They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

That is the quintessential understatement when you take stock of the recent Howard County Fair ribbons won by Brooke McDonnell, the talented 10-year-old daughter of Elkridge resident Cindy Perry McDonnell.

"My daughter is following in my footsteps! She was awarded a champion ribbon, seven first place ribbons and a second place ribbon at the fair for her flower entries!"

Brooke, a fifth-grader at Elkridge Elementary School, packs a great deal of talent despite her young years. This fall is her fourth year as a cheerleader for the Elkridge Hurricanes.

Brooke has also been in seven productions with the Catonsville and Pasadena theaters. Her most recent performance was in "Annie," which wrapped up last month. Next up for Brooke is "A Christmas Carol" at the Chesapeake Arts Center in Brooklyn Park this December.

Cindy McDonnell recalls, "I remember my first entry at the fair was a potted plant called 'cats & kittens' entry that Ms. Bessie (Weatherholt) helped me with ... such sweet memories..."

McDonnell also recalls how she herself got reacquainted with the fair as an adult: "I tagged along with a friend to the Howard County Fair in 2010. She persuaded me to bring a few of my crafts (knitted and beaded pieces) and enter the judging. Much to my surprise, I won a few ribbons; and I was hooked right then and there! Last year Brooke entered a few fine arts pieces and brought home some ribbons, and, in the process, discovered a special love for flowers."

McDonnell's mom and Brooke's grandmother, longtime Elkridge resident Joyce Perry, was thrilled at the opportunity to share her love of nature with her granddaughter. The fun began in a flower bed. Despite an overabundance of rain this summer, Brooke persevered in her mission and was awarded first place and Overall Champion for her potted cactus garden; first place each for her vinca, collection of perennials, collection of annuals and coleus; and second place for her zinnias.

Cindy McDonnell entered 13 pieces [knitted and beaded] and was awarded two Champion ribbons, seven first place ribbons, one second place ribbon, and two third place ribbons.

Both McDonnells have since taken their talent on the road where they will add their entries to the contenders at the Maryland State Fair. Good luck, ladies … we know you'll make Elkridge proud!

If you haven't had your fill of crabs this summer, you can make up for it at the Elkridge Fire Department's annual Crab Feast, hosted by the EVFD Auxiliary on Sept. 14. The Crab Feast features music and dancing, 6 to 11 p.m., and delicious food, 6 to 9 p.m. Cost is only $40 per person — a bargain for good food, tons of fun and a great cause!

Call 410-761-6633, ext. 3, for information and tickets. The event will be held at the EVFD hall, 6275 Old Washington Road, Elkridge. Get a group of friends together and support the commitment of those who put their lives on the line every day for others.

Register now to participate in the annual Elkridge Food Pantry Give Where You Live 5k Family Fun Run/Walk, Sept. 15, at 8 a.m. This is the only fundraising event held on behalf of the food pantry, so put on your running or walking shoes and join the fun!

The course is flat, paved, and free of traffic. Baby strollers and wheelchairs are welcome. No bikes, roller blades, skateboards, scooters or motorized vehicles allowed.

There is also an optional two-mile walk, and the event will take place rain or shine. All proceeds directly benefit the food pantry.

You can register at http://givewhereyoulive5k.crosslifeevents.org/. You can also friend the food pantry on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ElkridgeFoodPantryAndGarden.