Local fall festivals spotlight the glories of autumn [Marriottsville/Sykesville/Woodstock]

Crisp weather, colorful leaves, pumpkins and apples … what's not to love about autumn? Come celebrate the season at one of our community's many fall festivals.

On Saturday, Oct. 5, the Howard County Conservancy will host its annual Fall Festival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at 10520 Old Frederick Road (Route 99), in Woodstock.

Visitors can enjoy tours of the Mt. Pleasant farmhouse and also watch demonstrations of old-fashioned trades like chair caning, basket weaving, quilting, pottery making, beekeeping and blacksmithing.

Square dancers and strolling musicians will provide entertainment during the festivities, and plein air (outdoor) painters will display their lovely artwork.

Make sure to bring the whole family; the Conservancy will offer children's crafts, as well as hayrides and, for an additional fee, pony rides. Alpacas and other animals will also be on site.

A farmer's market will provide a bountiful harvest of goods for sale, and of course, prepared food will be available for purchase, too.

The event costs $10 per vehicle. To learn more, go to http://www.hcconservancy.org, or call 410-465-8877.

Sykesville's Main Street will shut down on Saturday, Oct. 12, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., for the Sykesville Fall Festival. The day will include a variety of demonstrations and performances, including a puppet show, a stilt walker, and live music by Stephen Heller and the Royal Phonics.

Children will find a bevy of traditional fall activities — pumpkin painting, scarecrow making, and a hay maze — as well as traditional festival fun, like face painting and balloons.

For a complete schedule of events, go to http://www.facebook.com/events/558645830853084.

Parking is free at Freedom Park, 100 Raincliffe Road, with free shuttle service to Main Street. Preferred parking is available at South Branch Park, 307 W. Friendship Road, for a $5 donation. Contact Main Street Manager Ivy Wells at Ivy@sykesville.net or 410-795-8959 with any questions.

Chapelgate Presbyterian Church will hold its third annual Fall Festival on Saturday, Oct. 12, rain or shine, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event promises plenty of food, fun and games, including live music, hay rides, pony rides, face painting, a moon bounce, and crafts. The address is 2600 Marriottsville Road.

If you would like to learn more or enter the chili cook-off or the pie-baking contest, go to http://www.chapelgate.org/fallfestival.

Frisky's Wildlife and Primate Sanctuary celebrated an anniversary this month. Congratulations to Colleen Layton on 43 years as a wildlife rehabilitator! Thanks to her and her dedicated volunteers, the facility has nursed innumerable wild animals back to health and released them into the wild.

Additionally, many domesticated animals have found new homes through Frisky's adoption program. Animals that cannot be released or adopted have a "forever home" at the sanctuary.

The good folks at Frisky's would also like to remind the public that fall is "squirrel season." If you spot a baby squirrel that appears to have been abandoned, try to find its nest and leave it on the ground below that tree, with a blanket or warm water bottle.

Sometimes the mother will return, and that is the baby's best chance for survival. If, after a few hours, the mother has not rescued the baby, take it to Frisky's for assistance. Never attempt to feed a baby squirrel because it can aspirate and develop pneumonia.

Call 410-418-8899 for more information, or go to http://www.friskys.org.

School has already been in session for a month, and that means that it's time to recognize the September Band Musicians of the Month at West Friendship Elementary School. Kudos to AJ Angarita, trumpet; Hannah Coomber, flute; DJ Lindahl, trumpet; Mackenzie Ryan, alto saxophone; Ethan Triska, clarinet; and Michael Yencha, trumpet. Keep up the good work!

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