TRUE MAPLE SYRUP, fresh from the tree, will be yours at the annual Maple Sugarin' Festival from 10: 30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Hashawha Environmental Appreciation Center.
For 15 years, families have attended for the making and tasting demonstrations, the pancake brunch, and full slate of family activities.
Hashawha is at 300 John Owings Road, next to Bear Branch Nature Center. It is easily reached from Route 97 north of Westminster or from Bachmann Valley Road.
Several sugar maples will be tapped for sap, which is gathered and boiled into syrup. Visitors can learn about a Native American method of preparing maple sap.
"They put hot rocks into a wooden trough to boil the sap, and would boil it down into a type of sugar that was easy to transport," said Joanne Hunter, acting manager of Hashawha and Bear Branch Nature Center.
Visitors can try a maple syrup snow cone, another Native American treat. The Native Americans would make it with birch bark rolled into a cone to hold snow and a drizzle of maple syrup.
A short, interesting path through the woods leads to the restored Martin log cabin where visitors can experience what is was like on bread-baking day in the early 1800s. People in period costumes will bake bread in an oven and in a fireplace. Samples will be available.
A history lesson will be offered.
"In the open area, the Maryland Loyalists Battalion will set up an encampment," Hunter said. "They are really into authenticity, representing the Revolutionary War era."
Artisans will demonstrate their crafts, including Gary Anderson, blacksmith; Randy Arrington, chain saw artist; Ofelia Winters, weaver of Mayan-style fabrics; and the Carroll Carvers hand woodcarving guild.
Children can take part in games and a play at the end of the day. They can also jump on one of two tractor-pulled hayrides or -- if weather permits -- take a ride on a pony.
Admission to the festival is $2 per vehicle. Tickets to the breakfast are $2.75 per person.
Young musicians to perform
Gala Showcase Recital, a musical performance featuring 15 young musicians, will take place at 2 p.m. March 12 in Big Baker Chapel at Western Maryland College.
Encore Orchestra offers middle- and high-school-age musicians a chance to play in a community orchestra with adults, through an annual young artists competition in January.
About 30 young musicians from Frederick, Carroll, Howard and Baltimore counties sent in taped auditions in hopes of being selected.
The organizer of the competition said she was impressed by the quality of the applicants.
"Those 15 were so incredible, we invited all of them to play in the March recital," said Mindy Niles.
The youngest to play will be Nikia Sayre, an 11-year-old violinist from Finksburg. Another highlight will be Keith Garrick of Mount Airy, who will play Alan Hovhoness' "Fantasy on Japanese Woodprints," scored for marimba.
Also playing from Carroll County will be Andrew Barnes, euphonium; Jeff Zamostny, piano;and Leslie Dragan, piano. The concert will include musicians playing trumpet, flute, violin, clarinet, euphonium, tuba, marimba and a harpist from Baltimore School of the Arts.
The concert is free and the public is invited.
A concert featuring the finalists in the competition will be held at 3 p.m. April 2 at North Carroll High School.
Information: Mindy Niles, 410-239-3200.
Bedtime story night
Tomorrow evening, families with children attending Manchester Elementary can put on the pajamas, pick up a pillow and take a book to school. It's Read Across America Day and the activities at school continue into bedtime story hour.
Pupils who arrive ready to read for bedtime will receive a certificate if they read for 15 minutes. Helga Anderson, the school's media specialist, will serve milk and cookies to inspire more reading.
The school will also sponsor a book fair the week of March 13. Ask Anderson about the pupil special, in which pupils who buy one book will receive a second one free.
Triple `B' Bingo
Baskets, bears and bunnies will be the featured prizes at the Triple "B" Bingo fund-raising event March 11 at St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Snydersburg.
Tickets are $20 each for 22 games, dinner and intermission refreshments.
Dinner will be served starting at 1 p.m. The menu will include barbecue, macaroni and cheese and applesauce. At intermission, cake, chips and pretzels will be served. Soda and coffee are included.
Bingo will begin at 2 p.m., with 12 games for baskets, and 10 games for bunnies or bears, according to Maretta Warner. She and fellow church member Jeanne Neudecker are organizing the bingo to benefit the church.
"They're Boyd's Bears, and not the little bears, but the bigger ones in the range of $25 to $35," Warner said.
In addition to games, four jackpots for baskets and two raffles will be given for baskets stuffed with surprises.
More than a third of the 100 tickets have been sold.
Information: Jeanne Neudecker at 410-374-2310 or Maretta Warner at 410-239-3841.
Pat Brodowski's North neighborhood column appears each Wednesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.