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'Tis the season for strawberries, festival fun

Spring is here, the flowers are blooming, and it's finally time for strawberries.

Messiah Lutheran Church will have its 24th annual strawberry festival from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 31 at the Sykesville-Freedom District fire company carnival grounds.

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Admission and parking are free to all.

The highlight of the day will be the freshly-picked strawberries and homemade strawberry shortcake. Breakfast sandwiches will be served starting at 9 a.m., and a variety of sandwiches will be on the lunch menu.

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The church's baked goods booth will help supply your sweet tooth, and snowballs will also be available.

The strawberry festival will have two simultaneous entertainment tracks running, one on the stage and the other in the pavilion.

On the stage, the performances are Merritt Dance at 10 a.m., Carroll County Dance Center at 11 a.m., Savage Dance at noon, Stepping Stars at 1 p.m. and Carroll County Cloggers at 2 p.m.

In the pavilion, you'll see Sykesville Raiders Cheerleading at 10 a.m., Sykesville Tae Kwon Do Academy at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Freedom Firestars Majorettes at 11:30 a.m., Maryland All Stars Cheerleading at noon, Carroll Gymnastics at 1:30 p.m. and Tristar Martial Arts at 2:30 p.m.

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Activities and games will be offered for children, including face painting, hay wagon rides, pony rides and much more.

If your chosen entertainment is shopping, there will be lots of opportunities for that, as well. The festival will let you browse through an abundance of flea market vendors, each with merchandise to tempt you.

Craft venders will be offering a variety of items. Baskets, candles, collectibles, children's items, crocheted items, crystal sun catchers, dolls, doll clothing, flowers, jewelry, paintings, tapestries and wood crafts will be for sale, along with many other crafts.

Donna May, the church's publicity chairman, is coordinating the silent auction that will take place during the strawberry festival. "We have a signed photo of Ravens coach John Harbaugh," she said.

"We have some learn-to-ski vouchers from Ski Liberty, and Ski Roundtop gave us an adventure package," May said. "We've got a $50 gift card to Adventure World in New Market, tickets from Center Stage and Toby's Dinner Theatre, and a week of summer camp from ABC Care."

May said that gift certificates from E. W. Beck's Pub and Captain Dan's Crabhouse were among the donations from Sykesville businesses, continuing their long-standing support of the strawberry festival.

The strawberry festival is a fundraiser for Messiah Lutheran Church in Berrett. May said some of the proceeds will be used for charity projects, both local and worldwide.

For more information, call the church at 410-795-9174 or visit http://www.melchurch.org.

The fire company grounds are at the intersection of Md. 32 and Freedom Avenue, Sykesville.

Stepping Stars

Stepping Stars, one of the programs of the Freedom Area Recreation Council, will offer summer dance classes for 2-year-olds to high-schoolers. Register now for the summer session, running June 23 to July 29.

The 2-year-old class, featuring ballet, will meet from 5:30 to 6 p.m. Mondays. The cost will be $45 per student.

The 3- and 4-year-old class, focusing on ballet and tap, will meet from 6 to 7 p.m. Mondays. The cost will be $60 per student.

The class for kindergarten, first grade and second grade will feature ballet and tap. The class will meet from 7 to 8 p.m. Mondays, and cost $60 per student.

The grades 3-5 class will focus on ballet, tap and jazz dance. The class will meet from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and cost $75 per student.

The grades 6-12 class also covers ballet, tap and jazz and will meet from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays. The cost will be $75 per student.

The classes will be offered at the South Carroll Senior and Community Center, 5928 Mineral Hill Road, Eldersburg.

For more information, email steppingstars@msn.com or call 410-549-6296 and use Stepping Stars mailbox No. 4. You can also find the class schedule and registration information online at farc.sportssignup.com.

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