations this year, compared with 67 last year. Bids start as low as $10, and last year's prices went from $25 to $650.

Some wreaths include gift certificates, coupons and tokens. The Baltimore Zoo's wreath includes coupons for four people to its annual ZooLights, as well as stuffed polar bears.

The Babe Ruth Museum's wreath includes a tote bag and T-shirt and "Sultan of Swat" memorabilia. Maryland first lady Frances Hughes Glendening's decorator Robert Zimmerman will decorate a wreath again this year, too.

"The responses have been overwhelming," said Sandy Oxx, executive director of the Carroll County Arts Council. "Some of the wreaths will be made from unusual materials such as homemade bread, auto parts and fragrant herbs.

"A `Lion King' wreath includes three orchestra seats to the smash hit Broadway musical, and the Baltimore Orioles' wreath includes a pair of tickets to a 2000 game. All the wreaths will be so creative," she said.

Wreaths will be judged in a variety of categories, and the public is invited to cast votes from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4. Westminster Mayor Kenneth A. Yowan and County Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge will serve as judges.

On Dec. 4, the final day of bidding, the Arts Council will provide free craft activities for children attending the festival. At neighboring business Mommy & Me, children will be able to make free wreaths while parents shop.

Admission is free, and the wreath display and bidding will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 2. High bidders do not need to be present when the auction closes at 4 p.m. Dec. 4.

Information: 410-848-7272.

Taking back the streets

More than 65 people packed a conference room at Western Maryland College last week to discuss ways to bring peace to the streets in Westminster, especially neighborhoods near West Main Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

It was the third in a series of meetings organized by the West Side Community Task Force, a citizens' support group that was formed to make the community drug- and crime-free, as well as preserve the integrity of the neighborhood.

Representatives from Western Maryland College, the Common Council, the city Police Department and local businesses have joined the task force's efforts.

Emily and Richard Murray of Green Street told the group about a robbery that occurred at their home that afternoon. The couple applauded the Police Department's quick response.

The intruder, who had some of the Murrays' jewelry, broke through a second-story window and climbed down a tree in an unsuccessful effort to escape, Emily Murray said.

"Crime is here and we have got to do something," she said.

Local attorney Bill Finch spoke about the judicial process and what happens to suspects after they're arrested, and Westminster Police Chief Roger Joneckis spoke about techniques drug traffickers use to distribute drugs.

Many task force members agreed to help with four committees: Neighborhood Watch, Property Concerns, the city's Livability Code and Public Relations.

The group also vowed to have social gatherings to help members get to know each other.

"We don't want to be perceived as the neighborhood nags," said Jenny Koontz. "We need to keep things in a positive perspective, and getting together to Christmas carol, or make gift baskets for the needy would be a great idea."

Information: West Side Community Task Force, 99 W. Main St., Westminster 21157 or 410-848-5980.

Lisa Breslin's Central neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Digests, datebook

If you have information for the community digests or datebook, call Ellie Baublitz at 410-751-7910 during the day, leave a voice mail message after hours or fax news releases to 410-751-7916.

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