Summer provides an abundance of fresh, local produce, and Howard County residents can celebrate the bounty in several fun ways.
First, on Tuesday, July 16, Clark's Elioak Farm will host the fourth annual Film "Feastival" in conjunction with the Agricultural Marketing Program of the Howard County Economic Development Authority, Howard County Tourism and Promotion, the University of Maryland Extension-Howard County and the Business Monthly newspaper. This event will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. at 10500 Clarksville Pike in Ellicott City.
As always, the Film Feastival will begin with a sampling of farm-fresh dishes prepared by several Howard County restaurants. Local farmers, restaurateurs, chefs, business owners and agricultural experts will be on hand to talk about farming, healthy lifestyles and environmental stewardship. Additionally, guests will have an opportunity to watch several short films that emphasize the importance of local agriculture and food.
The event is free, but advance registration is required at http://www.hceda.org/agriculture, and guests are welcome to make donations. Any money collected will support the Howard County Food Bank. Call 410-313-6500 with any questions.
This year, the Feastival will also include a lengthier movie, "Maryland Harvest," shown on Wednesday, July 17, 3 p.m., at Howard County Library's Miller Branch, where a panel of chefs and farmers will discuss their working relationships. Registration is required for this event; go to http://www.hclibrary.org or call 410-313-1950.
Of course, the Film Feastival acts as the kickoff for Howard County's Farm2Table Restaurant Weeks initiative, which begins on Wednesday, July 17, and ends Monday, Aug. 5. During this time period, more than 20 Howard County restaurants will offer farm-fresh prix fixe menu items ranging in cost from $10.13 to $40.13. To see a list of participating restaurants, go to http://www.visithowardcounty.com/howard-county-restaurant-weeks.
The Restaurant Weeks initiative also coincides with the state of Maryland's Buy Local Challenge, which will run Saturday, July 20, through Sunday, July 28. This year's theme is "Take Local Outdoors." The challenge is to commit to eating local food throughout the week, and participants can submit photos of themselves taking the challenge outdoors. The winner will receive a $200 prize basket, plus $200 donated in his or her name to the Southern Maryland Food Bank. To enter or learn more, go to http://www.buy-local-challenge.com/contest.html.
Finally, the Howard County Conservancy would like to invite community members to join the "Conservancy Team" in a parallel event on the last day of the challenge, Sunday, July 28, 2-5 p.m., at 10520 Old Frederick Road, in Woodstock. Pack a picnic meal using your favorite local foods, and come dine in the picnic grove alongside other residents, local farmers, and producers.
These same farmers and producers will serve as judges for two prizes that the Conservancy will award to participants — one for the best picnic spread, and the other for the best dessert. Register at http://www.hcconservancy.org, and help the Conservancy throw the biggest and best picnic in the statewide challenge!
Are you curious to discover what's behind the scenes at Frisky's Wildlife and Primate Sanctuary? Register now for the third community tour of the season, scheduled for Saturday, July 20, 10:30 a.m., to noon. Visitors will learn about the facility's mission and meet some of the volunteers and resident animals. This tour is not suitable for children under the age of 5.
Advance registration is required, and tour size is limited. To register, call 410-465-7302 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frisky's lies west of Woodstock Road, at 10790 Old Frederick Road, in Woodstock. The website is http://www.friskys.org.
Sykesville's free Concerts in the Park series continues with grunge band S.N.A.P. on Friday, July 19, 7-9 p.m., at Millard Cooper Park. The address is 7252 Cooper Drive, and parking is available across the street at Sykesville Middle School. For more information, go to http://www.sykesvillemainstreet.com/sykesville-events, or contact Ivy Wells at email@example.com or 410-795-8959.