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Things to do with the family this week

It's October, which makes it kids' month in downtown Baltimore, as well as Free Fall Baltimore month. There are lots of events, museum deals and cultural happenings for families to enjoy.

I've listed some family-friendly events for the next few days below. The complete schedule can be found at Freefallbaltimore.com.

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This weekend is also the big Michael Phelps celebration, which lots of kids won't want to miss. The "Parade of Gold," honoring Phelps and other Maryland Olympians, starts at 3 p.m. Saturday on York Road at Burke Avenue in Towson, and travels south to Rodgers Forge. A festival and salute to Phelps begins at Fort McHenry around the same time, featuring performances by local bands. The official program, including a Q-and-A with the Olympian, starts around 7 p.m.

Here's the rest of the lineup, compiled with help from intern Lindsey Citron:

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Thursday, Oct. 2:

Hooray for Presidents!: This program offers a fun, child-friendly approach to presidential trivia at 7 p.m. at the Anne Arundel County Public Library's Provinces branch in Severn. Ages 9+. Call 410-222-6280.

Friday, Oct. 3:

"Trains, Trains, Trains": Listen to a fun story in honor of the new train exhibit at the B&O Railroad Museum at Barnes and Noble, Power Plant, 601 E. Pratt Street, Baltimore, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Toddler to Pre-school age children.Free. Call 410-385-1709, or go to www.bn.com.
Sugarloaf Crafts Festival: The festival features works of artists and craftsmen for sale, a children's storytelling booth and food to sample at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Road, Timonium. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $7 online or $8 at the door. Children younger than 12 are admitted free. Call 800-210-9900 or go to sugarloafcrafts.com.

The Village Learning Place Sound Off: This event celebrates hip-op culture with interactive activities for teens and families, including an open mic session and special guest performances, from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Friday at Village Learning Place, 2521 St. Paul St. Call 410-235-2210 x206. Free.

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(Photo of Michael Phelps at Disney World by Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)

Saturday, Oct. 4: 

Heavy Metal: Big Truck Day: Check out 22 vehicles from the city fleet, including a helicopter, fire engines and police cars, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Baltimore Museum of Public Works, Eastern Avenue at President Street, rain or shine. Come feel the muscle of the city’s BIG fleet of trucks.  Follow the "Big Truck Trail" map and  join in MPT’s show “Bob the Vid Tech.”
 
Harbor Harvest: Children’s Autumn Festival: This fall-themed festival offers children a petting zoo, pumpkin patch, straw maze, and hayrides as well as a fresh selection of fruits and vegetables for parents. West Shore Park, 400 block of Light Street, Baltimore, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., All ages. Free.
Kids Day at Downs Park: Spend the day outdoors with fall activities featuring pumpkin painting, scarecrow building, a moon bounce, and food from 10 a.m.-4 p.m at Downs Memorial Park, 8311 John Downs Loop, Pasadena. Bring your own pumpkin and clothes to dress your scarecrow. Admission is free; $5-$10 per scarecrow, All ages. Call 410-222-6230. 

Babysitter's Training Program Course: Kids 11-15 can learn and master the skills required for successful childcare from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. American Red Cross, Padionia Park Club, 12006 Jennifer Road, Cockeysville. $65.00, Register 410-624-2060.

Sunday, Oct. 5:
MouthPower Family Day: Learn something to smile about with hands-on activities such as practicing correct brushing techniques and making teeth diaries at the National Museum of Dentistry. 31 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, 1-4 p.m., Fun for the whole family, Free, 410-706-0052, http://www.dentalmuseum.org.
This next one isn't a family event, but it is an issue that affects moms, so at the request of the organizers, I'm listing it for those who might be interested.
Open Forum: Milestones and Hardships for Women: Take part in a group discussion about everything from menopause to eating disorders mediated by Dr. Trisha Gura, author of Lying in Weight: The Hidden Epidemic of Eating Disorders in Adult Women. The Center for Eating Disorders, Sheppard Pratt Hospital, 6701 N. Charles Street, Towson, 1-3 p.m., Women of all ages. Free, 410-938-5252, http://www.eatingdisorder.org 

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