The Howard County NAACP Youth Council's Holiday Craft/Flea Market, featuring Christmas decorations, toys, clothing, antiques, furniture, jewelry and household items, will be held beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at Ridgely's Run Community Center, 8400 Mission Road in Jessup. Information: 443-280-1935.
An exhibit of brush paintings by Jing-Jy Chen is on view through Nov. 30 at Artists' Gallery, American City Building, 10227 Wincopin Circle in Columbia. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Closed Sundays. The gallery is also open by appointment. Information: 410-740-8249 or artistsgallerycolumbia.com.
The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission invites county middle and high school students to participate in the commission's annual essay contest. Winners will be recognized at the commission's annual celebration Jan. 20 at Howard Community College.
Essays must be typed and double-spaced and include a cover page with the student's name, address, telephone number, email address, school and grade. Middle school student essays must be 500 to 750 words, while high school student essays must be 750 to 1,000 words. Essays will be judged on content, spelling and sentence structure. Students with disabilities may submit entries that address the essay question through use of other media (posters, pictures, etc.).
This year's theme is "Out of the Mountain of Despair: A Beloved Community," and essays must address a population and/or community in despair that was lifted up by the love, help and hope of others.
For complete contest rules, go to howardcountymd.gov/mlkholidaycommission.htm. Nomination forms should be hand-delivered or mailed to: 2012 MLK Student Essay Contest, c/o Howard County Office of Human Rights, 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Suite 239, Columbia 21046, or faxed to 410-313-6468.
The entry deadline is 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13.
'Art Maryland 2012'
A show featuring works selected from more than 450 entries submitted by 169 artists working in a wide variety of styles and mediums runs through Dec. 14 at Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road in Ellicott City. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays, and noon-4 p.m. Sundays. Information: 410-313-2787.
'Walk to Bethlehem'
Glen Mar United Methodist Church will hold its annual event from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at the church, 4701 New Cut Road in Ellicott City. The free event is led by guides, and attendees will journey through outdoor settings where actors will portray the events leading to and immediately after the birth of Jesus. For more information, call 410-465-4995, ext. 204 or go to glenmarumc.org.
Columbia Pro Cantare is holding auditions for all parts for its 36th anniversary season. Works to be performed include "Carmina Burana," Handel's "Messiah," Faure's "Requiem," and works from Spain and Latin America. Call 410-730-8549 to schedule an audition. Information: procantare.org.
Rockburn Skills Park, targeted toward mountain bikers and trail runners, has opened at Rockburn Branch Park. Features include a pump track, flow trail, descending trail, climbing trail and an uphill return trail. The 450-acre Rockburn Branch Park includes 7.4 miles of trails, woodlands, marshes and stream valleys, multipurpose athletic fields, baseball diamonds, tennis and basketball courts, two playgrounds, an 18-hole disc golf course and picnic pavilions. Information: rockburnskillspark.org.
Local and regional fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, eggs and baked goods are available at these area farmers' markets:
•Howard County Library, East Columbia branch, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15.
•Howard County Library, Glenwood branch, 2350 Route 97. 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17.
•Oakland Mills Village Center, 5851 Oliver Place, Columbia. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18.
The Howard County Conservancy offers free guided hikes and talks on the second Saturday of each month. Visitors can enjoy an easy walk in the meadows and woods of the conservancy, 10520 Old Frederick Road in Woodstock. Information: 410-465-8877 or go to hcconservancy.org.
The Howard County Arts Council has announced the availability of the Black Box Theatre for rental. The 98-seat multipurpose performance space is equipped with professional sound and lighting equipment, nearby dressing rooms, padded seats, black stage curtains and a sprung dance floor. A performance grand piano is available for rental through a separate agreement with the Howard County Music Teachers Association.
All renters of the theater are required to carry a commercial liability insurance policy of $1 million. Other requirements and rental request forms and rates can be found at hocoarts.org. Rental request forms should be mailed to Room Rentals, Howard County Arts Council, 8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City 21043.
Kindred Spirits, a social club for people diagnosed with early memory loss or dementia, meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the 50+ Center at the Gary J. Arthur Community Center, 2700 Route 97, Cooksville. Highlights include therapeutic activities, including music, art and exercise, as well as a support group. A daily fee of $30 includes snacks, lunch, coffee and tea. The program is sponsored by the Howard County Office on Aging and the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Maryland. Information: Judy Miller at 410-313-5441 or email@example.com.