Variety is key for Carroll tourism

County offers various events, including farmers' markets, re-enactments and carnivals


Carroll County thrives on its historical and tourist industry, which offers a variety of activities for all ages and interests, from the Carroll County Farm Museum's events, town festivals and the Danele Shipley Arena, to the Carroll Arts Center, firemen's carnivals and farmers' markets.

Barbara Beverungen is manager of the Carroll County Office of Tourism and is responsible for promoting the county's tourist sites and activities, which the office publishes in an annual calendar.

The tourism office operates a visitors center at 210 E. Main St., Westminster, at the Historical Society of Carroll County. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, except for major holidays.

The all-volunteer Tourism Council of Carroll County, largely made up of businesses in the tourism industry such as hotels, restaurants and shops, assists the tourism office in its efforts to promote the county. The council periodically publishes a visitors guide of places and events, and sponsors an annual Harlem Wizards basketball game in March as a fundraiser.

The tourism office is at 224 N. Center St., Westminster. The Web site is

Information: tourism office, 410-386-2983; visitor center, 410-848-1388.


Carroll Arts Center: 91 W. Main St., Westminster, 410-848-7272. The Carroll County Arts Council's facility boasts a 263-seat large-screen theater, art galleries, offices and classrooms. Besides offering its own family-oriented activities, the Arts Council rents out the theater to other groups, such as Common Ground on the Hill and the Carroll Players. The Arts Center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday.

Civil War sites: Few corners of Carroll were untouched by the Civil War. The tourism office has a driving tour, "Roads to Gettysburg," featuring Civil War sites and events in the county.

Colleges: McDaniel College, 2 College Hill, Westminster, 410-857-2293; and Carroll Community College, 1601 Washington Road, Westminster, 410-386-8000. Both colleges offer art exhibits, plays, concerts, films, lectures and other cultural and educational activities, most of which are open to the public, many for free. McDaniel College also is home to Common Ground on the Hill, which brings international concerts, an arts and music summer program and a concert festival to the county.

Brethren Service Center: 500 Main St., New Windsor, 410-635- 8700. Operated by the Church of the Brethren, the center is home to several disaster-response organizations that go wherever help is needed worldwide. The campus includes a conference center, hotel lodging and A Greater Gift shop, featuring crafts, home decor and clothing from all over the world.

Cascade Lake: 3000 Snydersburg Road, Hampstead, 410-239-4708 or 410-374-9111. The privately owned lake and park offers a playground, food stand, gift shop, pavilion, petting zoo, pool, waterslides, fishing and boating, and various sports fields and courts. Admission is charged.

Church festivals: A number of churches around Carroll offer unique festivals, some going back more than 130 years, including a Dutch picnic, Sunday school picnic, strawberry and peach festivals, and holiday craft shows. Some also hold regular breakfasts and dinners open to the public.

Danele Shipley Arena: Carroll County Agriculture Center, Smith Avenue extended, Westminster, 410-848-6704, carrollcountyagcen Opened in 2004, the 52,500-square-foot building offers space for bingo, meetings, receptions and luncheons, equestrian events, dog shows, bull riding, concerts and more.

Farmers' markets: The Agriculture Center holds several farmers' markets throughout the year - Easter, early spring, Mother's Day and a 10-week summer and seven-week Christmas market, featuring fresh produce and flowers, crafts and household items. Several towns also have farmers' markets during the summer and early fall.

Firefighters' activities: Eleven of the 14 volunteer fire companies hold a weeklong summer carnival with concerts, rides, games and food. In lieu of a carnival, Lineboro holds a popular Haunted Hayride over three weekends in October. Individual fire companies may also offer daylong festivals, holiday craft shows, bingos, breakfasts, dinners, dances, bull and oyster roasts, car shows and other community events.

Historical Society of Carroll County: 210 E. Main St., Westminster, 410-848-6494. The society owns the Shellman House and operates a research library, exhibition gallery and museum shop. Events include a county birthday celebration every Jan. 19, monthly box-lunch talks, trips and an antiques appraisal day.

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