Gifts & Spirits series begins at Montpelier Mansion [Montpelier/South Laurel]

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There is something new going on at Montpelier Mansion this spring. The first in a series titled Gifts & Spirits will be held on Saturday, March 11, from 6-8 p.m. These evenings are "Multi-Cultural Mixers." Participants on March 11 will be doing crafts and enjoying beverages related to the current Mansion exhibit, "Barriers & Gateways: The Immigrant Experience in Maryland," which explores the experiences of three large groups of immigrants to Maryland between the 1650s and 1850s.

On Saturday, April 8 from 6-8 p.m. the second Gifts & Spirits evening will celebrate spring with "Color Me Sangria," in keeping with the theme of Montpelier's spring exhibit, "Rub the Oils and Strew the Powders: The Legacy of European Herbs in Early American Medicine and Cuisine." Included in the exhibit are beautiful hand-painted guides to the uses of herbs at that time. After viewing the paintings, participants may devise their own sangria mix, do various crafts involving herbs and color a botanical print to take home. The cost for each Gifts & Spirits evening is $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Participants must be over the age of 18. For further information and reservations, call 301-377-7817.

Students at two elementary schools in our community have had colorful experiences recently. Montpelier Elementary students celebrated Peace Week on Feb. 13-17. Students wore different color T-shirts each day to call attention to various aspects of a peaceful and harmonious world. Red shirts reminded students of the need to stop violence, blue represented peace, grey friendship, white new beginnings, and green harmony. At Oaklands Elementary, Wednesday Feb. 22 was celebrated as National Heritage Day. Students were encouraged to wear clothing representative of their cultural heritage. That evening there was a Heritage Night event which included cultural attire as well as songs from various areas of the world. Kudos to these young people for reminding all of us how beautiful our colorful world can be.

Now is the time to sign up for one (or more) of the exciting programs offered at the Laurel-Beltsville Senior Activity Center. Many classes begin in early March. There are also free workshops and lectures on such subjects as computer skills, poetry, women's history, nutrition and solar power. There are several movie matinees scheduled, including "Deep Water Horizon" on March 23; "Florence Foster Jenkins" on April 13; and "Loving" on April 17. The Spring Calendar is available at the center. Registration for classes with fees is through SmartLink. Call 301-206-3350 for information.

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