Community organizers. That's what the members of Howard County's Community Action Council, partnered with associates from Wegman's Grocery, were on Nov. 20 when together the groups doled out turkeys, fixin's and fellowship during the eighth annual Thanksgiving turkey distribution for eligible Howard County families.

The distribution was held at St. John the Baptist Church in Columbia. Bita Dayhoff, president of the Community Action Council, said she is always amazed at the "hope and happiness provided by community organizations in our small yet caring community."

The annual Holiday Open House at the Howard County Antique Farm Machinery Club in West Friendship will be held on Dec. 1 and 2, noon to 4 p.m.

A train garden, refreshments, tours of the museum, antique displays of Christmas time in days gone by and festive decorations are all part of the fun. The museum is at 12985 Frederick Road. No admission for this family-friendly event.


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Mark your calendar for an international bazaar with a purpose. The Glenelg Country School's community service groups are sponsoring an International Holiday Bazaar to raise funds for several student-driven international service projects.

The festive event will be held at Glenelg Country School, 12793 Folly Quarter Road, on Dec. 1, 12:30 to 3 p.m. Handcrafted artisan items will be on sale. Questions? Call David Weeks at 410-531-5775.

The donation bins are filling up and Sandi Hawkins and the volunteers at West Friendship Volunteer Fire Department couldn't be happier. Station 3 members are partnering with Marriotts Ridge High School as participants in the classic Toys for Tots program this season.

"We are so excited to have this opportunity to give back to the community," said Station 3 auxiliary member Hawkins.

If you would like to donate a new unwrapped toy or gift for a youngster ages infant through 12 years, drop your item off in the foyer of Station 3, which is at the intersection of Route 32 and Route 99 in West Friendship. The program will continue through Dec. 11.

Similarly, the shopkeepers at the Pink Cabbage are collecting for Toys for Tots. The shop will be the setting for a holiday Open House on Dec. 1. The gift emporium is at the intersection of Route 144, Frederick Road and Triadelphia Road. The "cabbagers," as the workers are known, work for weeks decorating the shop.

More local merriment continues in Sykesville, where the annual Main Street Twelve Hours of Christmas will be held on Nov. 30. Shops will stay open until midnight with live music, refreshments and an old fashioned atmosphere promised.

The town of Sykesville will continue the festive spirit on Dec. 1 with Sykesville Merry Main Street. Events will be held from 2 to 9 p.m. and include costumed characters, ice sculptures, kids activities, refreshments and even a brass band.

Holiday Mart celebrates its 40th year at the Glenwood Community Center on Dec. 1, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. More than 120 juried artisans and vendors.

St. Nick is coming to town. Mark your calendar for Dec. 8, 9 to 11:30 a.m., when the St. Andrew's Episcopal Church on Route 97 in Glenwood, will be transformed into the North Pole. Breakfast with Saint Nicholas and a St. Nick gift shop are on the agenda. Questions? Call Lynne Quinn at 410-292-8202 or email lynnequinn@comcast.net.

A sensory-friendly visit with Santa is also planned by the Howard County Autism Society. For kids with special needs, the sensory-friendly visit with Santa is just the ticket. This event will be held at Columbia Mall on Dec. 2 and Dec. 5, 9 to 10 a.m. Call the society at 410-290-3466 with questions.

Sally and Shannon Stevens, the bead and jewelry artisans of Sunroom Studios, will present a show at the Howard County Conservancy on Dec. 1, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aside from demonstrations, Sally promises a sale table for "your shopping pleasure". The Conservancy website, http://www.hcconservancy.org, lists an array of holiday happenings.

Art and music are in the air in our town. The local chorus members of Frances Motyca Dawson's famed Columbia Pro Cantare are in rehearsals for the traditional performance of Handel's "Messiah" on Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m., at the Jim Rouse Theatre. For information on the Messiah or any of the Pro Cantare's offerings, go to the website at http://www.procantare.org. or call 410-799-9321.