Calling all kids and their parents. This is the weekend for the annual West Friendship Volunteer Fire Department Open House.

The kid-friendly event features Sparky the Fire Dog, displays of the various fire apparatus, demonstrations, tours of Station 3, refreshments like snoballs, information on volunteer opportunities and the best looking ladder trucks in the nation.

Come out and get to know the volunteers who are always at the ready to protect your family. The open house is set for Oct. 14, noon to 4 p.m. Station 3 is at 12535 Old Frederick Road (Routes 99 and 32).

Here comes another weekend in West Friendship when serious shoppers can really get their bargain hunting game on. The advance placement scholars at Glenelg High are planning a flea market at Glenelg High School on Oct. 13, 8 a.m. to noon.


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More than 20 families have signed on as vendors with booths and tables inside and outside. Pumpkins will be up for grabs too, for sale and for decorating.

Rick Kemp, who presides over these earnest students as director of Advanced Placement Scholars at the high school, calls this sale one great big bundle of bargains and fun.

Members of Howard High Class of 1972 are reminded that the 40th reunion party will be held at Jilly's Bar and Grill at 10030 Baltimore National Pike in Ellicott City on Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. Organizers hope you will come out and see your long ago classmates.

Don't forget. The ever busy folks at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church are going shopping and you are invited. Oct. 16, from 6 to 9 p.m., is designated as Ladies Night of Shopping at the parish hall, 2892 Route 97 in Glenwood.

Lynne Quinn, one of the organizers, promises 15 different vendors with offerings including jewelry, personalized stationery, shabby chic items and upscale clothing. Refreshments will be served and, of course, the parking is free. Questions? Call Mary Ellen Willson at 240-372-8878.

The students at West Friendship Elementary are always up for fun. This week the kids will have their pictures taken, enjoy a family movie night and the first graders will get really cozy with Pajama Day. Never a dull moment for these precious children.

Need to get really spooky? The folks at West Friendship's Living Farm Heritage Museum are hosting their annual Three Mile Haunted HayRide during October.

Thrills, chills and scary sights beyond compare. A full description of all the spooky fun can be found at http://www.farmheritage.org or 3milehauntedhayride.com. All proceeds from the family-friendly event will benefit the museum.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission invites Howard County middle and high school students to participate in the commission's annual Student Essay Contest. Winners will be recognized during the commission's 28th annual celebration on Jan. 20 at Howard Community College. Students must be a resident of Howard County.

The theme of this year's essay contest is, "Out of the Mountain of Despair: A Beloved Community." For all information, rules and guidelines go to the commission's web page at http://www.howardcountymd.gov/mlkholidaycommission.htm or phone the Office of Human Rights at 410-313-6430.

Essays must be received by 5 p.m. on Nov.13. Questions? Call Gwen Hackney at 410-313-6467 or email her at mhackney@howardcountymd.gov.

The town of Sykesville is all decked out in fall colors. "Biggest and best yet," proclaim the organizers and merchants of Sykesville, who are celebrating the annual Fall Festival on Oct. 13, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A rock climbing wall for the kids, performances by the Carroll County Dance Center, a wine garden, music, food, crafts, antiques and all the history of historic Sykesville await.

Speaking of fall colors. Registration is now open for the 2013 Master Gardener training sessions. The series will begin on Jan. 23 and continue each Wednesday until March 27.

To receive a Master Gardener registration packet, call the University of Maryland Extension, Howard County office, at 410-313-2707. The deadline for registration is Dec. 18.