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Marriottsville: Outdoors, at night, with fireflies — join the fun

Every child should have an opportunity to run and dance with the fireflies on a balmy summer's eve, and the Howard County Conservancy provides a perfect family venue for this experience.

The annual Fiddlers and Fireflies picnic is Thursday, July 12, from 6 to 9 p.m., at a cost of $10 per vehicle.

Visitors should bring their own food, blankets and chairs; the conservancy will provide the fiddle music and a dark, rustic setting with plenty of fireflies to light the night sky.

The conservancy's free Wonder Walk is also scheduled next week, on Saturday, July 14 at 10 a.m.

This month's program will teach "What It Was Like to Live and Farm on this Land as a Colonial, Victorian, World War II and Modern Family."

What crops did the Brown family ancestors plant and how did they harvest them? What animals did they raise, and why? How did they use the various outbuildings?

Come enjoy this fascinating look at the 300-year-old history behind the Mt. Pleasant Farm on which the conservancy is housed.

If rain should threaten either program, check http://www.hcconservancy.org for further directions. The Conservancy's address is 10520 Old Frederick Road (Route 99) in Woodstock, and the phone number is 410-465-8877.

The Retreat and Conference Center at Bon Secours has announced its July lineup of programs, beginning with its monthly workshop, "Keep the Spirit Up: A Day for Job Seekers and Career Changers" on Friday, July 13, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Bon Secours will invite a freewill offering for this program and suggests an amount of $15.

Two retreats will begin on Sunday, July 15, at 5 p.m., and end on Saturday, July 21, at 11 a.m., and both cost $600. One is a silent "Directed Retreat" and the other is "Jesus Is Lord: Living in the Reign of God."

Finally, a "Circle of Trust" retreat will run from Thursday, July 26 ,at 1 p.m., to Saturday, July 28, at 1 p.m. The cost is $630.

To register for programs at Bon Secours, call 410-442-1320. The address is 1525 Marriottsville Road, in Marriottsville, and the website is rccbonsecours.com.

This summer, the historic town of Sykesville plans to offer an even greater variety of free, outdoor music.

New this year, Sykesville Main Street will collaborate with JAMS Music Center in Eldersburg to showcase an eclectic mix of bands, from acoustic to Celtic to classic rock.

Performances begin July 5, and will take place every Thursday through Aug. 30, from 6 to 8 p.m., in the Town House gazebo.

Listeners are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs.

The traditional Sykesville Concerts in the Park will begin again on Friday, July 13, with a performance by acoustic duo Moe Stringz (www.moestringz.com). These concerts run every Friday through Aug. 17, from 7 to 9 p.m., at Millard Cooper Park.

For more information about Sykesville events, go to http://www.sykesville.net, or on Facebook, go to http://www.facebook.com/sykesville or http://www.facebook.com/SykesvilleEvents.

Although still in its infancy, the annual Film Feastival at Clark's Elioak Farm has quickly become a Howard County tradition. This event, on Tuesday, July 17, from 6 to 9 p.m., serves both as a celebration of the area's agricultural roots and a kickoff for the popular Howard County Farm-2-Table Restaurant Weeks, July 18-Aug. 6. (www.visithowardcounty.com/howard-county-restaurant-weeks)

As always, the Feastival will showcase samples of locally-grown foods prepared by Howard County restaurants and provide patrons with an opportunity to speak to local farmers, agricultural experts, business owners, restaurateurs, and chefs.

The highlight of the evening will be a screening of the newly released documentary, "American Meat" (www.americanmeatfilm.com), which juxtaposes the current industrial meat system with a growing local-food movement that is more sustainable.

Entry costs $5 per person, and advance registration is required at http://www.hceda.org/agriculture. Attendance is limited.

Proceeds will help the WIC program and the Howard County Food Bank provide fresh produce to local families in need. To learn more about the Feastival, call 410-313-2707.

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